As much as I hate flying… or rather, what flying has become, thanks to the airlines and the TSA… I love long drives. Seeing the country as you pass through it, rather than just flying over it. Road trips are especially great if you can get off the Interstates. Stopping to eat at little mom & pop eateries, taking in the small towns, visiting the roadside attractions (the weirder, the better).
Our plan was to travel to ConQuest by road in a two-car caravan, with our Aussie friends Stephen Boucher and Janice Gelb. Sad to say, Parris came down with a killer cold and had to bow out, so two cars shrunk down to one… but Melinda Snodgrass made a last minute decision to join us over breakfast at Tecolote, and come Wednesday morning we headed off to Kansas City.
We all missed Parris, but it was a great trip anyway. Well, aside from the food. Mom and pop did not come through for us this time, I fear. A lot of mediocre eateries.
But the roadside attractions were great. Cement dinosaurs and real dino tracks in Clayton, New Mexico. The replica bomb crater in Boise City, Oklahoma (only mainland American city to be bombed during WWII) which almost had Melinda die of laughing. Hooker, Oklahoma, which seems to sell two kinds of t-shirts: ones extolling Jesus, and ones cashing in on the name “Hooker.” The Straight Road of Guyman, Oklahoma (it’s straight! really straight!! for a long way!!!). In Liberal, Kansas, we bought flying monkeys at Dorothy’s Oz House, though Stephen would not let us take the tour (he has a terrible fear of munchkins) and stayed at a motel that looked like a prison (though it proved to be surprisingly comfortable) on Pancake Road. Dodge City’s Boot Hill attraction and western museum has grown much more impressive since my last visit in 1978. In Greenburg, Kansas, we visited the Big Well (#1 of the Eight Wonders of Kansas) and I bought t-shirts and mugs to help the town rebuild (it was devastated by a tornado a few years back, but is rebuilding as a green community). Alas, the Cosmodrome in Hutchinson, Kansas was closed by the time we reached it… but it does look cool, with a full-sized Atlas and Mercury Redstone standing outside. Maybe a rival to Alamagordo’s space museum, and a “definite” the next time we take a road trip to Kansas City. We finally found something good to eat in Emporia, but by then it was dark.
So after that it was KC and Conquest, one of my favorite regional cons. I’ll write about that later. Maybe.
Flew home on Monday. It wasn’t the same.
Nothing beats a road trip with friends.
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