Discovering Kansas City - Lewis and Clark Episode 14

Discovering Kansas City - Lewis and Clark Episode 14

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- In this episode, we are visiting the big city in the middle of the country, Kansas City. We'll begin by going to the spot where Lewis and Clark camped on June 26th, 1804. We'll have some barbecue because that's what you do. We're gonna visit the World War I Memorial from where you get a commanding view of the city. We'll eat even more barbecue, ride the street car to city market and visit the Steamboat Arabia Museum.

Probably the highlight of our time here. The TWA Museum, Boulevard Brewing Company, Country Club Plaza and much more as we explore yet another great American city. ♪ I'm riding, riding, riding ♪ ♪ Riding in my RV, my RV ♪ ♪ Wherever I want to be ♪ ♪ Because I'm free in my RV, yeah ♪ (jazzy music) Today we are very excited to be arriving in Kansas City.

Last time I was here it was in 2020 and at the time we couldn't really enjoy all the things the city has to offer. But now hopefully we can. We are going to be staying at the Worlds of Fun Village, located at an amusement park of all places. But hey, it is centrally located and we may get deja vu of for our first ever RV trip to Cedar Point. And here we are.

(jazzy music) We made it to Kansas City and we're staying here at the Worlds of Fun Village. It's called this. Let me tell you something. I don't say this often, but at first impression this has gotta be like one of the best designed RV resorts we've ever stayed at.

At least these sites here. You know you have this hedge right next to your picnic table so you have privacy and then in the back here you have a view of the cabins and the amusement park. Because this is an amusement park and I do believe they have a water park too. And then here, you know your utilities, very well organized. I only seen those pedestals like at the real, you know expensive RV resorts.

So that must be expensive. And although this place is not like whoo, super like out of this world expensive, it's fine for an RV resort. And lastly, even though it doesn't really pass the thread test I like when the sewer connection is at the lowest possible point. That way you have more of a gravity, you know, some places you even a pelicamp, sometimes you're dumping uphill. So here we are. We're not gonna do much today.

We have a meetup at 6:30 p.m. and that's about it. We're probably gonna have some Kansas City barbecue and at some point an RV wash. Since we still have a couple of hours until our meetup, we're going to have some authentic Kansas City barbecue.

And then we're going to visit the one Lewis and Clark point of interest in the area since we're doing the Lewis and Clark Trail after all. (jazzy music) Kansas City expressways, by the way, to the uninitiated, not the easiest to navigate. So we're gonna make a few wrong turns here and there, but eventually, eventually we'll make it to the Kansas side because another peculiarity here is that the city straddles the Missouri Kansas state line. (jazzy music) And we are now in Kansas. The consensus seems to be that Joe's here on the left is one of the best Kansas City barbecue joints. It actually first opened in Oklahoma in 1996 as Oklahoma Joe's and this was the second location they opened that same year and it still exists to this day in the same gas station.

(jazzy music) Mm, bon appetite. Let's do it. Now that we got our barbecue fix, let's go see Lewis and Clark. And we found them.

Yeah, it is a little bit of, how shall I put it? Obscure location. Hard to find. Right here behind this industrial park. (pensive music) That's a great view of the Kansas City skyline, isn't it? There's a Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center that doesn't seem to be open, a historical marker and several interpretive signs.

Here's an illustration of what the Lewis and Clark camp may have looked like. The park is called Kaw Point and we are exactly at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. And yeah, I'm starting to notice a pattern here on the Lewis and Clark Trail. A lot of the points of interest are curiously enough, confluences. (pensive music) I guess someone decided it would be funny to make Lewis and Clark a little more anatomically accurate.

Here's looking up at the strong current of the Missouri. A current the Lewis and Clark expedition would have to go against after they took a break here, made some repairs and continued on the way north. And this is pretty much the extent of our Lewis and Clark expedition coverage on this episode. Now let's go see the rest of Kansas City. Check it out.

They have a mural here at this loading dock, sans the extra art. (pensive music) We're going back onto the Missouri side and we are kind of gonna take the scenic route to where we're going because we're still early. So let's get the lay of the land, if you will. (pensive, jazzy music) There's a Lewis and Clark mural here on the left, not the most flattering depiction.

