Listening to music on the road is a part of the experience of traveling far distances. Heck even in short drives we all listen to music on the way to work, school, church, etc. There are certain albums that just go well with a road trip. All Hail West Texas is one of those albums.
All Hail West Texas
If you love acoustic, folk, indie, or even country music you will definitely love this album. It’s a collection of songs written by John Darnielle that all are related to Texas in one form or another. Each song is self contained story: there’s a song about two kids starting a death metal band in Denton, TX (The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton), there’s a song about a guy who really loves his motorcycle and loves riding it across Texas at high speeds (Jenny). The songs could range from warmhearted fun songs like those I mentioned above to more serious but still fun songs; like a song about a guy who wants to go back home to New Mexico but is stuck in Texas due to his parole (Jeff Davis County Blues). There’s a bit of dark humor too, such as in another song about a couple who loves traveling but they travel to escape their miserable lives at home (The Mess Inside).
Where You Want To Listen To This
Certainly if you are traveling through Texas this album is a must! It’s incredibly surreal to listen to these songs while traveling through the places they are based on. For example, every time I cross the New Mexico border into Texas I think back to Jeff Davis County Blues. Another standout tune to listen to while traveling through Texas is Blues In Dallas. Trust me, when you drive ten or so hours into Texas and you hit Dallas at 1:00 A.M and you listen to Blues In Dallas it’s just incredibly cathartic and fourth wall breaking in a way.
You do not have to have be traveling through Texas to listen to this though, any time you are on the road in the South or even Midwest traveling a long distance this album will definitely hit home.
Color In Your Cheeks is one of the standout songs on the album. It’s also a good indicator on how the rest of the album sounds. If you like it, definitely check the rest of the album out!
Thanks to all the readers and visitors for making this year the most viewed year I had on wordpress! Initially, I started this wordpress for personal reasons. I didn’t think that anyone would ever read the various travel logs and blogs I post up. So thanks again for stopping by and checking out my different posts. All of your support definitely keeps me going!
New Travel Topics!
To be honest this is my favorite update to the site and something I have been wanting to do for a long time. At the beginning of this wordpress I have focused on just writing personal blogs and then some random other posts (including political articles too lol). But I then started traveling a bit. I don’t travel extensively at all as my site makes it out to be. I just happen to get around enough to be able to write these travel logs at a fairly regular basis. Because of this, I started to shift my focus away from writing about day-to-day activities to writing about my different travel stories. I personally found the travel stories more interesting and you did too! That marked the paradigm shift to switch from the original title of this blog “Daily Life and Works of Levie” to the current title “1000 Travels of Levie”.
The current focus of the blog is almost exclusively on travel logs. These travel logs will continue to be the main attraction to this site. But, to add to the fun I will be expanding the site into other topics regarding travel. Here are a few other topics I have in mind.
1: Travel Advice
This is not a totally new topic on my site. I written about it only one time in the past in the post Road Regrets. However, I have more travel advice that I have in mind and I will definitely take time to share them with all of you.
Whenever you travel you meet some interesting people. Some of the most interesting people I met on my travels happen to be artists. They could range from classical painters to photographers to even museum directors. In the past I would just incorporate these artists into the travel log. Doing these Artists Spotlight posts will allow the reader to get a more in depth look at these artists I meet while also getting a look into the work of the artists. The first few Artist Spotlights that I will touch upon are artists that actually appeared in past travel logs. I never felt like I did them justice so I hope that these Artist Spotlights could actually help out the artists get more coverage.
3: City/Town Spotlight
This is a tentative title for posts regarding specific cities and towns. If you have a suggestion for this go ahead and post it in the comments. Essentially, the title of these posts would look something like this “City Spotlight: Oklahoma City, OK”. The focus of these posts is to not be a pure travel guide of the city/town. But, to give you an inside look of how the atmosphere is in the city/town and how I could compare/contrast them to other cities/towns. Just like with the Artist Spotlight posts these Cities/Towns Spotlight posts will initially be on cities/towns I have covered in past logs but a more in depth look at each of them.
4: Travel Tunes
There are two things I’m sure everybody loves, first is traveling and the second is music. Go and ask anyone and both of these things will be somewhere in their hobbies list. I know it’s on my list for sure. Because of this, Travel Tunes will be a sort of album review/recommendation post where I will be recommending different albums. The albums I will be recommending will be albums that I personally believe sound good on a road trip for whatever reason I will write in each of the posts. These will be a lot of fun, if you have any suggestions for these Travel Tunes posts go ahead and post them in the comment section.
5: Twilight Zone Travel Tips
It’s no secret, Twilight Zone is one of my favorite TV series ever. I find myself referencing Twilight Zone episodes in real life and even in my travel logs too! Twilight Zone is an anthology style sci-fi TV series that aired a long time ago. Such a long time ago that the episodes are all in black and white. I’m sure that all of us are familiar with the eerie intro to Twilight Zone right? The cool thing about Twilight Zone is that each of the episodes try to teach a lesson that we could learn from. Without spoiling too much about the episodes themselves, I will be drawing lessons from episodes that could be used when you travel. This is definitely similar to the Travel Advice posts, but these Twilight Zone Travel Tips will be more fun in that they will be taken from different Twilight Zone episodes.
New Site URL?
With all of these new topics and focus I thought about changing the current URL, which is, leviegalapon.wordpress.com Currently, its just an idea to change the URL. However, if I could think of a good URL to replace it with then I will probably do that. If I do so I will make a new post about it. But don’t fret the current title “1000 Travels of Levie” is here to stay! Perhaps 1000travelsoflevie.wordpress.com should be the new URL.
Today I woke up fairly early. I did the same as yesterday pretty much. I got ready and went out to get breakfast. I got the whole biscuit and gravy with sausages and those yellow egg patties. I then headed back to my room and got ready to head out to the library. From here on out it was practically the same thing from the other days. I drove out and got to the Truman library at a good time. Today when I got to the library it was the same security guard as the one I met on Monday. I feel bad for not getting his name since he was one of the cooler guards who had a personality. I’m sure they all do, but you know how there are people who are more approachable than others. There were a few interesting parts of my day. I took a break pretty early since I finished one of the carts early. During this time I went down to the break room since I remembered that there was a couch there. I chilled for a little while. During this time all the construction workers had a sort of pizza party in the break room. It was a bit awkward but oh well. I actually wanted a slice of pizza lol I then headed back upstairs. Also, when I went down to eat my lunch later on I sat with the security guard from earlier. Apparently he only works Sundays and Mondays and he only worked today because the other guy was having a surgery. He also said that he usually takes annual trips to Florida (Pensacola is my guess). I remember asking him about how people from Missouri pronounce Missouri as Missouruh. He said it was a Missouri thing and for him personally it was easier to pronounce. Another interesting moment was when I looked through the contents at one of the boxes. It contained propaganda leaflets that were dropped on the North Korean troops during the Korean War and they were real interesting. I think I might be able to put them in my thesis somehow. I was looking for propaganda leaflets that showed the Truman administration’s belief that the U.S.S.R was behind the North Korean attack. I’ll post a few below.
