There's no place like Home....

Yes we live in the State of Dorothy, Toto and Wheat presently. And no it ISN'T flat -- just have car trouble and you'll find out quickly that there may not be mountains but those rolling areas will get ya! We've enjoyed every place we've been stationed and love to learn about our new "home", see things,etc -- truly we have (yes even Fort Irwin- we weren't ready to leave yet) my parents taught me to look for/see the beauty in the everyday and pay attention to what's around you and there is much here in KS that is beautiful. No it's not the Rockies, Bavaria, Alaska or the Beach but God has beauty everywhere if we look...... this is our 2nd time being stationed at Ft Riley so my list may include some things we've already done! :)

Kansas is smack dab in the middle of the contiguous USA, really - the center is located in Lebanon about 2.5 hours from us:

 It is a state that may seem unassuming and boring if all you're doing is driving through on I-70 but get off the main road and there is much to see and learn -- Kansas has been pivotal in US History beleive it or not, was the crossroads of the nation, and is rich in history, quirky little places to stop and some top notch museums.   If you're interested or headed our way check out The Kansas Guidebook for Explorers. it's the most comprehensive one for the whole State we've found.....   This year is Kansas' 150th birthday as well!

So on with the list:

1. I'd like to Paddle the Kaw (Kansas) river with hubby and kids, camp along it (when my father was here three of the kiddos and I canoed/kayaked with him, between Manhattan and Wamego hubby was of course gone at the time :) and I'd like to do it again....maybe a different section this time, or a group tour?

2. We need to revisit Moon Marble Company in Bonner Springs as Noah hasn't been yet. Fun field trip it's "the only store in the country where you can buy toy marbles, handmade marbles and watch them being made."

3. Visit the Orphan Train Museum in Concordia .. ok so it may not sound exciting to you but I remember watching the movie on tv and find it fascinating. Apparently there's a You pick orchard near by as well as other museums in town so we could make a day of it....

4.The Kansas History Museum in Topeka is one of the top ranked historical museums in the country ... and hey apparently their newest rotating exhibit is 150 things to love about KS  so if you don't like my list.....

5. Hollenburg Station near Marysville is an original Pony Express stop on the Oregon-California trail and is a fun place to explore (there's another stop in Marysville as well), true it's a bit out of the way but it's worth it and military are free/discounted! There's not a lot out there but if you listen close you can still hear the hoof beats of approaching riders...... and if you have time you can jaunt north a bit to Rock Creek Station Park in NE and still see wagon ruts from pioneers on the Oregon Trail

6. I want to take the Underground Salt Mine Tour in Hutchinson ... ok so it's not Salzburg but I've still heard it's very cool!

7. Buffalo --- ok if you've never been to KS or someplace else that's wide open west you need to see the Buffalo check out Maxwell Refuge .. last time we were here they still had Buffalo Corrals on post (it's the dog park now) and "Misty" a white buffalo baby was born which was a really big deal! Tim's grandfather raises them so my kids aren't terribly impressed but still you should go! :)

8. Little House on the Prairie ....If you've ever been into Laura's books at all you must visit the homesite in KS ... we camped here when I was preggers with Noah so another one we need to revisit. I would love to visit the museum in DeSmet,SD and Rocky Ridge Farm in MO as well.... there's a State park in Elk City close by to camp if you want to stay.

9. I want to go to the Lavender Festival  this year! Prairie Lavendar Farm it's not far from us either and we'll see if hubby's home on R&R or not.

 10. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve ... one of the last places to see what the prairie looked like in Laura's time!  Beautiful and worth the drive, then have Lunch at  the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mighty Mississippi,Hays House in Council Grove  (and the food's pretty good too! There are several other historic sites in CG as well)

   11.  Would love to rent a boat/jet ski and spend a week out at Milford Lake State park... ok so we lived in a tent there for 3 months while looking for somewhere to live this go round but still we don't own a boat or a jet ski and I'd love to go back out just for FUN!  Fort Riley even has Marina now!

.......12. ok so I know it was 11 but I had to add this one for my dd ..... yikes! Storm Chasing sounds scary/crazy but maybe just once? Yes they do actually offer TOURSHow crazy is that but I know she'd be proud of me if I went with her..... Dorothy? (and my son was the Wicked Witch in the highs chool production of the Wizard of OZ?)

I'd also love to go run through a field of these ... but hey..... as you can see KS has more to offer than just a drive through and I've barely even started listing stuff! So it's not all mountain climbing, whale watching or things like that but there's a lot more to do here than meets the eye! I didn't even mention all the stuff to do ON POST or in Manhattan or Kansas City if you're looking for big city culture......  Check out this site as well...
8 wonders of KS for more ideas and if you're already here the exhibit is here in Abilene at the Eisenhower Center and it's free.

There truly is no place like Home, wherever that home may be at the moment! :)  Check out more 11 fun things ideas at  Wives of Faith...