Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Genuine Kansas Hospitality

This past weekend, I made a day trip to Montgomery County in southeast Kansas. Before long, I found myself at White Cemetery northeast of the town of Elk City. I visit many cemeteries during my travels - they are fabulous sources of information.

I pulled into the cemetery on the gravel drive, parked and walked around looking and taking photos of some of the stones. After I finished, I got back into my truck and proceeded towards the back of the cemetery with the intent of turning around and coming out the same drive I had entered.

I had not gone far when I hit a soft wet spot in the grass, and before long I was stuck but good. After realizing I could not get out, I walked about 1/3 mile down the road to the nearest farm. After explaining my predicament to the farmer and his son, the farmer said to his son without hesitation: "Get a chain and help him out. Take the truck, tractor, or whatever you need".

We rode back over with a 4 wheel drive truck, but this could not pull me out. As the young man went back for the tractor, I snapped a photo of the situation. Soon the young man returned with the tractor, and we hooked the chain under my truck's frame and pulled me out. I thanked him, and as I already suspected, he would not accept any money for the 30 minutes time he had spend helping me.

My point in sharing this story is to emphasize that, Kansans, almost without exception, are congenial, helpful, and willing to share about their towns, communities, etc, especially when you show interest. Try stopping into a local cafe and talking to the locals, attending a local event, visiting a town or county museum, and you will probably find, like I have on many occasions, that one of Kansas' best assets is her people.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Exploring Geary County

Recently,I had the opportunity to explore the rural areas of Geary County, mostly south of I-70 and Junction City.

Geary County lies within the Flint Hills physiographic region. I have not explored the northern Flint Hills nearly as much as the southern areas and enjoyed the chance to take in some new areas.

While in the county, I visited at least 10 historic bridges: 3 Truss bridges, 3 Concrete Rainbow Arch bridges, and 4 stone bridges. I followed roads along most of the major creeks, including Lyon Creek, Clark's Creek, Humboldt Creek, and McDowell Creek.

I visited 9 rural cemeteries and noted there were many Scandinavian settlers in the area. I visited 2 beautiful Lutheran Churches: St Joseph's (now closed) and St Paul's (active).

Finally, I can heartily recommend Stacy's Restaurant in the Grandview Plaza area. I had an great Sloppy Joe sandwich and potato salad meal there.