I woke up very early but Marc and Brain had suggested a couple of things to add to my itinerary so I rolled out by 7 am. My first destination was Council Grove, KS where I picked up the Flint Hills Scenic Byway. Sadly, I passed the perfect spot for a picture of the byway sign because I was sure there would be another and then the rain came so I couldn’t stop! I enjoyed the drive in spite of the rain. When I got to Cassoday, KS I routed myself towards Colorado Spring. I made great time and finally stopped for gas at the Wildlife Travel Center. I got there at the same time as an entire busload of Amish folk and the pumps were all taken by pickups. When I went inside to tour the wildlife, I discovered everyone in there was either wearing Amish outfits or very large cowboy hats. TBH it was more fun to watch than the wildlife!
Before I got back on the road, I opened up the Roadtrippers app to find any interesting spots along my route and hit the jackpot! A little town named Goodland had a giant Van Gogh exhibit of Sunflowers!
As I was making my way back to the interstate, I noticed a sign for the Sky and Land Scenic Byway. I pulled into a parking lot and discovered that along the route was Mt Sunflower, the highest point in Kansas. I decided that was well worth the trip because it would give me a sort of practice mountain before I got to Pike’s Peak. I took the byway from Goodland to Sharon Springs. I found the road to Mt Sunflower and was really surprised it wasn’t paved but I thought maybe it would be paved when I got closer to the actual mountain. That was wrong. It was never paved and it isn’t an actual mountain! It’s a 12 mile driveway that is apparently part of a working cattle ranch with a few pieces of metal art!
In spite of the dust, I had a great time posing for pictures until some cowboy pulled in. I left him to it and drove the 12 miles back to the main road.
From there it wasn’t far to the state line.
From the state line to Colorado was a couple of county roads and some of them seemed very rinky dink. The best roads were in El Paso county. Didn’t stop me from hauling ass though. When I finally made it to Colorado Springs I stopped at Costco for affordable gas, a car wash (obviously), and In and Out for dinner. Tomorrow I drive up Pike’s Peak which now that I can see it looks a little intimidating! Better get some rest now…