The US Route 36 Experience (Continued)

Days 5 – Travel as I Have Envisioned It Could Be!


The Missouri River marked the crossing into Kansas.

After carefully hooking up and departing the steep, awkward camping spot in Wallace State Park, MO, we were on the road, and soon in Kansas. We were a little concerned because shortly after crossing into Kansas, Rt 36 became a two-lane road. Still, it was smooth, traffic continued to be light, and it had wide shoulders, so the drive continued to be comfortable and relaxed.


The Missouri River near St. Joseph

Throughout the trip, we made a practice of getting fuel when the tank indicated half full (half empty for you pessimists). This usually amounted to about three hours of driving and a good time to swap driving duties.

The Nebraska state line was about twenty miles north of, and parallel to Rt 36.


Now we have been in Nebraska! We took a westerly highway through Nebraska until we could turn back south to Kansas and Rt 36–just to check off a state!

We decided to turn up into Nebraska just to add another state to our list. We turned west on the first highway we came to, drove about 30 miles, then turned back south into Kansas. We never saw anything that looked like a town while in Nebraska. We did see an ’59 Chevy out for a Sunday drive, as well as approximately 50 bikers enjoying the beautiful weather.

As we approached one of these breaks, hunger also began to set in and we spotted the Bel Villa Family Dining restaurant in Belleville, Kansas.


Toward midday, hunger set in, and we pulled into the Bel Villa Restaurant.

Bel Villa is a no-frills, roadhouse restaurant, offering a solid menu of local and universal favorites from catfish and shrimp to hamburgers and hot sandwiches, or a full meal of choice cuts of beef or pork chops. Our menu even included mountain oysters. The atmosphere is best described as “laid back,” but the service was prompt and convivial, and food was excellent.

About thirty minutes after leaving the Bel Villa, we saw a roadside sign that proclaimed, “Geographic Center of the United States, 6 miles,” and indicated an upcoming right turn toward Lebanon, KS.  Without hesitation, we agreed that we had to find out what this was about, and it was not that far of our route. (For the details of the Geographic Center of the United State, see the next “Day 5” post.)

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Less than an hour after lunch we saw directions to the Center of the United States (See blog Day 5-2)

Again, we had no advanced plans about where to stop for the night. About five in the afternoon, with about 80 miles remaining in Kansas, we entered the town of Atwood, and looked for a rest stop. Atwood has a very nice park that features a nice lake with camper hookups on one side and a golf course on the other side. The camping area was vacant. After asking a few questions of anybody we saw, we learned where to inquire about a camping site, operated by the local Lions Club, for the night (see post for Day 5 (Number 2).

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About 100 miles farther down the road, we came to the town of Atwood, and decided this would be the end of Day 5 (See blog for Day 5-2).

Day 6 would be an adventurous day just getting to Grand Junction, Colorado, our “jumping off point” into Utah and Bryce Canyon.

Previous Post:
Next Posts:
Day 5-2 – The Geographic Center of the United States
Day 5-3 – Atwood, KS
Day 6 – Atwood to Grand Junction, CO

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2 Responses to The US Route 36 Experience (Continued)

  1. Pingback: The US Route 36 Experience – Part 1 | Renaissance Musings

  2. Pingback: The Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States | Renaissance Musings

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