After my day in the library I headed back to the downtown Independence area. When I got here I parked at the side of one of the buildings near Updog. I went back here to check out that Scandinavian store that had the cool bottles of water. When I went inside and checked out the water bottle it was simply called Icelandic Glacial Water. I got two bottles of the stuff. I then walked around the store. There was a bunch of interesting knick-knacks that ranged from clothes to ceramic ware to an assortment of beauty supplies. I feel kind of bad for not getting any shots of the things inside. Oh well, after looking around and sniffing a few Scandinavian fragrances I went to the cashier lady. She was interesting, I asked her if she was from Iceland and she was like “oh how did you know?” To be honest I didn’t really I said “I just looked at this bottle of water and took a guess”. I then went on and told her how I was a researcher from Colorado. She told me how she had family in Colorado and that she liked visiting Colorado from time to time. She was a very nice lady. I then headed out of the downtown area and back to the hotel. When I got back to the hotel I was pretty tired. But it was kind of cool when the front desk lady told me that they had the maintenance guy look at the door and fix it. Now, after the fix, you could let momentum close the door firmly. My guess is that the door swelled from moisture and the maintenance guy shaved down necessary portions. I was thankful that they did this fix. I just wished they did this fix earlier on the week. Oh well, when I got to my room I took a rest for a little while.
When I woke up it was already getting dark a bit outside. I then got ready because I wanted to check out Smokin Guns BBQ, which I saw from Diners Drive-Ins and Dives a while back ago. When I drove out on the Interstate it wasn’t too bad. I eventually got to this exit that was a bit difficult. Imagine going about fifty miles an hour out of an exit ramp into the interstate and you had a quarter mile to get to the next exit that was in the opposite side of the Interstate. All the while there are cars on the Interstate going seventy. It was a pain, but I made the exit alright. From here it was almost a straight drive to Smokin Guns. From the exit it took me onto a fairly long stretch of bridge called Heart of America Bridge. The view was quite nice. You drove on this bridge over water, all the while the sun was setting and you were leaving the metropolitan area from one side to the more industrial side on the other side of the bridge. It is also interesting to note that while you are crossing this area you leave Kansas City and enter North Kansas City (which would technically mean you are not in a Northern part of Kansas City but in a whole new city in of itself). North Kansas City is definitely a blue-collar suburb/industrial area. It reminds me of the industrial area in downtown Honolulu mixed with downtown Colorado Springs. It was also fairly desolate in this area with wide roads and almost no one else in sight. When I got closer to Smokin Guns, is when I saw more cars not on the road but parked off to the sidewalk. When I got to Smokin Guns I kind of circled the property in search of parking. I saw a dirt lot in the back that was open but no cars were parked there. I sort of guessed that it wasn’t an official parking lot. While circling the block I found some parking near the sidewalk in front of Smokin Guns. It was a good spot and pretty close. When I went inside I noticed that it looked totally different from what I saw on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. I got seated and a worker handed me a menu. I asked for sweet tea and they had pretty good Southern style sweet tea. At least I liked to imagine it was Southern style. I looked through the menu and immediately looked for the thing I saw on Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri and his friend who is a BBQ specialist and Judge really hyped up the BBQ here especially in terms of the Turkey and Burnt Tips. I just had to get those so I ordered a Burnt Tips plate with a side of Turkey. I also asked the waiter dude if this was the same location from the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives episode and he said that it was. The difference is that the original place is in the back and that this is a new place. The reason was because the old place was small and this was bigger. It made sense, I’m pretty sure the episode feature also helped this business economically as well. When I got the BBQ it was very good. I cannot express it enough on how good it was. Both the Burnt Tips and Turkey were brimming with flavor. The sauce they had also was pretty good too but all the flavor you need is in the BBQ already. The sides were pretty good too, I felt that the potato salad wasn’t as good as compared to other joints. But the beans they have here is real good though. I still had quite a bit of left overs so I asked for a to go box and packed the stuff in it. I then thanked my waiter and headed out. When I headed out the street was still empty besides from the cars parked at the sides. It was fairly eerie, especially considering the only business open on this street (at least noticeably) was Smokin Guns. I remember seeing another store that had its open lights on but the lights inside were off.
As I left the North Kansas City area I headed back on the Heart of America Bridge towards Kansas City. My next stop would be that big Walmart in Independence. When I got there it was fairly packed. Its odd because Independence is a fairly small town, making it look like Walmart was the place to be in Independence lol The parking lot was also full too. I had to get parking in the far back. When I went inside Walmart it is hands down the biggest Walmart I ever set foot in. The second would be the big Walmart in Dallas, TX. It was actually so big that I didn’t get to walk around the whole place. To be honest, Walmarts are not really tourist destinations but there’s a sort of appeal to that. In our daily lives we go to Walmart to get whatever grocery or other essential knick-knacks. Because of this, it was cool to basically see all the locals in the area here doing their day-to-day shopping. I didn’t really get much here I actually only ended up getting a king sized Pay Day bar. For some reason I just felt like getting a candy bar lol Afterwards, I headed out of the Walmart area, which was a bit of a pain since it was crowded. It wasn’t just Walmart in the area there was a few shopping plazas and restaurants here too. Also, the road leading back to the interstate wasn’t easy to get to. There was this one four-way intersection that was to the far side that was particularly annoying. After getting out of the Walmart area and back to the Interstate I just needed to hang left since my hotel was literally at the next exit. When I got back to my room I was very tired and hit the bed.
Today I woke up earlier than I did the other. I got ready and went out to eat breakfast. I pretty much got the same thing I did previous. The big difference is that, instead of getting biscuits, I got a waffle from the make your own waffle thing. The waffle itself was actually pretty good and oddly chewy in a good way. I then headed back to my room and got ready to go back to the library. Today on my way to the library I actually stopped by the local market Walmart. It was interesting being there since I felt like a locale shopping there. It looked eerily similar to the market Walmart back in CO. It was eerie not due to the similarities but to the differences. It was so familiar yet alien at the same time. I noticed that they had a bigger frozen food section here and that the candy/chocolate section was to the wayside. I ended up getting a Twix bar and this interesting chocolate cherry thing called Big Cherry. Trust me, if you ever see a Big Cherry it’s a must try for sure. Out of Walmart I then headed to the library.