And we can see Sacagawea, so this must have been somewhere in North Dakota or even Montana perhaps. Long story short, we had a great meet up at Stockyards Brewing Company. So thank you Kevin, for putting it together and all the pelican heads who came to share some ales and stories from the road.

Thank you all. I think this will be a good place to pause and tell you about our sponsor for this episode, Surfshark VPN, which is crucial, really indispensable if you're gonna connect to a potentially insecure wifi like a campground, hotel, coffee shop, even brewery. I mean you never know, someone could be eavesdropping on that connection you know, that connection may not be secure.

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If you go to and you enter promo code, MYRV at checkout, you get 85% off and three months for free. Now back to Kansas City. Well good morning, what a great meetup we had last night here in Kansas City. By the way, how do you like my new shirt? I bought it yesterday.

In any case, oh, look at that, they have rollercoasters here. It's a great amusement park here. And this is the thing, the plan today was to do indoor activities because the weather was supposed to be bad. Not cloud in the sky, very few.

It rained overnight and now it cleared, so we're still gonna stick to the same plan, but now we can do more outdoor activities as well. Let's explore the great city of Kansas City. (jazzy music) One of the giveaways that we are already in the great plains are all these huge grain elevators (jazzy music) And here we are.

Our first point of interest today, the World War I Museum. Supposed to be a commanding view from the top. The monument was built in 1921 and even though we've heard the museum is world class, the most comprehensive World War I collection, I think we're just going to do the tower today. It is, by the way, $18 for the museum, $5 for the tower and $20 for both. But really we just wanna get a bird's eye view of the city today. We'll visit the collection another time.

Besides we have another museum in mind for this afternoon. Let's see how much we can actually see without actually paying for the museum. Mm, not a whole lot, actually. (jazzy music) Let's see the view from the foot of the tower first so we can compare later.

(jazzy music) I wonder if that is a revolving restaurant. That would be cool. So many trains. I imagine a good portion of the east west traffic passes through here. Let's get to the top. - [Operator] Three seconds when I let you off.

You'll have 45 steps left to climb. - Okay. - Okay? When I let you off there's also a little Ring doorbell, so when you're done you come back down those stairs, push the button. I know you want to get picked up.

- Left us. There's no one else up here. (pensive music) And we've made it to the top. Oh, check that out. (upbeat music) If Indiana hadn't already claimed that title I would say this could also be called the Crossroads of America.

I mean this is almost the halfway point across the continent. The largest city close to that point, at least. I guess we can call it by its actual moniker, The Heart of America. And there's a rare sighting, an Amtrak passenger train.

That would be the memorial to the pioneer mothers. Well, that was certainly worth the $5. We're going there.

That would be Union Station and the Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain. The Kansas City Union Station originally opened in 1914, reaching its peak in 1945 at the end of World War II, and finally closing down in 1985. By 1999, the station reopened as a museum and eventually in 2002 it reopened as an actual train station when Amtrak began providing public transportation. Hey, look at that.

This must be what they mean by museum, some of these artifacts on display. Electric baggage wagon. For one, I'm really glad it is at least partially functioning once again as a train station, and one of these days we might take one of these long distance train rides. Is that something you would like to see? Let me know. Let's take the Skyway to public transit. We do wanna take the street car at some point today.

- New Union Station. Kansas City, Missouri. Cool. Before environmental protections.

And here we are. That's a street car, which by the way, it's free. And we're gonna take it on at the next station, I believe. First we're gonna have some barbecue. There goes the Amtrak.

(train crossing bell dings) Yeah, one of these days we would like to take the Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, which by the way I don't think this is it. I just found out the Zephyr goes through Omaha. For now, we're just gonna take the street car.

But first lunch! (bright music) Kansas City seems to be one of those cities with a bunch of like Easter eggs. You know little details like the TWA Moonliner over there. All right, no more stalling.

Let's eat. This is a nice little neighborhood right here past the railroad tracks. We're going to eat at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue.

As much as I like traditional barbecue places there is something to be said for this sit down experience and being waited on. It's a little smaller than I expected, but I'm sure it's good. Let's eat. Well, timing is everything. Now there's a line to get in. And let me tell you excellent food, service a little discombobulated, but that's been the case at most places lately.

As I was saying before the battery ran out, service in 2022 has been kind of discombobulated everywhere as you know, pretty much every, by the way, cool ball you know spinning ball, everywhere pretty much is understaffed these days. But overall, great experience. Jack's here in Kansas City. I think that's our ride.

