I had been craving a visit to a bigger city and Kansas City provided just that! We checked in at the Worlds of Fun RV Village, which is actually part of an amusement park/water park. When we learned how much was going on in the area for the upcoming weekend, we decided to book a full week here. The park was in a great location with nice, long concrete pads and modern amenities. The water park was closed for the year and the amusement park was only open on weekends, so it wasn’t too crazy while we were there. Kind of a fun setting. As we set up, we met both of our neighbors, one had a MoHo just like ours and was here for the NASCAR race (more on that later) and the others were here filming the American Royal BBQ contest (more on that too). We stayed busy here and got to experience a lot of the city. Here are some highlights:
Kansas City has a great skyline and sits on the western side of Missouri, bordering Kansas. There is also a Kansas City in Kansas, but the one in MO is where we spent most of our time. The mighty Missouri River runs along the border of the two states, making for a great setting. We explored the downtown area on a few occasions with highlights being the historic Union Station (celebrating its 100 year anniversary), the Power & Light Building (featured in a Batman movie as a Gotham City skyscraper) and the four Sky Station sculptures atop the convention center. Downtown is separated by neighborhoods and we found the Power & Light District to be the most fun with tons of restaurants and KC Live, an outdoor entertainment venue. We also visited the City Market, a huge outdoor market (kind of like Pike Place) and loaded up on fresh fruits & veggies!
Who knew that KC was the BBQ Capital of the World? I didn’t and honestly thought it was probably Texas. I am not a huge BBQ lover, but it ranks up there with wings for Mike. We tried a few different places; Oklahoma Joe’s being the best by far. It was located inside of a gas station, random. Mike’s quote after finishing his beef brisket/pork rib combo plate: “If I were on death row, this would be my final meal.” He said it was that good! Arthur Bryant’s was also a good one and located in the Jazz district. As I mentioned above, our neighbors in the RV park film BBQ competitions around the country and apparently the one in KC, American Royal, is one of the biggies. Turns out they were short on judges (they needed over 500), so he asked Mike if he would be interested. The timing was horrible, as we had already bought our NASCAR tickets (see below), so he wasn’t able to partake. It would have been a pretty cool experience.
We loved that this was such a huge sports city. We really miss that part of being at home. Although we get behind our teams from the road and fly our flags proudly, it just isn’t the same. We visited all stadiums, but unfortunately not for any games. Arrowhead, home of the Chiefs shares a parking lot with Kauffman Field for the Royals, kind of like Safeco Field and Century Link in Seattle. It was fun to be in town for all of the excitement of the Royals making the playoffs and sweeping the Angels. Sporting Kansas City, the soccer club, has a dedicated venue just for them, which we haven’t seen before. It definitely makes for a more intimate setting, but not as many seats available. Our timing just didn’t work for any live events other than the Royals, but the tickets were just too expensive.
There were some great breweries here, the largest being Boulevard Brewing. It is a staple in every bar/restaurant in town. We also found some smaller ones that were fantastic, Big Rip and Cinder Block. This has been a really fun thing for us, sampling local beer along the way. Mike is an IPA lover and I usually opt for the wheats or lagers.
The Missouri and Kansas rivers run throughout the area and with that bring a variety of riverboat casinos, which of course we could not pass up. A funny moment one night was when I was at a 3-card table with 5 other people (Mike was gambling at another table). All of our phones went off at the same time with an emergency alert of possible flash flooding in the area. Crazy weather around here! The dealer proceeded to tell us, “not to worry, we are on a boat.” Classic.
We happened to be in town when Phillip Phillips was playing at the historic Midland Theatre. This was a smaller venue (3,000ish) and an iconic site, reminded me a bit of the Paramount in Seattle. It was a fun night out for us and we actually dug into the closet for something other than shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. We started out at Johnny’s Tavern in the Power & Light District for dinner, then a drink at the Indie, then into the show. It wasn’t sold out, so we were able to sit in some decent seats and take in the concert. There was an opening act, singer, songwriter from Portland, OR who played for about 45 mins. Then Phillip took the stage for about 90 mins. He reminds us so much of Dave Matthews, who we love, so it was a great show. For the encore he came out in a KC Royals cap and the crowd went crazy!
This has been on our bucket list for awhile and we had planned on Daytona last year, but it just didn’t work out. When we heard that there was a big race at the Kansas Speedway while we were here, we were all over it. Neither one of us is really into car racing, but we just had to experience firsthand the nation’s most popular sport. It was Sunday and the weather was perfect and here we were with 80,000+ racing fans. These people are serious about who they support and decked out in all the gear. We did our best and donned beer shirts and hats. This is the only sporting event we have ever been to where we could bring in our own cooler of beer. We literally walked through the gates with icy cold ones in hand. Crazy! We also learned why this is the most fan-friendly sport. We were allowed down onto the track and infield prior to the race, there was a concert playing and we could see the pit crews and parade of drivers up close. After the festivities, the fans orderly made their way back to the seats and it was time to “start your engines.” All of the big drivers were in the hunt and I actually recognized quite a few names. We had great seats for all of the action and it wasn’t as boring as I thought. It was LOUD so we did buy earplugs, but there was a lot of action to watch. Also, the cars go by much faster in real life than they do on TV. Literally, they were a blur going by. After some of the bigger names were out due to crashes, #22 Joey Logano brought home the victory and before we knew it 267 laps and 3 hours had gone by. Not sure that we will go again, but really glad we had the experience.
I am adding this highlight in for Mike. It continues to amaze us how volatile the weather is, something we just don’t get at home. While we were there, we had temps ranging from mid 80’s to low 50’s. We had beautiful sunny days, then out of nowhere rain showers like we have never seen. And most evenings, a spectacular thunder and lightning display showed up. Weather boy is infatuated by all of this crazy weather and I have to admit, it is magnificent to see Mother Nature giving us her show!
On our last night, we had our flag flying for Monday Night Football. It wasn’t pretty, but we were relieved for a Seahawks victory! We are now looking at detouring up to St. Louis for the game on the 19th. Any takers to join us?