KCK and KCMO--A Happenin' Town!

Beginning our third day in KC, and we just love this city. Of course, having gorgeous weather doesn't hurt, but we are so impressed by the culture, architecture, and general ambiance of this area.

Our visit has run the gamat of high to low culture.

Nelson-Adkins Museum
Part traditional museum, part contemporary museum. We got to see our favorite kind of art: photography and sculpture. We were inspired to go by the giant shuttlecocks on the lawn, which the artists saw as "scattered about" by giants, with the traditional art museum itself as the "net." These puppies are 18' tall and 5500 pounds each. Of course, when they were first installed in the 1990s, they were "an abomination." Now, of course, they are symbols of the city, shown on national sports broadcasts, for instance. The display inside, commemorating their 15-year anniversary, was fascinating. It included many napkin sketches by the artists. So interesting to get a glimpse of how the creative process works.

Don't touch!

KC "Q" and Local Treats
On our last trip, we ate out a grand total of 3 times in 36 meals--less than 10% of the time. On THIS trip, we are batting the opposite. In one of the meccas of BBQ, we must simply sample the pleasures. (Gotta do that again later in the trip when we're in Memphis.)

We tried Rosedales on Sunday, based on the recommendation of one of my brother's friends. Quite good, but the burnt ends weren't crispy. Lisa's "long end" (ribs) were very tasty. We made 3 meals out of the one restaurant meal.

As a Q-break, we tried Tim's Pizza last night, based on a Roadfood.com recommendation. The crust was outrageously good--thin, but sturdy and crispy (with those nice yeasty air pockets). Sturdy enough to hold a heapin' mass of toppings and stay crispy throughout the entire meal. We have at least 2 more lunches of that to come. Yay!

But we simply must try the two top places on the Roadfood list: Arthur Bryant's and LC's. So, today we're going to stop at each on our way out of town (after visiting the Hallmark Visitor Center to pay homage to Hoops and YoYo and our other favorite Hallmark characters) and get one sandwich for the road.

We also made one impromptu stop at Sheridan's for some "concrete," since we'd read about that local concoction. What it is is custard, which doesn't have to be frozen at as low a temp as ice cream. Allows it to be sort of slushy-thick, like wet concrete. Then they mix-in things to give it a grainy texture. We split a minty Grasshopper on the way to a matinee. Very unusual.

And our movie (the latest Star Trek) was quite an adventure. We felt "normal" (i.e., not tied to the RV) going to a movie.

Presidential Tour: Part 1

Last summer's big trip revolved around Lewis and Clark and all of the westward migration trails. We nod to that trip on this one, since Kansas City was the terminus of the Oregon and California trails.

But, on this trip, it seems we have a presidential theme shaping up. Independence, MO: Harry Truman. After we go through Hot Springs National Park, we have to go through Hope, Arkansas. And, at the View/Navion rally in Texas, one of the events is a trip to the LBJ Ranch.

We also have a civil rights era theme emerging, since Truman integrated the Army, LBJ signed all the civil rights legislation, and Clinton, well, they did used to say he was the first black president.... And we're planning on going through some civil rights sites in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee later on this trip.

The Buck Stops Here: my favorite Truman saying.

A re-creation of Truman's Oval Office (complete with a million ashtrays)

The TV (with corn cob on top) from Truman's Oval Office

As we looked at all of the very difficult decisions that Truman had to make, I'd say his were just as challenging as the ones we face (if not more): dropping the A bomb on Japan, rebuilding Europe via the Marshall Plan, founding NATO and the UN, stopping the spread of Communism, the Berlin airlift, a postwar glut of unemployed folks and inflation, rampant racism and KKK, etc., etc.

It's so easy to forget the past and think that now is THE WORST EVER! Every era has its own immense challenges, and I'd wager than none of us would ever truly want the awesome responsibility of the presidency.... Truman reportedly said that he'd rather be right than be president and then, under his breath, say he'd rather be anything else than president. I can get that.

The best part is that Truman and Bess came home from the White House to Independence and lived in the same house they'd had since they were married in 1919. He was famous for walking around town every day with his cane. Was there Secret Service back then? Sometimes I think we've deified former presidents and ought to just let them become regular citizens again after their service.... We certainly shouldn't keep calling them "President So and So", but rather "former President So and So." (It's a pet peeve of mine that governors, senators, and presidents who have left office still get their title.)

At any rate, the library was fascinating and very well done. We plan to visit more of these as we we can, esp. Nixon and Reagan out in CA when we get back there.

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