(street car bell dings) (bright music) Here we are, Treasures of the Steamboat Arabia. I've heard of this place so many times. I think it is considered like a time capsule dating back to 1856, which is the year the Arabia sank in the Missouri after hitting a tree snag and it was not recovered until 1988. It is a fascinating story. - [Narrator] Stories, though decades apart. - [Robert] There are several stations like this one with big screen retelling the story of the Arabia.

And check it out. It is the world's oldest steam engine. As I was saying, the short movies tell the story of what happened, how they eventually found the ship, which actually wasn't under water.

The Missouri had shifted about a half a mile by then and the Arabia was buried 45 feet below the fertile top soil and silt of a farm. Here's one of the best preserved parts, the stern of the ship. - [Narrator] For a project of this magnitude. Pumps.

- Let's take a journey back in time starting with the paddle wheel. The only casualty was a mule that was tied and nobody remembered it was there. (pensive music) Here we have the crank shaft.

This is of course in no way directly related to our Lewis and Clark expedition, but the Missouri River, which as we know was first explored by them. It's very much related. The Missouri became the artery of the creation of the West with the steamboats going up and down, 100s of them. And it wasn't only passengers or pioneers, but cargo as well.

And that is the great treasure they have found here. These steamboats would transport all kinds of goods to the frontier, going up to Missouri. And the sheer amount of artifacts recovered from the era is a priceless bounty from a historical standpoint, the mud being such a great preserver.

What a great portal into a bygone era. It is almost like standing in front of the guardian of forever, eavesdropping back in time. Apparently some of these jars of preserved fruits and pickles are still edible. Incredible! It is almost too much, rows and rows of recovered artifacts. Actually, it is amazing how much storage the steamboats had. I just had a thought.

This is almost like being inside a big box store in the 1850s. Had they ever existed, which I'm sure they didn't. This is one of the most interesting museums I've seen in a while. Everything preserved in such pristine condition and the enormous amount of artifacts. And here's a scale model of the Arabia. We can even see the unfortunate mule that perished.

By the way, they are planning on building a much larger museum that is going to be called the National Steam Boat Museum, which will include the Arabia, but I don't know how I feel about that. It might lose the magic of this place. Time will tell.

Let's check out the market. I could really go for a strong espresso right now. Groceria Italiana. Yeah, let's check out the Groceria Italiana.

Let me tell you, very tempted to get some cheese or sausage, cannoli, but another time perhaps. I'm just gonna have my coffee and continue exploring. Gotta have my espresso shot. (Robert sighs) They have all kinds of things. Very cool. The historic City Market dating back to 1857.

Alright, let's see if we can catch the train back to where we were. There it comes. (bright music) The Kansas City area had been visited by Europeans almost a century before Lewis and Clark.

And by the 1830s a group of Mormons and other settlers had begun populating the land. In 1850, the area was incorporated as the town of Kansas. And the rest is history. Literally. This one is called the Muse of the Missouri fountain.

Very unique. (bright music) And we're almost back. Yep, that's a very interesting hybrid mode of transportation here in front of, is it Grand Central Station? Union Station. You know me. (bluesy music) So that's how they do it.

That's how they turn around the street car. Pretty cool actually. If you ever go to San Francisco, which we will again someday, it is really cool to see how they turn the cable cars around, by hand actually. Anyway, I like trains, all kinds. And I think this is where we're gonna call it today.

Tomorrow we'll continue exploring this great city. Not quite the western desert sunset. We'll be seeing some of those soon, but not bad, KC, not bad. (thoughtful music) (upbeat music) Many of us of a certain age remember a great airline that eventually went out of business. It is not Pan Am, it is not Eastern. It was Trans World Airlines or TWA.

It turns out TWA headquarters were right here in Kansas City for a while. So we're going to the downtown airport because lo and behold, they have a museum. And as an aviation enthusiast, sort of, this is something that I really want to see.

(airplane roars) (bright music) Stepping into the museum, well, first of all it doesn't really look or feel like a museum. It feels like stepping back in time to the golden age of air travel. And of course TWA had many firsts, especially during the 1950s and the 1960s. (bright music) Even though they have a Concord model here, TWA never flew the Concord. They canceled their order when they saw Pan Am do the same in 1973. You see what I mean when I say it doesn't really feel like a proper museum.

