The Pony Express Expressway

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Pony Express Wanted Ad

Most people zip 400 miles right through the heart of Kansas on Interstate 70 in six hours. We took the Pony Express Expressway, Route 36, and it took us as long as those ponies back in 1860. Three days.

Just as we picked up our camp gear at Prairie Dog State Park and set off for the next stop, a hundred miles away, Carli texted us and asked where on earth we were. Straight away we answered, Kansas. Her reply, Anything to do in Kansas? Yes, next stop, The World’s Largest Ball of Twine. She thought we were joking. Nope, in the tiny town of Cawker City we stopped to be amused by this roadside attraction.

Ever since the Griswald Family “road trip” Vacation, this is something I’ve always wanted to see to believe. Yep, sure enough, it’s a large ball of twine. This massive ball of sisal twine was wound in 1958 and donated to the city in 1961. Every July the town hosts a Ball of Twine parade and festival and add more twine to this mass. We won’t be coming back for that. No one here but the two of us and a guy from New York with a bumper sticker that read NO FARMS NO BEER  who offered to take our photo. I knew this guy was cool.

Then up the highway about twenty miles and off an old farming road led us to a dead end. This is the marker for the geographic center of the lower 48 states. We were standing in the middle of America! No tour buses, no billboards, no souvenir shops. Just the two of us and this cute little chapel with cows mooing all around as if singing the Sunday gospel service. Quite extraordinary.

But wait, there’s more! On our next fuel stop, we ventured through the little town of Goodland, Kansas, just 10 miles from the Colorado border to find this masterpiece. A four story sculpture of the famous Van Gogh sunflowers. Fitting for Kansas, The Sunflower State.

World's Largest Easel

World’s Largest Easel

For those of you traveling on the 75 mph interstate, you’ll miss all of this. BUT, if you like watching the passing corn, wheat, and sunflower fields from your rearview mirror during the planting season, this road is for you. If you want to see the Heart of Kansas take the Pony Express Route. You’ll get a kick at how the locals wave as you pass on by.

We’ve outpaced the Pony Express which lasted just 18 months. Next month we’ll have been on the road less traveled two years. Slow and steady she goes.

It took a relay of riders 10 days to get mail delivered 2000 miles from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. We could stick around for the summer festival, invest a couple hundred dollars on this beater, and enter the demolition derby, but we’re on our way to Colorado.

!It’s only an adventure when you’re adventurous!

About Woody

We are a couple who took the first step toward a life of traveling in May, 2015. Staying within the continental US, we amp'd the adventure-factor by traveling in a VW Vanagon, circa 1985. Our mission is to share irresistible and compelling stories conceived from this lifestyle of travel.

1 thought on “The Pony Express Expressway

  1. Audrey P Adams

    Westward Ho! You guys know how to do it right. Can’t wait to see you, but I know you will enjoy Utah and Nevada first. Love ya!

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