On the Road: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa

As I am setting out on the epic road trip journey through the American west and will be spending the next month and a half on the road across 16 states, I figured I will do a series of posts giving you a glimpse of what those states actually look like. It may not seem like much for people that live in the US, but I figured the rest of the folks might find it a bit different from the view of the country portrayed in the movies. So let's begin with my first day - a drive across a few states in Midwest (and try to dispel the common myth that the entire area is just one giant cornfield).

Driving from Tulsa to Cedar Rapids - 584 miles, 11 hours of driving (14 hour day total)

The route between Tulsa and Kansas City is the one I have driven many times while living in KC and visiting my parents down south. It has been a while thou (two years, actually) so it was pretty exciting to see some of the familiar landmarks on the way.

Rural Oklahoma isn't much to write about - lots of fields mostly "growing" the oil rigs pumping away the black gold.

The fields of... oil wells in Oklahoma

And a random airport along the way

The old style airport terminal

Crossing into Kansas, not much changes along the road.

Eastern Kansas road

Thayer, Kansas is a tiny community on the way, otherwise known as a speed trap as the speed limit suddenly drops from 65 mph to 35 mph for about a mile (normally it goes down gradually - 65, 55, 45, 35 over some distance, but not here). I have seen cops sitting right after the sign before. One of them even waved at me one time when I slammed on the breaks coming into town, knowing about this.

Thayer, KS aka the speed trap city - going from 65 to 35 for about a mile

The first harvest of the year around here is hay. As it's common around the US, it is rolled into giant rolls and let sit outside to dry. My mom loves the sight of a field full of hay rolls.

Rolls of hay that my mom loves so much

As I rolled into Kansas City, it was time for a short break while visiting a local Office Max to pick up a few $200 Visa gift cards that were on sale for $10 off with $6.95 fee - essentially making $3 for each card I bought plus the miles/points from the credit card transaction. So I got a few (well, all of them):

Getting a few discounted visa cards

Total "damage": $60 in my pocket after I liquidate the cards and about 12000 points/miles.

But it wasn't all fun and games. As I was walking into the Office Max, I realized I left my keys inside the car (when I decided to let a fly out... and then forgot the keys in the ignition).

Luckily, there was a Target store nearby so I got myself a pack of wire hangers.

Prying the door open with a coat hanger

Took me some time, but I managed to open the door - $3.29 for a set of hangers vs $50+ for locksmith. I was as happy as I could be for wasting some time on this.

So off I went to Des Moines, passing Kansas City downtown on the way.

Kansas City skyline

Western Missouri is a pretty nice drive with wide open roads, little traffic and lots of trees and rolling hills to please the eye.

Western Missouri is pretty hilly

As I spotted this creation from Missouri Department of Transportation, I realized that I have not hit any construction on my way so far - not typical for the summer construction months.

MODOT is having some fun with the traffic cones

And then I was back in my other home state - Iowa.

Great to see the people of Iowa still welcoming me after all these years

The scenery hasn't changed much - this is where cornfields aren't as prolific as in the rest of the state and the scenery is still similar to western Missouri.

Iowa - bad roads, fixed shoulders?

And then the construction started:

Here comes road construction

It was not too bad thou as there wasn't much traffic.

By the time I got to Des Moines, it was already late evening and after briefly visiting with some friends, I had to head out for another two hour drive to Cedar Rapids.

Sunset in the middle of nowhere, Iowa

Because it was already dark, I didn't get any corn field pictures for you on this trip, but don't worry - they are coming tomorrow!

I finally got into Cedar Rapids after midnight - a long day of driving, covering quite a bit of distance today. It went (mostly) smooth thou and I only felt a bit tired during the last two hour dash to Cedar Rapids.