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  • Debbie J. Elder

Drive to Kansas

John prepping for our trip in Fountain Hills

Once our hired movers were successful in stuffing everything into the U-Haul trailer and SUV, the drive to Kansas went well. Our route took us south through Tucson, over to Las Cruses, New Mexico, and then up isolated Highway 54 to Santa Rosa. Even though this path would add hours to our trip, John suggested this route versus going straight up north to Payson and crossing over to Highway 40 due to the weight of the contents in the SUV and trailer. We wanted to avoid too drastic of climbs in elevation and avoiding the mountain range of eastern Arizona with this heavy load seemed like the best idea.

The weather was nice and sunny that first day until we approached Tucumcari, New Mexico. The skies open up that evening and a heavy rainstorm poured down for quite some time. As it was beginning to get dark, a gorgeous double rainbow appeared in the sky. It was difficult to get a good picture, but the rainbows appeared to be saying "Welcome back to the Midwest". The rain and rainbows followed us all the way into Tucumcari where we enjoyed a dinner of pizza and salad from Pizza Hut and spent the night at a chain motel.

Rainbow welcoming us back to the Midwest

Double rainbow

Day two took us across Highway 40 through Texas, then onto Oklahoma City. There was a few interesting landmarks that we passed in Texas including the largest cross I've ever seen. Plus, a leaning water tower of Britten that appeared to have been bent by either a tornado or a severe Texas windstorm.

Giant cross on Highway 40 in Texas

Water tower in northwest Texas

A number of hours later we arrived in Tulsa where we encountered super heavy Friday afternoon traffic. I didn't realize how spread out Tulsa was until we spent over an hour there in wall-to-wall traffic. We winded through a number of tiny towns in northeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Missouri, and southwestern Kansas. Finally, connecting to Highway 69, we arrived in Pittsburg, Kansas after 9 hours of travel that day.

I had booked a motel room in Pittsburg versus Fort Scott (30 miles away) for us to spend the night due to a large annual community event, the Good Ole' Days Festival, occurring in my new hometown that weekend. Factoring in the price of motel rooms being higher than normal, and restaurants likely being full, it seemed a good idea to avoid Fort Scott.

We treated ourselves to a steak dinner at Colton's Steak House & Grill, a cowboy western-style restaurant that encouraged peanut shells to be thrown on the floor. Off to bed early provided us with an air conditioned cool room, hot showers, a soft bed and a well-deserved deep sleep.