What is so important about four laned highways? Well, for one, it is easier to handle the traffic since you can pass cars without going in the other lane that cars use to go the opposite direction. An additional benefit is higher speed. These factors add up to a sum of easier driving and faster travel. The interstates aren’t the only four laned roads you will find in the state of Kansas. For example, near Kansas City, it is harder to find highways that are just two laned compared to other parts of the state. Parts of US-69, US-169, US-73, US-24, and US-40 around the area will have more lanes so traffic can flow more smoothly since it is very populated. Here are some other areas where you can find them along your travels with the locations listed from east to west:
US-59 (Lawrence – Ottawa)
US-75 (Holton – Topeka – US-56)
Manhattan Area (K-18, K-177, US-24)
K-254 (Wichita – El Dorado)
1. (Kingsman – Wichita – Augusta – El Dorado)
2. (OK Border – Liberal)
Bonus: Oklahoma → (Texhoma – Guymon – Tyrone)
US-81 (York, NB / I-80 – NB Border – Concordia – Salina / I-135)
The Kansas Turnpike Association (KTA) is responsible for keeping the toll road in good conditions. It travels west from Kansas City to Topeka then down through Emporia to Wichita, and then finally takes a dive south in Oklahoma. You can take this route via West I-70, West I-470, South I-335, and South I-35. It is approximately 225 miles long in total. You can also look at it from a reverse angle where the directions are north and east instead, taking you to Missouri.
Tolls may not be fun to pay for, but there are some benefits to it. First of all, there are places you can stop on the toll road instead of getting off to go through town traffic and then paying to get back on again. Additionally, there is an extra lane added to the two normal lanes so the road isn’t so jammed with traffic. Since it is after all a toll road. you can trust that it is a good, steady road to travel on. There are always improvements being made to the road. Less traffic will merge on the road since there are less exits than usual. Getting a KTA sticker costs money, but it allows you to keep driving without stopping because they have added cameras to capture a look at your license plate so they can bill you later. If you prefer to drive more conveniently, you can consider taking the toll or even getting a sticker at the front of your car if you wish.
As mentioned previously, there are service areas that provide food, restrooms, gas, shops, information spots, etc. You don’t have to pay to get off or on with these along the way. Here are where these locations are based off of mile markers you can find off to the side of the road or even between North & South / West & East Interstate on which you are traveling.
Kansas Welcome Center Service Area (Mile Marker 26) Get to know some more about the state of Kansas, visit the EZ GO store, stop by Phillips 66 for gas, or grab a bite at McDonald’s while you are taking a break from driving.
Towanda Service Area (Mile Marker 65) If you care to stop by, there are a couple of ChargePoint charging stations you can use or take Dunkin’ or Hardee’s to go.
Matfield Green Service Area (Mile Marker 97) Go ahead and take a look at the Al Larsen Memorial or stop at another Phillips 66 to get some gas or a snack for your travels. Another Dunkin’ to go? If it’s open why not have another one?
Emporia Service Area (Mile Marker 132) By this point you are not far from the halfway point of the turnpike. You are either approaching Emporia or have just left. If you wish, you can grab a bite to eat at McDonald’s, get gas at Valero, or stop at the Fast N Friendly store.
Topeka Service Area (Mile Marker 188) You have many options in this service area: Hardee’s, Pizza Hut Express, Dunkin’, Taco Bell, Phillip’s 66, and Kansas Originals Market. Need a charging station? There’s a couple east of the building.
Lawrence Service Area (Mile Marker 209) If you want to visit the EZ GO store, you can find one in this service area. Additionally, there is yet another McDonald’s and yet another Phillip’s 66. Once again, you have charging stations to use located east of the building.
There are two main toll plazas at each end of the turnpike for the people coming from or going to Oklahoma / Missouri. They are known as the Eastern Terminal Toll Plaza and the South Terminal Toll Plaza. These are located around mile markers 16 and 216. Pretty cool how they are almost exactly 200 miles apart from each other.
