Posts tagged Kansas City
We’ve been covering some serious ground in the last few days. Well into the Central Time Zone, we’ve covered about 2400 miles since we started our journey in San Francisco. We had a few hours on Sunday morning to get a little of a feel for Kansas City despite the horrendously freezing weather complete with ice and snow. Katelyn’s friend, Pierce took us to the historic City Market, which was conveniently located right near his house.
It was an awesome area, complete with shops from all sorts of cultures from Middle Eastern to Korean to Italian. We walked around a bit, and also explored the Chinese market before sitting down for some Ethiopian food for lunch (it was delicious!)
Both Katelyn and I were pretty surprised by the diversity and culture of Kansas City, and definitely wish we had more time to explore and better weather to make that actually possible. We only had a few hours though because we had to make to to St. Louis, Missouri (Katelyn’s original hometown) to have dinner with her aunt and uncle. We dug out my car and snapped a picture before hitting the road.
Interestingly enough, Kansas City has already expended its plowing budget for the year, so we had to take our time getting out of the city, but once we hit the open road, it was smooth sailing (but pouring the entire time) until St. Louis. Once we arrived, we had a really nice dinner with Katelyn’s aunt and uncle, and had a nice relaxing evening.
The next morning we got to sleep in, visited Katelyn’s grandma, and hit the road again bound for Chicago, where we are now. On the way, we stopped at a midwest hot-spot, Steak ‘n Shake for some of their famous burgers and milkshakes.
Here in Chicago we are staying with my friend Helena from Madrid who is a friend of my friend Alicia who’s older sister was a foreign exchange student with my family when I was 6 or 7 (confused yet?). I know Helena from my last two trips to Spain in 2004 and 2007, so it was great to see her again.
Once we chatted and caught up a bit, the three of us plus Helena’s boyfriend and his roommate decided to hit up a kareoke bar and spice up our Monday night. It wasn’t too busy, and all of us were pretty hesitant to take the stage. That was until a man named Nester approached our table wondering if anyone would duet “Love Shack” from the B-52′s with him. Unable to resist this random but almost too perfect opportunity to break the ice and get on stage, I accepted. It was my first attempt at kareoke outside of China (the style of kareoke there is a lot different), but I had a blast. After that, Katelyn and I shared a duet of All Saints “Never Ever” (circa Spice Girls era) and I sang Kesha’s “Tik Tok” (a pretty annoying, but undeniably catchy pop song that I’ve learned by default by driving so much and listening to FM radio) and it got some people dancing and singing along. Tonight felt great because I was getting over being nervous singing in public and just reconnecting with my inner Britt– a few things out of many that I’ve wanted to get out of this road trip.
We are excited to explore Chicago tomorrow! Even just driving in, the city seems awesome. There’s great architecture and diversity, so we’re going to try to brave the freezing cold and do our best to be good tourists. We’re going to check out the sites and definitely get some Chicago deep dish pizza!
On the journey from Boulder, CO to Kansas City, MO Kately coined the new term “Car-ma” to describe the challenges we encountered on the road on what became an over 13 hour affair. We left Boulder at 7:30am, planning to make it to Kansas City by the evening to meet up with Katelyn’s friend named Pierce. Exhausted, we hit the road and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, we couldn’t escape our bad Car-ma. It was snowing in eastern Colorado and we had to take it slow (no more cruising at 75 mph), and knowing we had at least a 10 hour drive ahead of us it was far from encouraging. Slippery roads and spinning out on the highway kept us going at a good 35mph. We finally broke out of the snow and made some good time crossing into Kansas, but then our bad Car-ma kicked in again and Katelyn and I heard what we thought was a helicopter. After searching relentlessly for this elusive helicopter, I finally smelled burning and pulled over. Still hoping to find a helicopter, we only discovered that my rear right tire was entirely flat.
I do have AAA, so we made the call and waited on the highway already late and about to be even later for our dinner plans. Thankfully, Katelyn and I have been getting really good at healthily diffusing frustration. What started off as us screaming to relieve stress as we waited for our AAA man transformed into hysterical laughter when we considered the ridiculousness of our situation. Our repairman arrived very quickly and was incredibly pleasant, which made things a lot easier, except for the fact that to retrieve my spare tire, I had to excavate the contents of my trunk. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but I had my trunk packing down to a science– everything fit perfectly without an inch to spare. I purposefully packed my trunk before I left Seattle with all of my things that I wasn’t going to need on the trip with every intention of not touching them again until Pennsylvania, but I never considered having to access my spare tire. We created quite a site on the side of I-70, with me hauling the necessary bags and boxes onto the roadside to let our buddy dig out the spare tire.
Needless to say, I did not methodically repack my trunk, but only haphazardly threw things where they fit and threw the rest in the backseat, adding to the chaos of our day’s adventures. Once we had the spare on, we had to follow our repairman to Wal-Mart in Hays, Kansas to buy a new tire. Frustrated and annoyed, but trying to rally a positive outlook, we parked at the auto shop and went shopping in the store. Like a gift from the heavens, we stumbled upon two racks of discount clothing, $3 zipper sweatshirts and $1 (yes, really only $1) leopard print tights! Katelyn and I felt like we struck gold and jumped at the opportunity to garner some happiness out of our otherwise dismal day. Once my car was done, we eagerly got back on the road, and began planning our leopard tight debut (we’re still trying to figure that one out).
Katelyn knew just what I needed to brighten my day and offered to buy me a Dairy Queen blizzard if there was one the next time we stopped to get gas. My tank was too low to bypass the next rest area, so as we approached the road sign that tells you what food/gas/lodging options you have, I strained my eyes to see if there was that recognizable DQ logo. Katelyn didn’t see one at first, but I wasn’t about to lose hope. As we got closer, I made out the DQ sign and immediately screamed an excited, drawn-out “YES!” (It was an incredibly exciting moment for me).
Once I had my large Reese’s cup blizzard, things were pretty smooth for the next few hours, but about an hour or so outside of Kansas City, we hit more snow. Almost completely without wind in our sails, we begrudgingly pushed forward, already cautious after our morning snow driving issues and getting more and more exhausted. We were so close, yet so far away. Cue more stress-relieving screaming and making up song lyrics about not liking Kansas, its luck or its long stretch of I-70. As you can imagine by what I’ve told you thus far, this also often sparked laughing fits that motivated us even more to make it to Kansas City and make the best of the rest of our evening. Our persistence paid off and we finally crossed the border out of Kansas and into Missouri, taking a moment for high fives and applause before arriving to Pierce’s house a little after 9pm. Our cabin fever was almost oppressive by that point, so after a delicious meal and chatting, we decided that we’d all go out dancing (surprise surprise). Pierce really came through, taking us to an awesome bar in downtown Kansas City that played only music from the 80′s and 90′s. Katelyn and I once again owned the dance floor, and successfully redeemed our long, exhausting day.
This trip has been incredibly interesting in learning how to take everything in stride. Our compatibility as road trip companions definitely makes this easier, but it’s been a good lesson in not letting the little things get you down and to find the hilarity in otherwise unpleasant circumstances.