Kansas Road Trips & more! Top Cities & towns

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Ready to take on Kansas road trips & more? Or are you just passing through Kansas? Don’t be a “flyover snob!” You know that every state has attractions worth seeing, right? Whether big city life in Kansas City or “large city” attractions in Wichita. Or haunted buildings in Atchison? Or Kansas mining history in Southeastern Kansas? And/or college campus-driven lifestyles in Manhattan or Lawrence? Or the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Cawker City!!?? Or the impressive rock formations near Scott City!

Road tripping - Kansas Road Trips & More
Kansas Road trips

Let’s get into Kansas Road Trips & More.

This post is currently a work in progress, as not all posts to be referenced have been published yet. I wanted to provide readers with a tool to view and read about road trips in Kansas as I complete them. I’ll update this with links and the relevant sections referencing new posts, and I hope to add more posts later on subsequent visits to Kansas.

Let’s recap so you will find links to all The Driveby Tourist road trips in the Great State of Kansas! Remember, while Kansas is a “low visit” state, that doesn’t give you “permission” to skip it!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜ Looking at you, North Dakota and Nebraska as you are in the same category. (They both have slogans based on their “last on the list” status. Nebraska uses “Nebraska, It’s not for everybody!” and North Dakota uses “Best for Last!” The Visitor Center in Fargo has free t-shirts for those making it their 50th state and shirts that say “A Lot Can Happen in the Middle of Nowhere!”)

  Did you know that blogs are typically reader supported? So, buy me a hot chocolate! Or not!.

Here’s more about visiting all 50. Some of my research shows that the last three states visited by “50 Staters” are Alaska, Hawaii, and North Dakota! (Not for me; I grew up in northwestern Minnesota, so North Dakota was #2!)

Additionally, here’s a link to Visit Kansas (their website, not mine!) ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‚

Want to include Kansas Road Trips while on a quest to visit all 50 states?

Again, Kansas joins Alaska and other midwestern states among the “least visited” states. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it! For example, there is a Kansas City, KS, and a Kansas City, MO. More of the population lives in Missouri, and much of what Kansas City is known for is also in Missouri. But you still don’t have “permission” to skip it!๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜

Kansas City Barbeque places abound in both states. Kansas City, Kansas, is known for fountains and murals. They also exist on the other side of the border. So, follow along and stop here in Kansas when you cross the country or visit for business or pleasure.

Let’s go to the links and the summaries!

  Want to see a shop for my road trip photos? You can have them printed as wall art or puzzles. They also work on coffee mugs, t-shirts and more! So, take a look. Maybe you'll see something you will like!

Crawford County & Kansas Road Trips & More

Big Brutus and Kansas Mining history - part of Kansas Road Trips & More
Big Brutus is really, really BIG!!!!

Here’s the link to the post about Crawford County in southeast Kansas. The county seat is Pittsburg, KS. (That’s without the “H”!) With Pittsburg as a base, you’ll see much of the mining history and the evolution to today’s world here. (Read more about “Drop the H” in the link.)

Places to eat

Bob's Grill in Pittsburg for breakfast - Kansas Road Trips & More
Bob’s Grill for Breakfast

Ready for places to eat?

This post will be “out there” soon and linked from here, as I want to shine a bright light on all the fantastic eating places in and around Pittsburg, KS, that we visited on the trip!

We’ll cover the restaurant scene, including a brew pub.

(The link for this post will be published soon.)

Big Brutus & Mining History

The post of specifics about Big Brutus includes an inset into the rightmost picture showing the part in front of the tracks for Big Brutus, so you know I’m actually in the picture! By the way, there are hiking trails through these old mining areas. The recovered mining areas include lakes made from the leftover surface mines.

The link is pending for this one.

Route 66 connections in Kansas

Route 66 Kansas section visit! Part of Kansas Road Trips & More
More about Kansas Route 66 in the linked post.

Some fantastic images about Galena, Kansas, and Route 66 are in the (upcoming) link. We enjoyed visiting and learning more about Route 66 while stopping here. The upcoming link includes a bit about the Gearhead Curio shop. The owner is a very enthusiastic promoter of Galena and Route 66!

Another link for this one is coming soon as well.

Kansas City Kansas

Eisenhower display in Kansas City, KS.

You can visit many places on the Kansas side. I believe we’ll all “forgive” you if you spend some time in KCMO!

