May 24 – 28
With just a four-hour drive ahead of us (one goal for this trip was to minimize big mileage drives) we broke camp in a leisurely fashion and made the drive into Colony, Kansas for a long-anticipated visit with Bev and her husband Bill on their spread out in the country. It would mostly be a quiet stay with a drive up to Kansas City to attend a brew fest on Saturday.
For dinner that first night we drove about 40 miles to the small town of Stark to eat at Colborn’s. This is a popular place; one downside of living in the country or in small towns is the limited choices one faces for anything to eat besides fast food. We would find this to be moderately priced nicely prepared home style cooking. I had a large serving of chicken fried steak of which I took a lunch sized leftover home with me while Joanna enjoyed the special of the day, a large pork chop.
The next day we drove into Iola, abut ten miles away, to park at the town square and stop in at Around the Corner, a coffee shop we’ve frequented before and were glad to see has found a way to be successful in a small town. We split an Osage Honey Chicken Wrap (chicken, swiss, onion, tomatoes, romaine and honey mustard) and a large latte.
Afterwards we walked back to the square to check out a brand-new bike shop, Velo + Iola. Open for a little under a year, they had a nice assortment of bikes, friendly staff and free coffee. We hung out for a bit, chatting with one of the employees and a customer looking for a pump; there’s nothing like a bike shop for picking up a good vibe. We returned to the house for a quiet dinner at home in anticipation of our run up to Kansas City on Saturday to join our Nephew Dillon for the Nanobrew Festival that afternoon.
Bev had made reservations at an Extended Stay America and confirmed that we could check in early, so we were surprised when we arrived, checked in with the clerk who appeared to be on her first day on the job, to find that the room they gave us hadn’t been serviced and best of all, someone was using the bathroom when we entered. So, we returned to the front desk only to be advised by a second, somewhat more competent clerk, that indeed no rooms were ready, and we’d have to check in later.
Here is the review I wrote for Trip Advisor:
Four of us stayed here the Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend to attend a beer festival. First, it was an expensive night, nearly $180, premium pricing for a venue of this nature on a weekend. We’d confirmed we could check in early and when we arrived, the slowly moving desk clerk took much longer than normal to check us in and assign us our room. When we got to it, the door was open and it was immediately apparent that it had not been serviced. Best of all, there was someone using the bathroom. We went back down to the desk and waited through two more groups checking in to be advised by a second clerk who seemed to have much more on the ball that there were no rooms available at that time. We left our bags with them and went about our day, returning later to find all in order. Except, this is a run-down property, tired carpets, loose toilet seats, and a host of other imperfections. We’ll not return nor likely use this chain again.
As we wouldn’t be returning until late, they let us store our bags and we took off to meet up with Dillon at the fest grounds at Berkley Riverfront Park. I’ve been to quite a few beer fests and this one ranks up there with the best as there was a large array of choices (over 300 different beers), shaded seating inside tents (necessary as it was quite warm), nine food trucks to choose from and best of all, an admission cost of only $35 dollars which included a $5 credit at the food trucks.
We stayed until the end of the fest and then, using Uber or Lyft (as we would do all day) headed downtown to K.C.’s Flying Saucer (I have three plates, Joanna has one) to continue eating and drinking before making one last stop, later in the evening, at a bar whose name I can’t begin to recall. One final ride got us back to our hotel, where we managed to check in and after some preparation, Bev, Bill, Joanna and I laid our sleepy heads on our pillows and slept the night through.
Sunday morning, we dawdled a bit before checking out and heading to meet Joanna’s Uncle Phil at First Watch, a 200-outlet chain breakfast and lunch chain that emphasizes fresh and naturally sourced ingredients. We’d not seen Uncle Phil, Joanna’s Dad’s youngest brother since 1984 when we passed through K.C. on our way west. It was the concluding months of our five-month long Europe/American journey, the one when we purchased a new VW Rabbit convertible and picked up in Frankfurt, drove in Europe and then shipped to Wilmington, Delaware to facilitate our cross-country trek.
It is always interesting to encounter a person you’ve only met once or twice many years after the initial meeting. One’s recollection of that then individual confronts the reality of the one in front of you, and particularly with family members, you look for traces of personality or physical characteristics that personify familial traits.
As for the food, it was quite good; I ordered the Bacado Omelet (Bacon, avocado, Monterey Jack, sour cream and Pico de Gallo) and Joanna the Chicken Chimichurri Hash, a special that day that featured an intriguing array of ingredients. We finished up our meal and bade farewell to Uncle Phil, promising to keep in touch, a good intention not always followed up on and after dropping Dillon off at his apartment made the two-hour drive back to Colony.
Memorial Day passed quickly and quietly, grilling burgers for dinner and catching one of the NBA finals games. Another visit to small town Kansas had come to an end and although at first it appears there isn’t much to do there, we managed to keep ourselves busy in an entertaining fashion. Santa Fe was next up for us with a one night stop in Dalhart, Texas to break a long drive into two manageable ones. We looked forward to being back on the road, the western sky filling our front window as we sought new adventures.
Around the Corner: https://www.facebook.com/aroundthecorneriola/
Velo + Iola: https://www.facebook.com/veloplusiola/
Nanobrew Festival: http://www.kcnanobrews.com/2018-kc-nanobrew-festival/
Extended Stay America: https://www.extendedstayamerica.com/
Flying Saucer: http://www.beerknurd.com/locations/kansas-city-flying-saucer
First Watch: https://www.firstwatch.com/