Art and Connie's 2016 RV Adventure travel blog

We are now in Iowa at the Saylorville COE which is about 20 miles from Des Moines. Since we only travel about 200 miles a day, it took us a while to get here. This is our second stop in Iowa.

After leaving Albuquerque, our first stop was Tucumcari, New Mexico. Historic Route 66 runs through Tucumcari and it was a popular stop along the route. However, like many cities on Route 66, Tucumcari has seen better days. There are still a few vintage-style motels along Route 66 that draw people to town. My guess is that if it weren’t the county seat, the city would really be suffering. Still, locals try their best. In 2014, a Route 66 museum opened at the small convention center. The museum has a wonderful collection of photographs and memorabilia of Route 66. The old railroad depot downtown is being converted to a train museum. Plus, the town hosted its first annual event called Rawhide Days. According to the docent at the museum, the event was well liked.

After Tucumcari, we took a secondary two-lane highway (US54) through Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. The highways ran mostly through lots of small towns dominated by farmland, silos, cattle feed lots and, near Liberal, cattle processing plants. We spent an overnight at the Seward County Fairgrounds in Liberal. Liberal is “home” to a replica of Dorothy’s house from the Wizard of Oz (now housing the tourist bureau). No, we didn’t follow the yellow brick road while there but headed out of town the next day for a two-day stop in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Hutchinson is known by its nickname ‘salt city’ for the salt mines located deep beneath the surface of the city. A few of the salt mines still remain but besides being the county seat, the city also has quite a variety of businesses that keep it viable. The downtown has a number of restored buildings including a restored 1931 theatre that hosts plays and musical events. It is also home to the Kansas State Fairgrounds where we parked ourselves for two days. We dusted off our bikes and cycled a short bike trail (Sunflower Bike Trail) that runs along the Arkansas River and through some of the city’s parks.

Our final stop before entering Iowa was a casino near the Nebraska border. We kind of wondered how the casino stayed in business since we counted an average of 10 cars in the parking lot – and this was on a weekend. After a windy overnight, we arrived at Swan Lake State Park, a county park in rural Iowa.

The park sits along the 33 mile Sauk Rail Trail. We could only squeeze in one bike ride along the trail since a storm with high winds and heavy rain moved through the area which kept us indoors for most of our stay. Luckily, according to Iowa standards, it was a moderate storm. However, I couldn’t help asking myself what the heck am I doing here especially the day the severe weather siren, located in the park right near our rig, went off at noon while I was sitting outside. It was only a test but scared the heck out of me.

According the NOAA, a drying and warming trend is expected next week. Good thing, since I think I am growing moss under my feet :)

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