Topeka, Kansas

November 10-17, 2018

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28th state! We are really filling in the map.

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We stayed at the Deer Creek Valley RV Park. This was a very convenient location to Topeka. It only took us 7 minutes to get to the capitol building, library and Monroe school.

We are so thankful we found a guy in OKC to replace our AquaHot circulation pump so we could have heat in the entire RV because it was COLD this week. It was was in the teens most nights.

We had snow our first morning here.

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The Kansas Capitol building

We took the free ‘Dome tour’ and were able to climb the 296 steep, narrow, sometimes spiral stairs to the top of the cupola from the 5th floor. We were allowed to walk outside and walk around the copper dome.  This was quite an experience and gave us a unique perspective of the city of Topeka. The only way to visit the dome is to take the guided tour and walk up, there are no elevators.

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This dome is unusual in the fact that there is actually a dome inside of a dome. The outer dome is actually 75 feet above the inner dome. The inner dome is composed of 256 glass panels. Each is a half inch thick. The copper on the exterior dome would make 2,350,746 pennies.

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We met a family in the gift store when we first walked into the capitol building. The family of 8, from Boise, is also traveling the country in an RV. We enjoyed talking with them until our tour started.

Kansas is the home of the 34th president,  Dwight Eisenhower.

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You enter the building on the ground floor and walk among the beautiful stone work. They have an impressive Brown v. Board mural and copper staircases.

Brown v Board of Education of Topeka

The NPS chose to the Monroe school as the site as the landmark of the 1954 decision of the US Supreme Court to end racial segregation in public schools because this was one of the four segregated  elementary schools for African Americans in Topeka. Linda Brown attended this school rather than the Sumner School in her neighborhood because she was African American. Her father Oliver Brown and 12 other parents joined a lawsuit against the Topeka school board in 1951. Five cases from different states were consolidated into the one case became known as Brown v. Board of Education.

The exhibits are located inside the school as well as the visitors center and bookstore.

There was also a Little Free Library in the Lobby. Ruth and the Green Book as well as a NatGeo magazine on race were the two books we chose to take home and use this week in our unit in social studies.

Junior Ranger Badges

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Brown v. Board Mural Project is a brand new mural that was created by students and led by artist Micheal Toombs. It was just dedicated in August. It’s on the wall facing the Monroe school.

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Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library

 

The beauty of road school is that history, science, culture, and literature all fit together because they are connected by location. We are able to see how they all fit together in each location we visit.

This library was voted best public library in America in 2016. It is by far the best library we have been too! We spent everyday at this library and used the really nice ‘team rooms’. You use your library card on the iPad outside one of the 8 rooms and reserve the time you want up to 3 hours. The rooms have a computer and a white board- perfect for our school days.

 

The library was huge! It had a cafe that served hot lunch plates, an entire room just for mixed media. The movie collection was larger than the Family Video we visited in Wisconsin. And don’t even get me started on the children’s/teens rooms.

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They also have an art gallery in one of the wings. On exhibit while we visited was a World War I photography exhibit.

Golf in Topeka, Kansas

Chris played golf the #2 public golf course in the state, Fire Keeper. It is located on a reservation that was designed by Notah Begay, the only Native American on the PGA tour.

 

Baking in the RV microwave/convection oven isn’t the easiest thing. It usually takes twice as long to pre-heat, twice as long to bake and twice as long to cool. But we still tried a new recipe today- Pumpkin Spice Pull Apart bread.

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Pizza Hut was started in Wichita, KS so we ate lunch at Pizza Hut one day this week.

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Chris had his 15 year work anniversary with GreatAmerica so we went out to dinner at Longhorn’s steakhouse to celebrate.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in California suffering from the fires.

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