November 2 – 13, 20
With a seven hour drive ahead of us, not terribly long but would take most of the day, we left around 9am for Liberal, Kansas. For most of the drive, our route would traverse a path we’ve covered a number of times in the past while visiting Beverly and Dillon in both Iola and Kansas City. Before hitting the road though, we stopped in at Daylight Donuts, part of a chain owned by The Daylight Donut Flour Company, LLC, with nearly a thousand retail outlets in 28 states and close to a dozen international markets.
As Yelp reviews accurately reflect, the donuts are quite good but the wait to get them is longer than it should be. We finally hit the drive through window (our only option) to order which was made difficult by the fact that one couldn’t see what donuts were available, so we made our best guess (which always includes a maple bar) and eventually drove away with two donuts and a coffee.
During the eight or so drive, our highlight of the day was looking for the giant meat packing house outside of Guymon viewed during journey’s past on this highway. We finally arrived in Liberal, Kansas, home of Dorothy’s House & Land of Oz, where we had stopped in 2016 when we were returning from the west coast during our two month road trip that year as chronicled here: https://3jmann.com/2017/01/04/west-coast-tour-2016-kansas-part-one/.
Our stop for the night was the BW Plus Liberal Hotel & Suites, the Budget Host location we’d used in the prior visit not available this time around. We checked in and began to explore our options for dinner but as we were sitting at the outskirts of the north side of town, the choices were limited. Not anxious to get back in the car after a day of driving we opted for just about anything that could be delivered and that turned out to be a pie from Pizza Hut. Not the best or the worst we’ve ever consumed, just food in the room to end the day.
With another full day in the car ahead of us and having seen the sights that Liberal had to offer during our last visit here, we hit the road the next morning after stopping briefly at Scooter’s, a local coffee chain to get some caffeine and a snack for the drive. From there, we traversed the fairly flat terrain of Kansas, stopping once to fill the tank and arriving in K.C. at our Airbnb for the next three nights, Juan Antonio’s Place.
At an affordable $84 a night for a spacious two-bedroom unit, we were pretty happy with the set up with the exception of the sparse instructions provided for finding the entrance door (up a set of stairs at the back of the building), working the TV, and dealing with a crowded parking lot due to the janitorial business on the first floor hosting an end of the week social hour. The lot cleared up for the rest of the weekend though and so our complaints overall were minimal.
Not long after we arrived my sister Bev showed up and then later that evening her son Dillon would join us alone as his fiancé McKenzie (they were recently engaged) had to work late that night. The next morning, after scouting out the neighborhood and doing a bit of provisioning at a nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market, which curiously carried beer but no wine, we were set to explore a bit of K.C.
Dillon joined us (McKenzie had to again work) and drove us to Barrio Mexican Kitchen in the Brookside neighborhood for lunch. We all ordered drinks, for Joanna a margarita and I a Kansas City Bier Company Dunkel, a tasty Munich-Style Brown Lager.
She and I would split an order of the Fried Avocado Tacos (beer battered avocado, cabbage, mango salsa, queso fresco & chipotle aioli), a choice we hoped would equal the great similar appetizer we’d had in 2016 at New Orleans’ Cane and Table (https://3jmann.com/2016/05/02/south-east-spring-swing-new-orleans-4/). Unfortunately, while filling, they didn’t quite equal our expectation (the curse of all meals isn’t it?) and we came to regret that we didn’t opt for the fish tacos.
While we were eating some friends of Dillon stopped by the table to greet us, reminding me of how Kansas City resembles Charlotte, in that a town of decent size (Charlotte has 858,000 people, Kansas City has 635,000 when you combine the Missouri and Kansas contingents) can still seem small, where you often anticipate running into someone you know when you go out.
Full of good food and the afternoon ahead of us, we made our way to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, known for its encyclopedic collection of art from nearly every continent and culture, and especially for its extensive collection of Asian art.
The museum was built on the grounds of Oak Hall, the home of Kansas City Star publisher William Rockhill Nelson (1841-1915). When he died, his will provided that upon the deaths of his wife and daughter, the proceeds of his entire estate would go to purchasing artwork for public enjoyment.
In 1911, former schoolteacher Mary McAfee Atkins (1836-1911), widow of real estate speculator James Burris Atkins, bequeathed $300,000 to establish an art museum, which grew to $700,000 by 1927. The building was designed by prominent Kansas City architects Wight and Wight, who also designed the approaches to the Liberty Memorial and the Kansas governor’s mansion, Cedar Crest. Ground was broken in July 1930, and the museum opened December 11, 1933.
It was a gorgeous fall afternoon and after an hour or more inside we moved outside to enjoy brilliant fall colors bracketed by quite a number of wedding parties staging photo shoots, either as part of the actual ceremony or in anticipation of same.
It was a nice way to end the day, watching the faces around us, optimistic about a future we all hoped would be brighter after a tumultuous period in our nation’s history. A different mood for sure than in 2008 when we elected our first black president, but one can still long for what was promised then, hope and change.
Daylight Donuts: https://www.yelp.com/biz/daylight-donuts-alamogordo
BW Plus Liberal Hotel & Suites: https://www.bestwestern.com/en_US/book/hotels-in-liberal/best-western-plus-liberal-hotel-suites/propertyCode.17140.html
Juan Antonio’s Place: https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/91376496
Barrios Mexican Kitchen: https://barriokc.com/
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art: https://www.nelson-atkins.org/