Kansas Photos: Salina

On Tuesday, the last day of my drive across Kansas, I spent several hours in Salina, 3 to 4 hours west of Kansas City. I found the sunflower motif there, as one might expect in a state with that nickname,Salina downtown alley Kansas Oct 2009

and an Italian restaurant that served a mediocre Caesar salad. That didn’t surprise me at all. At least it was cheap and the waitress very nice. I wish I had gone to this placeSalina downtown Mokas exterior Kansas Oct 2009for “lunch,” where I found 2 great desserts instead. I told myself one of them was for my sister, but of course it disappeared quickly.

I had originally planned to visit Salina’s Yesteryear Museum, one of those places with in-buildings and out-buildings and all manner of historical stuff. But instead I found myself circling downtown looking for a place to eat lunch, and lo and behold, I came upon the Smoky Hill Museum, Salina Smoky Hill Museum exterior Kansas Oct 2009

an imposing building with a scary parking lot next to it.Salina parking sign near Smoky Hill Museum Kansas Oct 2009

I went in and parked anyway, rebel that I fancy myself, but the friendly and informative woman at the front desk, who reminded me of my aunt, advised me to park somewhere else. “They tow,” she warned. After I had gotten more advice out of her, such as where I should eat in town, and what was the address of the Yesteryear Museum (“Not that I have anything against this one,” I told her, which probably didn’t impress her), I did move my truck into street parking. Then I had the aforementioned salad and returned to the museum, which was all about Salina as a “city at the crossroads,” the main crossroads being the Solomon, Saline, and Smoky Hill Rivers that cradle Salina.

As one might expect, the exhibit began with the first inhabitants and what the European settlers did to them after they arrived, as well as conflict among Indian tribes themselves when the settlers started moving one tribe into another tribe’s territory. I peeked into the log cabin (not a good exposure here, unfortunately),Salina Smoky Hill Museum log cabin interior Kansas Oct 2009

found out where the phrase “show your mettle” came from,Salina Smoky Hill Museum mettle origins Kansas Oct 2009

and in general enjoyed the circular layout and all the hands-on areas (great for kids) in this historical museum. Salina Smoky Hill Museum interior crossroads Kansas Oct 2009

My plan for the return trip is to revisit the Smoky Hill Museum and also get to the Yesteryear Museum and and the local winery. But I make no promises, since my travel plans seldom get followed.