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Kansas City MO 64131






Cindy Maddera


Before we left for Oklahoma, Michael asked me if we would be doing any thing fun. I honestly didn't know how to respond to that question. I knew that we would be spending a lot of time in a car and I didn't think visiting dad in a nursing home counted as fun. So I hesitated in my answer. I did my best to explain to him that my parent's home is close to no where. It was only after he actually spent the whole day in a car on Saturday, that it finally sunk in. He looked at me and said "so...they don't deliver pizza out here do they?" Welcome to rural Oklahoma. So as we were packing to leave, Michael said to me "What's one place on our way home you've always wanted to stop, but never do?" I did not hesitate here. Big Brutus.


Every time I travel across Hwy 400 I pass the sign for Big Brutus and every time I think about stopping. I never do because of some stupid reason or the other. When Hooper was around, I couldn't stop because I couldn't leave him in the car. Also I wasn't sure how far Big Brutus was from the Hwy. What if I ended up driving miles and miles out of my way? Seriously. What if? So this time, we stopped. I figured out on the map that if we turned off from Hwy 169 onto Hwy 160 instead of going all the way up to Hwy 400, we wouldn't have to back track. Big Brutus sits somewhere between Hwy 160 and Hwy 400. It is the largest electric coal shovel in the world and now sits in the Mined Land Wildlife Area in Kansas. And it is HUGE. Like 11 million pounds huge. You can see it from the road as you drive into the wildlife area. It's impressive and intimidating and it took some convincing to get Michael to climb up inside the thing with me. Oh, can climb up inside. You just can't climb up to the boom area. I think you could at one time, but now it's blocked off with a sign that says something about the insurance company saying they could no longer let people up there. Nice.

Keep off

It was awesome. What was more awesome was Michael. He didn't complain or try to talk me out of stopping. He was just as game as I was about seeing a giant coal shovel. Later, as we were driving away, I turned to him and thanked him for stopping. But really I should have been thanking him for giving me the permission to stop since it's something I have a hard time giving to myself. He encourages me to get off the beaten path.


And there is so much to see off that beaten path. Happy Love Thursday!