Travel United States

York, NB – Salina, KS (US-81)

Not too long ago, the state Nebraska and Kansas decided to make a four laned road stretching from I-80 and I-70. It would start from York, Nebraska, travel south through McCool Junction, Fairmont, Geneva, Strang, Bruning, Hebron, past the Nebraska – Kansas border through Belleville, Concordia, Minneapolis, and finally Salina where it meets I-70 and even I-135. It still exists today and serves a good purpose for faster transportation.

To explain a little better, this US-81 route contributes with I-135 and its purpose as well. If you look at a map, you see I-35 which was once in the central part of the country starting to shift east away from the north central states. With the new roads, there is a faster route for the area that I-35 missed when going east to Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota. In the Dakotas and Nebraska, you realize there is no interstate that runs vertically through the middle of the states. We have history to blame for this. But in short, this new route gives these north central states a faster way to access I-35 in a more direct way to travel to places in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. From the flip side of things, it is easier for the south central states to travel to the north central states as well. It is a step towards making transportation slightly faster in this area.

Here are a few good places to stop along this road from York, NB and Salina, KS:

York – North of I-80 you can truly see the size of the town. US-81 & US-34 mostly bypass the town, but Lincoln Avenue is a main road that runs straight through the town. This is a good stopping point even when traveling along the interstate. Most travelers when in a slight hurry stop south of town rather than in it. They should consider going up a mile if they have the time.

Geneva – To get more options, you can either travel west on F Street or NE-41, whichever comes first. You could stop at Shell for gas, Dollar General for a snack, or even Subway for a nice, healthy lunch.

Hebron – Most of the stops are again west of the highway. Lincoln Avenue is a good way to enter the city from the highway. You can find another Dollar General here as well as a Casey’s. The airport and the country club is south of the town near US-136.

Belleville – North of US-36 and east of US-81 is where the city of Belleville resides. Up north is a Love’s, a speedway, swimming pool, and Rocky Pond. For anyone looking for businesses you can find in most places, there is a Super 8 hotel near a Dollar General, Casey’s, and even a DQ where you can stop for a treat.

Concordia – You don’t have to leave the highway too much at all to stop at a DQ, Sonic, McDonald’s, Subway, Arby’s, and more. South of town they even have a Walmart. It should fill most needs someone would like during the trip.

Salina – This city is blessed to have four lane roads in all four directions. When US-81 reaches Salina, people traveling south have the option to travel west to Hays and Denver, east to Topeka and Kansas City, or south to Wichita and Oklahoma City. Taking I-135 south by Salina gives you more options rather than I-70, but there are still enough stops north of Salina by I-70 to support travelers along their way. US-81 continues south with I-135 after Salina to Wichita and beyond.

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4 Lane Highways in KS

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)
  • US-54 

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)
  • K-96 (South Hutchinson – Wichita – US-54 & 400)
  • K-61 (Hutchinson – McPherson)
  • US-50 & 400 (Garden City – Holcomb)


Lindsborg

Lindsborg may seem small and off to the side of the main road, but is still worth visiting with extra time at hand. Features of this city include the Smoky Hill River and its Swedish background. From I-135, take exit 72 or 78, whichever comes first, depending on the direction of your travel. K-4 travels through both directions of the town as well. At Exit 78, take K-4 west a few miles until you eventually arrive. At Exit 72, take the road west for a mile or so, then there will be an obvious turn right up north that will take you directly up to Lindsborg after another mile or so. This route used to be Business US-81.

I like traveling here for multiple reasons. When available, there is open chess at the Karpov International School of Chess on Monday evenings at 6:30 to 8 PM downtown west of Main Street and just south of Lincoln Street. Also downtown, there are Swedish decorations you can find. On a nice hot summer afternoon, you can visit their swimming pool in the south part of town. You can even find more history of the town near the pool such as the McPherson County Old Mill Museum and the 1904 World’s Fair Swedish Pavilion. 

In the north part of town, you can find Bethany College. Smoky Valley Middle and High Schools are on the west side of the town. The highway is really what is east of town, where there are gas stations and few places to eat and stay in the city. 

So, is it really worth it? I don’t see anything wrong with it. It is just not the biggest thing you will ever see. We have more content about this city on this website to check out.


Lawrence – KU

Welcome to Lawrence, the home of the Jayhawks! This city can be accessed by the toll road I-70, US-59, US-40 and US-24. K-10 is a good bypass that travels around west and south Lawrence and Clinton Lake. 

Their university is known by sports fans for their good basketball teams. When I say it, I mean it. Their basketball teams are ones not to be messed with. If you think you can win in Allen Fieldhouse, their home basketball court, you have a lot of work to do. It is a tough atmosphere to play in. They have won the Big 12 Tournament up to 14 times in a row once before, a record for Division-I basketball (They are currently in the Big 12 Conference). They have also reached the NCAA tournament way more than that. They still lose however, which only makes them better when they learn from their mistakes.

