Plain Kansas: Rosanna On The Road – Part I

Plain Kansas: Rosanna On The Road - Part I, 9.5 out of 10 based on 14 ratings
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By Rosanna Bauman

In my Dad’s family it is traditional to keep a travelogue or a diary of our experiences on long trips. These diaries are then shared with family members so they don’t feel so left behind. It’s a great way to share all of the intriguing and amusing aspects of a roadtrip that Is so hard to convey otherwise. Last week I took a rare summer trip to Washington state to attend a cousin’s wedding. I was gone for nine and a half days, plenty long for the summer farm schedule. 

Sunday morning I left the house at 8 a.m. and drove the two and a half hours over to Knob Noster, Mo. I was to meet one of my travel companions there after their church service. Well, we stayed for the noon meal, and before we knew it, it was 4:00 p.m. when Millie and I left Knob Noster. We had planned to leave an hour earlier, but that sure didn’t happen. An hour later I finally got through the Kansas City traffic. I really get nervous driving in the city with all those lanes and risk-taking drivers. We are taking 1-70 west which passes right over the Kansas (or Kaw) River. There’s a lot of beautiful scenery ahead of me, but I’m sure none can beat the sight of the afternoon sun on the Kansas River. I knew that Millie was traveling only one way with us, as she was spending several weeks with her sister in Washington and her brother in Montana. But then I found out that Millie, who is nineteen, .was going to be assisting her brother with his chicken dressing. I think that’s a pretty dedicated sibling to travel nearly 2,000 miles to help dress chickens!

 6:30 pm We have driven 324 miles and have 545 miles to Idaho Springs. As we neared the turnpike pay booth I had a sudden and terrible memory blank: did I bring my wallet? My mother knew me enough that she had asked me before I left if I had put any cash in my billfold. I assured her that I did, but now I couldn’t find it in my backpack- I was starting to worry that I had left it sitting on my dresser at home. I knew my friends would look out for me, but I also realized I’d be a long time living down the story of the time Rosanna went on a trip without her billfold…

We fueled up in Hays, Ks and made use of the chance to stretch our legs. The mileage meter showed we had made 47 mpg. Did I mention we are driving my cousin Maralee’s Prius? Just as Millie was about to pay for the tank of gas, I discovered my billfold patiently waiting in a side pocket of my backpack, where I had placed it for “convenience”. Whew! Relief! We occupy ourselves by recording the different states we see license plates from. Our trip total came to 37 states and three Canadian provinces. We are seeing a lot of campers with Colorado tags headed west. Back to Colorado, do you ‘spect they were camping in Kansas?

3:15 a.m. MST Arriving in Idaho Springs to pick up my cousin at their cabin. It’s dark, cold, raining, and it’s been 14 years since I’ve been on this road… Four trips up and down the mountain and an hour later, we finally find the cabin and Maralee (Editor’s Note: They are driving her Prius, reuniting her with her car after she left it in Kansas when she was visiting family…kind of convoluted and not relevant to the column!). After fueling up, we are back on the road at 4:45am. Maralee is driving, and I’m stressed from the cabin search, so I get about an hour of sleep until the sunlight in Glenwood Canyon wakes me. Who can sleep when there’s such a view as this!

7:16 a.m. We cross the Utah state line. Time to take another nap, I think. The desert scenery is hardly worth staying awake for.  No offense to the Utah residents, though. I admire folks who can happily exist in such surroundings! After a spell, Ifeel like napping is wasting daylight, so I pull out my “homework.” I need answers for my research article on the effectiveness of several poultry stunning and slaughter techniques. Maralee is a good resource for the medical reasons as she works as an EMT and just got her bachelor’s degree. Like most medical conversations, it ran a bit on the gory side, but the mental stimulation of a complex conversation kept us awake.

 9;OOam. We stop for gas in Price, Utah. We were anxious to get out of the car too, as it had been over four hours since we had stopped. Fresh air! We proceed with our drive through the Price Canyon which is the most beautiful spot in Utah that I have seen yet. There are dramatic red – orange canyon walls with a refreshing river running at their base.

1:36 p.m.  We are on Hwy 84 in Idaho, 155 miles from Boise, and I am enjoying the green additions to the scenery. Apparently, I am more vocal than I realized about my lack of enthusiasm for the desert scenery, because my travel companions are starting to preface and end their scenery comments with Utah references.

“Wow, look at that nice field of sugar beetsl We didn’t see that much greenery in Utah!”

“You know, I don’t remember seeing as many neat and attractive farm s in Utah as there are in Idaho…”

4:04 PST We have reached the beautiful Snake Valley floor. If my memory is correct, the Farewell Bend State Park here is where the wagon trains parted ways- some head by water into Oregon City and the others took the slower but safer overland route.  (I really wish we had time to stop at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center here as the history buff in me is really fascinated with the westward immigrants). A van passes us with a boat seat and paddles strapped firmly on its roof. We wondered where the rest of the boat went- do you suppose it blew off? We pass through the Blue Mountains which are the best looking mountains I’ve seen since the eastern Rockies! Nice large mountains covered with evergreen trees, instead of scrub brush. (Like the mountains in Utah)

We  cross over the mighty Columbia River into Pasco, Washington at 7:30p.m! I am smitten- I didn’t know the river was this bigl Pasco sits at the convergence of the Columbia and Snake rivers, both of which are mighty rivers in their own right. All the irrigation has truly made this desert bloom with orchards, produce fields, hayfields, and row crops This is the land of the Walla Walla sweet onions and the Rainier cherries.  I am surprised at the size of Pasco, however. Population 61,000( And it is a part of the tn-city conglomerate of Kennewick and Richiand so it looks like its a city of 240,000.)

PART II Next Week

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The Discussion

  1. Interesting travelogue. Look forward to the rest of your trip.

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  2. Lori N. says:

    I am very excited to read about Rosanna’s trip to Washington state. I live in the western (Puget Sound region) of Washington. I hope she has a fabulous time. We have been having a fantastic summer (no rain in weeks!). Sure love reading her column. She seems like such a strong independent spirit!

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  3. Kentuckylady717 says:

    Enjoyed this article, looking forward to hearing about the rest of her trip.

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  4. plainlycovered says:

    Hello I have really enjoyed this travel log my,I lived a year in the tri cities pasco being my best stay,But that was the 1976,any way did these young ladies drive straight taking turns or did they stay over a nit or so to sleep,or even stop to eat? blessings LG

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