Death Race Kansas (Part 1)

18 Aug

As the great Led Zeppelin once wrote, “There are two paths you can go down, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” So instead of taking the two interstates from Nebraska to New Mexico, I took the smaller highways to find the more direct 13-hour path. This turned my leapfrogging into Death Race 2020.

Gee, Marcus – exaggerate much? Well, if you’re reading this… yeah. It got you to keep reading, didn’t it? 🙂 Actually, I rather enjoyed taking the smaller highways–often two lane–between Tucumcari, New Mexico (“It’s a long way to Tucumcari, it’s a long way to go….”) and Beatrice, Nebraska (pronounced “Be-ah-tris”) I discovered that interstate driving was usually pretty dull and involved a whole lot of passing trucks, waiting for some guy who had the audacity to drive two miles an hour slower than you to pass the guy you’re trying to pass, and coming up on another person to pass again. With highways, there was a lot more to see, a lot more cities (that shows you more), and as I learned, a lot more dangerous to pass on the crowded two-lane highways.

Somehow when you drive home instead of flying home, you acquire a lot more stuff. Take this, for example, Mom’s toy chest. Or at least, we think it’s Mom’s Toy Chest, and it’s not even my mom’s toy chest, it’s my wife’s. And of course, no toys. It might also have been Grandpa Miller’s WWI army chest, but as far as I know, he never served. Uncle Walt would have been Vietnam and they certainly didn’t have something like this.

The point of my rambling? Four years ago we stopped by the Miller farm in Gretna and somehow Uncle Walt or my wife (memory fades) insisted we take this old thing and shoved it into our car. Of course, it was a rental, since we were flying, so we dropped it off at my dad’s place until we stopped there again. Well, guess what? We stopped there again and Dad got tired of having it fill up his shed when it was already filled with other wood products. So we picked it up. Oh, and we got a big screen TV (from a friend who didn’t need it), a bunch of microwave popcorn (from a great-aunt who didn’t need it), and a book and a mug (because I wanted it).

We left at 5:20 am from my dad’s place in Nebraska and proceeded to pour my sleepy son into car where he slept until we reached Concordia, Kansas. When there’s no interstate, often US highways make up the slack for busy roads by creating four-lane divided highways, so we enjoyed a smooth ride from Hays, NE to Salina, KS (which I always want to add an additional S to the end). Then had to navigate another hour of interstate before turning off towards Great Bend, KS.

This is getting too long, so we’ll continue the obstacles of getting past Great Bend later. Do you prefer the highways or interstates? Let me know in the comments below!

One Response to “Death Race Kansas (Part 1)”

  1. Jordan Hoggard August 18, 2020 at 5:09 pm #

    Depends on the car and what I’m feeling. I remember deciding on a trip from Denver to North Texas, instead of taking the boring I70 take-a-nap-it’s-so straight through Kansas and then dropping down through Oklahoma In a straight shot to N TX, I decided to do the FM roads. I laugh. I cut 250 miles off the trip… and added almost 10 hours. I remember calling my parent, who I was going to visit after about 125 miles and committed to the route… too long to head back and start over. Calling them from… remember these? A pay phone, as my clunky Qualcomm Brock was getting no service. “Hey you two. Head on to bed. I took the FM roads to cut off mileage and experience serendipity along the way, though it’s loaded me up with about 10 more hours of serendipity than I planned. All good. All safe. I’ll roll in sometime in the morning.”

    Then, of course there was the experience I mentioned in one of your other posts about Car Henge. That was an all-interstate gig to go from Denver to The Dakota Badlands, and I had an Audi TTS at the time. The interstate up and down the gears and flying was the mood on that trip.

    Again, I like both depending on my trip mood, and often play a back and forth game between the two to fill up the experience. I see no reason to Point A to Point B it typically. On longer trips I’m typically not headed to a meeting at a set time, I’m on vacation, on a trip to see and experience stuff.

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