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View Diary: Jerry Moran, shame of Kansas (148 comments)

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  •  I always found eastern Colorado more boring than (9+ / 0-)

    Kansas to drive across (and try flatlands of Texas), but I knew what lay beyond each of those Interstate exits in Kansas.  

    I can understand how people more familiar with more landmarks would find it a little ... unstimulating.  

    But that's the beauty of it, if you come to know it:  The wide open sky from horizon to horizon, like a fish-eye view if you can take it all in.  And it encourages you to get closer up - examine tree bark, get up close to an old abandoned home to see the chisel marks in the stone, because the general view of everything is wide open and free.

    I've come to appreciate various perspectives on different kinds of landscapes, probably because I started off with the minimalism of western Kansas.

    By the way, I-70 was built on a high point flat area between two long river valleys: the Smokey Hill River and the Saline River.  They join and become the Kaw or Kansas River near Salina. I-70 is on the high point of the Kaw River valley to the east for the most part, again looking flat.

    But, if you go a few miles north or south of the "everything is flat in Kansas" I-70 path, you'll find dramatically different scenery.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:22:16 PM PST

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    •  I live in Texas. Heh. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, crose, Nulwee

      Most of my life, and for the last forever in Dallas.  Talk about living on a flat open prairie, there's nothing to see here outside of the city.

      That's part of the reason why there's such excellent restaurants and clubs in Dallas.  There really isn't anything "outdoors" to do here.  My impression of Kansas was much the same, a lot of prairie.  Eastern Colorado the same.

      I think the MOST boring place I've driven across was Iowa.

      "Look at all this damn corn!"

      Four hours later....

      "Still with the damn corn!"

      *The administration has done virtually nothing designed to reward its partisans. - Kos 8/31/10*

      by Rick Aucoin on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:44:59 PM PST

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    •  Try criss-crossing it dozens (4+ / 0-)

      of times during storm-chasing season! I love Kansas. More history than I could ever soak up, and I'm from Wyoming. Tornadoes there tend to be wet, silhouetted against a dark sky. West Texas, eastern New Mexico and eastern Colorado can be kind of numbing because they have never healed from the days of the Dust Bowl. Their tornadoes are defined by their dirt content.  

      •  I saw so many tornadoes living in Kansas. (3+ / 0-)

        And almost got wrapped up in a few of them.  One passed roaring overhead a block away.  Frightening.

        None of it was from storm chasing -- just from being there!

        You frequently get the Wizard of Oz type view of tornadoes there.  Maybe the terrain and open views and cloud formation just "works" there.

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 02:43:10 PM PST

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    •  went to school in Lawrence in the '70s, and THE (5+ / 0-)

      most beautiful, dramatic skies I ever saw were in central and western Kansas. And the greenest green I ever saw was the spring wheat coming up. The Konza prairie and the Flint Hills are beautiful too.

      •  Yes, there are incredible sights, once your vision (4+ / 0-)

        becomes attuned to it.  I understand how people don't "get it" as they pass through from elsewhere, but once you do, it's amazing in several ways.

        Were you at KU or in the local school district?  KU is an amazing campus too. Limestone buildings with red tile roofs on a hill overlooking the city.

        High above the golden valley
        Glorius to view
        Stands our noble alma mater
        Hail to old KU.  

        Crimson and Blue come from Harvard and Yale. Some of the first Lawrence inhabitants were anti-slavery liberals from the northeast United States. Free Black people also lived there and were among the first killed by pro-slavery raiders from Missouri.

        Anyway.... that's off track...

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:06:57 PM PST

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        •  yep, KU grad. And the limestone buildings with (3+ / 0-)

          red tile roofs just glowed at sunset.

          Lawrence ("Berkeley of the Plains") has always been a bit different from the rest of the state... Don't know what KU/Lawrence is like now, but I'd guess it's more conservative than it was in the early-mid '70s!

        •  yes, Kansas and Lawrence have an interesting (3+ / 0-)

          history that you'd never guess from the overwhelmingly conservative (crazy) nature of the state now. There's a cemetery in Lawrence with many graves of the people killed by Quantrill. Very sad to see several gravestones next to each other, all family members killed on the same day.

          •  My grandparents used to take us kids out to the (5+ / 0-)

            ridge at night where lanterns were hung on Signal Oak, in the event of raiders in the area.  Eventually, they bought a small patch of woodland to the west with the same view across the valley where we could camp out.

            Along with Quantrill's Raiders, there were raids and mini-battles for years, on into the civil war. So, when folks to the south and east knew of raiders coming, they'd ride out and hang a lantern high in the tree, high above the broad Wakarusa River valley.  It could be seen from Mount Oread in Lawrence.  

            The approaches to Lawrence from the east were generally guarded with military and militia camps following Quantrill's raid, so anyone else raiding had to come up from the south.

            The Battle of Black Jack took place east of Baldwin City.

            There were many tragic murders of simple farming families by raiders in the countryside.  It was called Bleeding Kansas for a reason.

            I've wracked my brains for years trying to figure out how to restore the liberal/progressive bent of Kansas again. Up until 1994, Democrats still held lots of statewide offices and the Dockings were very popular Democrats in the 1960s.  

            Since then - mid-point in Clinton's first term - the state has been solidly Republican, as has Texas and many other states.  What meme caused that change and how to flip it back?  Maybe the actions of Republicans themselves will eventually do it, but it is taking too long!

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:39:07 PM PST

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