We woke up slowly in Alma, Kansas and got the coffee brewing straight away. As always, we had a long day ahead of us. It was another beautiful day outside as the birds chirped their ways across the lawn and the sticky, humid air greeted us at the door. It wasn’t long before we were on the road again, this time headed to Weston Lake, Kansas.

Weston Lake is known for having the clearest water in all of Kansas and, as we approached the park, I was shocked to see just how big Weston Lake itself was. We drove through the entrance and around the perimeter for a few miles before finding a nice place to leave the car while we adventured.

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It seemed like every stop we took graced us with a new, brightly colored flower, as vibrant pinks, purples and yellows swayed around us in the gentle breeze. A pair of turkey vultures took flight above us, spreading their monstrous wings as they coasted through the wind pockets. A jetski sped across the lake and a young man cast his fishing line into the sparkling aqua water. I closed my eyes, inhaling the fresh summer air while making my way back to the vehicle to head over to our next stop: Monument Rocks.

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Turkey Vultures

It was about a two and a half hour drive there, meaning there were lots of distractions to find on our way.

The first was a large sign that read WINERY. **Triggered** We veered off to the right and popped into the store. It seems we’d found much more than a simple winery! This large space was a nonprofit company selling all-things-local from strawberry jam to coffee mugs to t-shirts to bird houses. You name it, they had it. As you may imagine, we left the shop with quite the opposite of empty hands, settling for a sample of the caramel corn rather than the Smoky Hills wine to entertain us amidst the rest of our day’s expedition.

Perhaps my favorite distraction, though, was this little calf hanging out alone on the side of the road. We soon discovered that he wasn’t actually on a solo trip, just a very eager leader of the rest of the herd, who were about a mile behind him yet.

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Calf

Monument Rocks AKA the Chalk Pyramids were estimated to have been formed 80 million years ago and miraculously still stand today. I couldn’t have asked for a better time to visit. The chalky white slates pierced through the blue skies, as if they were loaves of bread rising in the hot desert oven. Towering at 70 feet tall, I squinted up at the structures.

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Monument Rocks

I couldn’t help but wonder of the events that had to unfold in order for Monument Rocks to stand here today. I mean, we were literally in the middle of no where, completely surrounded by flat plains and desert until the Earth was like–boom–giant pyramids, let’s go.

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Monument Rocks

It was getting later, so we figured now was about time to check into our AirBnb. We were staying in the small town of Liberal, Kansas for the night– a sort of halfway point to Oklahoma City, where we’d be driving come morning. Pulling into the subdivision, our hosts treated us like we were family coming up to visit. Their dogs, Buddy and Tinker, cuddled up with us on the couch as we sat together in the living room and told our life stories without missing a single detail when it came to our travels.

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Buddy’s Vino Business Plan Execution

We popped open the bottle of Smoky Hills Wine and, between the four of us [five if you count Buddy] finished it off in no time. We were told that Buddy LOVES wine, and probably considers himself a connoisseur at this point. I had to watch my glass while trying to distinguish his innocent cuddles from his vino business plan. That night I went to sleep with the sound of an Oklahoma storm pattering on my window.

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