Diary for Daniel Tours America

Tulsa, OK; Wichita, KS; Kansas Cities (KS and MO)


My standard speech, which I had given many many times to new friends, details how I am visiting the outer states and ignoring "the crap ones in the middle."  In Washington Erin scolded me for such a description and at that point I decided to extend me trip to cover four of the five central states that I was omitting:  Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

From the Oklahoma/Arkansas border I basically dashed through the remaining states at break-neck speed. All I wanted to do was to dip my toe into each state.  Not just drive through, that would not satisfy me, but to actually see a city, however briefly.

My first stop was Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It`s a reasonable-sized city towards the east of the state, made famous to me by the Gene Pitney song.  I stopped downtown and walked through the 105-degree (41 C) dry heat (ah! dryness, what a relief!) to eat lunch in a park while chatting to a local worker on a cigarette break.  Tulsa is OK. 

I saw no sunflower fields in Oklahoma.


From there I went north to Wichita, Kansas, made famous to me by the White Stripes song, Seven Nation Army.  By this point it was tea time and I was anxious to get to Missouri before dark, so my stop was even more brief.  I visited Old Town, but this was crap, and then went straight to the river to snap The Keeper of the Plains, a large statue of a Native American (perhaps a Kiowa-Comanche?), set at the confluence of the Big and Arkansas rivers. 


I then went all the way to the Kansas Cities, crossing endless rolling prairie.  I expected Kansas to be arid and brown, which is how I pictured it after reading The Wizard of Oz, but it`s actually very green.

I saw no sunflower fields in Kansas, either.


The city (or cities) of Kansas City is strange. Legally there are two distinct cities:  Kansas City, Kansas; and Kansas City, Missouri; and I imaged that these would be separated by a river and would face each other as rivals, very much like Buda and Pest, but in fact it`s just one continuous metropolis.  You can`t even tell when you cross the state line.  Cody in Albuquerque explained that there was a rivalry but I could not detect any in my flying visit.

I stayed with a surfer, Kimberley, in the Missouri side, where I had an entire floor to myself.