Kansas Trip - March 2016

Introduction: This is the last trip to Kansas before I am going back to Japan. Rather than selling my car to a dealer or someone I don't know, I decided to offer a deal to my American family in Kansas and they took it. With about one week remaining, I decided to drive up to deliver the car so I can see them before leaving, including some trips to the places I wanted to visit. 

3/20: From Houston, TX to Amarillo, TX

To Dallas, TX

I woke up at 5:00am but could not get up until 6:00am, stretched my body and get ready for the day. Finished packing my items and left my apartment at 7:00am. (done)

Getting ready to leave (7:10am)

After setting the GPS, I drove up on Eldridge Pkwy north to get on I-10 East then headed toward the sun coming up on the horizon. When I tried to switch to Sam Houston Tollway, I realized the entrance was closed so I had to drove on the Beltway 8 until hitting US-290 then I can finally get on the toll road. The drive overall was smooth due to the amount of traffic. (done)

Driving on I-10 while watching the sun rise. (7:30am)

Soon I took an exit for I-45 north and start driving up north toward Dallas. Passing by the statue of Sam Houston, and cities like Conroe, Huntsville, Madisonsville... the places I have visited over the last several years, travelling smoothly while seeing the wildflowers blooming alongside the road. (done)

Driving on I-45 north toward Dallas, Bluebonnet and others on the roadside.

Lunch with my friend at Denton, TX

Arriving at Dallas, nice weather today.

The area is getting populated again and soon entered Dallas Metropolitan area. I kept driving on I-45 north then changed to I-35E at interchange, driving by the central part of the city, remembering the time when I ran a half marathon. I continued driving up the freeway and arriving at Denton, TX around 11:30am. I drove to an apartment where a friend of mine from my Kansas school days lives and we had lunch together at a Mexican restaurant nearby. He was the only WSU friend in Texas who stays all the time since the day I moved to Texas back in 2010. I was told that he is still looking for his job after getting his PhD in finance this year. Wishing him good luck then we bid farewell, we may see each other again someday. (done)

Hiro and me

To Amarillo, TX

Left Denton, TX then began heading toward Amarillo, TX where I am staying tonight. Driving on US-380 to Decatur (1:45pm). I made a stop at courthouse for a picture. I Love Texas Site (Decatur, TX)

Wise County Courthouse in Decatur, TX

I then change the road to US-287, and stopped at Henrietta, TX. I could not find the Jail Museum but was able to locate the Clay County Courthouse. I Love Texas Site (Henrietta, TX)

Clay County Courthouse located in Henrietta, TX (2:45pm)

I kept going on the US-287 to west, passing Wichita Falls, TX, this region is very much an open space and I can see a lot of farm area, canola for maybe cooking oil.

Canola field (3:45pm)

When I get to Vernon, TX,  I got off to a local road and heading up north to

Mirage on the road (3:55pm)

I have arrived at Doan's Store, which was established back in 1874. This area is know for the crossing of the Red River. Long time ago, people

I Love Texas Site (Venon, TX)


Doan's Store est.1874: County Rd 111 N Vernon, TX (4:11pm)

Crossing (4:12pm)

I continue on US-287, making stops at Quanah, TX

I Love Texas Site (Quanah, TX)

Hardeman County Courthouse, Quanah, TX (5:00pm)

Kept going

Reaching Childress around 5:30pm. Another place I can swing by

Childress County Court: 100 Avenue E Northwest #1 Childress, TX 79201  5:28pm

I Love Texas Site (Childress, TX)

Arriving at Memphis, TX

Hall County Courthouse: 512 Main St Memphis, TX 79245

I Love Texas Site (Memphis, TX)

As the evening slowly approaching,

Donley County Judge's Office: 300 Sully St Clarendon, TX 79226(6:30pm)

I Love Texas Site (Clarendon, TX)


While kept driving, I saw a sign saying "Goodnight" so it was quite interesting so I decided to make a stop there. Charles Goodnight,

Charles Goodnight Center: 4989 County Rd. 25 Goodnight, TX 79019 (6:55pm)

I Love Texas Site (Goodnight, TX)


Armstrong County Courthouse, Claude, TX: (nearby) (7:15pm)

I Love Texas Site (Claude, TX)


The sun is getting close to the horizon

Finally arriving at Amarillo, TX. The sun is almost set and the outside was getting more like evening. I located  the Big Texan restaurant, which is famous for 72oz steak dinner set which if you could finish in one hour then free. I had to wait for a while for my seat but I get a chance to buy Texas stuffs. I had 16oz steak, and a couple of beers. It was a great moment. I walked out from the restaurant, left to the hotel. It took me a while At Hotel by 9:30pm, took a quick shower and went to bed around 11:00pm. I have another long day of driving.


Dinner at Big Texan (8:30pm) Arrived at store around 7:30pm

Checking in at the hotel

3/21: Amarillo, TX to Wichita, KS

Morning in Amarillo, TX

I Love Texas Site (Amarillo, TX)



Woke up at 5:30am because I felt cold. Check the temperature which was reporting 35F at outside and will come down to 32F by the sunrise. The sun began to come up around 8:00am.

  My breakfast

Grabbed a meal from the restaurant downstairs and get ready for the day. I left the hotel under chilly weather and headed to Cadillac Ranch (8:50am), the wind blowing so hard and picking up dusts. I tried to take some good picture but I guess I was not recommended to do during the morning.

