Kansas Guidebook 2 book signings slated

Kansas Guidebook for Explorers 2 book signing

Learn where and how to explore Kansas at book signings in St. Francis, Wallace and Goodland.

Marci Penner
Marci Penner talks about Kansas at Kansas Sampler Festival in Winfield this May.

Book signings for Kansas Guidebook for Explorers 2 to be held in byway communities

“If you think Kansas is boring, you’re doing it wrong.”
— Kansas Explorers Club member

Exploring Kansas is an adventure like no other. Find out where and how to explore the state in Kansas Guidebook 2 for Explorers. The authors, Marci Penner and WenDee Rowe, will be in Land and Sky Scenic Byway communities in June and July for book signings.

They’ll be in St. Francis for a program and book signing at Cheyenne County History Museum at 7 p.m. CDT June 26 and will sign books at Fresh Seven Coffee, 8:30-10:30 a.m. CDT June 27.

They’ll be in a booth at Fort Wallace Museum, Wallace, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. MDT July 8.

Enjoy meeting the authors at a program and book signing at Goodland’s High Plains Museum 7 p.m. MDT July 27.

Join Penner and Rowe as they share pictures and tell stories about fascinating things to see and do around the state this summer — and all year long.

WenDee Rowe
WenDee Rowe tries out a chair on the authors’ Explorer Research Voyage.

About the book

The 480-page book costs $30 and will be available at the signings. The book is full of Kansas adventures, including some a traveler would be hard pressed to find without guidance. Buy one for yourself and some for family and friends. They’ll make great gifts.

Explorer Research Voyage logo
Rowe (right) and Penner spent four years exploring Kansas on their research voyage.

The authors have spent four years on their Explorer Research Voyage. They explored all 626 incorporated cities in Kansas, plus some unincorporated communities. Their goal is to encourage people to explore the state. And they deliver plenty of encouragement.

As an example, Penner said Land and Sky Scenic Byway “offers plenty to see and do on this route between the land and the sky.” The byway has “many unexpected gems.” She listed Ernie Poe’s barbed wire buffalo at Fort Wallace Museum, the organ museum in Sharon Springs, the house post office in Edson, America’s First Patented Helicopter and the Giant van Gogh Painting in Goodland, the giant green grasshopper north of Goodland, Big Ed’s Steakhouse in Bird City, the Jack Weinstein story told at the Cheyenne County Museum and the motorcycle museum, both in St. Francis.

Readers will be amazed at what Kansas has to offer. Meticulously researched, the book offers low-water bridges, rocks and bowling balls on fence posts, touching memorials, beautiful ruins and fun food options everywhere in Kansas.

Book signings will be held in St. Francis June 26 and 27

St. Francis will host the first book signings along the byway.

The authors’ first stop will be June 26 at the Cheyenne County Museum, West Highway 36, St. Francis, 7 p.m. CDT. Penner and Rowe will take the audience on a picture journey throughout the state, sharing road trip ideas and telling stories about their voyage across Kansas.

The next day, June 27, come to Fresh Seven Coffee, 312 W. Washington St., St. Francis, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. CDT. Buy a book and enjoy a cup of coffee with the authors. Have them sign your book. Fresh Seven is featured on the guidebook’s back cover.

“The Kansas Guidebook 2 is exceptionally well done. When you read about the places, you just want to go there,” Helen Dobbs, Director of the Cheyenne County Development Corporation.

Wallace book signing is July 8

Wallace is the authors’ next destination. They will sign books from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. MDT July 8 at the Fort Wallace Museum’s 1867 Fort Wallace & Western Kansas Exposition. The museum’s address is 2655 U.S. Highway 40, Wallace.

High Plains Museum in Goodland hosts book signing July 27

They’ll be in Goodland July 27 for a 7 p.m. MDT signing at High Plains Museum, 1717 Cherry. Join Penner and Rowe for a preview of their Explorer Research Voyage. Buy a book – or two, three or four – and they’ll sign them for you.

