How to get to El Dorado Lake El Dorado Lake is one of two great big lakes closest to Wichita, Kansas. To the west is Cheney Reservoir which you can get there from Wichita by taking via K-251 from US-54 and US-400.
To the east is the El Dorado Lake which you can get to from Wichita by taking via K-254. US-54 and US-77 also meet up in the town of El Dorado. K-177 runs on the east side of the lake and I-35 runs through the north part of the lake and even cuts through a part of it. If you look on the map, you can tell that the south and the east part of the lake have more activities since it is more accessible to the two-laned highways.
Driving via K-177 Driving via K-177, you can visit the Shady Creek Area or the Bluestem Area.
Shady Creek Area Towards the south you can find the Shady Creek Area by taking Access Road to NE 6th Street. You can find tons of designated camping areas with a boat ramp to use as well as plenty of restrooms. It will be a right turn after the park station unless you want to go to the Shady Creek Sales & Service building. If you are taking Access Road west from the highway and you don’t want to take NE 6th Street to the campgrounds, just continue west to find more excitement by the Walnut River.
Bluestem Area To the east north of the Shady Creek Area you can find the Bluestem Area that includes some cabins, more campgrounds, and a swim beach. There are many restrooms and showers you can use to clean up, change clothes, etc. Apart from the highway and anywhere east from it the area is surrounded by the lake on both sides. This is in my opinion probably one of the cooler places to visit for the day.
Kanopolis Lake is located west of Salina and Lindsborg, and east of Ellsworth and the town of Kanopolis. You can get here via K-141. Take K-140 or K-4 to get to this highway.
Up north you can find more campgrounds and hiking grounds to take. For the people wanting to ride a boat, a way to do it is going to the Buzzard Bay Boat Ramp. My youth group took me here once and it was pretty interesting. We went hiking, and then made a campfire to cook hotdogs and smores. There is one public swimming beach along Beach Road. The best way to get here is by taking Vendago Road west. It splits into Horsethief Road and Beach Road and you can navigate from there depending on your desired destination.
Down south include more campgrounds, but most importantly, in my opinion, a better beach for swimming. There are showers and restrooms nearby. There are also some included up north for the activities up there. The way to get there is by taking Langley Point Road.
On the other side of the highway, the same road is called Riverside Drive. This is how you get to the outlet which requires another left turn. This is where the Smoky Hill River comes back from the lake and meets Sand Creek. Last time I went here, I saw people swimming, so I assume you can swim as well. There are restrooms in the same area. Or if you don’t like the water, it is a good place to take pictures.
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.
I find a lot of people my age that like to use electronics when they are bored to play video games, watch video games, other YouTube videos, or binge watch television and movies. These things get more attention than board or card games you can play in real life. Listed below are some games that require at least one opponent but don’t require any electronic to play that I still find to be fun today:
Checkers / Chess – Grab an opponent and play one or the other to either win or checkmate! When I was younger, I wanted to play checkers a lot until I learned chess which I have a special interest in. It helps you be a smarter person and use your brain more which is why it is so beneficial to play and learn more about the game. Checkers is also another fun game anyone can play without too much thought. Either prevent your opponent from moving at all or eliminate all of their colored checkers!
Uno – Play until you have no cards to match the number or color with the last played card laying in front of you! There is more than one version to this game, but I prefer the original version. I have learned the game Uno Flip most recently which gives more variety to the sets of cards. Multiple people can play the game at one time. This can even be up to as much as 10 players.
Sorry – Simply escort all your colored pawns to Home before anyone else and you win! There are also many versions to this game. I have personally played the original Sorry game with a little bit of Sorry Slide, and some of Sorry Spin. A family of four can play any of these versions at one time.
Game of Life – Get a job, get married, have kids if you wish, retire, and be the richest player at the end of the game! Use action cards to get everyone involved even if it is your turn. This game also has a limit up to four players at one time.
Clue – It is pretty cool to see that this game actually originated from a movie and that it has multiple endings to it. It is satisfying for me to check boxes and eliminate suspects, objects, and locations as the game progresses. It feels good to accuse correctly at the end of the game if you get the chance! Up to six people can play the game.
Monopoly – This is in my opinion the most well-known board game out there. Gain properties to build houses and hotels on to become the richest player or the only player that doesn’t go bankrupt. Many people play really long games that go on for hours or maybe even days. A way to reduce the time is giving players less money to buy properties or pay rent or adding a time limit to later find the richest player at the end of the round. I still find the longer version to be more fun because it is how we learned it and the fun lasts that much longer. There are eight special characters for each player who wishes to play the game with others.
Bonus: Just playing with a normal deck of cards is sometimes fun. Solitaire, Slap Jack, Go Fish, Old Maid, and Poker come to mind. Each game has a different limit to how many players can participate. I find Solitaire and Go Fish to be fun, but go ahead and take your pick on it.
This reservoir is located near Lawrence, Kansas. K-10 used to end right at the lake, but it now bypasses the city of Lawrence and ends at the Kansas Turnpike aka I-70. You can still travel here off an exit at the southwest side.
This reservoir is located near El Dorado, Kansas east of Wichita. The Kansas Turnpike goes over its north side and you can exit via US-77 or K-177 to visit this lake to take pictures of nature. If you are coming from the south end, you can also follow US-54 east of Wichita and El Dorado and find it to the north.
