Cross-Country Chronicles: Kansas rocked my Leap List!


So, I have this thing called a “Leap List.” It’s a list of things I want to do before I settle into my “adult lifestyle” after graduation. While I can’t share a whole lot of details about my post-graduation plans yet, I will say that I plan on relocating and that I’m pretty pumped about some of the potential opportunities ahead of me. But, I have the next few months to enjoy my time as an “irresponsible” college student. So, I drafted a Leap List. I’ve crossed a few items off. I had blue hair. I bought tickets to an indy bluegrass/folk concert in Chicago (YEAH, Trampled by Turtles!!!). I’ve been slowly knocking off items, and while not all of them will be reached because of things like time and money, I’ve made good on many of my promises to myself.

As I write this post, I’m living another one of my Leap List items. One of the items was to take a road trip to somewhere, just for fun. I had business engagements in Kansas City during spring break, and friends out in the Manhattan, KS area. So, I planned ahead with some friends and came out to Manhattan. I’ll be heading into Kansas City after supper tonight to prepare for my meetings in the city over the next few days.

It’s great to feel like I’m making the most of the time and opportunities I have left as a college student before I settle into the new life I’ve have somewhere outside of Illinois. I know that I already plan on relocating; life would have to throw me a major curveball for me to accept anything less than a big adventure building a home in a new place.

The states I've been to. Maybe one of these will be the place I call "home" down the road. Maybe I'll head off to new exciting adventures in a completely new place!

This trip to Manhattan has been fantastic thus far. I got on the road at 5 a.m. on Saturday; Google Maps said the drive from Martinton, IL to Manhattan, KS was nine hours and 40 minutes. This was a “light trek” after my 3-day trips to and from California. So, I departed early, with hopes of arriving around 4-ish. I’m not a morning person, but the numbness that comes from waking up at 4 a.m. and then almost instantly getting into a car and driving for several hours straight meant that I was wide awake by the time I hit the Missouri border. Then again, realizing I’d missed my interchange east of Peoria probably helped wake me up too…so, there’s that.

About an hour and a half into my drive, the sun started to catch up with me.

I used to hate long-distance driving, especially alone. And by, long-distance driving, I mean…anything more than 45 minutes. I’ve realized that I don’t mind driving, but I do mind driving through the same routine routes. The trip to California put travel into perspective for me. The location is exciting, yes, but just as in life the journey should be a joy as well. So, even when I realized I had to take a detour, I soaked it up. I was in new territory, listening to new radio stations, on my way to an adventure.

Somehow, I ended up arriving AHEAD of schedule. I  met my friend Jodi Oleen at a K-State horse show that she was helping officiate. Jodi and her husband Brandon graciously hosted me. They introduced me to a couple of great dogs, a yard full of stocker calves, a small herd of heifers and pairs, some charming horses (Pete and I hit it off!), and an adorable bottle calf with an inexperienced mama.

Some of the happy heifers in Brandon's herd.

Saturday night, we were trying to decide what to do for supper. Jodi had defrosted some Oleen Hereford steaks from Brandon’s family’s ranch, yet when Brandon mentioned wanting Chinese food, I was quick to agree with him. Apparently, when you come to Kansas, you eat beef…not cheap Chinese food from Aggieville. It was a win-win situation, because I woke up to steak and eggs on Sunday morning.

I also got to experience Little Apple Brewery, which is apparently a poplar stop in Manhattan. Their Wildcat Wheat beer was pretty good, although Chicago’s Goose Island 312 (pronounced Three One Two, NOT Three Hundred and Twelve) is still my favorite beer. Even better than good food and good beer at Little Apple? Good company. Sheridan Wimmer has been a Twitter friend since…I can’t remember how long. The early days, I guess. We met at the 2010 AgChat Conference and again at the 2011 one. She’s always a good time, and it was great to see her again. Little Apple was also the FIRST TIME I had the joys of meeting the ever-fun, ever-outpsoken, always-fantastic Brandi Buzzard. Along with the poor menfolk that were dragged out by their respective ladies, we had a great time.

Ignore my demon eyes. I don't actually have the Devil in me. Thank you to Jodi, Brandon, Sheridan, and Randell for a great time at the Little Apple Brewery!

I’m preparing to head into Kansas City tonight, after one last meal in Manhattan with Brandi. I’m excited to head into the city for three days of hustle and bustle and the corporate rush. I’m looking forward to meeting great folks there. At the same time, it’s a little sad to be leaving such a fantastic weekend behind me. Life is a bittersweet masterpiece.

Manhattan, Kansas has been a MASSIVE success, both as an item on my Leap List and part of my Cross-Country Chronicles. The amazing people made it that way. I can’t thank you all for it; it was the prefect blend of travel, companionship, agriculture, and social media geekery. Really, how much more lucky can a gal get?!

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5 thoughts on “Cross-Country Chronicles: Kansas rocked my Leap List!

  1. I am so excited the Little Apple made your Cross Country Chronicles!!! I enjoyed your company so very much, and so did the grumpy cowboy- even though he would never admit it. You are a fabulous lady, Kelly. I wish you the best where ever your career and travels send you. Can’t wait until next time!

    • Hi Nicole! I’m glad you like the idea. You should do it; I wish I had thought of it earlier. I think having a structured “bucket list” of things to do and places to go during college might have made things more exciting! I’ve had plenty of REALLY cool experiences but I think it could have been even better.

      Go for it. Make your list. If you don’t achieve all of them, ah well. The journey, and memories, matter more than actual items checked off. Good luck, and be sure to blog about it (and let me know how it goes!)

  2. Pingback: My Cousin Is Vegan

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