Today was interesting. I finally got to meet that pretty intern girl, or at least I thought she was an intern. Here’s a memorandum of our conversation. I said “Hey, are you an intern?” She said “Oh no I’m not, I’m a Library Tech over here”. I said “Really, I didn’t expect that, my name is Levie.” She said “I’m Stephanie, its nice to meet you.” And we shook hands and went our way. Man, she looks pretty young so that’s what I thought, its even cooler to know that she’s a Library Tech, whatever that may entail. Also, during my lunch break I walked around the Truman Library compound a little bit. I noticed this stone bridge thing with a bench from the road so I decided to check it out. When I went there, there was an old man sitting on one of the benches. When I sat at one of the benches I said “it’s a nice spot to take a rest.” He said “It sure is, but watch out for the mosquitos.” I said “They biting a lot right now?” He said “Yeah, there’s a small creek right back there (the bridge area/forest area) and the water is still.” Later on he said “well, I must continue on my walk.” He was in the area because it was a trail and he was doing his daily walks. As he was leaving I remember saying “a mile a day keeps you healthy” and then he laughed as he left. I sat at the bench for a little while longer, eventually even laying on it for a second. It was very nice being there, under the shade of an ancient tree with the sound of Cicadas filling the air with their song. I then took a look at the creek area. It was very nice, incredibly nice, it was as if I was looking back into a different time. The bridge itself looked like it was constructed out of stone bricks. I wonder if the creek ever swells into a larger moving river. Oh well, we can leave that up to imagination and speculation. After some time I headed back to the library, I chatted up with Cara for a bit and found out that she lived in the Southern part of Georgia fairly far from Atlanta. I also found out that she was married, and to be frankly honest I felt kind of bad since I thought she was single and ready to mingle as the saying goes. I then headed back inside. While I was looking through the boxes with the documents, one of the boxes was oddly light and when I opened it the box was empty! This is pretty bad depending on how you look at it. I didn’t want them to think I took what small document was inside so I told the front desk lady, by the way she is a character in her self. I told her “excuse me mam but this box is empty”. She said “is it box XXX (I forgot the number)?” And I said “yes it is.” She said “I thought so, I was the one who pulled that box this morning and it was really light.” She then said “let’s look up the box up in the database.” A little while later she says “Oh there it is, according to the online database there is ‘no box for this number’”. I said “that’s a bit odd.” She said “Right now we are moving some boxes around and this box might have got lost in the shuffle, either that or someone dun goofed.” I kind of laughed at that. What troubled me came later on when I had this particular empty box put away. Apparently, Stephanie is in charge of the boxes in the section where the empty box came from and when she put away the box she actually came to question me about it. I played it off cool since I didn’t want to look suspicious, especially towards Stephanie. I pulled up the online database and showed Stephanie the “box has no number” thing and she was like “okay, thanks for clarifying”. After this event, the rest of my day was fairly standard.
After I left the library I headed back to the hotel to get ready for church. Funny thing is that I tried to get back to the hotel without the GPS. I got myself to the downtown area pretty good, but from here I took a wrong turn and got a bit loss. I was in a time crunch so I just switched the GPS back on. The first direction I had to make was a U-turn. I was headed the opposite direction away from Noland Rd lol I then got back on Noland and it was alright. Although I did get lost I saw an interesting side of the suburbs in Independence, there were houses and train tracks and roads that could use some work on. Eventually, when I got back to the hotel I noticed that my room wasn’t closed again and I told the front desk about it. It grinded my gears when I found that the door wasn’t closed, but oh well. I got ready for church fairly quickly. I had some extra time so my choices were to take a short nap or explore some part of Kansas City I haven’t seen yet. I took the latter choice. I decided to check out the Plaza Shopping District, a bit out of curiosity and out of suggestion from Trevor from the other day at Market House café. I noticed that the Plaza District was not too fair from the hotel but the estimated drive was about twenty minutes. That surprised me a bit and I thought I could get there quicker. The drive to the Plaza District was nice. It took me through the interstate for a little while and then on to a few highways. For some reason the highway sections looked like places I’ve been previously. Very suburban and working class areas near those highway sections. However, when you get near the Plaza Shopping District and University of Missouri – Kansas City in particular, the scenery takes a paradigm shift and it looks like a very modern college town. It was spacious as compared to Westport and there existed tall buildings as well. It reminded me of a mix between Lights and Power District and Westport District. When I got here, I noticed that it actually took a bit longer than twenty minutes so I didn’t have much time to wander around. I drove around a bit and eventually found myself near the Kansas City Art Institute. I parked near these apartment buildings that might have also been dorms since I saw a lot of students in the area. I walked around this area a bit and it was pretty interesting. There was a place called Art Space that’s hosted by the Art Institute, unfortunately it was closed. It looked like it could have been an art gallery of some sort. The neighborhood in this area actually looked very nice. It was hip and modern, kind of like the suburban areas around downtown Denver, CO. The streets were a bit too narrow for my taste. Essentially, it could have been a three-lane area but there are cars parked on the left and right sidewalk, therefore it was essentially a single lane road due to the parked cars on the side. While I was driving out another car was coming my direction and it had to wait on the side parking as I drove past. After this, it was fairly easy getting out and back on the road.
My next stop would be the chapel in the Kansas side of Kansas City. The drive there only took a while since I wasn’t driving on the interstate too often and was mostly driving through the suburbs. When I got to the chapel it was just about time to go inside. When I did I said hello to the brothers there and they were real cool too. We all just exchanged introductions before going our way. I think one of the brother’s name was Abe. I then headed inside the sanctuary. It was nice inside and the service was very good. After I headed downstairs and talked to a few brethren. Amongst them was Ate Gene and Kuya Glenn, it was cool to see them after not seeing them since Ciudad Juarez, Mexico some time ago. I also met Ate Gene’s mom too. I also got to see Hannah too! Hannah and myself go back a long time. I knew her since I used to live in Guam! What a small world. I also got to talk to the minister and his wife, they are super nice and cool people. I didn’t stick much after I talked to them since it was getting late. The night drive back wasn’t too bad. The drive went by quickly. I then got back to the hotel, ate some food and hit the bed.
Today I woke up earlier than I did the previous day. I quickly got dressed and headed out to get some breakfast. I got the exact thing I got the previous day, it was still as good. I then headed back to my room to get ready to head out to the library. As I left the hotel I asked the front desk guy to check my room later to make sure that it was closed and he promised he would. That promise gave me peace of mind on the matter. I then headed out to the library. Today I actually did not use the GPS! I swear not using the GPS helped me feel like a local of Independence. When I got there I quickly signed in and got to work on going through the documents. Nothing really stuck out during my session today. I saw that intern girl throughout the day as I went to the bathroom. Her office was close to the bathroom so I always took a peek at her, might as well right? I took a shot of the mural in the archives room, which looks pretty cool.Today I woke up earlier than I did the previous day. I quickly got dressed and headed out to get some breakfast. I got the exact thing I got the previous day, it was still as good. I then headed back to my room to get ready to head out to the library. As I left the hotel I asked the front desk guy to check my room later to make sure that it was closed and he promised he would. That promise gave me peace of mind on the matter. I then headed out to the library. Today I actually did not use the GPS! I swear not using the GPS helped me feel like a local of Independence. When I got there I quickly signed in and got to work on going through the documents. Nothing really stuck out during my session today. I saw that intern girl throughout the day as I went to the bathroom. Her office was close to the bathroom so I always took a peek at her, might as well right? I took a shot of the mural in the archives room, which looks pretty cool.