If you are traveling out west to Colorado or east to Missouri through Kansas via I-70, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. From Kansas City to Topeka is the Kansas Turnpike that I will talk about in the future.
Topeka (KS Capital City) (Exits 355-366) It is expected to be a big city and it is. The west part of I-470 is not a toll road unlike the east part once it meets up with I-335. I feel there are many more options in this part of the city that are much closer to the road. If you want to keep traveling through, you can take your pick which way to go. You can see more downtown on I-70 and I-470 bypasses most of it. If you don’t mind the toll you can get on ahead of time taking I-470 east.
Junction City (Exits 295-300) From Topeka to Junction City there really aren’t a lot of places to go that are right close by. You can find some but they might not have what you are looking for. Junction City has plenty of good options. If you so happened to check out K-State University before heading here, just take K-18 to make your way to Junction City and the interstate. Fort Riley is east of the town right between the K-18 exit and the main town. We normally take exits 296 & 298 for food whenever we travel in that direction. Check out Milford Lake!
Abilene (Exit 275) Exit 272 has a Love’s Travel Shop you can stop at to get gas and a few snacks. The main road is at Exit 275 where it meets up with K-15 and is most likely where you want to stop if you stop at all here. Most options are south, but there are a couple north from it. You can learn more about Eisenhower if you go to the south part of town taking K-15 if you wish.
Salina (Exits 250-253) It seems like a small town at first, but there are many more options by taking I-135 south at Exit 250. There you find a much bigger looking city, so you should be able to find the maximum amount of options this way. However, if you wish to stay near the interstate, take Exit 252 to K-143. Going south into town takes some time but connects to downtown. Up north is the quickest solution for rushed travelers. The travel store might be a convenient short stop on the north side of the road. Check out the Rolling Hills Zoo!
Russell (Exits 184 & 189) There are more smaller towns along the way, but don’t have too many places that are familiar to most people. However, if this is something that interests you, there is Wilson (Wilson Lake), Dorrance, and Bunker Hill for example. The town of Russell is a bit bigger and will have more options than the ones along the way. Just take north US-281 at Exit 184 or the main exit or take Business US-40 at Exit 189.
Hays (Exits 157 & 159) This is considered a major city in this part of the state. Be more than happy to take Exit 159 to get on US-183 and travel either direction north or south. Going south gives you more options, but there are also a number of places on the north side. Or if you care to take Exit 157 for Bypass US-183, you can go by Fort Hays State University and the west part of town. This is what I like to do occasionally when I’m travelling west.
WaKeeney (Exits 127 & 128) Traveling west from Hays, you could stop at Ellis at Exit 145, but WaKeeney in my opinion is a better choice if you have already stopped in Hays. South of the interstate on US-283 is a travelstore connected to a McDonald’s with a drive-thru. This is probably the best place to stop in WaKeeney. It is pretty easy to spot right to the side of both roads and we usually stop here most of the time when we travel.
Oakley (Exit 70 & 76) What exit you take can depend on your direction of travel. Both exits are good because they both have good rest stops and gas stations to get gas and a short snack. You can take Exit 70 for US-83 and Exit 76 for US-40. Exit 76 has a big gas station with multiple places to go. However, Exit 70 takes you to Buffalo Bill Cultural Center and also has a Cenex with a restaurant next door. You could even take both roads instead of the interstate if you were really curious about the town of Oakley.
Colby (Exits 53 & 54) The main exit would be Exit 53 since it connects with K-25. It is one of the main roads of the town. Just travel up north and find something there. Whenever we would travel west, we would stop here before heading to Colorado to get to somewhere like Denver. We just always found something there like the McDonald’s close by the interstate.
