Marquette was town number one. That leaves 625 to go. That's the goal for the Kansas Sampler Foundation: to go to every incorporated city in Kansas.
Foundation staff Marci Penner and WenDee LaPlant plan to be on the road off and on for two years to do research for the next edition of the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers.
Penner, director of the foundation, said, "To see everything first-hand makes a difference in how you write about it. We won't write about every town but we still want to see it. We also want to see how communities are doing and find the common factors of success as well as common issues."
Penner made the same trip ten years ago. The result was the popular 432-page, coil-bound Kansas Guidebook for Explorers. It is no longer in print.
The next guidebook edition is scheduled to come out in 2015. Penner said, "One of WenDee's jobs is to Facebook and Twitter the information as we go so there is immediate benefit for the public and the community. We'll also write a daily blog. We're anxious to share the information now."
The trip has been dubbed, ERV, an acronym for Explorer Research Voyage. Midway Motors of McPherson has loaned the Inman-based non-profit a 2012 GMC Terrain for the two-year journey. The car is also known as ERV, Explorer Research Vehicle.
Penner and LaPlant will not be scheduling their stops so a town won't know they are coming until the colorfully wrapped ERV drives into town. LaPlant said, "We want to see a town just as a visitor would see it. We prefer not to have any special treatment."
Information about how to follow the ERV trip can be found at kansassampler.org.