Kansas – Days 1-2: Exploring Small Town U.S.A.

Brittany Swanson   April 24, 2016   Comments Off on Kansas – Days 1-2: Exploring Small Town U.S.A.

I got a late start driving to Kansas. The first night I stayed with a friend from college’s family in his hometown of McPherson, KS. We were supposed to have dinner together but I was running late, and I had to stop for gas. I have an app on my phone, GasBuddy, that tells me where to find cheap gas near me. I used the app and it took me slightly out of the way, which made me extra late.

When I got to the gas station and swiped my card and tried to pump my gas and nothing happened. I tried swiping again. Nothing. I tried swiping a different card. Still nothing. I got super frustrated and then I heard a voice on the intercom say, “pump six, you’ll have to come to the counter.”

Lovely. So I went up to the counter and waited in line. When it was finally my turn the lady said, “How much?” I replied, “I don’t know, I need to fill up.” “Ok, well you’ll have to leave your id here.”

Seriously?! But, wait, it gets worse…

So I gave her my id, and went back to the pump. I swiped the original card again and tried to pump and voilà this time it worked! The card charged me when I swiped it, but I still had to go to the lady to get my id back. I waited there for a few minutes. Then I got incredibly impatient because I was already pretty late and this was just making it worse.

Since when do I have to wait for an attendant to swipe my card at the pump and pump my own gas?! Seriously. That was nothing but inconvenient. I did everything myself, but I had to wait on someone else for no foreseeable reason. What. The. Heck!

Eventually I got my id back and got back in the car and back on the road, but what should have been a five minute stop for gas took nearly fifteen. Ahh. So late.

I finally made it to Robb’s parents’ house and we had homemade pizza for dinner and strawberries with a chocolate sauce and cookies for dessert. Yum! I played with their new puppy, Zoie, and she got so excited to make a new friend she peed. This happened at least three times while I was there. Oops!

Robb’s family took me on a tour of McPherson and showed me all the places he used to hang out. It was ridiculously fun. We got back home and played with the puppy some more. At some point Robb’s mom, Cindy, whipped out an atlas so we could look at where I’d be driving the next day and Zoie, of course, decided the atlas must be eaten. The ordeal resulted in this comical picture of me trying to rescue the atlas from Zoie:

IMG_0817The following day I slept in and then went wandering around downtown McPherson. I stopped in at McPherson Travel Center, the travel agency John and Cindy own, and said goodbye and then Cindy and I walked over to Clayworks so I could say goodbye to Robb’s brother Will. On my drive to Lawrence I stopped at the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge and saw some buffalo:

Buffalo at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Canton, KS.

Buffalo at Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, Canton, KS.

While in the Wildlife Refuge I saw a wildfire. I’d never seen the actual flames of a wildfire before, just the smoke from a distance. It was pretty exhilarating. It might have been a controlled fire, I have no idea, but it was still really cool and terrifying at the same time.

When I got to Lawrence I drove around but didn’t find anything that struck me or made me want to get out and explore so I found a park and hung out there for a bit. The park was Burcham Park which happened to be where the Kansas University boathouse is. This ended up being pretty cool because I got to see the crew teams out on the river practicing.

The KU Crew team practicing at Burcham Park, Lawrence, KS.

The KU Crew team practicing at Burcham Park, Lawrence, KS.

While I was at the park I realized I hadn’t heard from my host all day and started to freak out that I wasn’t going to hear from him at all. I started making other arrangements, just in case, but then I finally got ahold of him. He gave me his address and said the backdoor was open and to let myself in. I waited about an hour or so before heading over there figuring he’d be home by then, but he wasn’t. That was the second time I had to let myself in to someone else’s house on this trip. I find letting myself in creepy. I’m always slightly concerned I’ll be in the wrong house. Can you imagine how awkward that’d be?! Fortunately, when I went inside I saw some mail on the table for my host, so I knew I was in the right place. I heated up my dinner and started working on some things on my computer until he made it home. Then we chatted for a bit and hung out until it was time for bed.