Manhattan, Kansas

“The best way to see Kansas is in your rear view mirror”…until family moves there and it’s time to get familiar with a new destination on our list of places to go!
 
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This eastern area of Kansas is known as the Flint Hills region.  Prairies, rolling grassland, lowland trees… more diverse than we expected. 
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KSU and Fort Riley are significant influences to this little town, as are the Tuttle Creek State Park, dam and lake just north of town and the Konza Prairie Preserve to the south.
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One unexpected characteristic of Manhattan…the percussion of machine gun fire and bombs that rattle the house and echo in the air all day and evening here in the western edge of the city…. sounds from the artillery range and training area on base.
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Add to that the broadcast voice of football announcers and the roar of a spirited crowd at the weekend home games and you can have a sound-laden environment that is definitely unique. 
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The small local Sunset Zoo is a great place to visit… exotic animals in spacious living quarters and a pleasant design to explore. 
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The Konza Prairie Preserve is the only place you will find listed under local hiking options… and you can enjoy a great six mile loop there with history, views and bison.  But we found lots of other open public space close to town with coyotes calling, flocks of bluebirds and hawks soaring overhead.
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We enjoyed walking around campus… this is an old university.. the first established by land grant in the state of Kansas. Lots of open pedestrian areas,and unique architecture   
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After checking out the traditional tailgating parties before the game we also enjoyed discovering the animal sciences store at Call Hall where 40 flavors of ice cream are scooped and sold along with milk, fresh free range eggs, a variety of cheeses, beef, mutton, pork and sausages.  Great local products and an opportunity to support the agricultural/animal sciences program on campus, as well!

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Another day we ventured a bit farther east where the town of Wamego claims to be the keeper of all things Oz.  A museum takes you an a journey through memorabilia and the local winery sells wines with names from over the rainbow.  Other wineries along the way were fun to find … including one in the little town of Paxico where antique stores abound that you can lost in and marvel at the common items that still seem at home here.
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Geocaching is a popular activity here… lots of creative and challenging caches.  Puzzle caches abound as do power trails and caches leading to isolated views and creative locations on farm roads.  We also found several disc golf courses.. with caches embedded for double the fun.   All fun ways to spend a day.
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All in all…Manhattan … “The Little Apple” is a fun place to explore, although the winters are colder and the summers are hotter than we might prefer… there are several spots available for free or reasonable camping nearby… and a comfortable guest room for us to take advantage of, as well. We will keep coming back! 🙂

Geo-power-trail… My First!

Our first ever power trail…
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what better way to spend a day too windy to travel any farther in Kansas by RV… and what better place to wait out this weather than at the Ellis Lakeside Campground?
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Nice views, hookups, wifi and hot showers for a mere $15. We unhooked our tow vehicle and headed out for a couple of hours of fun on backroads.
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Ran the entire series in order until we got to the S… then it took a little backtracking. Not entirely comfortable going around “road closed” signs … but it wasn’t far and it was too windy to walk. I had to muscle open the door, hold on to my hat and turn my back to the wind to avoid having the log blow away at every stop… but the day was warm and every cache was where it was expected.
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Great series!! We tripled our “most caches in a day” total with this series! This really put Ellis on the geo-map for us!
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Headlines, Deadlines, and Bottom Lines

My life is relatively stress free… relative to times in my own past… relative to the stress faced by many other people in this crazy, uncertain world.  Everything is relative.

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Lately I have allowed myself to get caught up in the details of regularity (no, not the biological type)… the “what day of the week is it” or “what time is it” sort of expectations.  The kind of routines that sap spontaneity from the moment, lure me away from mindfulness and leave me apprehensive about the consequences of stepping out into the unknown. 

“worry is time wasted, wishing for something you don’t want” 

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There are a few details that pop up every so often in my world that I am best served to attend to in a timely manner…. Paying bills, maintaining important mechanical items, and dealing with malfunctions come to mind.  These things are the “urgent” in my life… but, in the bigger picture… they are not the most important.

“If money can “fix” a problem… It’s not really a problem.”

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My health, my family, and creating memories by experiencing new things are what I consider priorities.  Focusing positively and intentionally on these things is what makes me happy… It fuels my optimism and motivates me as I anticipate all of the exciting, fulfilling adventures that await me in life.

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When I let urgent concerns from within and without become my focus, I can feel my vitality drain and my mind is swept away in the futility of worry. Politics, distant wildfires, senseless violence, weather forecasts… there is nothing beyond living compassionately and being alert that I can do to change these things… yet being connected to the media in an instantaneous world causes these things to crowd into my realm of “urgent” concerns…. Impacting my health and happiness on a daily basis.

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Today I embark on a recurring mission… to reclaim the reality that I call life by focusing on those things I deem most important and letting the peripheral issues slip away….  I have faith that the world is unfolding as it is meant to… I believe that humanity is basically good… I trust that we will find ways to adapt to all that is constantly changing around us. 
The only thing that’s permanent… Change.

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Perhaps the best way to break the habits generated by routine is to set off on a new adventure where the days are blank slates to be crafted with intention… where focus can be redirected and celebrated.

Ready? It’s time…. Let’s go!