After I left the library I actually headed to downtown Independence. I have not been here since my last stay back in June. I actually parked at the same parking lot I parked last time. I’m still surprised that this parking place is always open. I then took a walk around town. It was odd seeing Uptown Dog again, it was different kids working this time as opposed to the last time I was here. I then checked out Clinton’s for old time’s sake. I was hoping that Jessica and Shayna was working again. When I came in Jessica was working but Shayna wasn’t. It was a new girl but for the life of me I couldn’t remember her name. I felt kind of bad because I called Jessica Jennifer with confidence. I was like “hey Jennifer!” But she was still like “yup?” Actually, I didn’t realize I had her name wrong until a few days after. I talked to Jessica for a bit and she told me that Red Hot Chili Peppers were going to play Friday night in Kansas City. I wanted to hang out with her that night but oh well, maybe next time. This time I got something called Truman’s Favorite, which is a two scoop chocolate ice cream with caramel, whip cream, and a cherry on top. It was actually really good and it’s interesting to see what was Harry Truman’s favorite ice cream at Clinton’s. I then asked Jessica where was a cool café in town. She told me about Market House Café just down the block. I also asked about a place down the street called Game Café and inquired if it was actually a café. Jessica told me it was actually like a card gaming place like Magic The Gathering kind of stuff. Jessica also told me her favorite cafe to go to was PT’s in Crossroads Art District. Jessica also told me of an odd diner called Hamburger Mary’s were the waiters are dressed as Drag Queens lol! I thanked Jessica as I left, actually thinking back on it I hope I didn’t call her Jennifer as I left.
After I left Clinton’s I headed down to Market House Café to check it out. It was surprisingly very nice. The worker guy there was super chill too. He told me about how they would have open mic nights once a month and that they used to have more live performers. They actually have a nice little stage where they would have live performers. He also let me know about their refill policy. He said that the first refill is free but you would have to pay full for the second one, but he also said that he doesn’t mind giving the second refill free also, which is cool! The coffee itself was very good and definitely very good for the relatively cheap price. While I was there I just surfed the web for a bunch of cool places to check out. As I got my refill I talked to the dude and found out his name is Trevor. He told me about this cool shopping place with a huge Forever 21 in a place called the Plaza. Trevor also told me about a Westport and how legit it was. I then thanked him for the information. I finished up my coffee and thanked Trevor as I left. Afterwards, I took one more look around town. While I was walking around I saw an interesting monument that stated “Here The Oregon Trail Began”. From playing the Oregon Trail game as a kid the monument might as well have stated, “Here The Dysentery Trail Began”. As I walked around I noticed that they had a Yogurt Land, which looked incredibly modern as opposed to the more rustic style buildings around the area. I then needed to use the bathroom and thankfully I was right by Square Pizza. It was pretty nice and very spacious inside. I then used the bathroom here before heading out. While looking around I also saw a Scandinavian Store, which looked like it sold a lot of things but it actually closed fairly early. From the window I saw an interesting looking bottle of water and in my head I was like “hmm, maybe I should get it for the guy at the Museum of Bottled Water when I get a chance”. I then headed out of Independence, MO.
To be honest I wasn’t really too sure where I wanted to go to next. There were a lot of places to check out. I then checked Yelp to get more info on that Town Topic Burger place I saw the other day. Apparently there are two locations of Town Topic Burger. The location I saw the other day actually closes early, while the other location was a 24/7 joint! To be sure I actually called to confirm it lol. I then headed out towards Crossroads Art District. The drive there wasn’t too perilous and was practically as easy as the other day. This time I parked at a sort of street side parking near Town Topic. When I walked to Town Topic, I actually found out that they had a dedicated parking area for their customers, oh well. Before I went inside I actually used the bathroom in a porta potty behind Town Topic. The porta potty didn’t actually lock but there wasn’t anyone around so I used it anyways. I really liked the inside of Town Topic, it was like a diner in its purest form in which, every seating was those high top spinning chairs and you sat at the counter where the waitress and cook was. The waitress was real nice and she seemed like she was my age. The name of the waitress is Shelly. I ordered the Cheeseburger with a side of Tots. Throughout this whole time I was there other customers and I made small talk with Shelly. Apparently Shelly moved in from California. When she said that I showed her my U.S 101 hat and I was like “so you know this highway right?” and she was like “yeah, that’s like the I-70 here, you just take that road to get anywhere you need”. Shelly also said that living in Kansas City helped her be more “tough skinned” or something like that. I think she meant that you had to be tough here to make it. I could kind of see it but I told her “really? All the people I met so far are pretty nice, either that or I spent too much time in Independence” and Shelly replied “lol Independence is a different place, its out there”. I kind of get the sentiment. Overall, Shelly and the two other ladies at Town Topic really made my stay there memorable and I felt like I was in one of those Utopian diners lol By the time I was leaving the whole diner actually became super full, so full there were people standing inside. There wasn’t a whole lot of seating available from the start. My guess is that Town Topic had about ten to twelve seats total! As I was leaving I actually made eye contact with the one of the customers who made small talk with Shelly with me. When we made eye contact we said “hi” and it was one of those magical eye contacts where you kind of wished you talked more. She had curly blonde hair, blue jeans, and boots, pretty much perfection right there lol It seemed like she was there with her mother. While the girl and her mom were eating, they asked about the pie and Shelly said “We make all out pies here and they are real good”. When she said that I actually looked up at the menu to see the price of the pie and Shelly noticed me do this and said “I know he wants one” and we all laughed about it. To be honest I did want one but when the dinner crowd came in I was like never mind. Back outside after I said hi to the girl I went on my way and walked around Crossroads Art District. I didn’t spend too much time walking around since I felt like I saw a lot of it the other day. Interestingly as I was walking around the first place I ran into was PT’s Café, unfortunately it was closed, and actually it closed pretty early. When I was walking around I remember hearing loud music, particularly it sounded like a bass guitar and drumming. Interestingly, I traced it to this abandoned looking small garage looking thing. It was so loud that the windows were visibly shaking! It was cool to see, but it was odd since I couldn’t find a visible entrance to the place, although I’m pretty sure it was probably just a band practicing. As I walked around, I saw kind of the same things as I saw the other day, hipster-looking places and closed down art museums/galleries. I then headed back to me car. It was getting dark a bit and I was getting tired so I decided to check out one more place. I then remembered reading about Harry Truman getting a heart attack at Swope Park, while watching a play at the outdoor theater there. I then decided that I would check out Swope Park in Kansas City, MO.