After leaving that place, I headed back to Amarillo on I-?.


Stopped by at a monument for Helium, since Amarillo is know as "Helium Capital of the World"

Drove to downtown to check out old Santa Fe Railroad station, and former Herring Hotel,

The place was pretty chilly so I decided to leave

US-87 north to Dumas, TX, then then changed to US-287 north to Stratford. Turning to US-54 which will take me to Wichita. Texhoma at Texas and Oklahoma border.

Amarillo, TX

To Liberty, KS

Left the parking and began heading to the north.

Stopped by Texhoma


Wendy's for lunch


To Wichita, KS

Once in Kansas, I still have some distance to cover. First I arrived at Liberal, KS where has

Passing Plains at 1:54pm

Stopping at Meade, KS, not so sure about Dalton Gang but must be a famous then.

Almost getting close to Wichita, I stopped at Kingman, KS, where I tried skydiving a few times. I have never been to the downtown but found out it was quite interesting brick build

 Driving towards Wichita

Leaving there at ? Continue on US-54 east.


Stopped by at Meade, KS for Dalton Brother's hideout.


Making a short stop at Kingman. The downtown is like many I checked out former train station

The last step to Wichita. I continue driving on I-54 East and drove to the east side of the town. The road construction has changed the driving on the Kellogg Road a lot. It used to be just plain flat but now it has a lot of underpasses.

Arriving at Wichita for dinner

Claassen family, I met them first at Chicago O'Hare airport. They hosted Japanese student long time ago. They once told me about the time hearing Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor on radio.

Coming "Wichita" home

Driving West on Kellogg Road

I arrived at my Kansas home. I was welcomed with my friends, I consider them as my American mom and dad.

Said good night and come upstairs but needed to catch up of FB comments so I went to bed around midnight.


3/22: A Day in Wichita

To Independence, KS

I woke up at 5:00am, it was near freezing at the outside. Stretched my body and took a shower. It was a bit cool in the morning. Get ready for the trip and left home at 6:00am. It was still dark outside and the Sun comes up as I was driving on I-54 passing Augusta.

Morning Drive on Kellogg East

The sunlight to bright in front of me...

Made stop at Independence, TX

A short stop at ?

The site of Little House on the Prairie

Left there before 10:00am and began driving back to Wichita. Took US75 to south until hitting US166 to west, I kept missing the right timing to fill up the gas and finally made a stop at Winfield for fuel,

Going up north on US77 from Winfield, then State road 15, switching to State road 55 at Udall, arriving at Belle Plaine, making a stop at the cemetery there where my friend from school days are buried.

At friend's grave at 1:20pm.

Left there and drove up north on Oliver Rd and making left turn at State road 53 west, then joined Kansas Turnpike to go back to Wichita.



Arrived back at Wichita, I wanted to eat at Japan Express. The store was still there and still the same way as it was.

Katsudon at Japan Express, maybe I should have got Obento Instead?

2:11pm Japan Express

After the lunch, I drove stopping at Sedgwick County Park where I used to train for my marathon when I lived in Wichita, and also the first place I raced.

Dinner with my friends

In the evening, I took my friends to Scotch and Sirloin on Kellogg for dinner. This is my first time visiting this restaurant. I used to hear about this place on the local radio and TV many, many time when I was a collage student but it was far expensive for me to spend such money. The store had

Angie, Gary and me.

After the dinner, we come back to the home and relaxed. Going to bed around 10:00pm again. Tomorrow I will be going back to Houston.

3/23 Coming back to Houston

In the morning

Woke up at 6:00am, stretched my body, took shower. It was breezy and the temperature was still around 32F. Went out for a walk with my host family.

Stopped by at Manna, greeted with the store owners, they recognized me even it was more than 10 years ago. I had to bit a farewell

  2:11pm Manna Wok


Drove to downtown to pick up my friend and took him to Spangles. He is now with an IT company,

Spangles 12:12pm

After the lunch I drove to a clinic to see my friend

Giving a final car wash

To Houston UA4244 3:11PM(ICT) - 5:00PM(IAH)

Arrived at the airport around 2:00pm, met with my American family at the entrance and spent some time until I need to get going. I gave my car keys, walked passed the security, the inside was another clean environment

Gayer Family

Had a beer (Emerald City Stout) from River ? Brewery and walked to the gate.

The new terminal building is located right next to the old one so I can see how they are taking it apart.

2:40pm drinking a local beer

2:48pm US4244 at Wichita Airport

Getting onboard and then the plane departed from the gate. The plane taxied to the north end and turned toward south on a runway. This is it. The small regional plane accelerates and took off in to the hazy sky, as I watched familiar scenery the outside soon covered, leaving the familiar scenery and

The plane kept going south,

The plane landed at ? Taxied to Terminal B

Came back in Houston 5:12pm

To Home

I got off from the plane and walked down to the baggage claim. I picked up my bag then I get on a shuttle bus to the rental car station. Since I have a few more days before Got myself a Nissan Versa Note, trying to get out from the parking but the printer there had some system issues and they had to hand out manually filled contract. Exited from the facility under cloudy sky with a few rain, drove on I-45 south toward downtown them change to I-610 west to I-10 west. Arriving at home at 7:00pm. Going to bed around 9:30pm. I only have a few more days in the U.S.

Nissan Versa


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