I find that my son does a lot better if I try to mentally prepare him with what lies ahead. I explained to him that the first day drive across Kansas was going to be pretty boring. I promised him after the first day we would have a lot of fun. Mentally prepared, we loaded up in the car and headed west. Leaving Kansas City, he navigated me on I-70.
I grew up in Kansas and spent a lot of my 20’s exploring it. I dated someone that loved spontaneous adventures as much as I did so we spent days cruising country roads and finding sites. With my goal on Colorado Springs, I decided our first stop would be near Manhattan, KS. One of my favorite places there is called Pillsbury Crossing. It’s a waterfall that many people don’t know about. It’s a few miles southeast of Manhattan on gravel roads and takes a little getting to if you don’t know your way. My favorite part is being able to walk through the water to the falls. We even crawled down and snuck behind the falls.
Our second stop was Rock City in Minneapolis, KS. Again, this is an off the beaten path kind of site. It’s a random park off of a gravel road 3 1/2 miles south of Minneapolis, KS. As you drive up you see giant boulders in a field. It has the largest collection of sandstone concretions in the world. These giant boulders were rolled when Kansas was covered with an inland sea and left here. To a boy, they are a climbing dream come true. We crawled all over them stretching our legs and playing. He decided this was his favorite stop of the day.
Our last stop before our final stop was near Quinter, KS south of I-70. The area is known as the Kansas Badlands. It’s a culmination of chalk, limestone, and shale formations. Castle Rock is literally a giant rock in a field. The Badlands stand near by and are such a different landscape for Kansas you can’t help but like it. It’s not developed as a tourist site, and I have never experienced anyone else there when I’ve visited.
I decided that this would be the only time I broke my own rule and we would not stop again until we hit Colorado Springs. The pre-downloaded movies and books came in handy.
Around dark my son grabbed a pillow and blanket from the back and promptly fell asleep. I decided that any long driving I had to do from here on out would be done while he was sleeping.
Once we reached Colorado Springs I decided it would be a hotel night. One app I use when on the road is Hotels.com. You can search for hotels in the area and search for the cheapest price along the route. Once you stay 10 nights, you get a night free. Fortunately, I had saved up several free nights for this trip. I pulled into our hotel late and checked in. I had to make 2 trips to the car, first carrying his sleeping body and the second for our luggage.