Swope Park is actually also near Grandview, MO where the old Truman farm was. The drive there was actually pretty nice. I had to drive back near towards Independence and head on a highway south for a couple of miles. I actually passed by Grandview back to Kansas City on my way to Swope Parke, it was kind of weird, the whole time I thought I was actually in Grandview. Oh well, when I got there it was interesting because it felt like the area was a bad neighborhood, kind of like a ghetto. In other words I didn’t feel safe in the area, I actually thought that I was gonna get mugged at one of the street corners, especially at this one particular street corner where this questionable looking thug finished talking to his group and started walking in my direction and on to the street, thankfully he was just j-walking across the street but my goodness did I think I was gonna get mugged. When I got to the Swope Park area it started to look a lot nicer. It was a bit weird because the roads were very narrow and the speed limit was slow, however there were people just speeding down the 35 mph at maybe 50 – 60 mph! The roads were not only narrow but they were also winding too. I was like, why are there speeding like mad in a family park? When I got to the main entrance of Swope Park, to my chagrin I found out that it was closed. There was a bathroom at this entrance via porta pottie and I used it. The area actually smelled kind of bad. I then headed out of the area. I noticed a place called Starlight Theatre nearby, which is an outdoor theatre. I think it was technically still a part of Swope Park so I headed there in hopes that the entrance at that side was open. When I got there the entrance to the area was open but the entrance to the actual Starlight Theatre was closed. I also noticed that the Kansas City Zoo was nearby so I was like, what the heck, might as well check it out. The entrance to the Kansas City Zoo area was open but the actual Zoo was closed. To be honest, have you ever watched the new Jurassic World movie? The Kansas City Zoo actually looks like Jurassic World, like no joke. For some reason I didn’t get any shot of it. I was pretty tired. So at this point I decided to head back to the hotel. On my way back I noticed this huge Walmart on the side of the Interstate. Its probably the biggest Walmart I ever seen, so big I actually wanted to just check it out. I was tired so I left that for another day. When I got back to the room I was tired and hit the bed.
Today I woke up around 8:30 A.M. I quickly put some jeans and a shirt on and went to get breakfast. At the front desk I got a newspaper and then I went to the breakfast area. They had quite the selection of food. I got some of these yellow egg patties, sausage patties, and biscuits and gravy and a cup of coffee of course. It was quite the heavy breakfast but I would need it to keep me going throughout the day. After eating I headed out to my room to get ready to go back to the library. I did what I needed to and got what I needed before heading out to the library. The drive there was not bad at all. It was fairly simple. I used the GPS today to make sure I got there right. From the hotel you just needed to get on the main road and head down all the way to the road where the library was and turn left on that and the library would just be down to the right. When I got there it was around 9:40 A.M. I thought I came real early, especially as compared to yesterday. The other researchers from the other day were there when the library opened at 8:45 A.M. Today I felt very productive. I got to get through just about everything on my cart and get a new cart ready for the next day. Each cart could generally only hold fifteen boxes. Nothing else really happened while I was at the library besides being able to look through a lot of documents. During my lunch break I tried using the vending machine in the break room. But every time I tried pressing the number for the candy I wanted it didn’t work. I did it for a lot of the items in the vending machine. In the end I pressed the refund button and it only gave me back $0.75! Basically it didn’t give me back my two dimes and a nickel but it did give me my quarters back. Oh well, afterwards I tried making small talk with this cute girl coping things in the room across the break room. I was like “Hey, is the vending machine working?” and she was like “It should be I think”. She was cute so I didn’t care how the conversation went, at first I thought she was an intern, but later on I would find out otherwise (more on this in a later post). I then wrote a suggestion about the vending machine not working and put it in the suggestion box. When I went back upstairs I finished looking through more boxes and got a list of boxes I would need ready the next day.
Small Hotel Big Trouble
The drive back from the library to the hotel wasn’t too bad. It doesn’t seem that traffic here is ever a problem; either that or I’m pretty lucky. When I got back to the hotel, something was wrong with my room. Apparently the hotel cleaning ladies didn’t close the door all the way and I sort of understood why. It made me upset of course. But the problem was the door. Usually, with hotel room doors all you needed to do was just let momentum take its course to close the door. However, the doorframe was messed up in a way where momentum could not close the door and you had to manually pull the door all the way to close it. The cleaning lady must not have known about this. But, what made me upset was this combined with the knowledge of what happened the night before with the vandalizing teenagers. If those vandals came back and found my room was opened, they would have surely stole many a things and vandalized what they didn’t take. I called the front desk lady and let her know about it. Afterwards I then went on Yelp to look for a place I saw on The Food Network. On the Food Network there was a special on a burger place called Westport Flea Market, which is supposed to have Kansas City’s best burger. Supposedly they have a special kind of beef and the grill has never been washed (or something like that) so there is an incredible amount of flavor on the burgers. Knowing about this I just had to go. I got my things ready and headed out.
Out To Westport District And Awesome Burgers!
The drive to Westport Flea Market even at this time around 7:00 P.M was not difficult at all. I even had to drive from the interstate from Independence into Kansas City, MO. Westport itself is one of the many districts in Kansas City, MO. Each district has its own specific theme and feel to them. Westport was a more nightlife centric area that definitely caters to the dating crowd. There were a lot of small restaurants and such in the area. The area was also very dense with lots of things to see. I eventually got to Westport Flea Market and from a distance the parking lot looked very full. However, as I drove in there was actually a lot of parking spaces still open in the back area. I got a couple shots before I went inside. It was very divey and unlike a lot of burger places I’ve been to before. It was odd also, there was an arcade to the side, a bar near the front, and a family style diner area next to the pool area, and a regular restaurant dining area near the cash register. To order your food you actually had to go up to the cash register and order your burger there. You get to choose how you want your burger done and what kind of cheese you want. For one reason or another I got it well done with bleu cheese lol You had to order your drinks from the waitresses, a bit unconventional but whatever. Then when your burger is done they will call your name out from the take out window in the small room next to the cashier. After I placed my order I got a good seat at the restaurant dining area with a good view of the take out window and a TV. The waitress then asked me what I wanted to drink and I just asked for water. I was guessing that they would pronounce my name as Levi so I was just hearing out for that. And after about ten minutes or so they call out “Levi”, I knew it lol When I got it I noticed that the bleu cheese wasn’t there and asked them to put it on. I then got some additives from the side table. There was onions, pickles, thousand isle dressing, bbq sauce, amongst others. I definitely loaded up on the onions and pickles and a few different sauces including ketchup and mustard. I then tried it all out and you know what? The burger was actually pretty good. It’s definitely up there with the best burgers I’ve ever eaten. There was a lot of flavor and the bun itself was good too! Something about that unwashed grill definitely added flavor to their special beef they use. Also, a tip I could give is that if you’re here on a Tuesday you could actually buy a Jr. Cheeseburger and get one free. To be honest if I knew about that deal ahead of time I would have jumped on that instead because its cheaper and getting two of those is getting more than one regular cheeseburger. Oh well, I enjoyed it either way. The fries it came with was very good too.
