March Journal – Missed Parades, Prairie Fires, Baseball, and Vegetarianism!

We decided that we have way too much room in our 26 foot palace we call Starbuck, so we are turning the bedroom into a giant fish tank. It will be two hundred gallons of diveable salt water fun. We are confident that 1600 lbs of water added before the sand will not have any effect whatsoever on our travel experience. We will keep it heated to a tropical temperature so we can relax daily in zero gravity-like conditions wherever we may go…Sigh…I need to go swimming.

To the real journal, Batman!

In March, we decided to go vegetarian. We started out with meat substitutes: tofu, faux chicken patties, veggie sausage, black bean burgers, fake pepperoni pizza, veggie hot dogs,  and soyrizo. We have concluded the following; Natalie hates tofu, fake pepperoni is awful and tastes nothing like pepperoni, veggie hot dogs taste how they sound, Morning Star veggie sausage patties are tasty, soyrizo is good, and black bean burgers on a bun with avocado and mayo is amazing. Needless to say, we found it difficult to go cold turkey with meat, pun totally intended. Our biggest issue was finding food we liked. We typically like quick easy things to fix, and we got tired of eating the same three things. By the end of the month, we decided to simply cut down on meat. If any of you know any good veggie recipes where the veggie takes the main course, please contact us on our contact us page or on Facebook and let us know. We will try them.

On another note, March brought baseball. Our boss had season pass tickets and offered us, employees, tickets to games they would not make. It wasn’t pro, but college baseball can be just as fun. We became WSU Shockers fans for a day… well, they were playing Texas so you can probably guess who Natalie was secretly rooting for. She was born and raised there. They played a good game and a close one through most of it. Ultimately, Texas won.

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Luck of the Irish

IMG_20160317_100930230We were all psyched about attending Wichita’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on St. Patrick’s Day. There was only one problem; we assumed the the parade  would fall on the holiday. You know, like the Macy’s Day Parade falls on Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, we didn’t read the whole flyer. If we did, we would have known that the parade was held the Saturday before the actual holiday. So there we stood: Natalie in her clover shirt, Brewy with her pretty green scarf, and me in a large green sparkly bow tie. All dressed up and nowhere to go.

We decided not to let the nonexistent parade ruin our day. Our plan was to drive in a direction until we found something interesting. On our way to the interesting place, we passed some prairie fires. This excited us greatly because we had been looking forward to seeing such an event.

Now, before you judge us and put us on arsonist watch, let me explain. Each year, farmers are given permission to burn the dry grass off their land. The farmers, themselves, don’t always do it. Sometimes they hire a company to work the job. Burning the dead grass assists in the growth of new grass that can be used for cattle grazing. Believe it or not, prairie fires are actually a big part of the ecosystem here. They are naturally started by things like lightning, and they can be very healthy for the local environment. Humans have just gotten in the habit of choosing when and where this process happens.

We were excited to see this sight because it looks…well…pretty. Unfortunately, we could only find a way to view them from afar. Giving up on our aspirations of standing in a burning prairie, we drove on until we found a little restaurant in the middle of somewhere Kansas. The actual name of the town escapes me, but the restaurant was small, quaint and had corned beef with green beer. After finally feeling that we St. Pattied correctly, we began our trek back to the RV park.

Green Beer!
Green Beer!

Our trip home started with Natalie turning down a dirt road headed towards smoke. We did not find a fire on this first road, but we found cows. They were interesting because they all ran away when we stepped out to take photos, but when we got in the car and started driving, they followed along with us. I’m not sure, but I think they were implying that I was more imposing than a car.cows

Once back on the freeway, we attempted to try one more dirt road towards another smokey area. We hit the jackpot! We happened upon a freshly lit fire in a field with no gate. There was a line of fire traveling away from us and little smoldering plumes of smoke coming from various places on the ground. We quickly learned that the plumes where burnt cow patties. Avoiding the smoke patties, we headed for the fire line. The air was thick with smoke which was blowing right at us from the burning grass. We jogged across the charred ground and jumped over the fire to where it was clear. The wind was blowing the smoke away from the grass and we could see the whole line of fire. We both posed for a couple of photos as the fire burned towards our heels, then hopped back over.fire fire2 IMG_20160317_163359145 fire3


We continued the drive down the road and viewed the massive fire that had been lit. We were also treated to a little tornado created from the hot and cold air mixing. Once back on the freeway, I got my asthma attack under control from the smoke while we headed back home. We barely remembered the missed parade that brought us to this exciting day trip.

Art Museum

Wichita’s art museum has free admission every Saturday. We decided to take advantage of this late March They had an excellent photo gallery about the fight for African American rights. They also have a host of classical and abstract galleries, as well. Art museums are not my forte really so other than saying it was fun, I don’t have much to add to that.IMG_20160326_133520859 IMG_20160326_140756884 IMG_20160326_143249219_HDR

Dirty Water

On one of our days-off, we decided to play disk golf at the Herman Hill Park. It is one of the many beautiful parks in Wichita and the course circles the The Wichita Area Treatment, Education & Remediation (WATER) Center. This treatment center serves as a ground water contamination treatment center for the Gilbert-Mosley Project. We played disk golf and I got some photos for my photography lessons. The water center has all kinds of water information as well as a little nature trail that follows the path of the treated water all the way to the river. The best thing was they let our dog Brewy into the building, Any place that allows dogs gets an extra few stars in our book.IMG_20160330_133940195IMG_20160330_142615997
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Wine Tasting!

Last but not least we visited the Grace Hill Winery in Whitewater, Kansas where they gave us a tour of their facility and let us sample just about every wine they make. After getting us liquored up, we were more than happy to purchase a couple bottles of their locally grown and made wine. They do not sell food but encourage all to picnic on their property. They allow customers to wander the vineyard, purchased wine in hand. We left with our unopened bottles before we took them up on that offer.IMG_20160326_155803985

The lesson of the month: Sometimes you have to miss the parade to find the adventure.

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