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  1. #1

    Default Oklahoma / Kansas circuit

    With this year’s trip now taking shape, I'd like to add that extra sparkle that comes with local knowledge and experience - and would therefore appreciate any input you can offer.

    We have two weeks booked (last week of Aug, first week of Sept), we fly into and out of St Louis and are planning a clockwise route through northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas panhandle and Kansas.

    As you’ll see from the following pins-in-the-map, we’ve already got what I think should be a great outward itinerary (thanks in particular, to past posts from AZBuck), with bits of just about everything: civil war, scenery, New Deal, dust bowl history, Route 66 (not everyone’s kettle of fish, I know, but this is where its history really began).

    St Louis / Gateway Arch
    Laura Ingalls Wilder Home
    Pea Ridge National Military Park
    Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
    Devil’s Den State Park (we have booked two nights in the CCC cabins here)
    Woody Guthrie birthplace
    Oklahoma City (Capitol, Cowboy Museum, National Memorial)
    Route 66 Museum
    National Route 66 Museum (yes, another)
    Washita Battlefield National Historic Site
    Palo Duro Canyon State Park
    No Man’s Land Historical Society
    Comanche National Grassland

    What I’d appreciate are two things:

    • Suggestions on highlights for our return through Kansas. I guess Dodge City should be there and we’ll certainly want to take in Topeka for the State Capitol. From what I’ve read, Kansas seems to blessed with a good number of Scenic Byways – any particular recommendations?
    • Suggestions for places to stay along the way. Our first night is in St Louis (already booked); the second will be somewhere near Springfield (I reckon Eureka Springs will be too far if we’re spending the morning at the Gateway Arch and then want to take in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home/grave in the afternoon); and then we have two nights in Devil’s Den State Park.


    We’re not looking to pre-book things – but any recommendations for historic/interesting hotels/cabins etc (e.g. Colcord, Oklahoma City) would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks.

    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Greensburg KS

    If you're going to Dodge City, may I suggest that you also check out Greensburg, less than 50 miles to the east along 400. After the tornado some years ago the city administration made a deliberate decision to rebuild a 'green' city. It is unique, especially if you are at all interested in sustainable living.

    ... Kansas seems to blessed with a good number of Scenic Byways – any particular recommendations?
    Both 50 and 400 which I have driven several times, I find most enjoyable. Depends on what you mean by scenic. I just love driving along those routes where one has the opportunity to get a feel for the lifestyle. Farming, crops, small towns...

    ... and the constant aroma of feed lot cattle.

    Lifey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Isn't the world's largest hand-dug well somewhere around Greensburg, too?

    In Abilene is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Museum and Grave site.



    Donna

  4. #4

    Default The Big Well

    Certainly is, just bin' reading all about it: The Big Well.

    Thanks both for that. Dwight D. Eisenhower Museum has been added to the route too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some More

    First, thanks for the kudos. I share your appreciation of the smaller, slightly off-kilter RoadTrip stops and stringing a dozen or so of them together as you have here is a sure way (in my opinion) to have a great, relaxed excursion through the heart of America - or anywhere else for that matter. I would suggest just a few places that are already close to your line of march that you might want to look into. The first is Branson MO. It's just one of those iconic and strange bits of Americana that would be worth a drive through on the way from the Wilder home to Pea Ridge. The second is the town of Greensburg KS. I stopped there a number of years ago and climbed down to the bottom of the "world's deepest hand-dug well" and thoroughly enjoyed the attached gem/mineral/fossil display. Shortly after my visit, Greensburg was destroyed by a tornado and has rebuilt itself as a showcase of what a green and energy independent community could look like - and the well is still there. Finally, just outside Kansas City in Independence MO is Harry Truman's home. Take the ranger led tour for a true glimpse of what the perhaps last pre-imperial president lived like. And one caution on a stop you list as 'possible'. My experiences in Dodge City were not all that good. The 'old west' portion of it is largely commercialized. Now to be fair, my memories are also colored by another in my seemingly endless run of bad luck episodes trying to eat steak in cow towns which ended in a night riding the porcelain bus.

    AZBuck

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks Buck,

    We'd looked at Truman's birthplace but Independence looks like a more convenient place ot get our fix of Presidential history. The Big Well is a definite too, and your comment re. Dodge confirms my suspicions that it's probably best to consider it a quick diversion rather than a destination in its own right.

    We're looking good:



    ... and route that looks like a shark - how cool is that?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Looks like you will be going very close to Joplin - stop by and say hi!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Shark Route

    I like the Shark too!

    Mark

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Shark?

    Looks more like a "Goldfish" to me.

    AZBuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Highly recommended!

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    Looks like you will be going very close to Joplin - stop by and say hi!
    Take my word for it.

    Lifey

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