Small Talk With Some Westport Locales
When I was done eating I didn’t really stick around. I left soon after. At the parking lot I made small talk with some of the locales. It was this dude and a girl who were riding motorcycles. They seemed cool so I was like “Hi, I was wondering if you guys new where the Crossroads art district was?” And the guy was like “Oh yeah, dude its close by, just take this and this and this”. He said real instructions but I forgot. I then thanked him told them their motorcycle was super cool. I then headed out. At this time actually, the sky and area was washed in this brown haze that was incredibly cool. It’s hard to describe and you definitely would need a good camera to capture the brown haze. It looked as if there was an instagram filter over everything. I then headed out to Crossroads art district.
To The Arts District!
The drive there from Westport was actually pretty short. I don’t remember having any particular problem getting there. I ended up parking near the event center on a slight hill. It definitely did look like an Art District. It looked like a bunch of hipsters outfitted the old industrial park into a social artsy place. Its hard to describe but it definitely caters to the hipster crowd, I kind of like it. I walked around a bit looking for museums and such that were still open at the time around 8:25 P.M. I eventually came across this neat looking café called “before/after” or at least that’s what I think it was called. It looked like a café that you would see in New York, but it also looked closed.
The Museum of Bottled Water
Next to it was even more interesting, it was the “Museum of Bottled Water”! I was a bit curious when I read the name so I had to check it out. Inside I thought it was empty at first but right to the side was the guy running the museum. His name is Neal Wilson and knows more about bottled water than I do on vinyl records! Neal was super cool and gave me the lowdown on the whole museum. He got his inspiration form many things. I remember he told me that the first bottled water that gave him inspiration was this certain bottled water that was hand made. Neal told me there is actually quite a bit of these hand made bottled water. We then talked about bottled water in general and how there’s a comedy on how its just water and that there are tons of different bottled water brands to choose from. Some of the interesting waters at the exhibit were bottled waters that were so old that the minerals inside of them simply stopped being one with the water. Basically, because of this, you could actually see the minerals at the bottom of the water bottles. Another interesting bottle of water came from Colorado! Neal has two rules for the museum, one is that the water cannot be flavored and the other is that the bottle of water cannot be opened. So with this in mind, the bottle of water that came from Colorado was actually empty with nothing with just this powder like substance at the bottom. The powder at the bottom was actually the left over minerals (Neal calls pixie dust)! The bottle itself was empty due to elevation changes in the water. Apparently, over time the elevation change does something to the bottle and allows the water to evaporate at a lower elevation, or something like that. Also, I never heard of this Colorado brand of water because it ceased to exist a few years ago. Overall, Neal had a huge collection of bottled water, most I’ve never heard of! If you ever get a chance to visit the Museum of Bottled Water in Kansas City I would definitely recommend you check it out!
Out Of The Museum Into The Rest Of The Art District
After I left the Museum of Bottled Water I looked around the Art District a little more. There were a few art museums I passed by but they were all closed by then. It was already almost 9:00 P.M so that makes sense. I also saw this interesting looking small diner called Town-Topic Hamburgers and it looked real cool, I liked the aesthetic it was going for, kind of like those old school 50s style diner joints. The prices looked very decent too. Overall, the Arts District was very artsy, even one of the parking garages looks like it’s run by hipsters (see pic below). Before I headed out I checked out the event’s center. It was just a short walk away from the car so I was like oh well might as well. At first I didn’t know it was an event’s center, actually I thought it was a big art museum or something. When I got close it looked more increasingly lease like an art museum and more like an event center kind of like the Hawaii Convention Center. Actually, it almost looks identical to the Hawaii Convention Center but this event’s center here was definitely bigger. I looked around the compound and got a very nice scenic view of the Arts District. I got some shots before heading out.
Lights and Power!
After I left the Arts District I was like “I wonder what’s in the Lights and Power District”. It was literally just down the road from the Arts District so I headed out to the Lights and Power District. This district was definitely situated in the Central Business District of Kansas City. It’s like being in a big city with lots of lights. Nashville, TN and Reno, NV come to mind when comparing the Lights and Power District to other places. Parking here was a bit limited due to all the bus stops and other people trying to get parking. Its odd a little bit since there were a lot of cars parked everywhere but I didn’t see much people walking around. I actually saw more people waiting at bus stops as opposed to people walking around. After looking around a bit I got parking right at the side of Crowne Plaza. I personally consider it a good parking spot since its still pretty close to all the sights, so I was surprised no one else parked here. After I parked I started looking around. While walking around it definitely brought back memories of walking around Nashville, TN albeit with less people around and not being as hot. There were sections of the district with a copious amount of lights and other parts that were copiously dark lol While I was walking around I remember seeing a Gordon Biersh, which I haven’t seen one since Hawaii. I then walked around a bit and stumbled upon a place called Kansas City Live. Its hard to describe this place but imagine being inside an outdoor stadium while also being inside a Buffalo Wild Wings and a mall. Its like being in an outdoor stadium because of the design of the area. It’s a bit weird, one moment your walking around the big city and then the next your inside a small stadium lol Its also like Buffalo Wild Wings due to the giant TV or Projector screen showing the game and a bunch of people just sitting and watching it. It was kind of like a mall also due to all the restaurants at the sides of the stadium. It was definitely really interesting looking around this area. Afterwards, I took the side exit and walked into a darker area of the Lights and Power district. What stuck out over here was this hipster looking Burger King called “The Whopper Bar” ohhhhh lol It was basically a Burger King in a really nice building. I then walked around a bit more and got some more shots before heading out. But before I left, one more place stuck out to me. Near the Crowne Plaza was the Municipal Auditorium Arena and across from that I some stairs leading up to an unknown area. I was like, I might as well find out what’s up there. So I did and I got some shots of the Arena and also there was this park area. Opposite the park was a Marriott hotel with a huge neon sign that had the time on it. I looked around this park area and it was nice. It had this monument of this dude but it was so dark that the picture didn’t really turn up well. After looking around a bit I then headed out. Actually, a funny story when I was walking around was when this girl rolled down her window and asked me “Hey, where can I find free parking around here?” I then quickly replied, since she was basically holding up traffic, “You see these ‘2 hour only parking’ signs? Well, these are the free parking areas now” She then said “thanks” before speeding out. After this event, it didn’t take long until I left the Kansas City area to head back to Independence. When I got back to the hotel I just hit the bed.