“We’ve looked forward to this book for four years,” Sherman County Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Donna Price said. “Now it’s here. It’s crammed with the joys of exploring Kansas. If you love this state, read and use this book. If you don’t know what Kansas has to offer, there’s no better place to start.”

If you need to buy more copies later, High Plains Museum will be selling the books in their gift shop.

“I’m looking forward to reading the book, learning more about Kansas and to hearing stories about the Explorer Research Voyage,” museum Director Sami Philbrick said. “We’re excited to have Marci and WenDee here and to sell their book.”

About the authors

Penner is the Executive Director of Kansas Sampler Foundation. Rowe is the foundation’s Assistant Director. The foundation’s mission is to help preserve and sustain rural culture. The foundation’s programs include Kansas Explorers Club, the WeKan! Network, the Big Kansas Road Trip, Get Rural Kansas, Voluncheering and many others.

The Wrench Museum

Dale Radiel in the shop portion of The Wrench Museum
Dale Radiel in the shop portion of The Wrench Museum.

Dale Radiel is a completist. A completist is a collector who wants to collect an example of every item in a particular field. His field is International Harvester (IH) tools.  “International Harvester is still adding wrench variations,” he said. “It’s exciting to find a tool that I don’t have.” He has amassed the second- or third-largest IH tool collection in the United States.

Meet Radiel and see the collection at his Wrench Museum, 223 N. Kennedy, Sharon Springs. The museum is open by appointment only. Call 785-852-4716 or 785-821-1206. Please allow at least a day’s notice.

As Radiel’s collection grew, he needed a place to display it. He built a building to house it in June 2005.

The Wrench Museum building
The Wrench Museum building

The building does not advertise what it contains. It’s simply a white metal building with a post rock sign in front. The sign says “Radiel”, not “The Wrench Museum”.

See wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling wrenches and other tools at The Wrench Museum.

The museum building is wall to wall, floor to ceiling wrenches and other tools. But the walls and walls of wrenches are not the entire collection. He still has some of his tools in a quonset hut on his farm, two storage buildings and a house full of tools.

A name plate from Parlin and Orendorff.

But the collection is not limited to IH. He also collects the companies who later merged into IH: McCormick Harvesting Machine Company; Deering Harvester Company; Milwaukee Harvesting Machine Co.; Plano Manufacturing Co., Warder, Bushnell, and Glessner; Parlin and Orendorff. And he has other tools, too.

Some of the antique auto tools in Radiel’s collection.

Radiel began collecting his 10,000-plus piece collection as a farmer and as a mechanic. He gathered them while he was “busy trying to make a living.” At first he collected tools in general. He has antique car tool kits and railroad tool kits. “If I was interested in them, I’d grab them.” Eventually, he realized he needed to specialize.

After he sold his shop and cattle in 2001, Radiel realized he needed “something to do to keep busy,” he said. He joined the Missouri Valley Wrench Club. The club meets annually in York, Neb.  He obtains many items in his collection through the club. He attended farm machinery auctions 10-15 years ago, he said. Now few second- and third-generation farms exist. “If the auction ad lists lots of old machinery, I’ll go,” he said.

The $400 wrench

The tools usually arrive rusty and dirty, so Radiel cleans and polishes them in the shop section of his museum building. He paid the least — $1 — for a square socket in a box holding 10-15 tools. The most expensive was a $400 IH tool.

Come see the amazing variety and design of the thousands of wrenches in Sharon Springs’ Wrench Museum.


Welcome to Land and Sky Scenic Byway

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Land and Sky Scenic Byway follows Highway 27 from the Nebraska state line through St. Francis and Goodland until its southern end in Sharon Springs.

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Learn more:

To learn about Sherman County see VisitGoodland.com.
To learn about Cheyenne County see CCDCCKS.com
To learn about Wallace County see TravelWallaceCounty.com

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