After leaving St Louis I was on to the other side of Missouri for a stay at "The Homestead", the home of another amazing friend just outside Kansas City. I helped pick tomatoes for homemade jelly and spotted buffalo in a nearby park. One evening we took a drive to nearby Independence, a city steeped in LDS church history and the hometown of Harry S Truman. The streets are pure mid-west charm, tree-lined, homes dripping with character and wrap-around porches. Add the twinkle of fireflies in the violet twilight and it was hard not to fall in love with it all.
Being a musically like-minded individual, K spent one morning away from work visiting the Jazz Museum with me. Hours and hours listening to fabulous music, drooling over Louis Armstrong's trumpet and other artifacts, watching revolutionary performances captured on film in sketchy black and white, reveling in the history of the great American music form. 18th and Vine is in an area of town that's definitely seen better days but they're working on revitalizing it and it's on it's way to being a fun little neighborhood lined with clubs and restaurants.
|KC boy, Charlie "Bird" Parker|
We also spent some time on the grounds of the WWI memorial, the Nelson-Atkins art museum, the Spanish styled shopping plaza, the public library, and eating more incredible food including some typical KC BBQ.
|Public library parking garage|
|museum lawn art|
|shopping center fountain|
And then it was time for a long-overdue reunion with one of my best childhood friends living in Wichita. After some late night chats and lots of hugs there were hours of fun at Exploration Place and the pool with the 5 kids. We also stopped by the Keeper of the Plains statue, a huge steel Native American sculpture standing at the confluence of two rivers.
And last but not least was a brief stopover with family in Colorado Springs. Besides being a great chance to catch up it was my first glimpse of real mountains in months and the first twinges of both homesickness and anxiety.
And thus ends the adventures for the moment. Stay tuned for boring reality for the next six weeks until Thailand!