We're goin' to Kansas City, Kansas City here we come...
State 5: Missouri - June 24, 2017
We woke up in Lees Summit, MO, well rested and decided to take another look at the map. We noticed that Kansas City was not in our scheduled route across Missouri, and neither one of us could remember why. Kansas City is one of the largest cites in Missouri, and was only a 1-hour drive from our current location. Neither Lori nor I really enjoy cities. However, Lori did a quick google search and put together an impromptu agenda that was very impressive. Months of planning went into creating our cross county route. We knew that by going off course we were heading into uncharted waters, and that it might lead to catastrophe! After careful consideration, we decided to change course and immediately depart for Kansas City, MO.
I assume most people enter large cities via the highway, which would give the most beautiful presentation of the city. However, Lori and I only travel the back roads, and we apparently entered Kansas City through its bowels. We saw the sign announcing our arrival which said “Welcome to Kansas City”. Well, the truth is I am assuming that’s what the welcome sign said, because it was illegible beneath 100 layers of graffiti. Whoever said you never get a second chance to make a first impression clearly must have visited this road in Kansas City because from here, the environment devolved and devolved extremely fast. Right after the graffiti welcome sign, the first building we saw within the Kansas City limits was the absolute largest Psychiatric Hospital I have ever seen in my entire life! At the first stoplight we were greeted by 4 homeless men very aggressively pan handling with one stationed on each corner of the intersection. We were very unfortunate enough to have a red light at the corner with a homeless man who was holding a 6-foot-tall handmade cardboard sign that read in large bold letters “BROKE AS FUCK”. He held the huge sign right against my driver’s side window. He then began banging on the side of the van, which scared the crap out of me, and I screamed like a little girl. Just as I about to blow through the red light, it switched to green, and I sped off.
For the next 12 blocks we were treated to tours of auto chop shops, abandoned cars in parking lots with missing wheels, burned houses, and drug dealers and hookers on the street corners. Finally, the neighborhood slowly began to improve as we made our way to our first stop, which was the Harley Davidson Factor tour. Once again things went terribly wrong for us in Kansas City. When we arrived at Harley Davidson we learned all of the factory tours were cancelled until August due to construction in the manufacturing plant. Damn, that tour was one of the main reasons we came to this city, and it would have made a great blog post as well. Oh well, on to the next item on the agenda. We were next off to a place in Kansas City called City Market, which had been open since 1859! It was an outdoor market featuring specialty shops, restaurants and produce stands and over 80 full time vendors and was open 7 days a week. We were extremely excited to visit this location, but noticed something very peculiar as we pulled up. For the first time ever in a major metropolitan city we had no problem finding a parking space for Rosie. Something was not kosher, and we would soon learn what that something was. As we entered the market, we noticed almost every vendor was closed. We were very perplexed as City Market is advertised to be open 7 days a week. When we finally found an open vendor, he informed us that Monday is the slowest day, and the vendors are not required to be open. Damn, yet another miss in Kansas City. Now we were off to our next scheduled event.
We were headed to the Crown Theater Park, which featured an amphitheater showing outdoor movies. Just as we started looking for a parking space for Rosie. The heavens opened up unleashing a monsoon to the likes of which would have made Noah commence building an ark. Damn, another scheduled event that clearly was not going to occur. At this point, we decided to head across town for a vegetarian lunch. The name of the Restaurant was FUD, it had excellent reviews, and as it turned out, it was closed on Mondays, which was the day we were there. This was beginning to get very frustrating! So we decided to head back across town, to another Vegetarian café called The Gratitude Café, which also had great reviews, and thankfully was open on Mondays. We entered the café, and loved the vibes we were getting. I was going to have the raw pad thai made with kelp noodles, and Lori chose the spaghetti squash pasta with homemade marinara sauce. Lori was very excited to try this dish because she has been craving spaghetti squash for months. We sat in the Gratitude Café complaining about how awful the day had been, and we chuckled at the irony. We agreed all of that was all of that behind us now, and we were looking forward to an amazing vegetarian meal. You should know by this point in my story that Kansas City was not about to allow that to happen! The waitress came over to our table to take our order, and announced she was out of kelp noodles, and spaghetti squash. There goes both of the entrees we were going to order, but no problem. We live a van, and live a nomadic life. If there is one thing we are it is flexible! So Lori chose to order the eggplant parm, and I ordered the veggie burger. The waitress responded saying that they ran out of eggplant and veggie burgers as well. She continued to list about a 6 additional items they were out of which essentially eliminated half of the menu options. We were clearly beginning to notice a pattern of everything in Kansas City going to shit during our visit. We got up from the table without ordering, and left Kansas City before anything else went drastically wrong.
We drove for 4 hours not only to get close as we could to our next stop, but to put as much distance as we could between us and Kansas City. It was clear the universe did not want us there, and we did not want to stick around to find out why. We found a Walmart to spend the night in Boonville, MO which is about 1 hour outside of our next stop, the capitol of Missouri, Jefferson City.