Monday, December 16, 2013

A Long Weekend in Kansas City

This past week, my great-aunt Charlene died. I didn't know her that well, but my Dad has fond memories of her. He and I decided to use her funeral as a catalyst for a short trip to Kansas City since we are not planning to go up for Christmas.

Wednesday, my Dad arrived in Denton about noon. We had lunch at Cool Beans, a bar and grill close to my house. We got on I-35 N. We first tried to stop in Ardmore, Oklahoma for Sonic Happy Hour drinks, but missed the turn for the Sonic and just went on. We later stopped in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma and there got both our Sonic drinks and cherry pies at McDonald's. We got gas in Guthrie, Oklahoma. I drove from Guthrie to Wichita. We stopped for the night at Wichita, staying at a Motel 6. We had a very nice dinner at Hangar One Steakhouse.

Thursday, we left the hotel about 9. We stopped for coffee and gas on the turnpike, and made it to Topeka around 11. We got our car washed, and then headed to see Mrs. G and her husband Max. Mrs. G is my "third grandma" who is 98. Max is 92 and is Mrs. G's 2nd husband. We had lunch in the dining room of their retirement home and then visited until 2:15.

We left and stopped briefly at the Kansas Expo Center in Topeka to see if we could find the brick with our names on it in its pathway. There was too much slush though, so we headed to Meriden, where my family owns a cabin. We checked up on it and my Dad swept the deck. We then drove to Oskaloosa, the county seat, to pay the cabin taxes, but the office was closed.

We drove on to Platte City, Missouri, which I consider to be my family's "homeland." We got McDonald's, checked gas stations for hotel coupons, and finally checked into the Super 8. We changed into our funeral clothes at the hotel, made a quick pitstop at Walgreen's to buy hearing aid batteries, and went to the Platte City United Methodist Church. We arrived shortly after 6, got in the visitation line, hugged many people, then sat in the pews and talked with our closer family members. At 7:30, they showed a slideshow and then the pastor spoke. He didn't know her so it was a tad generic. One of her grandkids got up and gave a lovely speech. After the service, we stood around and talked awhile.

After we left the church, we got MORE McDonald's (definite roadtrip trend) and went to Aunt L and Uncle J's house to hang out with their family for awhile. We left around 11, went back to the hotel, and chilled.

Friday, we had breakfast at the hotel, went to mail a letter, buy a brake light for my Dad's car, and visited the Platte City Cemetery, home of my family's plot. My cousin Bradley died in May and we went to check out his headstone. After all our errands, we drove to North Kansas City to see another great-aunt, my Aunt Bert. We went to lunch at Frank's, an Italian restaurant in Parkville. We then went back to her house where she had peach cobbler, homemade candy, and homemade caramel corn to snack on. We talked and looked at old pictures until 4:30. We then left to go back to Platte City. On our way, we got gas, bought oil, got drinks at McDonald's, and bought some goods at the local store. We picked up my cousins R and M at their home, and headed to Aunt L and Uncle J's home. We ate Mexican food and desserts. We had alcoholic eggnog, but I did not enjoy it. We talked and watched Elf. We left about 10:30 and went back to the Super 8.

Saturday, we had breakfast at the hotel and left about 10:30. We drove to Cameron, Missouri, to see my Grandma. We had lunch at Dino's Diner, went to Wal-Mart, the hardware store, and Sutherland's. We went home and visited a bit. About 3, we drove back to Meriden. We arrived at the cabin around 5. We got the woodstove and propane heater going and then left to go to dinner. On the way to dinner, I discovered my phone was missing. We tore apart the car and wondered if I had left it in Cameron. We ate dinner at The Flying Tiger in Topeka. Afterwards, we drove home and found my phone (!) in the grass outside the cabin's front gate. We were pleased. We sat by the woodstove and read until about 11. We then slept--I slept well; Dad did not.

Sunday, we got up and sang Christmas carols in lieu of church. We left about 10 and headed to Wichita. We stopped for coffee and gas in Emporia. We ate lunch at a BBQ place in Wichita. We kept driving and stopped for Sonic and gas in Guthrie. I drove from Emporia to Guthrie. We stopped once more for a bathroom stop, and then made it all the way to Denton. We had dinner at Red Lobster, and then went to see Desolation of Smaug. We finally got to my apartment about 11:15. We went to bed around 12.

Today, we got up and had breakfast at IHOP. We went to pay my rent and stopped at Starbucks. Finally, my Dad packed up his stuff and headed home about 10. I'll go home tomorrow, but am spending one free day at my apartment. Tomorrow I have training for my volunteer position at 1 pm in Rockwall, and then I'll be home for the rest of the holidays.

It was a sad reason to go up, but it was a lovely trip. My Dad and I had not traveled alone since I was 9 and we used to go back to St. Louis for my annual check-ups. We got along fairly well, with a few minor exceptions. (We have similar tempers, he and I.) We probably won't be back to Kansas City until summer. Our next trip is already planned---Boston for Spring Break! Hopefully there'll be a trip update then. And (hopefully) a few posts on this blog between now and then.

I have a lot planned for my Christmas break! Fingers crossed that this was only the first adventure of the season. Hope everyone has a lovely Christmas!