Goodland (Exits 17 & 19) West of Colby, US-24 joins the ride, you pass by Brewster followed by the time zone change. An hour behind is Goodland. Exit 19 leads to Bypass US-24 which comes back with K-27 at Exit 17. This is the main exit to get something to go in my opinion. This is really the last big stop before the state line. Kanorado at Exit 1 is the last town in Kansas and it is a pretty small one. Then you shall make your entrance into Colorful Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Burlington is the first available stop in Colorado 13 miles west from the state line. We also like to stop here sometimes.
Rest Areas There are many located along the interstate if you want to use the restroom or just stop driving for a bit. This is not including the toll road. Here is roughly where they are at based on mile markers: 336, 309, 265, 224, 187, 132, 96, 48, 9. These are what I can find and remember. If you are coming east from Colorado the rest area at around mile 9 is a welcome center for anyone new coming through the state.
Driving through Kansas via I-35 or I-135 or US-81 If you are traveling through Kansas via I-35 or 135, there are some towns you can stop at along the way to your destination. More specifically, I shall give some suggestions that have enough variety.for you. I will list the exit numbers, the town, and some reasoning. It is up to you which place is more convenient according to the pace of your travel. I-135 is a non-toll road. Almost all of I-35 in Kansas is toll road except from Kansas City to Emporia. The Kansas Turnpike is something that I will talk about in the future.
Emporia to Kansas City via I-35 There are a few cities between Emporia and Kansas City on I-35: Lebo, WIlliamsburg, Ottawa, Wellsville, Edgerton, Gardner, and then you enter the Kansas City suberbs. If I were to stop anywhere on the way to Kansas City or Emporia, I would probably choose Ottawa since it is bigger and has more ways to get there. Therefore, you should find somewhere to stop if you choose to stop here along the way to either major town.
Driving North to I-80 via I-135 and US-81 I-135 runs from Wichita to Salina. It is very helpful when traveling north from places such as Wichita or Oklahoma when getting to Nebraska for example.
Past Salina, US-81 is a two-laned road all the way to York, Nebraska where it meets I-80. Looking on the flip side of things, it is useful for people in places such as Nebraska and Kansas to connect directly with I-35 to get to Oklahoma and even Texas.
Summary In summary, I-35 travels from Texas and Oklahoma and then makes a slant starting from Wichita towards Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. I-135 and US-81 from Wichita through Salina to I-80 in Nebraska create a fast and convenient route through central Kansas and Nebraska and help travelers trying to stay in the center part of the northern states have an easier time getting there. Now where to stop on I-135? Here are some suggestions that I have for you:
Wichita (Exits 1-11) As you can tell there are many places to get off in Wichita. You can check out Wichita State or take a plane from Wichita to either Dallas or Chicago and go just about anywhere from there. It is known as the air capital of the world. If you are just passing through, Kellogg (US-54 & US-400) has more potential as well as K-96.
Park City (Exits 13-16) If you don’t like to feel so crowded in Wichita, you can stop just north of it in Park City. We tend to stop here a time or two on the way back to Salina. There are a lot of places to stop even here if you want. Exit 14 is probably a good exit.
Newton (Exits 30-34) The main exit is most like Exit 31. It actually has more than one road you can turn on and has a few places off to the sides of the road. The north part of town is at Exit 34 where it connects to K-15. Exit 30 connects with K-15 & US-50 to get to the south part of town.
Hesston (Exit 40) Not the biggest town, but if you continue, you will have to go about another 20 miles for another good stop. Probably a good place to stop between Newton and McPherson. Exit 40 is the only way from interstate into town. We don’t stop here too often, but it is somewhere we can go just in case we need it.
McPherson (Exits 58 & 60) Exit 60 is the main exit where it connects to US-56 and Business US-81. Business US-81 going south goes through downtown, joins with K-61 from Hutchinson, and intersects with I-135 at Exit 58. Going west from the interstate, there are many places off US-56 you can stop for food, gas, or a restroom break. Continuing west you can find the downtown if it interests you.
