RLT: Kansas! (Quite a mix! Day 2)

RLT: Kansas! (Quite a mix! Day 2)

2 Sep 2021

Well, after that wonderful fist day what comes next??? How about some breakfast in this unique mercantile. Couldn’t help but smile at the signage :-).

Breakfast to start the day

How to describe the place? I suppose it’s a modern day “Tourist’s General Store” in the form of a soft Cretan Labyrinth fueled by the siren of consumables rather than the Minoan monster. Gas outside, convenience store in. As you enter and gaze about there are trinkets arranged to funnel you back, and back, and back, to the restaurant. Then… the animals! Drawing you deeper. There are sooooo many, here is a quick sample:

Imagine vast herds thundering over the plains…
Perhaps the Minotaur is nearer than we think?
What a rack!!!
Nap time, just finished a delicious paddler snack!
Quite the diorama
Beautiful in some ways, a little eerie in others

Ok, enough of that. Tummy full, packed up, checked out, it’s time to go! The road from The Depot was straight and level. We were following the railroad which followed the creek running through the broad valley between two ridges. There were deer feeding and bison in distant pastures but, enough of that, are you ready? One right hand turn and we are back into more interesting terrain and roads that match.

Favorite kind of sign

Starting out this morning we didn’t get gas because there was ‘plenty left’. Well, that’s only true if there is an abundance of gas stations! Enjoying the scenery and the curves as the miles go by with never a service station in sight started to get a little concerning! One would think folks in these parts had cars that needed fuel? Thankfully came across this gem just before the situation turned desperate. The view from the pump (three houses from the center of the village) says soooo much!

Get Some Gas In This Thing, Roads-a-call’n

Not too long after loading up on gas it was time to fuel us up! Always on the lookout for those special places to eat we decided to give this a try. Have to admit, we were wondering a bit as we rolled up, but… there is an open sign in the window, so gotta be a good place right? Turns out it was marvelous. The seating was down stairs, not that it would have mattered, atmosphere was lovely, the food was delicious!

A good restaurant? So they say…
… and they would be right!

We crossed into Virginia ‘up high’ and deep in the country. We were running mostly on ridge lines at first but not too long past the border we began to drop down into a little valley, As we did the road began to have dirt/mud here and there as heavy run off from driveways carried sediment along with it onto the pavement. We didn’t think too much of it, just need to be careful on the turns. There was rain yesterday and during our trip planning we noticed forecasts calling for the possibility of heavy rain.

We rounded a hairpin and encountered a small mud slide on the right side, while the creek on the left had eaten away a large volume of material and the road was collapsing into the gap. A bit further and the damage was getting more and more pronounced. As we dropped in elevation it just got worse and worse. Houses hanging in the air, washed off their foundations, cars mangled and wrecked. Widespread destruction everywhere. Turns out that the road had just been opened, there were crews with chain saws removing trees and telephone poles and heavy equipment everywhere pushing back the mud and debris. We didn’t take many pictures out of respect for those who lost so much, but these two we snapped along the way help remember the destructive power of water.

This evening we caught some news when we stopped and learned that there was a narrow swath of extraordinarily heavy rains that caused flash flooding in this little valley. As terrible as this event was, thankfully it was localized. The bridge pictured below spans a larger river that the creek feeds into, and it was able to absorb the flow without causing any significant damage down stream. Pretty incredible.

Creek on the left, water had to have been more than ’20 over flood stage
Vehicles and structures in the path of the water didn’t stand a chance

Here is a rubbernecking moment! Seems that Jr took the keys and ran off to tear up the town one night, but… the truck broke down! Bahhhhhh ha ha! How else do you explain this? Clearly it’s been here for a very long time. Who owns a mine, has a truck break down and just abandoneds it? Well, here’s the example.

Out of gas? Flat tire? Conked out? Who knows…
Makes for an interesting photo op :-).

That’s about it for day two. Absolutely love the adventure, there’s no way to plan this, and frankly that’s kind of the point. All you have to do is go, keep your eyes open, and take in what what ever is found along the path.

Route details in this interactive map. Enjoy!