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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Across the Wide Missouri

Left Junction City on another rainy day with a looming congested sky. Within minutes I was stunned by a rather rabid anti-Obama billboard. Wow, these people in Kansas are sure outspoken, but then looking at the history of this place there have always been very extreme people and views, many times violently expressed.

 Just a few miles down the road is an atomic cannon. I just wanted to know what such a weapon looks like. High on the hill above Fort Riley is this and other pieces of armament. Only three of these cannons were ever produced--they could annihilate a target over 20 miles distant without blowing up itself. Interestingly, this one has never been used--don't know if the other two ever were.

The Calvary Museum and the Custer House are both at Fort Riley, which is an operational post but I just wasn't into serious history this morning and opted to go to the Oz Museum in Wamego, Ks. We were in the Flint Hills region of Eastern Kansas now and yet again the terrain was totally different. The sky was as ominous as yesterday and the ceiling was incredibly low. It felt almost oppressive and close.

Wamego is really cute--actually it looks like so many of these Midwest towns but having decided to grab on to the Land of Oz for its focus it has successfully enlivened the town and maintained the beautiful buildings and kept the store fronts, for the most part occupied, though we did not get any Toto's Takoz!  In the gift shop there was a really cute tee shirt " I hate Oz. Took the Ruby slippers. Find your own way home. Toto "  Just made me laugh.

Apparently Judy Garland loved the dog, Terry , so much that she tried to buy him but his owner held on to him and he acted in several other movies. As in all museums there was just a great deal to absorb. It was interesting to see that L.Frank Baum was not a particularly successful man, who did many things in his life. But at some point, he and a friend and illustrator, William Wallace Denslow, Jr, wrote a children's book--The Wonderful World of Oz.  It flew off the shelves and Baum thought he could go on and write other things but demand for more about Oz sort of forced him to write other Oz books--40 altogether. Yet, it was not from these that his money accrued but rather an adaptation of the original book as a musical that was the Cats of its day. Ran on Broadway and on tour for over six years. Having gained some affluence he and his family took a tour to Egypt and he wrote a book for tourists to follow. He also wrote a series of Aunt Jane's stories as well as other books using other pen names.  He moved to California and started a film company thinking to make a film of the story. That was not a success but 20 years after his death the mega movie in Technicolor was made.  My Mom took us every year to Loew's downtown to see the Wizard of Oz until I came to really hate it. I have not watched it in years, though I could have at the museum. I would really have loved to get a copy of the video shown about his life.

I looked in the gift shop for a biography but the only ones were on Judy Garland. Although she was luminous in the part at 16 there were certainly mnany, many other prominent actors in the show--my fav being Ray Bolger--I just loved the Scarecrow but also loved Bolger in anything he did. Oh, if I only had a brain. And Billie Burke as Glinda!  She was one of the most beautiful actresses of the time--she and Spring Byington, who was not in this movie.  But I digress. I ordered two paperback bios of Baum from Amazon when I got into the room tonight, as well as the iris folding book that Gloria recommended. I just refuse to pay shipping and handling so always order at least $25. worth of books at a time--never a problem for me!  LOL

From the museum we went down the road to the winery and tasted a few of them and bought a couple of bottles and a wine glass. The young girl, Kim, who waited on us had a business card but not the young man. Not sure why but took picture of them both anyway since we had such fun while tasting.

Before leaving town we took the two blocks over to the Dutch Mill and a really adorable park with a little model midwest village and a railroad track that ran all around --probably in summer. But you'd never know it was there if you just drove through on the Main street. Such little jewels hide on back roads and back streets of this country.

 Before leaving town we made my annual stop at Sonic. Had an Oreo Blast and bacon cheeseburger. I usually have a chili dog but the cheeseburger called to me. I only stop once a trip but have to have a Sonic Blast at least that one time. LOL Bill got out of the car to eat and Anthony, our server, asked if he'd been thrown out. Then he came to the car to see if I was alright and if I needed anything else with a little grin on his face. I didn't know what he'd asked Bill until later. What a wise guy kid!  LOL

Passed through Westmoreland

Then we arrived in Atchison, Ks, the birthplace of Amelia Earhardt. We however were tired --as a matter of fact I dozed a little, which is really unusual for me, but I think the gray day was just too bland to keep me awake. LOL I WILL be happy to get out of this rain. It was behind us but it overtook us and now we are running East with it. Just keep going rain, we'll slow down and let you win.

At Atchison we crossed the wide Missouri on the old bridge that is obviously being replaced and may I say, there is no doubt that is a good idea--potholes, narrow, rusty and old though I do like the appearance of the old bridges.  We entered Missouri and crossed through the rich riverbottom fields before the roller coaster started up once more. I stopped taking pictures since the rain increased in intensity and the battery was running down. It is unfortunate that I didn't have the juice to photograph the main street of Plattsburgh. Every house looked like Marian's home in the movie, Music Man. Doll houses in mauve and blue and pink and yellow with all the lace edgings you can imagine. Even the McDonalds was classy and sedate. Money oozed out of every door!

We got onto I 35 and reached Cameron, Missouri and called it a day!

Check out http://www.jgdb.com/lyr44.htm

and http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Atchison+Topeka+Santa+Fe+Song&mid=FFAFAC838DAFDC02DADAFFAFAC838DAFDC02DADA&view=detail&FORM=VIRE7

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