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This is not collectible.
Please drop this item in rural OR Premium Member Only caches. Do not place it in an urban cache or abandon it at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; the bag keeps the trackable clean, protects the number and prevents tangling with other items. Otherwise, take the travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission is needed to leave the U.S.
Photos of the travel bug are appreciated. I will be re-post them here, where they can be seen by other cachers.
While I have lived in Texas for nearly 50 years, I was born and grew to an adult in Kansas. When I tell someone of my origins, they almost always respond in one of two ways: “I have been there but I don’t remember much about it” or “that 400 mile drive across the state on Interstate 70 is really boring.” There is more to the state than that.
Kansas achieved statehood in 1861, but it was far from civilized. From 1850 until 1900 the region was a frontier, and at the center of important events in US history: there was the westward movement of pioneers from Europe and the eastern US and the subsequent conflicts with Native Americans; the Santa Fe Trail crossed the state and the Pony Express and the Oregon Trail passed through a corner; there was a border war because Kansas was a free state and a center of the abolitionist movement, whereas neighboring Missouri was a slave state; and finally the several new railroads were extending into hostile territory and some Kansas railheads were the destinations of cattle drives from Texas. Each trackable in this series of metal travel bugs is named for towns with interesting histories (at least to me), some of which have connections to my youth.
It is estimated that 300,000 people traveled to the West Coast during the 20 years after the first caravan went to Oregon in 1841. Almost all of these people traveled through northeast Kansas along what became known as the Oregon Trail. This road, also called the Oregon-California Trail, was a 2,000-mile route beginning at Independence, Missouri, and continuing west and north to the Columbia River Valley in Oregon or west then south to the gold fields of California.
Kansas was the gathering point for wagon trains. The main trail entered the state at Kansas City, but other branches crossed the Missouri River at St. Joseph and later at Atchison and Leavenworth. Trail junctions and other landmarks in Kansas became assembly places where caravans were formed for the long trek west.
Wagon trains journeying from Independence usually spent the first or second night at Lone Elm campground in Johnson County. A few miles to the west there was an important junction: One road turned southwest toward Santa Fe, the other went northwest toward Oregon. Parties bound for the Northwest found that the steep banks of the Wakarusa and Vermillion Rivers made crossing difficult. At Topeka there were two ferries across the Kansas River, one operated by the Pappan brothers near present-day downtown Topeka, the other by Sidney Smith west of the city. At the Red Vermillion crossing in Pottawatomie County, Louis Vieux built a toll bridge. Charging one dollar per wagon he made as much as $300 in a day.
The Potawatomi Baptist Mission at Topeka, the Catholic mission at St. Marys, and Scott Spring near Westmoreland were popular stopping places, but the most prominent Kansas site was Alcove Spring, near present day community of Blue Rapids (see photo upload). An early traveler described it as "a beautiful cascade of water. . .altogether one of the most romantic stops I ever saw." The spring hosted John C. Frémont, Marcus Whitman, Mormons, gold-seekers, and the ill-fated Donner party. One member of that latter group, 70-year-old Sarah Keyes, died of consumption (TB) and was buried nearby.
Near Alcove Spring is Independence Crossing, where thousands of wagons forded the Big Blue River. North of Marysville, the road from St. Joseph joined the main trail.
Because Kansas was not open to settlement during the heyday of the Oregon Trail, few who traveled across this area ever lived here. Many, however, wrote of the beauty and fertility of the land. Their descriptions of the Kansas and Blue river valleys helped dispel the myth of the "Great American Desert" and encouraged others later to settle in Kansas.