So, after the disappointing start to the day at the mini Statue of Liberty, we were anxious to get to our next point of interest...the Geographical Center of the Coterminous United States.
First though, we stopped in at the highly recommended Second Cup Cafe...
|OMG! SAMMICHES and PIE and ICE CREAM! Oh my!|
in Smith Center, KS for a bite of lunch where Acr0nym had a pork loin sammich on soft pretzel bread. I only mention this because I'm still thinking about (and jealous of) that sammich. OMG good. If you ever find yourself near Smith Center, be sure to stop in at that cafe. Everything was mighty tasty and you'll likely be sitting next to the local sheriff and any number of town folk. (OH! And, before I forget, Main St. in Smith Center plays the local radio station over a PA system so you can hear it as you walk along. And it wasn't country! I even sang along to Alanis Morissette.)
Afterward, we headed east on US 36 for a few more miles until we saw this...
|This marker isn't even on the same intersecting highways as The Center!|
It wasn't long afterward that we would turn north for the first time in earnest onto US 281 - a road that would eventually take us into Nebraska and its delights.
But first up? That's right...The Creamy, Succulent Center.
Just off US 281 on state road 191, The Center, as it is marked, isn't even the actual center. No. In fact, The Center is in the middle of some farmer's adjacent field and he doesn't take kindly to people trampling his crops as is evident on this sign in front of a farmhouse just behind Hans Gothwökkit that reads something along the lines of "We do NOT have souvenirs here! If you want souvenirs, go back to Lebanon. They have lots!"
|Hans Gothwökkit at the Geographical Center of the Coterminous United States|
The Center itself is marked with a monument...
|The Geographical Center of the Coterminous United States Marker|
But there is also an old motel that is now in use as a hunters' lodge (we saw actual hunters there) and a little 6-seater chapel...
|Chapel and Lodge in the background|
The chapel is accessible, we assume, 24 hours a day. So, being us, we totally went in and had Hans deliver us a hellfire and brimstone sermon from the tiny (but not as tiny as he is) pulpit...
|Welcome to you're (intentional Frisky Dingo reference) D00M!|
|OMG! Can anyone say Heartland Americana Kitsche?!|
We then went out for a smoke and sat on a little bench, generously shared with us by a very cool preying mantis...
|Preying mantis generously sharing space with us filthy smokers|
The sounds defied description...wind, flagpole clanks, cicada, crops rustling. Acr0nym tried to capture the stillness of the country here by microphone but his attempts were deterred by windsong unfortunately. It was, in a word, peaceful and somewhat mysterious in its lack of industrialization. It was almost as though we could hear the gods approaching. It was why we were here. We had come to look for America. We'd started to find it on that bench outside a 6-seater Christian chapel. Odd that, given how we'd come to decide on our journey based on a book that doesn't even mention Jesus.
Eventually we'd leave that spot. We'd decide we wanted to turn back toward Lebanon, KS where the souvenirs and the nearest gas station were. We'd find the Lebanon water tower...
|This picture is awesome!!!|
|Ladow's Market in Lebanon, KS..."mini Wal-Mart" hee hee...hee hee|
It was...oddly spiritual, this stop. A stop in a small town of 200 people. A stop that would...eventually...make me feel smaller than Denver ever could.
Beyond any other we'd make.