Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quirky Sightseeing in Kansas and Oklahoma

When last I left you, we were tucked into Alice's RV Park in Hooker, OK for the night, having traversed 3 states on our first day out.  We picked Hooker as a stopping place for a couple of reasons.  One, the name! The town apparently has a sense of humor (the official town slogan is "It's a location, not a vocation"), as evidenced by some of the signage we saw.

The town team is called the Horny Toads!

Not sure if this is still in business...

I had a chance to visit the Hooker Chamber of Commerce and Gift shop where I was able to pick up a little souvenir...

Secondly, Alice's RV Park is the first Passport of America campground we have visited.  And all I'm going to say about that is that I hope other parks in the system are a little, no I really mean a LOT, better!

And, third, Hooker was close to Liberal, Kansas which had numerous oddities that I wanted to see.  We spent a few hours in Liberal, which is a town of about 20,000 people.

The first place to stop was the Tourist Information Center, where there was a statue of Coronado.  What does Coronado have to do with Kansas?  Well, apparently he was sold a bill of goods by a guide who described the area as fabulously wealthy with gold everywhere.  Needless to say, when Coronado and his party arrived, there was no gold and the guide who led them there was killed.

Francisco Vazquez de Coronado

According to legend, the first settler to the area was "mighty liberal" with the water from his well, thus the name of the town!

Liberal is also the home of Dorothy's house from the Wizard of Oz and the Land of Oz museum.  We didn't take the official tour, but were able to walk the grounds and take some pictures.  There are statues of Dorothy on many street corners throughout the town.

Dorothy's House

Dorothy's Storm Cellar

The Yellow Brick Road

Sid and the Tin Man

Me and Dorothy

Next door is the Coronado Museum, which houses Indian artifacts, a Western gallery and a turn of the century doctors office, as well as an old Post Office.  The home itself is beautiful, with original oak staircase and two original bathrooms.

The town library has an unusual feature...the front of the building is shaped like a book.  And in front of the library is a Mom-ument, the Pioneer Mother of Kansas, paying tribute to all the mothers who settled the wilderness.  These statues or monuments are scattered through the country to pay tribute to mothers whenever a community is overpowered by feelings of maternal pride, duty or guilt.

Liberal, KS town Library

Pioneer Mother of Kansas 

Last stop in Liberal was at the International Pancake Day Hall of Fame.  In 1445, a housewife in Olney, England, was making pancakes when the tolling of the church bells began, indicating it was time to go be "shriven" of her sins.  The pancakes were not quite finished, so the housewife grabbed the pan and ran to the church. This became a local tradition with a competition to see who could get to the church first. In 1950, a Liberal, KS Jaycee issued a challenge to the vicar in Olney to make it an international event with the two towns having a friendly competition to see who could run the 415 yard course the fastest.  And International Pancake Day was born.  The Hall of Fame is open only by appointment, but I did get a picture of the stack of golden pancakes on its doorstep!

Hall of Fame

Pancakes with butter...yum!

Tomorrow is another day and we'll be on the road to Oklahoma City.  Until next time...

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