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Day 4 - Symphony of Speed

Day 4 title
Intro | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

This Hypertour occurred in 1993; some info may be outdated. Links to current info have been added.

Liberal, Kansas to Cheyenne, Wyoming

Oz Good Witch
"Taste my Wand of Wrath, Sedan!" says the Good Witch in rival Kansas Oz Town Liberal.

We are glad to be alive, apre le deluge.

We are also glad to be in Liberal, KS, one of America's premiere tourist towns (#30). It is home to three separate attractions: A Wizard of Oz Complex, A Library Shaped Like An Open Book, and The Pancake Hub Of The Universe. The Oz complex is ringed by a yellow brick road, including yellow bricks donated by Liza Minelli and The President Reagans. A local girl dressed as Dorothy leads you through a recreated Dorothy's house.

Behind the house, inside another building, snakes a dizzying walk through Oz. Plot points of the film are colorfully recreated life-sized, and midget Munchkin mannequins are everywhere. The sidewalk starting line for Liberal's annual pancake race fires our own appetite.

At Denny's, a large tour bus of elderly African Americans -- Freedom Eaters, we suppose -- challenges the restaurant's serving capacity. The manager, also African American, calls in reinforcements from other shifts, and carries the day. The bus leaves, no doubt on its way to a lunch showdown at the Wichita Denny's.

Reported Pepsi incidents are back down to fifty, and "most have been discounted." We still notice, as we have for the past three days, that Mini-marts everywhere have pallets of Pepsi at special sale prices.

31) Used Car Dealership Made of Petrified Wood, Lamar, CO.

Wonder Tower.
Wonder Tower

From a mile away, the Wonder Tower, Genoa, CO (#32) appears to be bustling. One spots cars in the parking lot, and people up at the top of the tower, trying to see the advertised six states.

Once you arrive, you realize that the parked cars are old and stuffed with bottles; their tires buried five inches deep in the dirt. The people in the tower are crude fakes, lumps of red sheets wearing sunglasses.

The Wonder Tower, located on the highest point between New York and Denver, was a major stop until the interstate bypassed it. Current owner Jerry Chubbuck has stuffed it with an unorganized mound of spoons, farm implements, and arrowheads. Just about the only thing he doesn't have is post cards of his own attraction. In the animal monstrosities room, the jar containing the eight-footed pig is dusty dry, while the one-eyed pig jar leaks formaldehyde. Flies buzz as you ascend the steep stairs of the tower, past the fake people, to the observation deck. It is a great view.

Lincoln Head.
The Great Emancipator, or Captain Christopher Pike? Beep.

We pause at the modest True Transcontinental Railroad Completion Marker (#33) in Strasburg, CO. The Union Pacific would have you believe that cross-country rail service began with the driving of their Golden Spike near Promontory Point, UT in 1869. It was just 19th century corporate PR, however, and East didn't really meet West until fifteen months later, near this forgotten marker.

Civilization briefly intrudes as we rocket around Denver toward Wyoming. Radio promotes a nightclub hosted by "The Blonde Bitch," while DJs Izzy Hard and Willie B. Hung give Lollapalooza tickets to a woman who takes off her shirt in the studio as part of their Tig-O-Bitties contest. Then, for an impromptu $100, she takes off her pants. We're not in Kansas any more...

(#34) Dinosaurs Made Of Car Parts, Swetsville Zoo, Fort Collins, CO.

As we pass the Giant Head of Abe Lincoln (#35), that looms over I-80 near Laramie, WY, a guilt-ridden insurance defrauder tries to rationalize his crime. But the insurance industry ad's narrator/conscience soon has him miserable and unable to enjoy his booty. We imagine the narrator's deep voice emanating from the eminent emancipator above us. (#36) Ames Pyramid, Laramie, WY, (#37) Tree In Rock, Cheyenne, WY: The two directions of I-80 split around Tree In Rock so both ways get a good if "So-what" look at this plucky tree growing in solid rock. Since we've been to the moon, and cured polio, this doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

Also see: Tour Day 5 | Symphony of Speed

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