Visiting Oz

On December 30, 2010 · 5 Comments

And I don’t mean Australia.

There are several ways to distinguish oneself on the Twelve Mile Circle. One path can take awhile. Stick around here long enough, post a bunch of comments and eventually I’ll get to know you and write an article that I think will appeal to you directly, maybe seriously, maybe somewhat frivolously. Another path involves pure accidents of geography. Readers from anomalous locations receive quick attention.

As much as I obsess over Google Analytics maps, does anyone think I’d miss this developing trend in Kansas over the last couple of months?:

Internet Visitors from Kansas

This is Wamego, Kansas. Hopefully I didn’t just freak-out my Wamego visitor. He or she should have no worries: I have absolutely no way to identify this visitor except as a big blob on a map. You, sir or madam, will continue to have complete anonymity. I feature very few reader locations so specifically and I’m always a little nervous when I do it. I think I scared away my most famous reader after one instance. Well, there’s a 0.01% chance that it was a famous reader but I’m sure it was her. She’s been too busy with her TV reality show to stop by lately. I understand.

It’s possible that Wamego serves a point-of-presence (POP) for an Internet service provider, a funnel for a much larger geographic area. That’s what we think happened in Mount Pearl. The city of Manhattan, the one in Kansas not the famous one in New York, sits twenty minutes down the road with ten times Wamego’s population. It’s home to Kansas State University and I get a lot of .edu traffic in general. Wamego might mask the true location but I’m going to ignore that possibility.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

Dorothy may have left Kansas for awhile in the classic 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," but a museum dedicated to all things Oz is tethered firmly to Lincoln Street in Wamego.

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The online reviews I consulted describe it as a small but worthwhile museum if one approaches it with appropriate expectations. The collection covers a complete Oz spectrum and not just the movie. It helps to have a wider interest in the topic, apparently. I wouldn’t make a special effort to see the Oz Museum but I’d drop in if I happened to be cruising through Kansas along Interstate 70. Why not? After all, I’m the kind of guy who detours for a giant shoe.

Oz in Wamego Kansas
SOURCE: Wamego, Kansas Visitor Information

Wamego didn’t stop with an Oz museum though. They ran with that theme and never looked back. Diners can order a Yellow Brick Burro’d, Tin Man Black Bean Burrito, or Toto-ly OZsome Spices at Toto’s Tacoz. Also, I wasn’t aware that Kansas was known for wine but apparently I’m wrong because one can also pick up a few bottles at the Oz Winery. I think I’d get the Drunken Munchkin. Finally, visitors who arrive during autumn might be lucky enough to time their trip with OZtoberFest. The puns are never-ending in Wamego.

I’m a bit surprised that Kansas doesn’t take advantage of the Oz connection on a wider scale but good for Wamego for claiming the crown.

What else would one expect from the town that holds a festival called Ridiculous Days? I say that in admiration and awe.

On December 30, 2010 · 5 Comments

5 Responses to “Visiting Oz”

  1. Welcome to Wamego. We live somewhere near the intersection of OZ, Norman Rockwell, Mark Twain and the cattleman’s frontier. I tell people that “Wamego” is a native term that translates nicely to Mayberry. We are as interesting place with interesting people as you are likely to find. So visit sometime and thanks for the nice words.

  2. Mike Lowe says:

    I didn’t know you could track to individual towns. If you have HUGE spots over League City and Alvin in Texas, that’s my home and office.

    Happy new year. I love your blog.


    • Indeed it does but not with exact precision because it seems to track back to where the internet service provider dumps its traffic onto the network. For instance, I’ve noticed that my personal traffic seems to be marked at a variety of places "inside the Beltway" in DC, Maryland and Virginia even though I’m sitting here quite happily in a single spot. I’d say that a dot on a Google Analytics map — at least in my metropolitan area — could be plus or minus as much as 10-ish miles from an actual location. Thus it’s a lot easier for an individual reader to hide amid the background clutter in an urban environment as opposed to someone all by himself in rural Kansas.

      That said, I just looked at the stats and I do have nice blobs on League City and Alvin, although they’re both dwarfed by Houston.

  3. Mr Burns says:

    That is probably … umm … me. I found your blog after your guest appearance on Google Sightseeing, and spent every spare minute the next few days reading back messages. I’m a geography nut, and found your collection of oddities quite interesting. Now, your blog is one of the open tabs on Chrome, so every time I start my browser, you probably get another hit.

    I don’t believe Wamego is a mask for the true location. We have a little independent telephone company which is also our ISP and cable TV provider. They’re very forward-thinking (I had fiber to the home YEARS ago), and they handle the internet traffic for this area, but not for Manhattan.

    It’s an interesting story how so much Oz memorabilia came to be located here, and I hope you get to hear it sometime. However, not everything in town is Oz themed. We also have an old dutch-style mill in the city park, and that means we have some dutch themed things, too. Our spring event is the “Tulip Festival”. In the summer, we have one of the largest (probably THE largest) Independence Day parades in Kansas. We have “Oz-tober Fest” in the fall, and round out the year with a lighted Christmas Parade. If you get a chance to look around on street view, check out our city park and our award-winning hospital. It’s a great place to raise a family: reasonable cost of living, low crime. Many of us work in Manhattan or Topeka, but we love it here.

    Britt didn’t mention it, but he owns one of the local wineries. This part of Kansas was well known for growing wine grapes for many years, but Prohibition followed by many decades of Kansas remaining “dry” pretty much killed the grape industry. It’s slowly coming back, and there are dozens of little wineries within a few miles of here.

    So now you know why there’s a big dot over Wamego. I hope you don’t mind if I keep a tab open to Twelve Mile Circle. And stop by for a taco if you’re ever in the neighborhood!

    • Wow! I feel honored! Seriously. Wamego sounds like my kind of place.

      Please do keep that big dot on Wamego. For the last two years I’ve been trying to run-the-table on the Analytics Map: getting a hit from all 50 states on a single day. I’ve come excruciatingly close a bunch of times but invariably I fall one or two short. Kansas is one of the more difficult states so you give me a reliable hit by keeping that tab open. Now if I could just find someone to do that in North Dakota…

      Yes, I am a man of strange hobbies.

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