The History of Kansas

One of my peers from Smith is from Kansas. It’s one of those things you find out about her within minutes of meeting her for the first time. Well, four years later, I finally got to visit her hometown (and she wasn’t even there!).

I arranged for our first homestay of the trip to be at her house in Lawrence, Kansas.

We arrived early in the afternoon after visiting the Missouri State Capitol that morning.

Greg and I each got the first shower of the trip before getting some good Mexican food for lunch. We relaxed for the first time since leaving and learned a lot at the same time. Sally’s parents have so much history in the small city and shared what seemed like all of it.

We listened to the stories of the fires and killings of abolition-era Lawrence, as well as their family history. It was refreshing to hear people with so much knowledge and pride of their community. We were happy to sit back and listen.

In the afternoon, we got the full driving tour of the greater Lawrence metropolitan area. We saw the KU campus, the downtown area, the local schools, and the local shopping hubs.

The whole family (and us) went for a nice dinner downtown and did a short walk down the well foot-trafficked area. Though it was humid, we were happy to feel clean for the first time in a while.

It was so nice to have a bed to sleep on after relaxing on the front porch in the evening. I was so tired that I fell asleep while watching the episode of Drag Race that I missed (still bitter Miz Cracker went home).

We had a solid sleep on Sally’s bed (hey girl) and woke up to get ready to go the next morning. We took our time with breakfast and packing before we made our way to the next destination: Topeka.

We had heard great things about the Capitol in Topeka, so we were eager for our visit. We were greeted at security by a bitter, old man who kept yelling “put the bag on the belt.” I wasn’t even sure he was talking to me, considering I didn’t have a bag, but he continued to yell at me. Soon, he realized the strap on my shoulder was a camera and that both Greg and I only had loose items. Luckily, that mean man was reprimanded for his actions right after we passed through security.

Everyone else we encountered in the Capitol was the absolute sweetest. We made it just in time for the dome tour that we’d heard so much about.

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We trekked up to the lowest (but still very high) level of the dome. The guide was very informative about the recent renovation and showed up the old and the new components. We went up staircase after staircase until the final floating one, going from the edge of the dome up to the center and spiraling up to the sky. Suddenly, we were on an outdoor viewing deck and about a million degrees cooler.

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The views of Topeka were beautiful, even if I’m not sure what I was looking at.

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I was giving a quick speech.

We did a self-guided tour of the rest of the building, then headed out of town.

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Beautiful mural celebrating Brown v. Board of Education

The rest of our time in Kansas was spent driving through the grasslands of the Western part of the state. The drive to Colorado seemed endless, but we had the good memories of the East to remember fondly.

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Kansas was a State I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. I’m glad I finally got to make the trip!

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