RMH II — Day One : Da Lou to Colby KS

We began attacking RMH II (Rocky Mountain High II) today, with a not-so-early departure from St. Louis this morning. Normally, I’m the kind of driver that tries to leave at the crack of dawn. This morning, though, I elected to have us leave a little later in the morning, allowing us a leisurely morning, knowing that we would be off the road around dinnertime.

As always, the drive across Missouri and Kansas is extraordinarily dull. It’s basically the same kind of landscape across Missouri — rolling hills — and the same kind of landscape across eastern Kansas — fruited plains — and frankly, it’s just the kind of drive I have to push through. Once we get into western Kansas (and tomorrow, into Colorado), the terrain gets me excited, and the drive gets way more fun.

With the drudge-like drive today, we decided to stop somewhere we’d never been before. Across central Kansas, there are loads of signs advertising Wamego KS as a Wizard of Oz center of the universe. After seeing the signs for a while, we decided it was time for lunch, and time for a sidetrip. Ten miles north of I-70, we found ourselves in a very small town, with what appeared to be one big main street, and surrounded by The Oz Museum, The Oz Winery and Toto’s Tacoz. No kidding.

We visited the Oz Museum, and surprisingly, it was actually a fun walk through the history of The Wizard of Oz. I thought it was gonna be pretty cheesy when we first walked in to see a not-so-great figure (wax? statue?) of Dorothy and Toto, but beyond that were a boatload of great artifacts from the film, the book series, the actors and their worldwide impact. For seven bucks, it seemed well worth it, and was a great diversion from the road. After an hour in the museum, we were hungry. The folks in the museum recommended Toto’s Tacoz as a staff favorite.

A couple of doors down from the museum, Toto’s Tacoz was a bit of a surprise. I expected a place full of emerald green mexican decor, but what I saw instead was a very refreshingly tropical feel, with the only Oz-related items being the names of the items on the menu. We had a couple of really good soft tacos, and just kicked back for a while.

After a couple of hours in Wamego, we got back on the road, and headed on to Colby. Once again, we stayed in a Sleep Inn, and once again, we had a great experience. This hotel had large rooms, with a flatscreen TV and desk (kinda like the one we’ve visited in Shamrock TX), making it a great place to rest our boots after almost 600 miles of driving.