Friday, November 21, 2014

River Crossings, Roads Traveled -- And Not

No photos from the Mississippi or Missouri River crossings, regrettably. Dancing through traffic in St. Louis took up all my time -- it may not be up to East Coast standards, but they're trying hard to catch up.

In fairness, other concerns have been more urgent here -- I passed by the exit sign for "Historic Ferguson". Well, yes, and recently so.

Spacing between towers and trucks increased as Interstate 70 carried me into the West, with a short rollback at Kansas City -- but I escaped that on the Kansas Turnpike, also passing over a section of Interstate 70 identified as the first section paved under the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act.

One minor annoyance: the KT has its own electronic toll system which is not compatible with EZ Pass. Thanks, guys, for defending states rights and constraining interstate commerce to a cash-only business.

A billboard several miles further down the road led to another bit of the Kansas story: some of the good citizens of Wamego are leveraging L. Frank Baum's popular tale to keep a couple of storefronts going in a dusty downtown --

Museum -- Hand & footprints of four Munchkins
The sidewalk in front of the Oz Museum displays the hand and foot prints of four of the midgets who played the roles of Munchkins in the original film. Inside, a larger than life Tin Man presides over a lot of Oz-themed swag.

Inquiries about the counter-Oz Broadway hit "Wicked!" received sheepish nods -- yes, they knew the play, even admitted enjoying it, but have not included it in the Museum's theme or product lines. After all, it's a little incorrect; Glinda was Good. Wasn't she?

Oz Winery -- they had some Courage for me

The Oz Winery expands on the theme by offering their own blending of standard grape varieties to bottle and label as "Oil Can", "Flying Monkey", "Squished Witch" ... very enjoyable tasting wines and chatting with the staff. "Angry Trees", from Chambourcin grapes, is a favorite drawn from local farms.

Wine grapes grown in Kansas? Amazing. Keeping a wary eye out for pigs overhead.

Combined with an operator-induced GPS problem, the Oz- in- Wamego detour delayed my arrival in Manhattan until after dark -- and I was not able to identify and pay homage to the teacher's college where my father wanted me to matriculate instead of some snooty Ivy League school. Oh, well, on to the next terrain feature.

Stock shot of "downtown" Manhattan in the daytime.

More time spent in 1970 investigating Manhattan would at least have been better family politics, may be -- but it would have been very different from Ithaca, where I began learning to love Life.

No comments:

Post a Comment