Friday, February 22, 2013

We’re not in Kansas anymore

The last week has been a blur.  I wanted to write about our little weekend getaway, but the short week has thrown off my already-precarious schedule.  Besides work and the usual things, I’ve been busy getting ready for Neve’s birthday (today), so this will be short and mainly consist of pictures.  I think I’ve put up more pictures for two days in Kansas City than I did for our three week East Coast trip, mostly because the narrowing-down process takes time, and I need to use every second dreaming up ways to make Neve’s day a fraction as special as what she expects it will be.

So we got up early last Friday and headed south.  We had booked a hotel in Kansas City the night before, so it wasn't quite as spontaneous as it sounds.  Spontaneity no longer works that well for us.  The kids did great on the drive for the most part, watching movies, reading, and playing on their electronics.  My brother and sister-in-law were also heading south, so although we didn’t travel together, we were about an hour apart on the highway so we texted back and forth all day, which was kind of fun.  They continued south the next day, and once they started texting about palm trees, it wasn’t fun anymore.  Anyway, we drove all day and arrived in Kansas City about 13 hours later, which included stops. 

We stayed at a really nice Sheraton, but it was far from downtown – about half an hour on the freeway.  We went to the Crown Centre downtown and did a few things there (Crayola store, Lego store, Hallmark visitor’s centre), but we mostly stayed at our isolated suburban hotel and relaxed.  We spent a lot of time at the pool; some of us read, some of us swam, some of us worked out in the gym overlooking the pool.  We went out to eat, including dinner at Dickey’s BBQ.  Apparently BBQ restaurants are a very big deal there, but it’s really just big hunks of meat.  Poor vegetarian Chloe was not in her element.  But they had free soft ice cream cones you could make yourself, so that made up for it.
No snow
Frozen custard is a big thing there
Neve's version of Marilyn Monroe standing on a vent

There were some cool buildings downtown

Sunday was beautiful – bright and sunny and warm.  It got up to 14 degrees, which would feel like a very cold day in July, but now it felt tropical.  Dale and Spencer went to the World War I museum, which they loved, but my highlight was going to a park and playing on the play structure and exploring a little creek and just sitting on a bench feeling the warm sun on my skin.  The children got very tired of us saying this, but Dale and I kept exclaiming how amazing it was that you could just get in the van, drive for a bit, and it was like summer.  Good times.

Monday we headed home; it was windy but the roads were great and no sight of snow until after Sioux Falls (about 4 hours south of Fargo).  Then snow started appearing, until there was enough that it was blowing across the road.  Visibility wasn’t great, but not horrible either, so as long as we took it easy, it was okay.  There were a lot of cars in the ditch though. When we heard the I-29 was closed north of Grand Forks, we decided to stop in Fargo because we knew hotels would be full in Grand Forks.  By this time, the icy winds were blowing snow around like crazy and it was bone-chillingly cold.  We booked into a hotel, much to the kids’ delight (except Chloe who was concerned about missing classes).  To everyone’s further delight, we found out our good friends Blake and Kristin were also stranded in Fargo, so we got to hang out with them after dinner. 
Fudge from Scheels in Fargo - our favourite

Getting home was an ordeal: we left around 9:30 in order to get Chloe to school for the afternoon.  No such luck; it was slow going on the roads (lots of cars in the ditch), made even worse by an accident between Grand Forks and the border which brought traffic to a standstill for an hour.  Anticipating the insanity at the border, we took a different route which saved us lots of time but still didn’t get us home until 3:30.  But despite the hassle, it was Worth It.  I can’t say I fell in love with Kansas City, but I’d definitely go again and stay in a more centrally-located hotel and explore the city a little more.  For years, Dale has talked about a little trip like this – just heading south until it gets warmer – so it was a dream come true for him.
Home snowy home



Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great little adventure! You know, maybe Kansas city doesn't SOUND exciting, but each and every city obviously has exciting and lovely things to do or else people wouldn't live in them! I think it's great to just get in the van and go (even if not as spontaneous as we would like to be!). I did a play in Kansas city and my favourite part of the snowy trip home was, while it was my turn to take the wheel, out of the dark night, amidst the snowflakes, appeared the sign "DeSmet, South Dakota, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder." I wanted to turn off and follow that road, but alas, no one else in the van was quite the fan I was. And it's doubtful there would have been any Laura pageants at midnight in the middle of February.

Great photos, Ellen! I love the one of Neve on the vent!


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you got a reprieve from the cold winter even if it didn't include palm trees--it did include family, food, and friends (and unexpected ones at that which makes it even more fun).

Welcome home.