I left. It was dark outside and I starting packing my bags and the next morning I left. Out. Gone. I said goodbye to Wisconsin at sunrise and hello to Kansas at sunset. It was a day—a very, very long day— of driving; my driving day, I called it. Those kind of days, they call for rewards. I named my reward Martinelli’s, the trademark of the most delicious Italian restaurant in the entire city. I sat there, with a glass of red cab and a dish of pasta dreaming of the weeks ahead of me, the sights to see and the adventures to come. Oh how good it feels to have a plan, but also no plan at all: Just simply, a plan to change.
I have to drive over that? It was the first day of my official adventuring and I was beginning my world tour at Deep Creek Waterfall in Kansas. This was a small waterfall, not completely off the maps, but enough in-the-middle-of-nowhere that I didn’t have any service. Slipping around the final bend of the dirt path, I came across a sign sledged with red ink, a warning.
DO NOT CROSS IF WATER IS PRESENT.
Well, water was definitely present, but, whatever, I was at my destination, so that was a problem for a later time. Stepping out of the vehicle, I followed the direction of the current, heading downstream until I came upon Deep Creek Waterfall in all of its glory. The rushing water seemed to trickle off the edge of the auburn boulders and continue their voyage on the other side as if never interrupted by the fall. I had to admit that I admired the droplets. They literally hit rock bottom, and yet continued on to go with the flow despite where they may end up. I wanted to be just like them. Well, I suppose I could do without the rock bottom part, but if that’s what it takes, then so be it.
Since I was still in an area hosting similar weather as Wisconsin, my bare feet weren’t exactly loving the adventure as much as my wide eyes. They battled with each other for a few more delicate moments until the shoeless complainers finally won the argument. I gathered up my equipment and headed back to the car. With no service available to route me to my next location, I figured the safest bet was probably not to cross a river in my car on the first day, so I headed back the direction I’d come from until I was gifted a bar of service and could shift my gaze to the next location: Lindsborg.
Lindsborg is a small town in Kansas known for its Swedish Heritage. Intrigued by its Little Sweden persona, I got straight to exploring. Though their population is only a mere 3,000, they still managed to have a small downtown area, where I began to wander in and out of shops that caught my eye.
“Oh! Uhhh, hello there, how are you?” the man said a bit too eagerly, as if he was startled to actually see someone in his store. With his eyes now following my every movement, I think he felt obliged to continue the conversation.
“So, where are you from?”
“Wisconsin…” I replied, distracted by all of the random trinkets lining the shelves.
“Oh! Which part?”
Seeing as I’ve lived in a few different parts of Wisconsin, I decided to choose the area that felt easiest to explain to a random guy in Kansas.
“You know that little peninsula on the side?” I asked him, gesturing the shape of the state with my hand, “I’m from up there.”
“Oh, I see. Yeahhh, I’ve been there a time or two. What’s that place called again? I think it’s like…”
“Yes, yes! That’s the one! I go shopping up there sometimes to buy merchandise for my store.”
Skeptical, I began to drill him on his Sconnie knowledge and, to my surprise, he passed the test. Checkmate, Mr. Swedish Kansas Man. Now, getting a bit hungry, I began to search for a place to eat, but was greeted by sign after sign reading “CLOSED.” The woman at the next small boutique shared the news that, unfortunately, the pandemic hit Lindsborg pretty hard and that they used to have tons of great spots to grab a bite, but now, not so much. However, she pointed me in the direction of Blacksmith Coffee, a roastery and sandwich shop just down the road and for that, I am eternally grateful.
After enjoying my oozing hot sandwich in the cozy cafe, I took my warm Swedish Mellanrost black coffee to-go and cruised on over to my AirBnb for the night, though I don’t think any place could feel more homey than the warm welcome of the coffee shop.