The image is from an outdoor mall called “Legends Outlet Mall.” While there are many other things (of course) to see, I thought I’d add the statue of Dwight D. Eisenhower fishing.

Kansas decides to honor him here for his favorite pastime. There are so many other places that celebrate his many accomplishments, both as an Army General and US President!

Here’s the link to the post about Kansas City, KS. Although the post has links to the three additional posts below, links to them are included here for your ease of viewing whatever appeals to you.

Kansas City KS, murals on Kansas road trips & more

Murals

Additionally, here’s an example of the murals found in Kansas City. Follow the link here.

The linked post includes seven images of murals. When you make it to Kansas City, Kansas, take the time to visit these in person, as well as others.

Although I’ve passed through several times and spent an overnight a few times, my trip here in 2023 for a travel blogger conference was the first time I spent more than that.

Wyandotte National Burying Ground along Kansas Road Trips & More

view in Wyandotte National Burying Ground
Wyandotte National Burying Ground.

Kansas City hosts a cemetery with an interesting story. After years of developers seeking to relocate it for the use of valuable real estate, the Wyandotte Nation finally secured the cemetery for posterity.

It’s now a protected national site. Here’s the link to read “the rest of the story!” And it’s an intriguing story!

Side Trip – Atchison for the “Hauntings” & Leavenworth for the prisons!

Skeleton waving from haunted house.
Here’s another supposedly haunted house in Atchison

Want to visit a haunted house? Or a bunch of them!?!

Of course, any side trip from KCK to Atchison must include the supposedly haunted places in this most haunted town in Kansas!

Here’s the link to an Atchison/Leavenworth post.

Wichita – The Wild West Begins as a section of Kansas Road Trips & More.

Several of us from the Midwest Travel Network attended a workshop in Wichita. In addition to 15 hours of classroom education, we visited many destinations as guests of #visitwichita. While western Kansas remains quite dry, we did have some rain one day while visiting. Yes, the other days were sunny! #mtnwichita #mwtravel

Blog posts about Wichita are on my schedule.

Dodge City & Gunsmoke!

Please excuse the image condition! Due to travel delays, including late leaving Wichita and construction delays on the highway, I arrived late in Dodge City. While I knew I wouldn’t be able to spend quality time, I hoped to take some better pictures. The two on the right are from the outside. They were taken while I hung over a fence above the old, historic main street in Old Town Dodge City! I stopped here as another point on my Kansas Road Trips & More quest.

If you imagine it, you can see the old-time gunfighters milling around, itching for a gunfight! Fortunately, Wyatt Earp or Marshall Dillon will handle it! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ™Œ

Due to my schedule, I don’t have enough images for a post. I plan to go back another time. (My sister-in-law and her husband live in Kansas, so I likely will be back.)

By the way, Kansas tourism created a Gunsmoke Trail with stops in Abilene, Dodge City, Hays, and Wichita. About 20 other towns are named in the TV series, and some may have a stop on the trail at some future time. Here’s a link to more information about how to follow the Gunsmoke Trail. It’s a self-guided tour.

Scott City as part of Kansas Road Trips & More & a State Park

Two attractions north of Scott City on US-83 to stop and see. However, it’s only about 20 miles south of I-70. On the left, you’ll see badlands-type terrain called Little Jerusalem State Park. It’s about 300 acres carved out of agricultural land eons ago. On the right, you’ll see rocks rising from the plains around them. They’re called “Monument Rocks.”

More details and pictures for these stops are planned in the future.

US-83 – The Road to Nowhere!

US-83 starts at the Canadian border in North Dakota and runs to near Brownsville on the Mexican border in Texas. It’s called the Road to Nowhere because it doesn’t come close to any well-known tourist attractions. Until it reaches Abilene, TX, the largest city is Bismarck, ND. The largest city in Texas on US-83 is Laredo, with about 250,000 population.

In Kansas, the highway runs through Oakley and Scott City and enters Oklahoma just south of Liberal, KS. (The northernmost significant population is in Oberlin near McCook, Nebraska.) In Kansas, as in other states, the land is mainly agricultural. With the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, US-83 became a major truck route, shipping goods to all the small towns and cities on US-83 and both into and out of Canada and Mexico. Be careful of the 18-wheelers on this road!

