Kansas

Our final state to visit was Kansas.  My mother's parents moved from Kansas to Colorado in the 40s.  They were farmers from the North Eastern part of Kansas.  My Great Aunt Eileen still lives in Seneca, Kansas. She seemed like the most important thing for us to see in Kansas.  :)
 None other than the Wizard of Oz would do for the kids' movie across Kansas.  The Wizard of Oz is the most watched movie of all time!
 We drove to Seneca, Kansas to visit Aunt Eileen.  She had fallen recently and was recovering in a nursing home.  She reminds me so much of my late Grandma.  Those, stubborn German women!  Funny, I see some of me in her too. :)
 We are all hoping Aunt Eileen is strong enough to make her annual trip out to Phoenix for Christmas.  I am sure she is keeping those nurses on their toes!
 My Grandma Lucille Allen is also buried in Seneca.  Through our States trips the kids have been able to visit the graves of many of their Great Grandparents and ancestors.  They have visited from El Paso, Texas, to Chicago, Illinois, to Decorah, Iowa, to Seneca Kansas.   They are blessed to still have two Great Grandparents alive and thriving.  My Grandpa lives here in Phoenix and Max's Grandma lives in San Diego.  Both are in their 90's and still living alone.  After listening to my Aunt Eileen tell us some of her family history and the pain and loss she endured as a child, through the depression and the wars; I have no doubt they are the strongest generation.  Through the loss of siblings, parents, spouses and a struggle for basic survival they endured.  Not only endured but found means to thrive and in some way not be bitter but proud.  I am thankful the kids were able to hear her stories and visit a piece of their making.
 Most of our visit of Kansas involved driving.  There are not many tourist attractions in the North Eastern part of Kansas.  I tried to work in one tourist attraction, the Amelia Earhart Earthwork.
 Amelia Earhart was born in Atchison, Kansas.  I thought it would be neat to visit since it was along our drive.
 Well...  This is the view of Amelia Earhart from the viewing balcony.  Apparently to properly appreciate the "Earthwork"  you need to be airborne.  Then you would see this.
I suppose it would make sense since she was the first woman granted a pilots license by the National Aeronautics Associate and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
 Try telling that to a teenager that has been in the car for 2 hours to visit Amelia Earhart's home.  While we didn't get to see much except rolling farm fields and my wonderful Aunt, we did learn some neat facts about the sunflower state.  In 1990 Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 33 Billion loaves of bread, which would provide each person on Earth with 6 loaves of bread!  No wonder they are considered the bread basket of the world.  Being in the center of America, Smith County is the geographical center for the 48 contiguous states.  
 Kansas also is home to Dodge City, the windiest city in the United Sates.  I imagine the saying, "Let's get out of Dodge" came from Kansas. After eight days of driving across the Midwest and South, it was definitely time to get out Dodge!
We drove nearly 2,000 miles and covered six new states but traveled through eight states.  We saw some of America's jewels from National Parks to National Monuments to the birthplace of blues and country music to a monumental football game.  We really were able to taste, hear, and feel the pulse of middle America.  These trips are so special and memorable, but they are a huge undertaking and can at times be grueling.  As we took off back for home on a 5am flight, we couldn't help but say, "there is no place like home, there is no place like home!"

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