500 miles

May 17th, 2006

Happy Birthday to Mark! We went to Old Chicago for his birthday lunch…Mark got lot’s of cards…including one from our baby.


Daisy writes all about it in her new blog. Yes, now the dog is blogging. We had an important conversation about safe online practices. You never know what weirdo would want to take advantage of young puppies on dogster, right? In any event…she’s making nice with other cockers on dogster…she’s just having problems typing with her stubby paws.

And this weekend, we drove over 500 miles…seeing another side of Kansas – a quirky exhibit of community pride and sites that challenge the traditional definitions of art.


Our evening producer scored free ride tickets to the carnival at the Expocentre. When I think carnival…I think about the good times at the LA County Fair last fall. This one was smaller and it was only a buck to get in! Sweet. I had a craving for deep-fried fair food and a beer. But this place didn’t serve booze and that was a bit disappointing. It was also a good thing we didn’t go on Saturday night. Yeah, I didn’t want to have to defend my honey’s honor…



I had a corn dog and cheesy fries. I had to eat the fries with a fork…like pasta. Greasy, filling and so bad for me.


And we topped off our meal with funnel cake. That’s the dude deep frying the dough. He finished off the dessert with powdered sugar. The wind blew that all over the place and all over my jeans. It’s a fantastic taste of Americana – like in Pretty Woman…when they cop a squatch and chill on the grass.

But I would not recomend hopping on a swinging ride with a full stomach and only three hours of sleep. I got really sick and I had to go home. It was the first time a carnival ride made me sick. It was the first time I felt like throwing up after a ride. My skating stomach always kept me strong in the face of centrifugal force….but I’m not a young buck any more. And like I said, I only had three hours of sleep that day – so my body wasn’t up to any physical challenges.


On Saturday, Daisy had a chance to sleepover with her doggie friends at the Doggie Dude Ranch. Then we took a trip to the heart of northwestern Kansas. We wanted to see the world’s largest ball of twine.

We did lunch in Glen Elder. We checked out the dam by Waconda Lake. Legend says a boy and gal from warring American Indian tribes fell in love, started a war and ended up dying by the Waconda Springs….which became the Waconda Lake.


The beach by the lake was covered by shell fossils – in limestone chunks. According to Mark, state of Kansas was once at the bottom of a really big lake…a really long time ago.

Later on….we drove to Lucas. We found a lot of art installations and buildings that used this post rock.


We found the world’s largest ball of twine off of Highway 24 – in Cawker City. I discovered I enjoyed the smell of twine – pungent, woody and soothing. It’s a big mama, weighing in at 17,866 pounds. I once worked at a conession stand, selling popcorn. When I was bored, I would work on making ball out of rubber bands looped around each other. After an hour of work, my ball grew to about half the size of my palm. I tried to multiple that experience exponentially. I don’t think that gets even close to the level of dedication this community put into its own ball of industry. Other curious drivers stopped by the tent. They snapped pictures and shook their heads in disbelief. According to a couple from San Antonio, Texas: “It had to be done.”


I wanted to shop around – but most stores were open only by appointment. If only I remember to have brought scissors for a souvenir…damn. Next time. Every August, the town keeps adding to the twine ball….to ensure it keeps the title of “world’s largest…”


We walked through this pretty garden…and then headed down to Lucas to see a garden of another bloom, so to speak. I’ll post those pix in a little bit.

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