At first, the fact that there’s nothing here except farmland with a near absence of topographical features is sort of beautiful. It’s surreal. You pass through miles and miles of nothing but cornstalks waving in the wind. But then you pass through more miles of it, get bored and slowly devolve into madness.
The few times I’ve been on road trips that pass through Kansas, it’s been a constant search for the next pee and gas stop. It’s not necessarily because I have a tiny bladder—I can hold it with the best of ‘em. Put me up against an overworked Kindergarten teacher in a The Great Not Peeing-A-Thon and I miay just win.
Instead, it’s to look (albeit briefly) at something that’s not flat farm fields and the bugs that hop out of them and onto your windshield.
Kansas is the one place that I simply dread passing through.
Take a plane! Planes are good. Enjoy the tasty barbecue. Kansas and I share a deep love of slow-cooked pork. Watch some race cars, too, or maybe even drive one yourself. But for the love of all things holy, if someone is towing a car up there for you, they deserve hazard pay, a case of really good beer, or something.
“Kansas” has become my shorthand for this expanse of America that’s so flat, and so perilous to drive through for attention span’s sake. Technically, this area I’d like to avoid extends into some of Nebraska, northern Oklahoma and eastern Colorado. But sorry, Kansas: most of what I’ve experienced of it is in Kansas.
There are other places that are just as devoid of population save for the occasional town, but they at least give you something to look at. The deserts of Nevada and Utah are breathtakingly gorgeous, and full of kooky roadside stops because, well, what else can you do out there? Southern Wyoming is windy enough to make a mid-‘90s Ford Explorer feel like a sailboat, but there are mountains. You feel like you’re on top of the world as you cross the Continental Divide a couple times.
Kansas? Kansas has straight roads and feed lots. I am done with driving through Kansas.
Where is that one place you hate to drive through? Tell us in the comments below.