Kansas City Meet Up, Day Two: Fountains, Monuments, BBQ and More Drinks
Kansas City Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
Day Two in KC had me up early and doing my best to upload some photos before meeting Shawn for breakfast. It was such a crazy night -- and I was not entirely sure how to post -- but decided on the flasher theme for Day 1, launched it and off I went. I was so amazed to see that I had over 35 hits when I got back from breakfast! Crazy TBer's!
Shawn and I had breakfast at the buffet at our hotel then Mark picked us up to take us down to the Westin to join the others. Originally Mark had booked a 15 passenger van so we could all ride together, but he found out that morning that the van had not been returned so was not available that morning. Fortunately he had a Plan B -- three cars and three handicap parking stickers!
We had to have several obligatory photos at the Westin -- Blues Brothers shots with sunglasses, etc.
Mark gave us a little primer on Kansas City -- the city with more fountains than any city other than Rome, the city with more boulevards than any city other than Paris, the city with the second largest city park -- after Central Park in Manhattan. I must admit, KC surprised me with its beauty, sophistication and culture.
Our first stop was the Liberty Memorial Monument -- a monument to World War I veterans -- which Mark informed us is the only memorial to WWI in the entire US. That surprised me. It's a huge pillar in the midst of two sphinxes that have their faces covered. The mystery of why the faces are covered was driving me nuts. I asked lots of folks in KC and have googled several articles, until I finally found one reference that says the two sphinx are in mourning. I guess the cover on their faces is a veil. That makes sense to me. The memorial was built in the mid-1920's. The money to build the memorial was raised in less than two weeks after an appeal was put out to Kansas City and the general surroundings.
We headed over to the Plaza area of Kansas City and saw what is billed as the most famous fountain in Kansas City -- the JC Nichols Fountain. Nichols was a successful businessman in Kansas City that developed the Plaza area and a lot of the real estate in town. He was a big philanthropist and a driving force on the fountains, parks, and memorials. The main part of this fountain was originally in Paris and was junked. A Kansas City businesman learned of it, flew to Paris and bought it and had it brought to Kansas City to be refurbished and installed.
The Plaza was developed as one of the first suburban shopping areas in the US by JC Nichols.
Our stop at the Classic Cup turned into lunch for me, as I had no idea when we might see food again. I had a couple of mimosas and a Nicoise salad.
Mark loaded us back up and off we went to the Nelson-Atklins Museum of Art. We really went more for the views from there, and they were spectacular. They had huge shuttlecocks (birdies for badminton folk) on the lawn that provided some great photo-opportunities. Harriet was having some trouble with her leg -- she was in pain and limping. She blamed it on me lifting her up at the bar the previous night -- but now that I have had a chance to review the pics from the night, I see she was picking up Mel and throwing her around.
In the sunlight, Harriet pointed out that Eric should be careful about wearing blue striped boxers under his white pants. He just had to demonstrate the effect when we left the museum in an Old School Bill-esque shot. Too funny!
We headed back to the Westin so that everyone could get a chance to clean up for the night's activities. Eric took me down to the Bicycle Shack to pick up bikes for Shawn and me for our ride the next day. Eric was originally going to ride as well, but decided not to so he could party a bit more Saturday night, and get a good drive in on Sunday when he departs for Charlotte, NC.
Shawn and I were barely in the elevator with our bikes when I got a call from Erin wondering where we were. The group was supposed to be back at the Plaza area for a special surprise from Mark and James, and hardly anyone was there. I put it in high gear and took a shower so quickly that I found out later I did not even get the grease from the bike chain off my leg! I had got some one me as I was being measured for heighth for the bike seat.
We had a short walk over to the restaurant -- most of us made it there ok. Somehow though a few stragglers got lost and took a bit longer to arrive. I read in a blog somewhere that they were yelled at on arrival. Damn, I missed it! Shawn did have to dry to ride another statue at the restaurant -- a bronzed bull right outside in the son. He did not last too long though, as it was quite hot and he did not want to fry his huevos, so I did not get a pic. Jack Stack's Restaurant is a great Kansas City barbeque joint -- with lots of choices for everyone (except vegetarians). I had a Kansas City mixed plate and got to chose two meats -- so went with lamb ribs and pork burnt ends. The ribs were amazing -- juicy, fall off the bone good.
Next stop: Granfalloon Bar and Grill. But first, Erin and Mel had to jump up on the cooled down statue of the bull outside the restaurant. James even got into the act -- he was not quite as funny getting on, as he did not have the short dresses of the other two. Once again, management came out and called them off. They just don't like people on their statues here in KC!
We had another TB'er join us at the Granfalloon -- Andy (zoolking).
Andy was kind enough to take a group of us up to the Power and Light District so we could start that all over again. It was rather discombobulated when we got there -- some at Howl at the Moon, some at Raglan Pub and others elsewhere.