Friday, April 4, 2014

Prettiest town you've ever seen

Abilene, KS – There’s an old  pop song about Abilene with the line on today’s title plus “where the girls are never mean” – Val’s been humming it today for some reason. We looked up the name of this small town on Interstate 70, west of Salina (rhymes with Spadina) and east of Topeka. Apparently the wife of a town founder chose the name from Luke 3:1, where several biblical cities are named. It means “city on the plain”.

We got a glimpse of Wichita as we headed further east on the highway near our RV park, and turned north onto Interstate 235 and then I-135. (There’s a song about it too – “The Wichita Lineman”—that was playing in my brain yesterday.) Our direction was mainly northward, across more of the wide, fertile fields of Kansas and under a big sky.  At first it was bright and sunny, but high clouds drifted in after an hour or so. 

More wagon train tracks were noted on the map north of McPherson, and I had my camera ready to snap any that came into view. However, there were so many other tracks – made by tractors or dune buggies, or stripes between harvested corn rows – that I was unable to figure out where these historic traces might have been, and no signage was visible to help me in my search.

Our route crossed the Arkansas River once again today, and I was amazed to see how full and broad it was, compared to the muddy ditch we’d seen yesterday.  It demonstrates the retentive activities of communities along the river that prevent the water’s flow from reaching towns downstream.

As we approached Abilene, Val said he wanted to fuel up the RV before settling at our park. He likes to start out with a full tank after each stay. I suggested we take an exit off the Interstate before the one indicated for the park to increase our chances of finding a gas station that provided diesel fuel, but he said he’d just take what came at the appointed exit.  I had to smile when I saw that the RV park office was actually inside the building of a Shell gas station that carried diesel fuel!  Lucky once again!

It was a short travel day today – we arrived in time for lunch – so once we were settled we detached the car for a look around Abilene.  Its main claim to fame is that it’s President Eisenhower’s home town, and there is a Presidential Library here as well as Eisenhower’s boyhood home.  The main street through town has some beautiful large homes, some decorated with gingerbread trim, turrets and verandahs. Even down the secondary streets, the houses are generously spaced apart, and many have porches with swings or wicker chairs on them.  There’s a small-town, unrushed feel there that was very pleasant.

Now that we’ve scouted out the main attractions, we’re set for our sightseeing outing tomorrow.  Back at the RV, we pulled out the barbeque and Val prepared a nice steak for our supper. We will only have a couple more nights in the motorhome before it will be too cold for camping, and we’ll have to stay in hotels, so this was a treat to savour.

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