Browsing "Kansas"
Apr 29, 2013 -

Well Fed In Wichita

Normally when I do driveway camping, I’m on my own for meals. Oh, I of course have a few with my hosts, but we pretty much stick to our own routines. L informed me upon arrival that he had stocked up on extra groceries for my visit. He made a nice breakfast my first two mornings and a really yummy saukerkraut and pork chop crock pot dinner last night.

His daughter and I got talking about food and when it came out that I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, she suggested we have lunch yesterday at Le Monde cafe and deli, a cozy restaurant with a mostly Mediterranean menu. What a joy it was to share an entrée of hummus and pita with someone!

This morning, L and I went next door to B&S’ for brunch (a couple I had met on the beach). I had breakfast burritos for the first time! I don’t eat eggs, so I’ve always stayed cleared of those, but S’ mix was much heavier on the sausage and veggies than the eggs, so they went down just fine.

After gabbing and about a gallon of coffee each, L and I headed out for an afternoon of sightseeing.

We started off by taking in the Keeper of the Plains, a monument that stands at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers (Ar-kan-zes, not Ar-ken-sa!).

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This monument represents the local indigenous peoples and marks their sacred ground. There are some informational panels near the monument.

Next, I asked that we go downtown so I could photograph the statues along main street. We had a lot of fun getting photographs with those, but I’ll go easy on L and not publish the rather saucy ones. 🙂
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Next, we headed over to the River City Brewery for something cold (and non-alcoholic) to drink where L left me in charge of his valuables.

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We then went across the street to the Museum of World Treasures, one of the most amazing museums I have ever been to. It is an eclectic personal collection of everything from dinosaur bones to Egyptian mummies, WWII memorabilia, and autographs. We could only take pictures on the third and first stories, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that the war and royalty exhibits were impressive!
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We then headed back to the River City Brewery for a late lunch/early dinner. The Brewery makes a variety of beers and only serves its own brews. We put in an order for the pulled pork special and L asked me if I wanted a beer because he wanted one. I took a glance at the menu and suggested we order the sampler, which got us NINE small glasses of beer (it came out to about two beers per person).

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We were a little surprised to discover that our BBQ pulled pork sandwiches came topped with creamy coleslaw, but it wound up being really yummy!

The beers were mostly great! There were a few that neither one of us liked and a few that one of us disliked, but we mostly agreed. I really liked their fruity Maibock as well as their Old Town Brown. L like the brown one too as well as the Emerald City Stout, while I found that latter one lacking in mouthfeel and preferred, to my surprise, the milk stout that had a maple syrupy finish.

We had our stouts with a stout and pretzel brownie, not that we were able to finish it. 🙂

It was a really fun day. Thanks, L!

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Countries, Kansas, Travel, USA    4 Comments
Apr 27, 2013 -

Good Food, Good Friends, Not So Good Movies

L has a ritual that he goes out with some of his friends a few weekends a month for dinner and a movie. I was invited to tag along tonight.

I was asked for my vote for dinner and didn’t want to suggest anything since I prefer for locals to choose the best option. Cheddar’s Casual Café came up as a definite finalist and I was happy to agree to that.

I had the same thing as I did at the Cheddar’s in Selma, a spicy sweet chicken and shrimp combo. Nothing else on the menu was as remotely appealing, even though everything looked great! I ordered mashed potatoes with gravy on the side and the gravy was white! I need to order gravy at every stop and see when it changes to brown! 🙂

For the movie, we went to see ‘Mud’, a coming of age story with a lot of potential but too much length. I’d give it a 4.5 and L would give it at 3. It’s one of those movies where the characters are much more interesting than is the story. It was the first movie I’ve seen in a theatre since I left Virginia!

The movie is set (and was filmed) in Arkansas. Why is that state ‘Ar-ken-sah’ while the state I am in right now, Kansas, is ‘Kan-zes’?

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Countries, Kansas, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Travel, USA    1 Comment
Apr 26, 2013 -

Shawnee OK to Wichita KS

I awoke with a start at about 3:00 this morning with a premonition: I was about to have the day from hell. I tried to calm myself down and get more sleep, but I only got in a little fitful dozing. I gave up around 7:00 and got up to pack. I had coffee, but my stomach was too much in knots to even think about breakfast.

I took the time to analyse this premonition. Was it one that would allow me to change my fate or one that doomed me? I decided not to go to Wichita today and try to wrangle another free night out of the casino. The bad feeling didn’t appease itself at all. In fact, it got worse. I would just be delaying the inevitable.

So I packed, returned my parking pass, got gas, checked my tire pressure (perfect), hooked up, and headed on down I-40 eastbound. About a mile from the exit for Midwest City, BOOM.

I pulled over and walked around the rig to discover that my interior dually on the passenger side had disintegrated. I went back in the cab and asked my GPS where the nearest tire place was, which was fewer than 3 miles. I knew I could get there on my own power, so I put the four-way flashers on and motored over there slowly.

The place was Cramer Tires, a small mom & pop type of outfit. I was able to pull in straight enough to unhook. A lady came out and asked what I needed and then went out back to check her inventory of used tires. I’m getting new tires shortly, so a good used tired for $56 (all inclusive price) sounded pretty good to me.

Once they got the tire off, the reason for the failure became evident: a bad valve stem. The tire condition was good and so was the pressure. They replaced the valve stem, mounted the new tire, and I was on my way in about 1.75 hours. I thought everything was good till I got about 40 miles down the road, which was too far.

I pulled into a turnout on I-35 to use the bathroom and the toilet room was so hot that the toilet seal had melted and the toilet was loose. I ran outside and discovered to my horror that when the tire blew, it flew back and knocked the exhaust pipe up into the sidewall! I was very close to a fire (see the picture below). Moreover, the heat was enough that it disintegrated the pipe that goes from my grey water tank to the valve so my grey water was dripping onto the highway.

Thankfully, I was able to bring the tailpipe down after sitting at the rest area for enough time to cool the area down.

I stopped at every opportunity I could all along I-35 and everything seemed okay up until I got onto the turnpike, where there were few exits. The rig just didn’t feel like it was handling correctly. By this point, I was almost at L’s, so I slacked on the speed and drove cautiously.

My toll was $4.25, as I’d estimated, and then it was just a few minutes to get to L’s. I got lined up straight, unhooked, and then backed onto some blocks. L even had an extension cord ready for me.

It was at about this point that he informed me that my ‘new’ rear time was flat as a pancake.

L said that he’s going to have a look at my plumbing over the weekend. Am I glad I’m landed here!

He’s convinced that the neighbours won’t care that I’m here, so at this point, I’m looking at being in Wichita till Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll see.

Once I was settled in, we headed out to the Anchor pub in old town Wichita for a couple of pints and dinner so that I could meet his sweetheart. I hadn’t eaten all day, so when he told me not to be shy and order an appy, I gladly did and got some really nice chips and salsa. For a beer, he recommended a really dark brew called 1545, which was perfect for the cold and damp weather. Dinner was one of the best grilled chicken burgers I have ever had.

Downtown Wichita is beautiful! It’s one gorgeous building after another. I especially like all the bronze statues along the main drag. They are likenesses of ordinary folks doing ordinary things on a busy city street. I’ll try to get back out there and snap a few pictures before I leave.

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Countries, Kansas, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    16 Comments
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