Fields of grain
Trip Start May 11, 2012
22Trip End Jun 08, 2012
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The road eastward from Denver is flat with a capital F. And it boggles the mind that just a few miles west, the mountains rise to 15,000 feet, and again I was reminded of the pioneers and how they must have felt when they came over the horizon and saw, in front of them, the massive walls of gray rock standing as tall as the sky and as wide as the eye could see
First we drove through ranches…grass and hay fields with grazing cattle eating their way to market, unaware of what was to come. And later we found ourselves in farm country…miles and miles of cultivated fields, growing corn and oats and wheat and barley, with an occasional farmhouse sitting in the middle of a field. And I remembered hearing people say "my nearest neighbor is 3 miles away" and I saw what they meant. Each was the master of their universe, autonomous on the land on which they lived and worked.
The highway was our biggest challenge for the first 100 miles. This section of road east of Denver on I-70 is infamous for the deep grooves carved into the pavement…parallel lines pointing in the same direction as we drove. And the car swerved left and right and left and the tires sang a shrill song, and I read on the internet of this section of road, where accidents are plentiful and complaints abound. And when we left Colorado, we left the grooves behind.
As we drove along, we saw grain elevators rising up from the fields every mile or two. And we saw an occasional stand of trees, and John Deere tractors, and corn fields all of bright green, painted against the bright golden fields of grain
Just before we crossed the line into Kansas, we saw a house by the roadside. It was abandoned and falling to ruin…where someone once lived and worked the land that surrounded it. And further down the road we saw a large prison in Burlington, CO…turns out to be the Kit Carson Correctional Center. Kit Carson still lives today.
At 10:35 AM we crossed into Kansas. And the fields of grain continued on for the entire ride to Salina. The Bread Basket of the US, also called the Grain Belt. And if driving down this road is any indication of what is out there in the rest of Kansas, the name is aptly applied.
About 50 miles before we got to Salina, we saw a windmill farm, thousands of windmills that went on for 25 miles. When I first saw windmills in California, I thought wow, those are kind of cool. And when I saw them on the mountain ridges leaving the desert into Bakersfield, I thought, good place for them. But after today, I understand why people feel that they mar the landscape. As sleek and balletic as they appear, too much of a good thing may cross the line. I understand the complaints, now that I have seen them up close.
We arrived in Salina at 4 PM, central time. A nice meal at a local Italian restaurant and we settled in for a good night’s sleep.