• Welcome to the Two Wheeled Texans community! Feel free to hang out and lurk as long as you like. However, we would like to encourage you to register so that you can join the community and use the numerous features on the site. After registering, don't forget to post up an introduction!

Quick Trip to Wichita

Joined
Aug 1, 2007
Messages
8,825
Location
Fort Worth
I have been wanting to make a trip up to Wichita, KS, where I grew up, to visit my parents' gravesite. Since I got laid off on Friday, the opportunity presented itself. Besides, it gave me some time to process some thoughts.

It was a whirlwind trip, Fort Worth to Wichita on Tuesday, return on Wednesday. One of my goals was to avoid I-35 most of the way. On the way up there I took this route west of I-35: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=Fort+Worth,+TX&daddr=Bowie,+TX+to:Enid,+OK+to:Caldwell,+KS+to:Wichita,+KS&hl=en&geocode=FaFZ8wEdbgAz-imtB8gtEm5OhjG9rGnd-IuvpA;FdMRAAIduvIq-iljxg7xqGJShjFZiB-9ExScyA;FUVaKwIdiX4q-ilB7sit7NSvhzGao6vID8zA0w;FTcRNQIdrqIu-ilrg2-q5gewhzEonE1zvwBCnA;FUwjPwIdN78y-iktGH_Satu6hzE-PdN0v9WWkw&mra=ls&sll=37.225955,-97.863464&sspn=1.049745,1.82373&ie=UTF8&z=6

On the way back, I took the eastern route. I stayed overnight in a motel on the east side of town, so this was an easy choice: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=E+Kellogg+Ave&daddr=Winfield,+KS+to:Stillwater,+OK+to:Sulphur,+OK+to:Whitesboro,+TX+to:Denton,+TX+to:Fort+Worth,+TX&hl=en&geocode=FXTwPgId4Lk0-g;FcU7OAId-PY3-innAw7Y1Xq6hzGKKJQx7PsGmA;FZcUJwIdwAE3-ikjr5nr-QmxhzGZ0RAgFtqRjA;FVuMDgIdYmE4-ilLuMZepCWzhzE_CZ0MpPlI_w;FZqNAQIdPFE5-ilj6PTYS_BMhjEJqJLvayE6RQ;FXnR-gEd9N01-inRsYjAoExMhjEb-xRIy3REcg;FaFZ8wEdbgAz-imtB8gtEm5OhjG9rGnd-IuvpA&mra=ls&sll=33.28462,-97.03125&sspn=4.407736,7.294922&ie=UTF8&z=6

I didn't take many pictures. I'm really bad about that, especially when I have a lot of distance to cover. This trip isn't long by Iron Butt standards, but 7 or 8 hours in the saddle is a long time for me.

Here is Mom and Dad's marker.
SmMarker1.jpg

They died together in an auto accident while we were traveling in Mexico. I was 12, my little sister was 10. I was in a friend's car, and my sister was in the car with my parents, along with my friend's mother and sister. My sister was the only one to get out alive.

I didn't realize until we visited the site in 1995 that Mom and Dad were buried next to my maternal grandfather:
SmMcGuireMarker.jpg


Obligatory bike photo parked near their marker:
SmBikeinMemorial.jpg


At the entrance:
SmBikeatEntrance.jpg


On the way up there, about 20 miles south of the Kansas border it started to get cooler, even though it was in the hot part of the afternoon. It was also a lot greener.

Of the two routes, the eastern route was much better. More rolling hills, a few curves, just better scenery, especially south of Stillwell. The downsides were north of Stillwell, the road is buckled a LOT, so that it feels like running over a mini-speed bump every couple of hundred yards. That got really annoying. And then I got caught up in stupid traffic around Denton. Should have figured on that. A lot of times on these routes I had the road to myself.

Best sights: A doe and her fawn running across an open field in southern Kansas ("Bambi! Don't go in the meadow!"), and a huge, gorgeous orange moon setting as I started out this morning.

