Tour the Capitol Dome

Of the 50 states, Kansas is the only one with a capitol dome where visitors can climb all the way to the top and go outside, 10 feet or so beneath the bronze statue of a Kansa warrior that tops the 304 feet tall dome. Oh, and that 304 feet places it 16 feet taller than the United States Capitol dome.

It’s 296 steps all the way up, though this is broken into parts where you can turn around if it’s becoming a bit too much. For the first few stops, you’re headed along stairs hugging the wall. The last 100 or so steps take you up into the middle of the dome, up into the small cupola, and then out onto a circular walkway.

And yes, it’s a bit nerve wracking if you’re scared of heights (as I am!) as you head away from the wall and into the middle, but I made it through, so I’m sure you can.

Tip – If you go in fall, the changing colors of the trees will make the panoramic view even more stunning.

A Kansas State Historical Society volunteer will take you up and give you some information. You start out on the fifth floor and get info about the restored frescoes (one of the state’s first “selfies” can be found in them!). Then you head up to above the interior dome and get a view of the steps up into the unfinished part of the dome.

The dome itself was a part of a nearly $325 million revamp of the statehouse completed in 2014.

If you go:

Cost: Free!

When: Tours are run by the Kansas State Historical Society Monday through Friday: 9:15, 10:15, 11:15 a.m., 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 p.m. If it’s too hot, they’ll cancel the tours as the dome itself isn’t air conditioned. Not sure if it’s cancelled if/when it’s too cold…

Where: 300 SW 10th St, Topeka, KS 66612. Visitor’s entrance is on the ground level, North Wing, on 8th Avenue. Parking information here.

More info: Kansas State Historical Society, 785-296-3966

Electro-Bites by Fuel 100 review


On occasion, I try my hand at long distance running with four half marathons under my belt. It’s an ongoing process to figure out just how to best carry and consume the snacks/electrolytes/energy that you need after an hour or so of high-energy activity. Because while you obviously need to stay hydrated, it’s also vitally important to keep your electrolytes balanced to help prevent muscle spasms and cramps. Downing sugary sports drinks isn’t ideal. And your body, after a while out on the trail, needs calories to burn.

Enter Electro-Bites.

Made by Fuel 100, they bill their Electro-Bites as “designed specifically for endurance athletes to help extend training and improve race performance.”

They come in small pouches, and the first thing I noticed was how light weight they are. In each punch is a 23 gram serving size (100 calories), which adds up to about 2 dozen of the little bites/nuggets. This seems like a distinct advantage to my general gels – those little bits of weight add up! And these are infinitely less messy than gels and bars.


Photo by Kristin Conard

The bites themselves are dry and crunchy with a bit of a chalky feel to them if you eat them without water, but once you get used it after the first couple, you don’t really notice. If you do eat them with a swig of water, they practically dissolve.

They’re simple enough – made of organic coconut oil, organic agave syrup, potato starch, sodium, magnesium and potassium. And they come in 5 different flavors – simply salty, salty vanilla, salty vinegar, apple cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. My favorite flavor was apple cinnamon, and despite my wariness before trying the salty vinegar, it was pretty good.

That overall salt theme, even subtly noticeable in the apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice, is good, since as you exercise, you lose salt. The bites do make you a bit thirsty, which is probably a good match up really – down a handful and then drink some water – balance out the hydration and electrolyte intake.  Just drinking water isn’t enough to keep you going hour after hour on the trail, and you have to replace those missing salts to be able to keep going; hypernatremia (too much water/not enough salt) can be just as dangerous as dehydration.

Take home message: Super lightweight, easy to open (could rip open with your teeth), not messy, and designed (quite literally) to let you go that extra mile.

Cool random fun fact: They were one of the snacks used by Heather “Anish” Anderson, long-distance trail hiker extraordinaire, who beat the unsupported Appalachian Trail thru-hike time last year by four days – She did in 54 days, 7 hours, and 48 minutes what takes most hikers 6 months.

You can buy them here. It’s $13.20 for a six pack – you can get all six of one flavor or a variety pack with at least 4 flavors.

Please note that the Electro-Bites were provided free for review purposes. Opinions all my own.

Get a signed Kansas Trail Guide at Harley’s Bicycles in Hutch this Saturday

If you’re running the Salt City Run For The Rocks in Hutchinson, you may be stopping by Harley’s Bicycles on Saturday 9/24 to pick up your race packet. While you’re there, you’ll also find Jonathan there from 10am to 1pm with signed Kansas Trail Guide books available to purchase!

Of course, he’ll be there for those of you not picking up a race packet too.

Good luck to all the runners from the 5k to the half marathon!

If you go:
629 North Main, Hutchinson, KS


Run or bike the first ever Bridge to Bridge event 9/17/16

The first ever Tour de Trails 5k will be this Saturday — 9/17/16. Hosted by the Central Kansas Conservancy, the race will be held start north of the railroad bridge on the Valkommen trail in Lindsborg and then moves onto the Meadowlark Trail.

The Meadowlark Trail, on the former Union Pacific railroad corridor, stretches 13 miles from McPherson to Lindsborg, though you won’t have to go the full length for this race.

There’s a 5k for runners as well as a 5k for cyclists. Here’s the schedule:

9:00 – 9:45 – Registration/Packet Pick up

10:00 – Bike Event Starts

10:10 – Runners/Walkers Event Starts

11:00-12:00 – Finish Line Festivities Enjoy Refreshments and Give-a-Ways!

Registration is $15 and you can sign up here.