Friendship Force Western North Carolina had the pleasure of making a journey to visit FF Kansas and FF New Mexico. Our club visited the Kansas club from April 29 to May 3, 2018. We left the Kansas club and stayed with the New Mexico club from May 3 to May 10, 2018. This was a special trip for our club members since both of these clubs had journeyed to our club and we were renewing our friendships with their members.
Eleven club members from FFWNC journeyed to Kansas. We had a wonderful welcome dinner at the Ralston’s Ranch. Our members visited the Museum of World Treasures which included a wide variety of exhibits to include dinosaurs, natural history and significant artifacts from the wars fought by the United States. We had the opportunity to tour the Botanica which is Wichita’s beautiful and expansive botanical gardens. Our hosts took us to Old Cowtown which gave us a glimpse of what life was like when cowboys herded the cows to Wichita for sale. Our visit to Abilene allowed us to see the humble beginnings of President Dwight Eisenhower and to visit his actual boyhood home. This site also includes the official Library and Museum depicting his life as a WWII General and as President of the United States. We toured the Exploration Place, Wichita’s science center with emphasis on their Aeronautical exhibit. Wichita is known as an aviation center in our country with five factories building airplanes. The flat land surrounding this area made it an ideal location for developing airplanes as the technology began to develop. Club members toured the Wichita Art Museum which had an impressive display of western art and a special exhibit of impressionist artists. An unplanned but special opportunity was provided for us to take a tour of the Allen House, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home and the last prairie style home he built which was completed in 1918. We enjoyed the rich history of Wichita and the opportunity to renew our friendship with all the wonderful club members of FF Kansas.
The next leg of our journey was our visit with FF New Mexico. Eighteen FFWNC club members made this portion of the journey to visit our friends from FF New Mexico. The FF New Mexico club members showed us a wonderful time as we visited many sites in and around Albuquerque. We had a walking tour of Old Town Albuquerque, visited the art museum and took an evening tram ride to the top of Sandia Peak to see the sunset. Members visited the botanical gardens with an emphasis on the flora of the southwest and how Native Americans used these plants for medicinal purposes. We then went on a trolley tour of Albuquerque and saw and heard so much about the history of the City and its growing economy as an area for the film and television industry. Our visit coincided with Cinco de Mayo and we had an evening of entertainment by an excellent Mariachi band. We visited the Petroglyphs National Monument to observe all the ancient designs and carvings in the rock formations. Our next journey was to Bandelier National Monument to visit the ancient dwellings of the Pueblo Natives. It was interesting to see how this culture carved out dwellings into the side of a mountain made of soft volcanic rock. We took the Rail Runner train to Santa Fe for a day to visit the capitol of New Mexico with an included trolley tour. The afternoon was free so we also had time to explore the many sculptures and other art work of the many artists that have located in this old and beautiful city. Our last day in New Mexico was a free day that concluded with a warm farewell dinner.
–Bill Hogan, Journey Coordinator