By my post title I don't mean to imply that the Sunflower State ranks above all others. But our interstate travels have reminded us that there are remarkable, completely original things here, and Rex and I are resolved to take advantage of them in the coming months. Extended travel works well for us because we like to drink life in big gulps, but we also know that it is healthy to take short, more frequent breaks from everyday life. I also am convinced that curiosity about and connection to the places we live make for richer people and communities. That's why I love the Kansas Sampler Foundation and its work.
Ironically, as we took in the amazing scenery in Utah, several people we met from around the country reminded us of a few things that are special about Kansas:
- A young man behind the desk at a Moab RV park sung the praises of US Highway 36. Not exclusively a Kansas phenomenon, its long stretch through the state does cover beautiful terrain and important U.S. history with almost no traffic.
- Fellow birders Tom and Peggy from the Louisville, KY, metro area spoke fondly of their stops at Cheyenne Bottoms and Cimarron National Grassland. Both are important bird habitats that offer unparalleled viewing opportunities--the former for migratory species and the latter for prairie chickens and others that require large stretches of healthy grassland.
- A young architect and park service employee told us of her time consulting at the William Allen White House in Emporia, a site administered by the Kansas Historical Society. Here, the KHS conveys important national history as well as preserving the famous publisher's home.