This has been a very long trip for me to make. It all started on a Sunday night. I got all my things ready by about 9:00 P.M. I then took a nap for an hour or so. I woke up by 10:30 P.M and set my watch an hour advance to match the time in Missouri. Therefore it was technically already 11:30 P.M. I then put all of my things in the car and ate a snack before leaving. I must have left the time house just about midnight. The roads leaving Colorado Springs was near empty until I got near U.S 24. Actually, when I made a turn from Fountain to Powers I almost ran a red and a police was just at the other side. I thought he would have pulled me over but thank goodness he didn’t. When I finally got on U.S 24 it was fairly straightforward. There was not many other cars on the road, thank goodness because at one point the road becomes a single lane road. At one point on the road I also make a stop at the Loaf N’ Jug in Calhan. CO. I stopped there just to wipe the windshield of all the bugs that got splattered on it. When I got back on the road it was once again fairly simple. There was this small town that was pretty eerie, I think it was Matheson, CO. Imagine being on the road alone at sometime around midnight and out of the darkness the first building you see is a derelict looking chapel that looks like it was fashioned out of an old barn house. Then you head inside a town with lots of pedestrian crossing signs and the first of them you see has the light flashing. The light flashing usually means that someone is about to cross the street. Yet, you look carefully and you don’t see a living soul around. All of the houses have their lights off and the small businesses have fluorescent lights showing empty offices. I definitely felt the heebie-jeebies, while passing through, as if I stepped into the Twilight Zone. As I passed Matheson, CO I was a hop and a skip away from Limon, CO. When I got to Limon I was able to hit I-70, which would actually take me all the way to Independence, MO. Basically, I had to stay on this long stretch of road for practically the next fourteen hours. As I made my way out of Limon there wasn’t much to see. By the time I got near the border between Colorado and Kansas there was an under construction zone that was a bit annoying. This construction zone has been here since the last time I passed through back early in June. It turned the 75 mph interstate to a single lane 55 mph area that felt as if it stretched forever. If you drove at 55 mph this area was about a twelve to fifteen minute stretch. After this construction area I was back to 75 mph and was in Kansas in no time.
By the time I hit Kansas I was actually pretty tired. There wasn’t much people on the road so it was a challenge to stay awake. I didn’t make a stop again until the second rest area in Kansas, which is just a few miles West of Colby, KS. I wanted to hit Colby since I remembered seeing a sign advertising a travel center but I was just too tired. When I got to this rest area I took a nap of about two hours. It was a nap from 2:30 A.M – 4:30 A.M. It wasn’t the most comfortable nap in the world but it made due, I felt conscious again. However, when I woke up I realized a heavy fog has settled in the area. When I mean heavy fog, I mean it. It was Silent Hill thick and outside the car you could only make out a few lights in the rest area. I was like, where did all the lights go? When I finally got on the interstate, the fog was so thick I could literally only see about five or ten feet in front of the car. Keep in mind, this interstate is a 75 mph area and wasn’t a straight road, there were curves. Because of the weather condition I decided to drop my speed to about 60 mph. While I was driving I remembered the travel center I saw from the billboard. In my head I was thinking, “where the heck is that travel center? I should be able to see something by now.” I then saw a sign on the side of the interstate that said “exit in 1 mile”. The next sign showed all the different gas stations and hotels that were in the exit. In my head I then thought “no way is there anything there, I can’t see a single light up ahead”. Then I thought “did the town suffer a black out or something?” When I finally got on the exit ramp I barely made out the sign for the travel center. Thankfully I was able to maneuver the car into the travel center even though the road wasn’t too easy to make out. I then got my gas and headed inside to get some coffee. It became incredibly cold when the fog came in. I started wearing my jacket. I then made some small talk with the worker there. I said “this fog is so thick I could literally not see anything in front of me”. He said, “that’s insane man”. I then said, “how long is this fog going to stick around?”. He said, “Its probably going to stick around for a couple of more hours”. I then thanked him and figured that if I drove fairly slow I could beat the fog and heck in a few hours the sun will rise. I then got back on the road. Thankfully an eighteen-wheeler was leaving the travel center the same time I was leaving. I was able to follow the eighteen-wheeler out of the travel center and back onto the interstate. I felt bad at the ramp because I was trying to turn on the mist to wipe my windshield. However, instead of doing that I accidentally hit my high beams. Keep in mind, this probably blinded the driver of the eighteen-wheeler and I just felt bad about it. I then stuck behind the eighteen-wheeler because although the fog was super thick and I couldn’t see the road past ten feet I was able to see the red rear lights of the eighteen-wheeler perfectly even at far distances (100-500 ft.). For some reason I was able to get a hang of driving in the fog even though it was super thick. At some points the fog was fade away but then it would come back. Eventually, the eighteen-wheeler stopped at the next rest area. At that point I was pretty good at driving in the thick fog and I eventually got back to driving at 75 mph even through I couldn’t see far ahead of me. The fog eventually fully lifted by the time the sun started to rise around 6:20 A.M. By then I was near the town of Ellis, KS. When I got to Ellis I needed to get some gas. When I was at this gas station there were interesting characters. I parked next to a white van with a bunch of metal heads inside. There were band shirts scattered throughout the van also. I kind of figured they were in a band and that they were on tour. I wanted to ask to confirm but they left before I had a chance to ask. More interesting characters included this Amish family that drove in on a mini van. It was interesting since they were dressed in those old school clothes. I actually opened the door for the Amish mom and she didn’t say thank you, we just met eye to eye and did that head nod thing. Afterwards I was back on the road.
It was very enjoyable seeing Kansas this early in the morning, the sky was covered in a dark blue haze with strokes of dark orange sunlight painting in the distance. You could also see a lot of farmland, which brings to mind certain ethos you just can’t find elsewhere. My next stop wouldn’t be until Victoria, KS. I mostly stopped here because I saw a sign that said “Cathedral of the Plains this exit”. In my head I remembered I had a postcard of a chapel in the middle of the plains and I thought this would be it. When I exited the town wasn’t immediately at the exit area. It was about a half mile of farmland and a small gas station before I got to the township line. Near the township line is this huge cemetery area. Ahead you get to the housing area, which looks nice actually. Then you see a sign that says “Grant’s cemetery this way”. I was like, if Grant’s cemetery is that way, then what was that other huge cemetery? Oh well, I then got to the Cathedral of the Plains. It was interesting, it was ginormous for sure relative to the small town. I could only guess that it’s the only religion in town. I got a few shots of it and it there was some information on it. I think it was built in the early 20th century so it was pretty old. There wasn’t too much people around. The people I did see of Victoria look very regular, its hard to explain this aspect but they just look like regular plains folk. I then took my leave. As I was leaving the town a jogger was on the street. Out of courtesy since no one was on the road I just drove on the other side to avoid hitting the jogger. The jogger waved at me and I waved back. I was not expecting that at all. There’s always a nice small town charm in these kinds of places. I then headed out of Victoria and back on the interstate. My next stop would be at Russell, KS where I needed to use the bathroom. I wiped up my windows and being here brought back memories of when I went to that A&W up the road here. When I left the gas station I made a stop at the small lake near the interstate called Duke Dog Cove. It was a very serene view, it looked like something Edward Hopper would paint. The only downside is that there isn’t any real parking at the Cove, at least I didn’t see any. I think you were supposed to park at the town and walk to this area since it looked like I parked at a trailhead. Because of this I just got my shots and headed out. My next stop wouldn’t be until Salina, KS. When I got here I was tired again. Because of this I stopped at a travel center with a Huddle House in it. Unfortunately, the Huddle House was under renovation so I couldn’t check that out. After looking around the gas station I then tried to take a nap in the car. I probably closed my eyes for thirty minutes this time. I felt pretty good though. I then headed out of Salina for Abilene, KS.
