The “K” States: Kansas and Kentucky

Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

— Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (2019 Road Trip)

Have you ever wondered where the Geographical Center of the 48 Contiguous States is located at (and yes, 48 since it excludes Alaska and Hawaii)? Well, standing at the official center last year in Lebanon, Kansas was an exhilarating experience! Standing in the center is like standing at the origin of a coordinate plane. In simpler terms, the distance that runs North and South is equivalent while the distance that runs East and West is the same. Despite the initial sentiments of isolation, I instantly had an epiphany and a renewed sense of pride for my country. There is something to be said about the quaint small towns that may inhabit the State along with the friendly camaraderie that evoked a feeling of Americana which thrives in the American spirit. Driving along the infinite roads with rows of corn and greenery on both sides of the car is a memory in itself. While passing through Cawker City, I saw the World’s Largest Ball of Twine!  As the clouds rolled by in the great blue skies, I took in this scenery as the warm beating sun transcended through my side window. After hundreds of miles of straight roads ahead, rural almost instantaneously shifted to the “up and coming,” Wichita. The hotel was filled with people, families, and workers on business trips among many others. It was then that I realized that I am not only a traveler, but I am also an all American girl! 

The Kentucky Derby, whatever it is- a race, an emotion, a turbulence, an explosion- is one of the most beautiful and violent and satisfying things I have ever experienced.”

— John Steinbeck, American Author (2019 Road Trip)

As we crossed the border from Tennessee to Kentucky, I noticed that the air was sort of misty with fresh air. It was midday when we embarked on our brief expedition to the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. After spending several minutes driving through a long tunnel, which was under the Cumberland Mountains, to get to our destination, the light at the end opened to the “first gateway to the West,” which eventually led us to a Visitor’s Center that was lined with fluttering butterflies. It was a pleasant greeting since we were officially standing at the Tripoint between Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Although we did not spend an incredible amount of time in Kentucky, visiting the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park was an educational and pleasant experience.

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