Viva coffee shops and their omnipresence. Can always rely on one to be open and for one to have wifi, and if I'm lucky...power outlets. In the past few days I've wandered into several McDonald's just to see they had no outlets and thus I continue on. It's really just the laptop that needs to charge, as the MP3 player and phone can be done in the car. But I can't be self conscious. Gotta own that "I need to let people know I'm not totally vanished into America" attitude.
So here I am at a Starbucks in Topeka, Kansas. The server asked me to spell my name and then he told me it was "baller".
I spent most of yesterday just driving. Getting to and through Kansas. I looked at the map and nothing really stirred me besides Kansas City (Karen was there for a while, if you remember, she told me to see the museum and ask for the daily special at YT's, and as I haven't been to an art museum yet, I think I'll do just that). So sorry Kansas, you are getting a quick pass through. State number 9! 39 to go.
Oklahoma City was nice, but being there early on a Sunday meant that most things were closed/wouldn't open till noon or later. So I walked around a bit. It was foggy and almost rainy. Mist engulfed the tops of some buildings, but it was lifting. But yeah, Oklahoma City reminds me of Tacoma. Like the downtown area that is trying to look nicer and be nicer (and they have a Chihuly collection sooo) and it spreads out.
I tooled around town and talked to Pa about car stuff. Then I got to the Museum of Osteology right as it opened at 1. What a COOL MUSEUM! OH MY GOD! I cannot emphasize how awesome it is. The exhibits were succinct and well compiled and just so various. So many different skeletons. Baboons, tarsiers, they had a SAIGA SKULL!!!, snakes, human skulls, deformed skulls, manatees, giraffe... just so many. It was spectacular. And just across the board wonderful. I killed the battery on my camera taking pictures...and then the battery on my phone. Hahah. And still I feel like I only captured a tenth of what they had to offer.
Just wonderful. Well worth the journey, absolutely.
I went to Wal Mart and got new front tires because mine were worn down. It was amazingly not $400! Now my car has nice tires with which to tackle the road. The endless, ongoing road. This section of America is largely flat, though the greens and yellow of Oklahoma are very nice. I opted to stay at Great Plains State Park. I'm so tired of driving with the wind coming at my car from the side. A nice tail wind would be nice, but nope, constantly driving keeping straight against nature. Still, better than snow.
Got to the park after dark, and the awesome camp lady told me she wouldn't charge me! And Shawn, one of the park workers helped me set up my tent on account of it being VERY VERY WINDY. He even procured some cinderblocks and string and helped me set it up so that it was extra secure against the wind. I didn't bother putting the top on, as that would just blow up and down and against the tent. And I left the windows open (with the mesh up) so the wind would go through the tent, instead of pushing against it. Then I threw on my eye mask (I bought an eye mask) and went to sleep. It wasn't the best night sleep, but I did get some shut eye. Valley of Fire was noisier.
In the morning one of the younger park helpers flirted with me a little as I was breaking down my site. And he blew me a kiss as I drove away. And that guy in Austin proposed marriage to me. And the teller at Starbucks said my name was baller. I guess I'm really appealing in the midwest? Pretty much never got flirted with in Santa Cruz.
I drove through the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Saw some bison and cattle and some nice rolling hills. And then I set about driving north east on 44 and then north on 35 which turned into 135 and then east on 40. I stopped at one of the last rest stops before Topeka and settled in. All was well until it became evident a squirrel was in my car. I quickly put all my food into my cooler so no crumbs were sitting out. I opened all the doors and banged the side of my car. And right when I dozed off (that eye mask I bought was a smart choice, it shut out all the lights from the rest stop) I felt it scurry across me. I repeated the process a couple times. And eventually was able to nod off. I heard nothing of the little bugger in the morning and so I continued on to Topeka. Hopefully he left while the leaving was good.
And now I go to take on a new day and new states and new whatever happens!