It's been an interesting 10 days in Kansas as I make my way on a schedule to Nebraska. While planning my route, I chose two stops for very different reasons. The first, El Dorado, because it had a 12-mile lake with state park camping in the the Flint Hills region. While the park is scenic, and the people are kind, the lake is more accessible to boats and fishing than to people. I really didn't spend any time there, with the exception of cycling the perimeter.
El Dorado feels like it's trying hard to maintain its' main street, has some interesting architecture, but culturally I just didn't quite get it. Lo and behold, on my third day, I discovered that the biggest employer is just south of the city -- an oil refinery. Duh. El Dorado is also home to the Kansas Oil Museum. I never quite sat comfortably here, and was ready to roll after five days.
My next stop, Marysville, was selected for two very good reasons -- the first, a 12-mile rail-to-trail that connects to total 68-miles in length, and runs to Lincoln, Nebraska. The other is its' link to the Pony Express! Marysville was the first home station out of St. Joseph, Missouri going west. Situated on the Big Blue River, it was also an important crossing point for the Oregon and California Trails.
Marysville did not disappoint (as you'll see in the photos!), and the people are as friendly as can be. What I didn't know before arriving is that it's known as the "Black Squirrel City". The tale is that in the early 1900's, a carnival came to town and brought two black squirrels – one male and one female, and a small boy let them out. They've been here ever since. I did see many black squirrels running by my tent (in the city park), but you can also see the 21 "Black Squirrels on Parade" (made of fiberglass) throughout town.
In the early morning, I head north to begin the 5-day Tour de Nebraska. The weather's looking very sketchy (rain, rain, rain) but I'm looking forward to my first cycling event in nearly a year.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover