In this Nerdist episode where Chris Hardwick talks solo with Robert Patrick, towards the end they talk about driving alone across the country. Patrick is talking about doing it on motorcycles, and Hardwick mentions a drive where he found lots of great little towns like … Hays, Kansas.
This is not news to any of my high school friends, some chunk of whom went to Fort Hays State University. It is a cool little college town. I think of it as a big city, due to the relative size of the small towns I grew up in. When I look up the data, its population in 2010 was around 20,000 people. The town I live in now, which I think of as a small town has a population of 16,000.
Hays is where my mom went back to college to get her teaching degree. In the summer of 1980 my brother and I lived on campus with her, and had a great time of it. We rode bikes all over the campus, we found the stores with the best comic books and went to the summer film series at one of the theaters where we saw Steve Reeves Hercules movies and various Ray Harryhausen swashbuckler films.
The whole reason I know it is 1980 is because I remember watching David Letterman’s morning show in that little married student housing apartment. One of our neighbors was a psychology student and I remember her administering the gifted test multiple times as she tried practiced giving it. I suggest that one reason I always score high on those kinds of tests is regardless of what natural aptitude might be there, I have more experience taking them then most people.
Hays is a nice little town, and western Kansas still holds a warm place in my heart. Also a cold place in my heart, is it is both the hottest and coldest place I’ve ever been. I was glad I went back to Norton for my 25th high school reunion a few years ago. Kansas gets a lot of guff when people talk about driving cross country. True, it is a wide state, most of the width of Texas, and will take a day to get across. If you do drive through, you could do a lot worse then spend some time in Norton or Hays or both.