They have all this memorabilia and airplane models on display and there's supposed to be an audio tour but I don't know, maybe they lack the funds. Here we can see a flight simulator and now we're going to begin the guided portion of the tour in which they take us to the hangar. (bright music) Here we are. This plane was TWA's first research laboratory, at a time when they were developing high altitude over the weather flight in the 1940s. Here's an aviation trainer.

This, by the way, the oldest flying TWA aircraft. And most of what we're going to see here are the old training facilities, like this one, designed to train pilots. And you could see what was happening on the wings and the tail when they moved the controls. This would have been the 707 cockpit trainer. This is the MD-80 trainer, which they have one on the runway outside. We'll see it when we get out.

This is the L-1011, one of the first airplanes with auto land capability. In other words, it could land itself. By the way, cool World War I model planes.

This would've been the Ambassador Club, a reproduction of it, more or less, what it would have looked like. Some of it came from the one in St. Louis. Scotch on the rocks, please. There's a map of Kansas City. You can even see the confluence at the airport surrounded on three sides.

More memorabilia. And check out the phone booth. Rotary dials. Yep, that's legit.

This would be the cabin trainer. I imagine this would've been first class perhaps. Wardrobe closet. Galley and of course the lavatory. Okay, that was pretty good.

And that's that MD-80 airplane we were talking about, a second generation DC-9 produced from 1979 to 1999. (upbeat music) Last time I was here, I got to try the Space Camper Cosmic IPA from Boulevard Brewing. And at the time, September 2020, the beer hall was closed. Well, that is no longer the case, so let's find parking.

They have a tiny vintage trailer photo booth. That's pretty cool. Nothing like a beer with a view, kind of, sort of. First kegs.

Hmm, that's a pretty cool graph. We want beer. We want beer.

This here would be the actual brewery where they make the beer. And even though I was tempted to do the tour we're going to save that for some other time. You know the thing with brewery tours, same as with distilleries and to some extent wineries, after you do a few of them, you realize they're all very similar. I mean, each has their own peculiarities. But anyway, today we're not in the mood. Let's go by a couple more neighborhoods here, like historic old Westport.

Wow, old Westport is happening, but we're not gonna stop. We're going to another area called Country Club Plaza where parking might be a little bit easier. And it looks like there may have been a pride parade earlier today. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2023, Country Club Plaza is 15 blocks of shopping, dining and entertainment in a Baroque and Moorish revival styles, inspired by the architecture of Seville, Spain. I mean, there's even a replica of the iconic Giralda which is the bell tower in the Seville Cathedral. (jazzy music) There it is once again.

The aforementioned Giralda replica. And the whole architecture of the place seems very well balanced, very tastefully put together. This is the fountain at Mill Creek Park, a popular photo up in this area. The Plaza claims several firsts.

The first regional shopping center in the world designed with parking to accommodate shoppers arriving by that relatively new invention called the horseless carriage or automobile. The first suburban center with common management and tenant selection. And the first suburban center with unified architecture.

Although the much smaller market square in Lake Forest, Illinois has similar claims. We've got more street art and the Neptune Fountain. Definitely a nice place to spend a Sunday afternoon. Oh, hello Ben. (jazzy music) We've got one more point of interest today. Let's visit a local distillery.

I think it goes without saying that after just two days here we have totally fallen in love with Kansas City and I'm sure we've barely scratched the surface. I've been thinking of doing a series called Great American Cities and this one will definitely make it to the list. Here we are, Mean Mule Distilling Company. They specialize in agave based spirits, which by law can only be called tequila in the Mexican state of Jalisco. So for the record, it is not tequila.

They do have a very good flight and a really good gin actually. So salud. And that's it for today. (upbeat music) Well actually there was also Belvoir Winery which had come very highly recommended and it is supposed to be haunted. And this is the last thing we're gonna do in Kansas City.

(happy music) On the next one, the Missouri River takes a sharp turn to the north. And as we have, we are going to continue following it all the way to Bismarck, North Dakota, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition spent the winter of 1804 to 1805. Until then, thank you so much for watching and see you on the road.

(jazzy music) ♪ I'm riding ♪ ♪ Riding in my RV ♪

2022-11-01 23:29

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