I'm traveling on my bike to see the country. I stop when it gets dark because I don't want to see the country in black and white."

We heard this statement from a motorcyclist traveling across Kansas. It made good sense to us to travel during the day and see our beautiful country in natural color.

We took a trip this weekend. It started out with a choice we had to make. There were two things happening on the same weekend and no possible way to do both, especially when they were on opposite sides of the state. Either go east through Lindsborg on our way to Assaria to spend time with our company friends or go southwest to an event in Fowler. Since we have been to Fowler many times and we've never been to Lindsborg or Assaria, we picked Assaria.

Now it's time to get ready, to pack, stop mail delivery and put medications in snack bags marked for each day a.m., noon and p.m.

When it comes to packing, we always seem to take too much stuff 'cause we are afraid we might need something. We were only going to be gone a day or two, but we come packed for four or five days. Last time, we forgot to bring our chairs to sit on around the campfire. Thank goodness our friends had extra chairs. Also, we didn't bring our insulated coffee cups, the ones with lids, but foam cups worked fine. This time we should have stuck in the bug spray to ward off the mosquitoes, and lotion or wide brim hat to protect us from the sun.

While putting things into the pickup, I shut the pickup door on my finger -- the pointing finger on my right hand. "Ouch, that hurt," I thought as I opened the door to get my finger out. "Now, that was dumb." It is black and blue, but luckily it didn't split my skin. I put an ice pack on it to keep it from swelling. Later on in the day, it was throbbing like crazy. I've found out just how often I use that finger, especially tying my shoe laces.

We never know if it might rain on the way. In Kansas, the weather 100 miles away can be different. In fact, the last rain we had was an inch and a quarter, but across the county as the crow flies to Walker, we heard they had 4 inches. So, should we put our suitcases into plastic bags or chance it and hope it stays dry?

One thing we never forget is the camera. I'm still using a flash camera, even though they are getting harder and harder to find. I'm now using a cute "Disney Princess" camera with pink hearts on it. Looks like I'm in my second childhood. Guess I'm going to have to give in and step up into the modern digital kind soon.

We are packed and ready to go and stop to fill gas. When we serviced the pickup it occurred to us what it used to be like before self-service. Years ago we would pull into the gas station, the service attendant came out, asked what we needed.

"Fill 'er up" we'd say. He then checked our radiator for water, checked the oil and tire pressure, washed our windows too. All this was a free service.

It's really hard to believe this happened at all gas stations. Now a few privately owned service stations still come out and help the senior citizens. Good for them.

We are on our way. This time of year it is hot. We still use the 4-60 air conditioner. You know -- four windows down at 60 mph.

We had a wonderful time. It didn't rain, Lindsborg is a very interesting town and the recreation park near Assaria is a great place to camp. We enjoyed visiting, playing new card games and eating delicious potluck.

We saw the country in natural color as we traveled this weekend. We're looking forward to our next trip.

Jim and Opal Flinn, Ellis, are members of the Generations Advisory Group.