From my previous trip I still remembered Abilene very well. So well in fact I was able to drive around Abilene without the help of the GPS. I drove to the visitor’s center, which was closed last time. Thankfully this time it was open. It was interesting, it was smaller than what I imagined. Basically it was a small little building fashioned out of an old train business center. Imagine the Wild West and then imagine the place where you would buy your train ticket and this visitor’s center was basically it. Actually, if you played Red Dead Redemption, you could walk into those kinds of places and this place would look just like them. Well, back to the story. When I walked inside the visitor’s center I was greeted by the nice elder lady who was working there as an information lady. She gave me a few pamphlets and told me a lot about the history of Abilene. Basically, a long time ago when rail was the main form of transportation, it went north from Chicago down south only up to Abilene. The catch is that Texas still had to rail and had a lot of head of cattle. So one day some guy from Abilene started making trips down to Texas to bring up the head of cattle to Abilene to rail them up to Chicago. By doing this he made a lot of money and started the economic boom of Abilene and that’s how Abilene became as big as it is today. Its true, Abilene is probably the biggest and most modern of all the small towns in Kansas. She also told me an interesting story about the old sheriff in town. Apparently his nickname was Bear River because of how hardcore he was. Bear River was a prize fighter from New York and came to Abilene, KS to be a Sheriff. Bear River would enforce a no gun rule and whenever a person would come to Abilene Bear River would literally knock them out with a punch and throw them to jail. It was an interesting story, I thanked the elder lady and for the life of me I cannot remember her name. I looked around the room and got a magazine about Kansas City and a few postcards. I then thanked the elder lady one more time before I headed out to the Eisenhower museum. When I left I remembered that there was cookies and coffee inside but I totally forgot to get some. But oh well, when I got to the Eisenhower museum and library it was weird because I parked in the same place as last time but this time the parking lot was full since the Eisenhower Library was actually open. I then got to check out the gift shop. It was cool, there was a lot of Eisenhower Memorabilia everywhere. It was kind of weird when I was inside, I was probably the only person there under 60 until another family came in later on. I decided to get some postcards before heading out. I then walked around the area and got some shots. I even visited the chapel where Eisenhower and his family was buried. I didn’t really stick around too long since there was still a long way ahead of me.
My next stop wouldn’t be until the next town called Junction City. It looked fairly big and modern also. Especially since it had a Starbucks. I actually drove to the Starbucks to use the Wi-Fi from the parking lot lol. I then headed to the gas station just around the round a bout. I got some gas and parked right next to the gas station. I then ate some food and took a nap for about thirty minutes to forty-five minutes. When I got back up I was like, man I’m taking way too long getting to Independence, MO. I then bucked it most of the way to Independence, MO. My next stop from Junction City wouldn’t be all the way until the service center in the toll road near Kansas City, KS/MO. I believe I got gas and wiped my windshield. I then got back on the interstate. On the way out of the toll area I asked the worker how to get to Independence, MO. He could print out directions but they are only to specific places. We couldn’t get the Truman Library on it but we got a place called Liberty, which is supposed to be near Independence. I then thanked him and went on my way. I asked for directions because my GPS was acting up. Later on my GPS started working and then basically it just said to drive straight into Independence, MO from I-70. That’s basically what I did. When I got to the Kansas City area I was in awe on how huge the city was. Basically, the whole drive there I saw farm land a few small towns and a few small cities but nothing on the scale of Kansas City. Kansas City is so big that its literally in both Kansas and Missouri! The interstate started reflecting this change with the roads being full of other cars. I eventually exited off into Truman Road en route to the Truman Library. It was nice to be back in Independence, MO after a long time. It had a real nice charm to the city and it was cool being here again. I then made my way to the Truman Library. It must have been about 3:30 P.M by the time I got there. When I got there the security guy greeted me. When I told him I was from Hawaii Pacific University he was like “wow, you’re a far ways from home”. I then got to go inside and when I made a request for the boxes, thankfully Tammy pulled through and was able to get the boxes ready for me. I started looking through a few. When it was time to leave I greeted the other researchers there. One of them reminded me of Trevor from back in Hawaii. The other was this pretty girl. Honestly I had a crush on her since she was pretty and from Georgia (yes girls from Georgia get extra points lol). Her name was Cara (Care-Uh). We all talked for a bit, apparently Cara was doing research on integration in schools and was looking for letters written by kids that were sent to Truman. Eventually we all went on our separate ways. By now I was dead tired. I then headed out to the hotel. This hotel was very close to the hotel I stayed at last time. It was less than ¼ mile away from my old hotel actually. When I got there the nice lady checked me in quickly and I got all my stuff to my room. I actually took a nap for about an hour. I sort of just chilled there thinking if I should go around town or what not. Around 8:00 P.M or 9:00 P.M I decided to go and check out the gym. When I got there it was kind of weird, it was dark but I saw a few people swimming so I thought it was normal. When I went inside I started walking toward the gym, which was on the other side of the pool area. I was like, “man its dark in here”. The lady in the swimming pool then asked me “Hey, are you a worker here?” It perplexed me a bit since I was in board shorts, white V-neck, and Vibrams lol I said “no I’m not, I just stay here”. I then headed inside the gym and that’s when it got real weird. It was super hot and there were towels scattered everywhere. My first reaction was “the mother freakers who did not clean up here”. I then saw the a/c unit and it was set on heater mode at 95 degrees and I just thought “something’s not right”. I then turned around at the treadmill machine and just beyond it the window separating the gym area and the pool area was broken. My first reaction again was “is this real? Did this happen a long time ago and they just didn’t fix it yet?” Then my next clue came when I saw the floor, it was scattered with a pile of broken glass! Actually the broken window was still shattering. I heard pieces of glass fall down from the broken window on to the pile of broken glass. I then headed out and the lady sounded a bit guilty when she said “A bunch of kids just came in and started throwing rocks everywhere!” Then I said “dang, I’m going to tell the front desk lady about this”. There were three people in the pool area, the lady, her child, and a guy. As I was leaving the pool area I heard the lady say something like “The mother has to be mad, she knew about this…” In my head I was like “crap if I was here just five minutes earlier who knew what would have happened”. I then told the lady at the front desk and she was like “No way, are you serious?” I was like “yes, let’s check it out.” When we did she was like “The lights are off, who turned them off?” I was like “I didn’t even know that the lights were off, I thought it was supposed to be like this”. She then turned on the lights and when they went on I saw rocks the size of my fist scattered everywhere. I was like “dang, those kids man!” We then saw the broken window at the gym area and she was like “oh no, I can’t believe this happened”. I told her about the three people there and we sort of figured that they got nervous and left during the time I went to the front desk to tell the front desk lady about it. I then noticed that the sliding door off to the side was off its hinges! We then checked around outside, it was empty and we went back in. When we got back to the front desk she called her supervisor and was told to write a police report. I then asked her if she needed me to stay and then she said that if anything she’ll call me if the police needed to speak to me about anything. I then headed back to my room took a cold shower and got ready for sleep. It’s been a long day.