Brief observation: My hydration pack rocks!
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,197
Location
Arlington
That was a tragedy and a trauma for the entire family. I still remember the phone call, and it was 31 years ago.

Glad you got to make the trip, Danny. Not a bad way to spend the week leading up to Fathers Day.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2010
Messages
26
Location
San Antonio
Redpill - Tonight, I'm headed up to where you just were. You came back on 77 thru Arkansas City, KS. That's where my parents live and where I'm going this weekend to help them move. Only I'll be in my truck. Wichita and that whole area is my old stomping grounds. Was there from 1970 to 1981.
Your cousin tshelfer has the bike I will probably end up with when I'm ready to buy. Until then, I just have the 'cage'.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,228
Location
Far East DFW
After reading the title and hovering over it and reading the first part of the first sentence I had to open this thread and find out why on earth someone would voluntarily ride to Wichita KS in this weather. It's not exactly an exotic destination and the ride from here to there isn't exactly ideal for motorcycling.

That said, I can see the draw for you and how the trip applies to you. First off, what a horrible thing for kids to have to live through. I can't possibly imagine what that must have been like. Second, sorry about the layoff. Here's hoping you land on your feet fairly quickly.

Thanks for sharing your trip, as you can see, even what on the surface looks to be a boring trip to Wichita can still yield a fantastic trip report packed with emotion. Thanks for bringing us along.
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2007
Messages
8,825
Location
Fort Worth
I was surprised at how nice the ride was coming home. Heading up there wasn't bad either. I was on my bike, mostly on on roads without much traffic. Too straight, but you don't expect a lot of curves in central Oklahoma or Kansas.
 
Joined
May 22, 2009
Messages
803
Location
San Antonio, Texas
Call me weird, but I love Kansas. Last year I did almost 2k riding up to Kansas City and back from San Antonio. Only part I hated was Oklahoma ;)
 
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
11,197
Location
Arlington
I've made the drive a couple of times, going up to Kansas City. Actually, once you get north of the Dallas-OKC corridor, it's quite a pleasant drive. I had a friend in KC who restored old cars, & I scored a real coup for him by spotting an ancient Sunbeam Tiger rusting in some farmer's front lot.
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,228
Location
Far East DFW
I have to admit, the part from OKC to KC isn't bad, I did that coming back from KC buying my bike last year. However, I've done the up and over to go skiing in Colorado. The part up and over until you hit Denver is blah... And there's the smell for that part of Kansas too...
 

sKatZ

2
Forum Supporter
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
2,988
Location
li'l d, TX
I've got folks in Enid and Tulsa. It might be really nice to follow your eastern route some day. I'm glad you got to take the ride. It sounds like it was important for you, especially at this unsettled time. Here's hoping your time off from working is brief.

(I did sorta laugh at the stupid traffic around Denton part - it is truly annoying here sometimes!)
 
Joined
Aug 1, 2007
Messages
8,825
Location
Fort Worth
Really, Oklahoma was great on the eastern route, except for the expansion bumps. If I were going to KC or to Tulsa, that's the way I would go.

When I was a kid, we drove from Wichita to KC very often. That's where my mother's family was. We often went through Stong City, which was aptly named. It was essentially one big stockyard. The women would put their powderpuffs to their noses, and we kids made a big deal out of talking about how smelly it was. Strange, the things that stick in your memory.

The old neighborhood looked pretty good, although it looks as if it's starting on the downhill slide again. When we lived there, it was on the edge of the area that was getting run down. I talked to a friend who still lived there in 1995, and he said it got really seedy for a while, then became a kind of retro-yuppie neighborhood. The only real sad thing was all the elm trees that weren't there anymore (Dutch elm disease) and the pine tree next to our porch was gone. The little area under that tree was always cool, shady, and covered in pine needles. I used to make roads and tunnels and such in and under the pine needles for my Matchbox cars. We also had a big sandbox in the back yard where I found horse bones while digging a foxhole for our army games.
 
Top