Salina (Exits 88-95) This is where you really get to see the length of Salina going from north to south. You can’t see too much from I-70 since it just gets by the north part of the town. Exit 88 is the outskirts of town and then Exits 89 and 90 get you to the south part of town. Those two exits long with Exit 92 is where I recommend you stop if you stop here at all. After that, it is just a few miles north to I-70. From there, you can go west, east, or north on US-81 to Concordia and beyond.
Rest Areas There are only a few on I-135 & I-35 that are not on a toll road. Based on mile markers, there are two around 24 and 68 on I-135 and one around 175 on I-35. All other rest areas on I-35 in this state are on the Kansas Turnpike.
Highways and Interstates What is interesting about highways or interstates is that usually, there will be some sort of a small green sign that has a number on it which will occur every mile. It is probably the most helpful if you are traveling to the end of that highway, or if you are traveling to a new state. It gets even better than that when you are traveling south or west.
If you notice the highways, you can see that there are exit numbers and they either count up or count down depending on the direction that you are going. The numbers relate to the mile marker that is at that spot. The reason for that specific number comes from how far you are from the end of the road or the state from the south or west side. If you know the mile marker number at the point where it goes to another state or where it ends, the cool trick can work any direction.
Do the math! The cool trick is that you know how far it is from that end point to where you are, thanks to the number on the green sign. The engineers building the road have already done that math for you. It just gives you a better idea of how far you have to go if you are traveling to that endpoint and why the number on the mile marker sign is that specific number.
Are we there yet? Also, mostly on interstates, you might notice that there are smaller, white signs on the side of the road that appear a lot more frequently. They represent every tenth of a mile. You know this because after ten of those white signs, the next green mile marker sign pops up indicating that you have traveled one mile from the last one of those same signs you saw. Another fun fact, on some interstates, most likely in urban areas, there will be some signs in the middle of the road on a mini barrier that indicate you have travel every fifth of a mile, possibly with the interstate you are on with the direction you are going. After five of them, there will be yet again an indicator that says you have traveled yet another mile along the long highway.
Thank you to those who have read this fun article over mile markers and what they are all about. This was written for anyone who was curious about this topic and took the time to read a little bit about them. Now you probably know a lot more about them than you did before!
Some of the world’s most beautiful places are located in Patagonia. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan called the Southern region of Chile and Argentina “Patagonia” which means “big feet”. This region is sparsely populated and offers miles and miles of pristine beauty.
How to get explore Patagonia You can fly into Santiago International Airport, Chile (SCL) or Buenos Aires International Airport, Argentina (EZE) to start your journey to Patagonia. You may wish to fly into one country and fly out of the other. If you can spare the time, fly into Santiago, Chile. Go down to the Valparaiso, Chile on the Pacific Coast of Chile. Enjoy some time on the beach and then get on a Patagonian cruise down to Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan (which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean). If you do not have the time, fly from Santiago,Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile. You can make Punta Arenas, Chile your base in Patagonia. Take your time to to discover the Chilean side of Patagonia. Cross the border over to Rio Gallegos, Argentina and take Ruta 40 that runs along the Andes Mountain Range to explore the breathtaking Patagonian region of Argentina. You can make your way North to Buenos Aires, Argentina if time permits.
Antarctica Do you know that Chile has its own Chilean Antarctic Territory? Chilean Antarctica is a territory claimed by Chile across from Patagonia. Puerto Willams (Cabo De Hornos), Chile would be your starting point to Antarctica. You can also cross from Puerto Willams, Chile over to Ushuaia, (Tierra Del Fuego) Argentina which many consider the end of the world. You are pretty much in the bottom of the world here! It is an experience of a lifetime! You can fly from Ushuaia, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina to connect to your international destination.
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Kerala is located in the West Coast of Southern India. The climate is excellent for growing spices such as cardamon, cloves, cinnamon and peppers.
