In Part 1 of our time in Kansas City, we saw where President Truman lived, had a meal at the City Market, and got frustrated with the hotel and our fellow guests at the Residence Inn. Part 2 was the Royals game at Kauffman Stadium and moving out of our hotel when it turned in Delta House.
All the baseball is now over, time to spend our last day of the trip...
Oh, what a peaceful night of blissful sleep we had at the Drury Inn.
It’s getting down to the wire. We’ve seen all the baseball we’ve come to see. Been to several states and three major American cities. Our last full day on the tour and we’re ready to add one more destination to our list. Letty and Tim have never been to all but two of the states on this trip. Same for me, except I’d already been to Kansas. We slept over the state line from Kansas City but it still feels like we’re in Missouri so today, we’re going to experience The Wheat State.
It’s just an hour or so to the capitol of Topeka. After a ride on highway 10, a freeway that runs most of the way there from our hotel, we shift over to the 70 which is a toll road here. It costs all of 75 cents for that last leg into the capitol
Our first destination is Monroe Elementary School, a few blocks southeast of the capitol building. In 1954, Oliver Brown sued the board of education to allow his daughter to attend a white school. Topeka schools were segregated then. Even though Monroe by all accounts was a model school, the argument that segregation alone was enough to nullify the equal portion of the “separate but equal” policy of the day. Backed by the NAACP, Brown vs. the Board of Education went all the way to the Supreme Court who used it to overturn legal segregation.
Now a National Historic Park, the small schoolhouse…historic and interesting in itself…is broken into two main areas…a space that details what led to the case, the legal strategy involved, and the litigation; and another that documents events that have followed up since that time.
It’s a moving and important display. My wife was wracked with sadness at it all but I think we should look at it as a turning point where we started to have the self-awareness to start addressing these wrongs.
Heading over to the capitol, we drive around the being-renovated building to find a spot free of scaffolding to take a picture. About a mile away is the Bobo Drive-In that we saw on the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives show but being a Sunday, it was closed. In fact, in this Bible-Belt Kansas town, not much was open so we head back to a coffee shop we saw earlier, the Hanover Pancake House.
It’s packed with after church diners but we only wait about five minutes for a table. We get pancakes, French toast, hash browns, the ever present biscuits and gravy, and Tim has chicken strips with mashed potatoes. What a revelation this place is. Some of the best comfort food I’ve had. The pancakes, perfect with just a hint of crunch on the outer skin, fluffy and light, no mealiness at all. Crunchy and delicious hash browns, some superb sausage gravy over those biscuits, and the mashed potatoes tasted like they were half cream.
UPDATE: One more pic of the Pancake House, as per requested in the comments below. This is the only other pic I have so this makes all the pictures we have of this wonderful restaurant.
After eating, we head a few miles west to the Kansas State Museum, which acts of a kind of Smithsonian for Kansas history. It’s another interesting stop as the expansive displays take you through history from the pre-U.S. native days, the settling of the frontier, Bloody Kansas and the Missouri Compromise, ranching, farming, railroads, and modern life. Definitely worth a stop.
I take my wife to a nearby park where she can find a rock (she collects rocks from everywhere we visit) and then it’s back to the hotel.
We break out some wine, the cheese, fruit, and bread we bought yesterday. I grab some popcorn and soda from the Drury Inn lobby, and we settle in to watch our beloved Cowboys finish second to Dan and Jordan on The Amazing Race before getting one more night of good sleep.
In the morning, we pack up, make a stop at the huge Cabela’s sporting goods store, and then have lunch at the Five Guys burger joint adjacent to the Kansas Speedway. The burgers are delicious.
I’d usually end here but one more thing…
We get to the airport in Kansas City. Go through the lines and finally get through security only to find out that all the amenities…new stand, good restaurants, most of the bathrooms…are on the outside of the secure zone. Waiting with about a thousand other travelers, we find only a couple of sparsely supplied snack bars and a total of 8 toilets…4 for the men and 4 for the ladies.
Just an incredibly outdated airport.
It was a great trip, we just had a few bobbles to overcome, but the weather cooperated for the games, we found some surprising gems, and one heck of a hotel chain. Thanks for coming along!
By the numbers:
Stadiums Visited/Games Attended: 3
Stadium total: 20 for Tim, 21 for Darryl and Letty (we went to a game at Oakland once without Tim)
States Visited: 7
New States Added: 4 for Darryl, 5 for Letty and Tim
Length: 11 days
Copyright 2010 – Darryl Musick
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