Friday, June 5, 2009

The route to work

My route to the office downtown each day can vary a bit. Sometimes it is due to road construction. Sometimes it is because schools are in session and I want to avoid the schools. Sometimes I just want some different scenery. No matter which route I take I am generally going from newer parts of town to the older parts as I get nearer to downtown. As I was riding to work last Friday my thoughts turned to the fact that I have been down some of these roads many times and passed by the same sights each time. Some of the sights have become a bit ordinary to me in my mind just because I have been by there so many times. It is easy to forget that there are really some interesting sights, either historically, or visually, along the way. So, let me take you on a very short tour. As I leave my house I head south about 1/2 mile to Central Ave. I can take this street west all the way downtown if I want to. And many times I do, but the traffic is heavier, the scenery is a bit less interesting and I prefer other routes. Just look at all of those cages. My preferred route to work is 2nd Street which is One Way to downtown. It goes through a couple of interesting neighborhoods and is slower, less traffic, and prettier with lots of trees. 2nd street is just a couple of blocks south of Central, so it is easy to cut over to 2nd street and I do this often, but at times I do not take 2nd street. There are 2 schools along the way on 2nd street and at 8:00 in the morning there is a lot of traffic as people are dropping kids off at school. But in the summertime, there is no schools in session and it's a beautiful way to go. The first interesting neighborhood we get to is Crown Heights. A lot of these homes were built in the 1930's and 1940's. Some are very stately and expensive, others a bit more modest, but a nice neighborhood. I love the trees on this route, nice shade in the morning. We once looked at purchasing a home in this area, but it needed updating badly, had a poor roof and we passed on it. Then I get into another neighborhood known as College Hill. It's really not that hilly, but resides along a ridge of small hills that run north and south about 3 miles east of the Arkansas river where the downtown area is. This area is a little older and there are some very nice older homes. Many wealthier people in the city have lived in this area from the 1910's to today. A very stately mansion. A less stately home, but very nice and the owners have kept it up nicely. One very beautiful and unusual home in this area is a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is right on this route. You can tour the home by appointment, though I never have. The Frank LLoyd Wright house looking northwest Those are some bad ass planters, don't you think? Looking Southwest You then enter even a bit older area where the homes are sometimes a bit run down and smaller than the College Hill homes. The dude on the porch nextdoor eyed me carefully as I took this picture. Then we go under a Super Slab locally known as the "Canal Route" that disects the city north and south. A drainage canal/creek runs along and underneath the highway, hence the name. I have sometimes been pelted with dust and sand that gets thrown off the elevated roadway as I pass underneath. I do not ride much on the slabs around town. Lots of traffic and I am not comfortable at those speeds on my scooter even though I have a top speed of supposedly 75 mph. A little while later we get into an old warehouse district now known as Old Town. This area has had much redevelopment in recent years with a new theater, a hotel, restaurants and apartments. A lot of local events occur here. Fountains in the Old Town Square. Then I pass by the original Coleman lantern factory. It is now largely abandoned and vacant, but the Coleman company was founded here in Wichita. The company was sold a long time ago to a much larger corporation. The rewards of entrepreneurship. This is a great place to buy camping supplies. A few blocks later I get to the building where I park my scooter. Mt little parking space is in the basement and is very secure and also very protected from the outside weather. The infamous parking space #43. Safe and Sound Mt route home is very similar through much of the same areas but on a One Way street going east. When I was learning to drive a car, my father once told me that you need to be careful in areas that you frequent or travel through often. The reason was that you can become complacent by traveling through areas where nothing unusual has happened to you in the past. You can become a little less attentive to a potential unexpected event. I try and maintain my alertness even though I have passed down this route many times. Composing this blog post has also reminded me that there are some relatively interesting sights to see along the way that over time I have come to take for granted. Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed


  1. Very nice post Jim! Thanks for the tour. You live in a beautiful part of this country. Enjoy the riding!

  2. cpa3485 Jim:

    very nice idylic route to work. From your photos noticed that there was hardly any traffic except for Central Avenue (1st pix). You mentioned tree cover so it must be hot where you live. The past few days we have had very hot (for us) weather. When you are rolling all is okay, but when you have to stop for a light, you just bake in the sun

    do you ever ride past that home you passed up ? You could have bought it for less and upgraded everything to your liking

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  3. Lance,
    Thanks for the compliment. It's just "stuff" I see everyday, or don't see some days and take for granted. Other thoughts like work and responsibilities sometimes cloud your vision and you forget to take a look around and really see what is there.

  4. BobSkoot,
    Central is one of the most heavily traveled routes in the city. It's not a problem on my scooter, but a lot less interesting. If I need to get downtown a little faster I take Central.

    The house we looked at was on first street so I see it on the way home. My wife and I both love to get our hands dirty and remodel. But that particular house was a bit out of the price range and had a lot of very expensive problems. Plumbing, heating and air, roof, etc. The kitchen was potentially gorgeous but had not had anything done to it for many many years. It was the $$ that kept us away from it.

    Re: The weather.
    One of the things I love about Kansas is the variety of weather. From bitter cold in winter, to blazing heat in summer and almost everything in between. I even like the storms we get sometimes. Nobody likes tornados, but a nice big thunderstorm with cloud tops rising sometimes to 50,000 feet, can have the ability of making you feel very small. The power of nature is very evident here in many ways.

  5. Those planters... I wasn't thinking ass (bad ass) when I looked at them - not even after I looked at them a second and then a third time.

    A lovely tour! I love seeing what others see on their rides and this post shows us some of your sights very nicely.

    - Joe at Scootin' da Valley

  6. Joe,
    Re: Planters, the picture may not do it justice, but it is a massive brick fence about 5 feet tall that they sit upon. They are huge and made of concrete I presume. Maybe bad ass was an improper description, but they certainly are impressive.
    Thanks for the comments.