Day 5: Farmland and Prairies and Dust, Oh My!

Started the day with a parting gift from the campground staff.  They had found this snake skin near the pond and offered it to the kids.

We left Lawrence, KS for a long day of driving toward Denver, CO.  We stopped in Topeka for lunch at HuHot Mongolian Grill, which was great.  And, like Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends liked to say, it was in fact very hot in Topeka.

Since we knew it was going to be a really long drive through west Kansas, we decided to take the back roads: Highway 24 that runs parallel to interstate 70.  Early on we saw signs for the "road to Oz" and then for Oz Winery.  Decided to check that out, since I had remembered to bring the wine glasses and all.

 We bought a red wine called Oil Can and a cabernet called O.E.O.

 They had kid-friendly treats, too!  :)

Unfortunately the Oz Museum was closed for the day.  So was Totos Tacos restaurant.

We continued along Highway 24:  long stretches of prairie, farm land, and lots of big clouds of dust broken up by very small towns.  We eventually stopped in Cawker City, home of the World's Largest Ball of Twine.  Yes, that is really a thing.  And, yes, we really embraced our inner-Griswold and went to see it.

 Signing the register

 These are similar to most of the buildings we saw in the tiny towns with only a few small shops, schools, lots of empty buildings, a diner, sometimes a Pizza Hut, and various repair businesses.  

 Oh, and lots of unmanned gas stations with no store attached.  
Is that a small, rural town thing?  A Kansas thing?

More bug guts than I've ever seen in my life.  

We actually ended up stopping at a truck wash in the middle of the night because our windshields were so covered that we couldn't see well anymore, and our window cleaner & wipers couldn't clear them!

The ground later in the night looked so light in the reflection of the moon that it almost looked snow covered.  Anxious to see what it looks like in the day.  We stopped for the night to dry camp about an hour east of the Colorado border.

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