States: Missouri, Kansas
Soundtrack: Sirius road trip radio – Fleetwood Mac, Billy Idol, Guns n Roses, The Clash, Michael Jackson, Modest Mouse, Queen, Kanas (of course)
Highways: US-71, US-56, I-49, US-50
Hotel: Fossil Creek Hotel & Suites (NEVER GO HERE)
Miles driven: 2,251
Hours on the road: 41.3
Today our goal was to drive from Branson, MO to Kansas City, MO to grab some lunch and then push to Russel, MO to get us closer to Colorado Springs to see Aunt Jo and the lovely Schwab clan. It can’t come fast enough. We’ve been in a different state, city and hotel every day/night and it’s starting to get a bit too routine.
So we had a long morning drive cruising through Kansas. Early on, we happened upon a a slew of road signs that screamed –
BRING POWER AND WATER!
There were many of these along the way. It’s a funny thought that many in big cities don’t think about. This is a BIG country. And there are parts of it with literally nothing going on. Nothing but land. So, you want some LAND? Who can resist! BYOB though! I bring this up as –
a) this IS a big country and we’ve spent hours between exits with nothing civilized as far as the eye can see. And I really love that. That’s what these trips are all about. The open expanse of land and the mindset it puts you in.
b) I think I might be the only one that actually looks at OOH signs anymore. Stupid advertising.
c) These signs were a bit silly but they were far less dramatic (and terrifying) than the white pride sign we saw driving through Arkansas. I’m not kidding. It was a bit terrifying. This is a big, wide country and with all of the confederate flags we saw along with the white pride sign it made think about the liberal bubble I’ve lived in growing up in Miami, living in SF and then NY. I guess I’ve been lucky that way. That said, it’s completely baffling to me that people can still live in such fear of each other. And prefer to be afraid and intolerant. And now the GOP wants to put someone in office that pushes that same agenda forward. It’s completely surreal and unbelievable. Don’t get me started but I’m pretty sure this is how the zombie apocalypse begins.
Oh, here was another funny road sign we saw in Arkansas for a jeweler:
“She’ll worship the ground you Hunt on.”
Anyway, as we cruised along, Jill dialed up some old Kansas City jazz and blues. We listened to Count Basie and Charlie Parker among others. At times, I could hear Birdie (aka Charley) babble and coo over the old sounds of bebop. At least that’s what I pretended it was rather than her actual whining and shrieking. I tried to pretend it was Parker’s sax. It almost worked. Almost.
For lunch we sopped in Kansas City at Woodyard BBQ. This is a pretty legit BBQ joint and I think the only BBQ place I’ve seen that not only sells great wings, ribs, chili with burnt ends (their specialty) and sausage (I need a Tums even writing this) but they also sell probably 8 different kinds of wood for smoking purposes. We were able to sit on the patio out of the sun with Wally and Charley and got some great BBQ, a beer and fed the kids while we dined on some local fare. Shortly before we left a very elderly man was helped in by another man and sat at the table next to us. He was dressed in tan cowboy boots, dark blue jeans, a faded denim shirt, black vest and cowboy hat. He had long, stringy, grey hair, wrap-around sunglasses as well as bifocals pushed down his nose in front of his sunglasses. He was tall and very thin. He was very kind to both Wally and Charley. “Well, hello there apple cheeks,” he grinned to Charley when their eyes met. “Her name is Charley,” I said. “She’s 10 months old today!” He looked down for a moment and said, “Well, I’m 90 see. And all I can say is I wish her a long and happy life.” It was very sweet. Turns out our friend was their with his pastor and had convinced him to take him to one of his sons’ favorite rib joints. They dug into their ribs and we all made small talk as we finished our BBQ and beers. It was a great afternoon.
After our great BBQ experience we made our way to Fossil Creek Hotel & Suites in Russel, Kansas. I won’t debase the hotel but I will say that our room came with FREE SPIDERS! so that was a great surprise. That and the only place to get anything to eat other than McDonald’s, Sonic, etc was a “restaurant” adjacent to the gas station that very begrudgingly made us the taco special and a grilled chicken caesar. I won’t bore you with the details but I’m hoping Jill and I don’t have to wind up getting hepatitis shots or Z-packs for the rest of the trip.
So, tomorrow we head to Colorado Springs. If we make it out of Russel alive tonight! 😉