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The Land of Oz

November 19, 2012

Kansas – Friday, November 16

Kansas is State #11! I entered Kansas in the southwest – near the town of Liberal. And one of the first things I saw were signs telling visitors they were in the Land of Oz – we could see Dorothy’s house and the yellow brick road and an Oz Museum etc etc. And there were statues of Dorothy. The visitor’s center was right across from all of that, so I took a short look around at what I could see without paying to go in the complex, and found it a bit tacky, as expected (now the flying monkeys are probably going to come get me!). But southwest Kansas is certainly the setting for the Wizard of Oz – dry prairie and wind. Tula and I walked a mile and a half in Liberal, but there was a lot of traffic, and not a lot of sidewalks outside of town, so I moved on a bit. Southwest Kansas is a little like the Oklahoma panhandle – and I was frustrated at not being able to do more Kansas walking while I had daylight. But I wasn’t going to just walk along the road! I came to the town of Meade and it was big enough to get out and walk, but I discovered that off of the 2-lane highway through town, Meade seemed to be totally abandoned, even though it was only a little after 5:00 on Friday night. There was quite a bit of traffic on the highway, but other than that, shops were closed, there literally were no cars on any of the town’s other streets, and not a soul around. It was kind of eerie, and I wondered where all the people were. I decided I didn’t like walking in an apparently abandoned town, and there were nice sidewalks along the highway through town, so I set off down the road – only to pass places with names like The Moon Mist Motel – things that reminded me of traveling in the 60s! For a few minutes, it seemed as though the whole town had emptied out, leaving me in a ’60s vacuum! It was kind of strange. As I turned around again, and started passing by some of the closed shops, I began to notice slogans like “Stomp ‘Em!!” painted on shop windows, and I concluded (whether correctly or not!) that the whole town must be rabid high school football fans and they had all left for a Friday night away game. That’s the only reason I can think of why there was no one around on a Friday night. And maybe it was a playoff game to boot. Who knows!! But, I got a little more walking in, then headed to the wild west town of Dodge City for the night.

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