We had a relaxing start today since our drive was only about 3 hours. Shortly after leaving Wichita, we entered the Flint Hills area. The endless rolling green hills were like nothing I'd ever seen. The sky was cloudless and the hills were true green. There were no billboards and minutes would pass without my seeing a building. We delighted in the black, white, and brown cows that grazed peacefully. This picture is one that I found online, as I didn't have the opportunity to stop and take any.
At the end of our drive, we'd be visiting a friend from college that I hadn't seen since. I asked him what there was to see between Wichita and Kansas City. He responded, "Not much." As we approached our planned lunch stop, Emporia, I wondered about why Dave hadn't suggested we stop at the National Teacher Hall of Fame. I saw a couple brown signs, the official looking ones that announce a park or National Monument. I also was puzzled when I asked the friendliest gas station worker I'd ever met, and she could give me excellent directions to the best park in town, but when I asked about the Hall of Fame (H.O.F), she circled something on the city map that wasn't even close.
After lunching at the park and having a pleasant playtime, we headed toward Emporia State University in search of the H.O.F. Interestingly, in this small town in the middle of nowhere in Kansas, I saw the U.P.er's Diner (specializing in Upper Peninsula Michigan cuisine), a Middle Eastern restaurant and Hookah lounge, and sushi bar.
Well, the H.O.F. was located in a room, smaller than my classroom, in the middle of an academic building. The most impressive part of it was the sign. The door was shut with lights off. I had to walk into an adjoining office and ask to look around. There wasn't much to see, unfortunately. I guess that famous teachers are few and far between, and the teachers displayed there weren't exactly famous. Signing the guest book I noticed that the most recent visit had occurred two days prior.
We continued our drive to Kansas City, and Molly found sleep about twenty minutes before our arrival. I've never stayed at a La Quinta, and when I told my brother about the good deal I found he told me "You get what you pay for." Well, La Quintas definitely do look better from the road. The pool here is empty, and I don't mean devoid of occupants. Most of the hallways have carpet that has been ripped up, with some pieces laid back in place with edges curled up dangerously. Noticing there was only a bottle of shampoo in the bathroom alongside a nice sign promising complimentary replacements of any forgotten toiletries, I inquired about conditioner. The oh-so-helpful attendant at the desk asked me if shampoo wasn't good enough. And no, they don't have any conditioner.
Thankfully, neither the accomodations nor the H.O.F. was to be the highlight of our day. We had a fantastic time with Dave, his sweet wife Jamie, and their girls. We spent a few hours at their neighborhood pool and had pizza. I haven't seen Dave since we graduated from college in '97.
When we returned to our hotel, I realized that I needed to make another trip back out to the car because I'd left the computer there. Instead of asking Molly to put her shoes back on AGAIN, as I'd already made her accompany me a couple times to the lobby or car, I decided to just carry her. After she used the bathroom, I carried her on my hip out the door. Another family was on their way in. I commented to them about how cute their girls' tutus were. They smiled politely but hesitantly. I thought that to be a little strange. After I took a few more steps, I adjusted Molly on my hip and felt her bare butt. She was just wearing her swimsuit cover-up but hadn't put her bottoms back on! So, here we were, Mommy and little flasher. We probably scared that poor sweet family, and I was making small talk to them like this is how we normally carry about!
Molly was a little homesick at bed-time tonight. I reminded her of the favorite people we are looking forward to seeing soon. Then I put her to bed and prayed for no bed bugs.