I was dreading the drive through Kansas on my cross-country road trip. Everyone said – it’s as flat as a pancake, you’ll have to pinch yourself to stay awake. I was on the last leg, from Ohio to Colorado. A straight road ran to the horizon with no end in sight. Then …
I looked right, I looked left. Fields surrounded me, some white with snow, some almost white with wheat stubble, huge silos broke the horizon, and I smelled something resembling a feedlot. A farmhouse with its barns and tractors sat alone, not another house in sight. Suddenly, I saw the flat fields differently. These fields, and the people who worked them, were providing my food. I felt profound gratitude.
The flat farms of Kansas and other agricultural states provide sustenance for us all. Kansas is the #1 wheat producer in the U.S. It’s also big in corn, soybeans, and raising cattle and calves. (Remember that, steak lovers.)
Here’s what I took away from my road trip on that long stretch of highway – the need to say “thank you” to the Kansas folks who farm and raise cattle. Thank you for putting up with the unpredictability of the weather that can ruin you, for living through not enough rain, too much rain, wind, freezing temperatures, not enough sun, too much sun. How daring of you to live at nature’s whim.
And I felt grateful to be able to drive through Kansas – and so many other states on this journey. Thankful to see so much of America. Thank you, to the good drivers of Missouri (they knew to move to the right lane to let your pass. I notice that seems to be a lost skill in many places). Louisiana – love the Cajun feel and the swamps of the south. South Carolina coast – great beaches, palm trees, and people. Western North Carolina – lovely hills and mountains and arts.
I breezed through Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. And felt some tension. As a Northerner I had a picture in my head, mainly from a road trip I took with my brother many years ago, of those states as rural, poor, and scary. As I rode by signs for Selma and Montgomery, I was reminded of the civil rights era of marches, attack dogs and murders. I wanted to drive through quickly. But today these states’ interstates could be anywhere – dotted with trees, malls, subdivisions, and green exit signs for cities (like the rest of America). I’m grateful we have come so far as a country. (Although we’re not living in harmony with all people and things yet.)
On my road trip, I also traveled through Virginia, a beautiful green state – with everything from rolling green horse pastures to the red brick heritage of the Revolution to the urban centers around DC; and NY state – rolling hills also, and yet burdened by the City (NYC) which dominates our mental landscapes. And in a previous story, I mentioned Texas. Regardless of what I said, I did have a good time there.
All in all, not only am I grateful to Kansas, but to the U.S. and the ease with which we can travel from state to state. And I’m grateful for the land and people who work it and live close to it. And, I’m grateful to have made it this far on my journey.
Story and photos by Bojinka Bishop, April 15, 2013
- What’s next? Flying High Solo is changing, at least for a while. I launched this site as a magazine, to report on things relevant to solos – interesting people, places, and things to know and do. I didn’t intend to write about what was happening in my life. That was then…...
- 5th Leg On the 5th leg of a many-legged journey: from Ohio to Michigan to New York State to Virginia to North Carolina to Texas: from the cold blustery north to the tropical palm-treed south. ...
- Immigrating? A reader asked me to write more about my impending “emigration” from Ohio. I had likened my journey to my grandparents’ trip to America more than 100 years ago and noted some similarities – being a stranger there, having to build a new life. ...
- Can a place change your life? For Julie Riedmiller, a solo from Denver, and a seasoned traveler, the answer is “yes.” Going to Machu Picchu and trekking the mountains of Peru inspired her to create a new life plan – study Spanish, become fluent, and return to South America for a year....
- Pines, Meadows, Natural Wonders When you look up and see the sun flashing on a million pine needles creating diamonds in air, that is when you’re glad to be solo – to be wide-eyed, in awe without distraction. ...
To celebrate the special in us
Keep on top of what's new – subscribe to Flying High Solo! You'll get a brief email alerting you to new articles. (Your email is safe -- we will not share it with anyone).
What readers are saying
"amazing variety of topics"
"an intelligent, strong, creative, eclectic approach .... that we don't get a chance to read everyday"
"very cool and intelligent"
We’re all solo in our souls – Honoring our unique paths
Rewarding KindnessFlying High Solo is randomly rewarding acts of kindness. Click on "Seeing small beauties…" or click on "Things to do," on the blue navigation bar then on "Seeing small beauties..." for details.
Bella DePaulo's blog for Psychology Today, "the truth about singlism..." News, analysis, facts, and stories about being single in America
Flying High Solo welcomes the submission of news and feature stories for and about solos. Please click on "Submissions" in the top navigation bar for more details.
- January 2017
- September 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- February 2016
- July 2015
- May 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- November 2014
- October 2014
- September 2014
- August 2014
- July 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- January 2014
- October 2013
- September 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- September 2012
- May 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012