Road Trips : US Tour 1997 : Wyoming/Devner/Kansas

Friday 5 September 1997

The drive to Denver was brutal: 550 miles in one day. Wyoming is one long state. It didn't help matters, though, that I was operating on not quite enough sleep. I have to say Wyoming is a much more scenic drive than Nevada. Of course, almost anything would beat Nevada.



At 80MPH -- with stops (or at least slowdowns) in Rock Springs, Rawlins, Laramie, and Cheyenne -- Wyoming is a much less stressful means of crossing the Rockies, although not as spectacularly beautiful as western Colorado. But I was seeking speed on this leg of the trip, since today and tomorrow are the two longest hauls of the entire tour.

Denver seems a little like a home away from home, since I spent so much time here on the last cross-country trek (in 1992). But frankly, I'm too damned tired to look around much, so I'll mostly be sleeping tonight in preparation for tomorrow's 600-mile jaunt to Kansas City.

Fortunately, there's a Wienerschnitzel across the street.

Saturday 6 September 1997


As promised, I slept through Denver and saw almost none of it save for the inside of a car wash and a drive down the Colfax Avenue strip (old US 40) on the way out of town. There was also breakfast and a thrift store moment, as well as my first Waffle House sighting of the trip, albeit too late for breakfast. On the down side, Denver provided the first functional spotting of a Hardee's as well, although I did run across one in Salt Lake which had closed, no doubt to the delight of anyone who ever ate there.

One hundred sixty miles of Colorado farmland proved none too exciting. And then came Kansas...



It's actually not such an awful drive, I guess. It's just so damned LONG. Over 400 miles of minimal variation in scenery and many, many small towns. I was very excited when the first Stuckey's appeared 35 miles in, right as I crossed into the Central Time Zone. A complete chicken-fried steak dinner for only $2.99 (and an ashtray on the table) almost made up for the fact that there were no extra large Stuckey's T-shirts to be had.

Ever onward, yer humble host and the little car that could trudged forth into the heartland, through Colby and Hays and Salina and Russell, and eventually through the strip mall formerly known as Topeka, at speeds which rarely fell below 75, and with the air conditioner set on sub-arctic.



Finally, at 10:30, I arrived in the Missouri side of Kansas City and found my way to Country Club Plaza, where Bernie, my host for this part of the tour, manages an espresso bar (which is mercifully NOT a Starbuck's). I sense good things about this trip to KC; tonight's quick drive into the city more or less erased my five-year-old memory of Kansas City being completely creepy. Who knows what a little more time might do....