If you think you can beat KU football, you are probably correct if you are in the time from when this article was written. It is a miracle when they win a game because they don’t win very many these days. However, with their new coach Les Miles, they hope to become better in the next few years. They have something going for them, at least Jayhawk fans hope.

This university isn’t known for just sports though. Kansas University has way more to offer you. These were just sports highlights for you. I decided to share this information because I root for universities in sports mostly. It is just my own experiences as a Jayhawk fan. Feel free to see it in person located north of 19th Street, east of Iowa Street aka US-59, south of 9th Street, and west of Tennessee & Kentucky Street. Additionally, West Campus is west of Iowa Street aka US-59, south of Bob Billings Parkway, north of Clinton Parkway, and east of Kasold Drive. Want to learn more about the university online? Learn more here.


Manhattan – KSU

Welcome to Manhattan, the home of the Wildcats! All roads leading to Manhattan are not interstates, but some are four laned such as US-24 east of the city, K-18 west of the city, and K-177 north of I-70. Coming from the west side, you can tell by the landscape that you have to go across a big hill that borders that side of the city. It is a nice scenic drive traveling to Manhattan from any direction you take to get there. It might be one of the more convincing factors that lead people to choose this city in particular.

It is a preference that people say K-State rather than Kansas State. It is a common name for this particular university. When talking about sports, I would say their football and basketball teams are both decently talented. I would lean more towards football because that is one of the things this university is known for. You can count on them more for their football skills and they are usually very good. They are currently in the Big 12 Conference.

This university isn’t known for just sports, however. K-State has way more to offer you. These were just sports highlights for you. I decided to share this information because I root for universities in sports mostly. It is just my own experiences as a wildcat fan. Feel free to see it in person located north of Anderson Avenue, east of College Avenue, south of Kimball Avenue, and west of Manhattan Avenue. Want to learn more about the university online? Learn more here.


Wichita – WSU

Welcome to Wichita, the home of the Shockers! There are many ways to get to Wichita, like on I-35, and I-135, with I-235 bypassing the city. US-54 & 400, aka Kellogg, is a main west to east road that travels through both ends of town. 

Let me talk more about sports because I know the university more for this. It is just from my own experience. On a very special occasion, they get to play against Kansas or K-State. These teams don’t play with Wichita State often because they aren’t in the same conference. The other two universities are in the Big 12, while WSU just recently moved from the Missouri Valley Conference to the American Athletic Conference. 

They aren’t talked about in the football season because unfortunately, they have no football team. Years ago, they had a bad plane accident so severe everyone traveling perished. The university decided it would be too sad to replace them so they didn’t bother finding a new team. Their basketball team, however, is something shocker fans are proud of. They made it to the Final Four in 2013 as a lower seed in the bracket, beating higher ranked teams on their way. Their best upset was against UConn, the top team in their region.

This university isn’t known for just sports. It has way more to offer you. Feel free to see it in person located north of 17th Street, east of Hillside Street, south of 21st Street, and west of Perimeter Road. Want to learn more about the university online? Learn more here.


Local Flowers For Your English Cottage Garden

Local Flowers For Your English Cottage Garden

Covid19 and Gardening

Your travel experiences may be virtual, real or both. Gardening can be a good therapy. It is amazing how by growing local perennial flowers you can bring back those good travel memories. The English Country side is breathtaking. You may not have the beautiful Cotswolds Walls in your backyard. And you may not have the sheep grazing in the pasture. Create your own garden paradise!

American Cottage Garden in Kansas USA

English Cottage Garden in Kansas USA

Cottage Garden In Your Backyard
Surrounding yourself with nature and enjoying God’s creation is rejuvenating. The idea is to maximize the flowers with curvy paths and herbaceous borders. There is balance between Garden and Wilderness. The look is entirely up to the individual gardener. Create your own garden space that reflects your personality and invite the butterflies, birds and pollinators to share it with you.

Lilly Tree

Flowers that go well in your American Cottage Garden
Plant flowers that keep coming back year after year or perennials for your climate zone. Let the breeze blow through your Cottage Garden.

Yarrow
English Cottage Garden

You can relax and watch the flowers dance in the gentle breeze. For an instance you can choose flowers such as Roses, Penstemon, Hollyhocks, Lillies, Mexican Fleabane, Clematis, Hardy Geraniums Coneflowers and Yarrow. Peonies and Irises will keep coming back year after year with beautiful blooms. You can even create a meadow space in your garden with wildflowers. You can choose to plant from seed. If you are planting from seed, choose the meadow wildflowers and not the annuals. Annuals prefer rich soil. And it will attract pollinators to your meadow!


Historic Fort Hays Kansas USA

Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA
Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA

How to get to Hays, Kansas, USA
Via I-70, US-40, and US-183 lies the town of Hays, Kansas, one of the more popular places in the area. Hays and Salina were a big deal when the interstate was first built. If you have noticed when you first approach an interstate, it will have north and south or west and east directions depending on the interstate. With that they will have an important town name in addition to the sign so people know where things are. West of Hays, you will get names of towns on the signs that aren’t even in Kansas such as Limon or Denver in Colorado. East of Hays you will get signs for Salina, Topeka, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc. Based on that information, we can figure that Hays is recognized more than some cities in the state. 