Cochin(Kochi) The beautiful beaches of Cochin (Kerala), with graceful coconut trees must have been a welcome sight to weary European sailors. Cochin became a very important trading post settled by the Portuguese. Cochin’s history goes further back. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews and Chinese have all traded in Cochin and along the Malabar Coast. Its natural harbor and trade made Cochin to become the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
Take a houseboat cruise through the calm backwaters of Kerala. The lush greenery is breathtaking.
Or visit Cherai Beach with beautiful coconut groves in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala.
Kerala Food Seafood is abundant here and many dishes include coconut. Freshly grated coconut has a delicious taste. It is not the same as what we get here in the US in the frozen section. Fresh coconut makes delicious chutneys and coconut oil is used to cook pretty much everything in Kerala.
Try some Kerala Karimeen (local fish) and huge Kerala prawns (shrimp) cooked with local curry leaves and spices. This region of India is a paradise for food lovers. You can find tasty vegetarian and also a variety of delicious meat dishes in Kerala.
Getting here Now you can fly in style into the green solar powered Cochin International Airport (COK). Cochin International Airport has grown quickly to become the 4th busiest airport in India.
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Christmas is celebrated in January in Ethiopia. An exceptional place to celebrate Christmas is in the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. This place is also known as the “New Jerusalem”. There are eleven ancient churches clustered together. Pilgrims clad in white come from all over to celebrate Christmas. Eat some wat (thick spicy stew) on a Ethiopian sourdough bread (injeera) which looks similar to Indian dosas.
Getting to Lalibela, Ethiopia Addis Ababa International Airport (ADD) is the international gateway to Ethiopia. Addis Ababa means “new flower”. Ethiopian Airlines flies into the local airport in Lalibela. Lalibela is situated in the Northern part of Ethiopia in the region of Amhara, South of neighboring Eritrea.
South Africa’s Wild Coast (Transkei) is fascinating. How many places in the world can you find cows relaxing on sandy beaches? Wild Coast is a stretch along South Africa’s Eastern Cape’s Northern Coastline. Here you can explore the Xhosa local culture and the natural beauty of South Africa. If you can spare the time, linger a little longer here. Hiking is a good way to soak in the natural beauty of the Wild Coast. There are beautiful seaside villages you can visit as you explore the Wild Coast. Start from East London and head towards Port Edward, South Africa.
The Old Silk Road is being revived with modern infrastructure and technology. The New Old Silk Road is being built and extended from places like Shenzhen, China (Silicon Valley of China) to Duisburg, Germany (strategic river harbor with access to the Atlantic). Now you can travel on paved roads and high speed trains instead of the camels of old on China’s New Belt and Road. Marco Polo would be impressed!
Uzbekistan However it is still the ancient charm of places like Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Samarkand, Uzbekistan that draws tourists to retrace the steps of ancient travelers on the Silk Road. Ideas, food, goods and culture were exchanged between the Far East and the West on the old Silk Road. You could say this was the “interstate” or the “internet” of the old. Things sure moved more slowly then. Timur or Tamerlane of the Mongol Empire invested in building up Samarkand which is now in Uzbekistan. Amazing cities on the old Silk Road!
Nowruz (new day) marking the beginning of Spring is a good time to visit to soak in the Uzbek culture and warm hospitality. Enjoy some Uzbek Plov (Lamb Pilaf) and Samarkand bread.
Fly Uzbekistan Airways to Tashkent International Airport (TAS) which is the largest airport in Kazakhstan. You can get to Samarkand via train from Tashkent.
Kazakhstan Almaty, Kazakhstan is another one of those cities that has grown and thrived! Imagine what the travelers on the Old Silk Road would have felt when they saw those beautiful mountains! In modern Almaty, Kazakhstan, you can find both the Russian Orthodox Ascension Cathedral and the Muslim Central Mosque. You can also try some great Central Asian cuisine influenced by the Great Steppe and nomadic life. You can try some Kazakh Cuisine such as Beshbarmak and Sirne.