We overnighted in Kansas City in the Country Club Plaza area. My cousin Gary had mentioned that it was a nice place to walk around and there were lots of restaurants to choose from for dinner. Our drive the next day to Colorado was going to be a 7 hour one, so we wanted to enjoy a nice evening and have a nice dinner and a good night's sleep.
We got an early start - I think we were on the road by 7:30-ish. We missed most of the morning commute traffic since we were leaving the city instead of driving into it. Thinking ahead on a road trip helps, I think, to make the drive a bit easier. I had several options of where to stay, and the commute traffic and timing overall of our day factored into the decision.
Along the way, early in the morning, we started seeing some billboards along the highway for an Oz Museum, located in a place called Wamego, Kansas. It looked kind of cheesy, but hey, you just never know about these things. On a whim, we decided to make a detour and go check it out.
Wamego is actually a really nice little town. Population is less than 5,000, but the town is spread out some and is nearby to the larger city of Manhattan. It was established in 1866 and its primary industry is agriculture. They grow wheat, alfalfa, sweet corn and maize. A lot of the residents also commute to Topeka and Manhattan for other work.
It's biggest claim to fame since it was built in 2004, is the Oz Museum. And this is the place we came to see. The museum was the original brainchild of a student working on his master's degree based on the film The Wizard of Oz. He had been a collector of Oz memorabilia, and rented some space to exhibit his collection, along with his thesis presentation. The museum was born. Later, though, he took back his collection, but Wamego was able to work out a deal with a friar Cafiero to house his collection of over 24,000 items.
The museum is small but nicely done and in the back of the museum the film is playing on a continuous loop. You follow the yellow brick road inside on the way to Oz, and you can view short documentaries on the movie and interviews with the stars, etc. There are also a lot of Frank Baum's original books encased in displays and photographs, newspaper articles, etc. Here are some pictures from the museum of the cast characters.
The front of the museum from the sidewalk
The museum didn't open until 10:00 so we were greeted with this sign.
Oh no! Someone killed the wicked witch!
This was a beautiful quilt showing the entire journey that Dorothy took. Really fabulous!
Eek! The wicked witch!
Ahh! We survived the trip to Oz.
Onward towards Colorado. The miles and miles of Kansas highway flew by pretty quickly. We stopped off at a Cracker Barrel for lunch. I think it was the only one anywhere near where we were driving and we were running out of places to find one on the remainder of our trip. It was good. When you first walk in you think you are in a country store, but then the restaurant is tacked on behind the store. Food was good and filling. And we now could check that place off our list. Only one left now is Steak N Shake. That might be a problem......
I expected the Kansas plains to be flat and desolate but I was wrong. Lots of small rolling hills, green pastures and lots and lots of big windmills and rolled up hay bales laying in fields. Very pretty! Until, of course, the winds picked up. Oh my good gracious, what winds we had. Blowing in from the south, making driving a bit difficult. Now I know why I have callouses on the insides of my knuckles! By the time we crossed the state line into Colorado, I had had my genteel sufficiency of Kansas winds!
Adrienne found her rocker at the Cracker Barrel!
Once again, the Welcome sign to Kansas was right on a billboard on a busy highway with no opportunity to stop, so we had to find this at a rest stop.
Many many MANY windmills along the highway in Kansas.
We made it to Colorado!
Cute themed restaurant in Limon (pronounced Lye mun), where we overnighted. They name their menu items after famous movies.
Sunset in Limon. Goodnight!