We have been driving across Kansas for the last two days and the closest comparison I can come to in Australia is the countryside around Hay. Kansas is like the Hay Plain with grass - hot, flat and vast. The only difference is the colour of the grass. The Kansas grasslands are green although the locals say that is unusual.
When we talk to Americans they struggle to understand how Australia can have such huge areas of barren land. We tell them there is no water, in the centre of Australia - absolutely no water. They look at us kindly - as if the water is hiding somewhere, it is just a matter of knowing where to look. More than anything else I think that water, or the lack of it, has defined the divergent histories of our two countries. Without so much water I wonder whether the massive westward migration of so many pioneers from the eastern states in the mid 1800s could have taken place.
|Kansas - hot, flat and vast.|
We are in Independence Missouri for a couple of nights, just across the border from Kansas. Independence was the jumping off point for pioneers, traders and gold seekers heading west. Traders followed the Santa Fe Trail to what was once Mexico, gold seekers followed the California Trail and pioneers followed the Oregon Trail. All these trails had one thing in common - water - they followed the rivers. Rivers so wide they make our own Murray/Darling River System look like a creek.
|A Conestoga wagon - used to carry trade goods on the Santa Fe Trail|
Crossing Kansas was mainly monotonous but a few things broke up the boredom.
|A roadside oil well.|
|The Kansas State Capitol building.|
|A Kansa Warrior standing on top of the dome.|
For the next post in this series click - here
For all my posts on this road trip click - here
24 June 2014