There are very few lakes on the west side of Kansas, but if you are willing to take the trip, you can find this lake located south of I-70 and north of K-4 via K-147. If you look out west, it is very hard to spot lakes that exist in Western Kansas. An honorable mention is Lake Scott State Park that is north of Scott City and is probably one of the only lakes like Cedar Bluff that exist in this region of the state. Cedar Bluff Reservoir is probably one of the biggest lakes in this part of the state and is worth visiting sometime.
This lake is located in west central Kansas south of K-18 and north of I-70 via K-232. K-181 meets up with K-232 here and is another way to get to Wilson Lake. K-232 goes an extra mile south of I-70 to get to Wilson, Kansas in which the lake or the city was named after. Although a very big lake, there appear to be even bigger lakes in Kansas than this one. It is still a great place to visit nonetheless like all the other ones mentioned and like some other big lakes, there are houses near the lake to give people inside a great view day and night.
Milford Lake is the largest lake in the state of Kansas with an area of 64 square kilometres. This lake is located north of I-70, west of Junction City, and west US-77 via K-57. K-244 meets up with K-57 from I-70 and is another way to get to Milford Lake. If you draw a line of symmetry on US-81, Wilson and Milford Lakes almost appear to fold on one another on a map. Even though looking similar in that way, out of all the lakes in Kansas, this is probably one of the more special ones since it holds a record for the state. I am sure you can do all sorts of things like you can with all lakes: Ride a boat, camp, fish, hike, and most importantly, relax.
Having fun at your own house can be fun, but after a long time, I think most people can agree it can get quite boring. Whether it is a normal day or if there is COVID-19 in your area, here are five things I recommend you do so you can stay at least somewhat productive with your time:
Rest up If you have nothing to do, it is not a bad idea to catch up on some hours you missed the past few nights. That way, when you are busy, you will feel more capable of completing your task. At night, it is easier to go to sleep when you are bored because when you have lots of thoughts going through your mind, it is harder to sleep because your mind is distracting you. No one likes being tired, so if you have the chance, you can relax and take a nice afternoon nap so you can finish the day strong.
Playing video/board games I know video games is something we tend to do too much already, but the reason why this is a good suggestion is because time will pass by faster than you will think. Anything fun like this will entertain you for the time being until you can (safely) get back to normal activities you have planned throughout the week. There are also plenty of board or even card games you can play that are not on the internet such as Monopoly or Chess that you can play for hours and hours. This leads into my next suggestion.
Have fun together as a group If there are a group of you that have nothing to do, you might as well try to play something that you can’t do by yourself. Even playing games online with others is a great choice. Whether it is friends of family, or the same group over and over again, it should be more fun than trying to do something by yourself. This is a highly recommended thing to do if you are bored because you can do a lot more multiplayer activities than single player, and even in single player games like minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite, etc., it is always nice to have a friend play with you on your side.
Take a short drive If it is legal and you have your own vehicle, getting out of the house for an hour or two is a way to take a break from living in your house for a long time. You can take some snacks and refreshments and drive to somewhere like a lake and come right back. The experience is even better if there is less traffic and your destination is quiet and peaceful. If you know somewhere like this, going to it every once in a while is a nice way to give you a break before resuming your normal schedule.
Increase your skill level with your hobbies Whether it is music, drawing, writing, reading, or running, you can take the time to get better and better at it and use it to impress others. If you have a very long time to spend on something like this, you can plan out a project and use your skills to create something big. You get bonus points for making money off of what you create. Whatever you do, make it something you or others will enjoy, have fun doing it, and be very creative with what you make!
Some travelers who are either self-quarantined or unable to make it home may consider using technology described in the link shared below. Thank God we have technology that allows us to communicate during this difficult time. Borders may be closed but if you have Wi-Fi or smartphone you can still work and communicate with your family and co-workers.
Topeka is the capital of the state of Kansas. It lies in the eastern part of the state. You can get there multiple ways. For example, you can get there via I-70, I-335, US-75, or K-4. Since it is the capital of the entire state, there surely has to be something cool there right? Here are some cool places I have been to in Topeka so far:
Historic John and Mary Ritchie House. This was just the beginning of our field trip to Topeka. I did not know that the Underground Railroad was in Kansas before we arrived at the house. It was all real, which is why the experience was so cool. If you’re a fan of the Underground Railroad, this is a place to go. You will most likely learn something while you are there!
Brown v. Board of Education. This was our second stop on our field trip. Since we had learned about the civil rights movement in history, this was a nice addition. It was like a review for what we were learning about in school. For people interested in learning about the civil rights movement or you just like the topic, this is a must. Maybe you might learn something you didn’t know before!
Kansas State Capitol. This was the last stop on our field trip. We were able to explore the huge area. It was very cool to ride down the elevator because you could really tell how tall the building was from that perspective. The place was nice and fancy, as you would expect. I can’t name just one favorite moment there because the whole experience was the best part of our visit there.
Kansas Museum of History. I went with my family here and there was a lot to learn and explore about the place which is why it is interesting to go there. And yes, there is a gift shop included for any shoppers out there interested.
For more information about these places, the links provided for each of them are above. Thank you for reading! Be sure to read more articles on the website!