Day 7: Big Brutus

On our way out of Springfield, we were able to spend a short time on the famous Route 66.  Now I can finally say that I've ridden "the Mother Road".  I just won't mention that my total mileage was somewhere in the 10 mile range.  After exiting off of Route 66, it was a short ride to the Kansas border.  Before leaving Missouri we did find out why they are not the birthplace of aviation...

We rolled into Kansas under blue skies with the temperature creeping up into the low 80's.  Perfect weather for putting on some miles.

From the saddle of a motorcycle, Kansas looked very flat, even though we were actually moving slightly up hill as we crossed the state.  The elevation change is very gradual, only increasing by about 3000 feet from the eastern border to the western edge.  The countryside was mostly grass covered plains, with a scattering of farms, livestock and oil wells.

Soon after we reached Kansas, we started seeing signs for "Big Brutus".  The signs failed to mention exactly what Big Brutus was, which peaked my curiosity as we veered off the highway in search of answers.  Big Brutus turned out to be the world's largest electric shovel, 16 stories tall with a 90 cubic yard bucket.  Used in the 1960's and 70's, Big Brutus removed the top layer of earth to reach coal deposits in strip mines.  The self guided tour allowed access to most of the machine with only the upper sections closed off, so we spent an hour crawling all over that thing like a couple of kids.  Currently the museum is raising money for a repaint and with just 900 gallons of Omaha Orange and 300 gallons of black needed to coat the outside, I'd suggest bringing some paint and a brush if you stop by.

From Big Brutus it was onto Parsons, Kansas and lunch at the Hickory Hole.  We've been on the road for a week now and still haven't stepped inside a single fast food restaurant.  We've eaten at some great places, using the simple formula of either asking the locals where they like to eat or looking for places with full parking lots.  The Hickory Hole definitely did not disappoint, serving beef brisket sandwiches that were the best I've ever tasted.  

We traveled another 100+ miles after lunch, pulling into El Dorado State Park by mid afternoon.  I was expecting a lot more gold since the name was "El Dorado", but in the end had to settle for a nice lakeside campsite. 

That evening we were joined by some winged insects, but this time the weren't the biting kind.  Instead the campground was filled with the "music" of the cicadas.  I took a short video to give an idea of just how loud these little bugs can get (make sure you turn up your speakers for the full effect).  

Another 250 miles closer to the Pacific.

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Unknown said...

Awesome, you guys are taking the ride of a lifetime. Good luck on your journey!