Old Fort Hays Historical Marker
Old Fort Hays Historical Marker

In addition to the interstate and US-183, there is Bypass US-183 that travels around the southwest parts of town, including Fort Hays State University. If you are traveling from East I-70 to South US-183 or from North US-183 to West I-70, this is an excellent way to skip town traffic along Vine Street or US-183. Vine Street is one of the main roads in town with many places to eat. The road actually named “Main Street” takes you through downtown, the library, pool, park, etc. There are also enough businesses north of the interstate to choose from.

Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA
Fort Hays Historic Site Kansas USA

Besides Fort Hays State University, you can visit the Sternberg Museum, Old Fort Hays, a golf course, country club, and more parks. My family likes to visit a park east of Main Street and just north of Bypass US-183. There is a playground, picnic areas, and a great view of Big Creek from the bridge going over it. We like the location of Hays mostly because it is a nice halfway point to meet up with family out west. We have many places to stop for food right off the interstate along US-183 north or south. Occasionally, even though it is slightly off track for us, we like taking the bypass so we can check out more of the town and Fort Hays.

Jellison Covered Bridge - Fort Hays University Kansas
Jellison Covered Bridge – Fort Hays University Kansas

Fort Hays State University Kansas

In the southwest part of Hays, there is the university of Fort Hays State. Along Bypass US-183, you can view some of its sports complexes such as the tennis and baseball fields and their basketball stadium. Slightly east, you can find its campus and educational buildings. 

Fort Hays State Kansas
Fort Hays State Kansas

There is a nice bridge otherwise known as the Jellison Bridge. If I had to pick a cool place at the university, this would be a top pick. Looking south from South Campus Road, it is cool to see the length of the bridge over the water and through the trees. This is a route for students to get to and from the Custer, McMindes, and Agnew Halls or the Performing Arts Center and Nursing Departments. 

Jellison Covered Bridge - Fort Hays University Kansas
Jellison (Covered) Bridge – Fort Hays University Kansas

The main campus extends as far north as North Campus Drive, as far east as Elm Street and Lewis Drive, and as far west and south as the Big Creek Trail. Again, all sports complexes however are near Bypass US-183 west of the trail. There are signs that will help guide you to the fields and stadiums. For people living out west, they consider this to be a decent sized and popular college. K-State and Kansas Universities are all located in the east of the state and Wichita State being centrally located south. This is most likely the next best choice after these three public colleges. There are many community colleges you can find in western Kansas towns such as Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City, Colby, Goodland, etc. 

Fort Hays State University Kansas USA
Fort Hays State University Kansas USA
Fort Hays State Kansas
Fort Hays State Kansas

After everything mentioned, for any future college students, the choice is yours. Visitors can tour at times and see its beauty with all of the buildings, trees, and water such as Big Creek in the background of the college. It looks satisfying enough to be a decent university that deserves to be seen by more people. Feel free to stop by and check out the university! It might be the one for you! 


Waconda Lake Kansas

How to get to Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA
Waconda Lake out in north central Kansas is located west of Beloit and east of Downs. There isn’t much at all in the south part of the lake. All of the activities and important parts are up north. The lake extends as far west as Cawker City and as far east as Glen Elder.

Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA.

South of Cawker City, you can take Lake Drive for some scenic views. South of Glen Elder, you can take Glen Elder Dam Road for more scenic viewing. Additionally, even if you are just travelling along US-24 & K-9 north of the lake, it does cut through part of the lake so you can have another decent view looking south.

World's Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas, USA
World’s Largest Ball of Twine, Cawker City, Kansas, USA

Fun Fact: Cawker City, Kansas has the world’s largest ball of twine for any photographers out there!

Glen Elder State Park, Kansas, USA
The town of Glen Elder is a decent town with a view of the lake daily. West of the town is Glen Elder State Park, or the state park used to visit Waconda Lake. Restrooms and showers are nearby the Pawnee, Kanza, Kaw, Arikaree, and Takoda campgrounds and the Glen Elder Marina. US-24 & K-9 is the main route to get to Cawker City and Glen Elder. If you are coming south on K-128, you can just keep on going straight even after its end and it will take you directly to the campgrounds and the state park. Coming west on US-24 & K-9, the turnoff after Glen Elder Dam Road seems to be a more direct way to access the state park. It is an unnamed road south of the highway but north of it, the street is called 190 Road.

Boat Ramp at Waconda Lake, Kansas, USA

Cawker City and Glen Elder are both small towns but are very near Waconda Lake. US-24 & K-9 run through and near these cities which give these towns some more popularity. Since it is closer to Glen Elder, they named the state park after the town and gave its citizens a better view of the town. However, I am a little more familiar with Cawker City since some of my family has lived there before.