By the way, as part of Kansas Road Trips & More, I’m looking for material on US-83. If you have material and want it published, please get in touch with me. I’ll include your information and give you credit for it!

Here’s a link for more about US-83, a subset of a post about visiting all 50 states.

Western Kansas to back east on I-70 (and sightseeing detours!)

My last two days on this trip involved driving from Scott City to Salina, KS, and then home with a stop in Abilene. While I mostly drove on I-70, I did go off-interstate to see several attractions north of the highway. Either quirky attractions or just plain “I was there” attractions. Here’s an accounting of them:

WLCoWSVoWLT!

That’s “The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things!” It’s in Lucas, KS. It’s a bit off I-70 but close enough to make the trip. The museum owner visits these large objects and then creates the miniature image. She also maintains a mobile version of this land-based museum. She’s an artist, educator, and one of Americaโ€™s foremost experts and speakers on the Worldโ€™s Largest Things. (Yes, that’s a “thing to do!”)

S. P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden

By the way, S. P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden also found a home in Lucas. About 100 years ago, he presented his faith with this display. All of the displays are made of concrete. According to the person at the desk, they contain over 100 yards of concrete! Again, I’ll consider including more information here in the future. Let me know if you want me to make it or anything in this post a priority!

World’s Largest Ball of Twine

This one’s in Cawker City, KS.

If you show up here, and you can attract the attention of the person who, more or less, runs the attraction, you can add some of your twine to the ever-expanding ball! There’s a giant ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota that previously held the record before this one outgrew it! Now that one calls itself “The Largest Ball of Twine Rolled by one Person.” While the one in Minnesota obviously doesn’t grow, this one continues to grow as visitors add twine.

Geographic Center of the Contiguous 48 states

Near Lebanon, Kansas lies the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states. The first picture shows the visitor center for the area. It’s in a former service station, and the pumps display a price from the long-forgotten past! The second picture marks the actual geographic center. It’s about 3 miles from the town of Lebanon. There are a couple of other markers on the site, but don’t plan to visit unless it’s a bucket list item or you are a travel blogger who wants to say she or he’s (or they) been there! Or something to “write home” about it! (Or, in today’s world, something to post on social media so robbers know you are out of town and they can break into your house!!)

Abilene and Eisenhower Presidential Center

In Abilene, visit the Eisenhower center while on your Kansas Road Trips & More

The Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library will be a post. This is always a great museum! That one will wait for a while. There are more posts scheduled before this one. Here’s a post about the Eisenhower Museum by a fellow blogger, Roadrunner Journeys.

World's Largest belt buckle to see on your Kansas Road Trips & More

And the World’s Largest Belt Buckle (So much excitement!!) also lies near a park and the Eisenhower Museumโ€”maybe more detail here soon?

There’s a scaffolding set up in the rear to allow climbing and having your picture taken overlooking the buckle!

Again, more to visit in Abilene!

Conclusions about Kansas Road Trips & More

There’s much more to see in Kansas as well. The I-70 Association promotes tourism for 17 communities along I-70, from Kansas City, KS, in the east to Goodland in the west. Initially founded in 1989 with 12 communities participating, the association grew and continued to raise awareness about the communities.

The community’s goals include increasing tourism and visitors to the communities and generally increasing economic benefits.

The communities are Kansas City, Shawnee, Bonner Springs, Leavenworth, Lawrence, Lecompton, Topeka, Manhattan, Junction City, Abilene, Salina, Russell, Hays, WaKeeney, Oakley, Colby, and Goodland.

Next time you drive across on I-70, all of these communities welcome your visit, and all have visitor centers near I-70 for more information. And you likely want a break as it’s over 400 miles across Kansas! While the interstate system isn’t the most exciting, you must get off for Kansas Road Trips & More to see.

Here’s the link to the organization’s website I-70 association. #Ipulledoverforthisks #visitkansas
And here’s another link!

Again, please remember this post is a work in progress, with more information being added as more visits occur. If you have anything you want publicized about Kansas, please let me know!

Classic Rock Recollection

“Dust in the Wind” by Kansas

I close my eyes
Only for a moment, and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity

Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

Written by: Kerry Livgren

#thedrivebytourist #crawfordcounty #pittsburgks #visitwichita #visitabilene #visitkansas @explorecrawfordcounty #Ipulledoverforthisks