I am going to give it to you straight, people: Kansas is highly overrated.
Don't try to argue with me or persuade me to think otherwise. You will not win. Do you know why? Because there is no more boring stretch of road in the entire U.S. of A. than that of I-70. It's like having a nightmare on a treadmill: you can't escape it and all you see are the same scenes over and over and over again. And to make it worse, you are already awake.
Leaving Denver, all you have to do is point your car east and you'll see what I'm talking about. I could have sworn I saw the same cow, the same hill, the same windmill and the same exact acre of wheat the previous mile. There is absolutely nothing on that stretch of road except for a turn-off to the world's largest prairie dog. How do you do it, Kansas-ites? Kansians? Kansans? How do you live like that? You are practically savages.
There is only one glimmer of hope in that vast wasteland of middle America (I know, it's the same wasteland that grows my wheat and raises my beef, but whatever). And this glimmer is called Colby, Kansas. It is a mere 45 miles past the state line and it boasts not only in having more than one gas station to choose from but it actually has...
wait for it...
wait for it...
I. KID. YOU. NOT.
Do you know how the mere thought of a Starbucks in the middle of nowhere can boost the moral of a car full of people? Do you know how important it is that this store is strategically located between "I think I have seen that tractor before" to "Let's turn around and head home?"
It is crucial, people! Without it, my Oklahoma family would never see their Colorado cousins. And that, my friends, would be a crying shame. A CRYING SHAME.
And of course, once we hit the lovely metropolis of Wakeeney and begin heading south, everything starts to look a little more beautiful. The hills are greener, the cows are fatter, the wheat is taller and my butt isn't nearly as flat as it used to be, having sat in the car for the last five hours. Heading south means you are heading toward the greatest state on the planet. Even a detour through Dodge City doesn't seem that bad because you know the Oklahoma line is only miles away.
And do you know what happened the minute we crossed the line, other than belting out the "Oklahoma" song? A farmer, in a big, old pick-up truck, waved at me.
That's right, he waved. As in he was glad to see me. As in he was saying, "Welcome to my state. Sure we have tornadoes. And sure we have rattlesnakes. But don't you worry. We have Sooner football, Braums and if that isn't enough, we aren't Kansas. Just sit back, relax and enjoy. This is God's Country."
Amen and amen.
I believe I will do just that.