Memorial Day weekend found me and my husband and older daughter (15) on a road trip to Kansas City to catch Wicked before it left for Chicago.
The trip was wonderful, simply wonderful. Okay, driving across western Kansas Friday night was a bit dicey. There were literally dozens of tornados forming to the south west of us during the whole trip, and we raced to stay ahead of them as they moved north. We listened to the radio, which was on tornado alert, and tracked each one that was reported. One crossed I-70 about ten minutes before us, and we heard that it blew a car off the road. We saw that tornado to the north of us, a huge wedge wrapped in rain. Frightening but interesting, too.
Saturday we completed the trip--Salina to KC. Daughter and I talked my husband into stopping at the Oz Museum in Wamego (about 10 miles north of I-70), and it was perfect. Full of memorabilia, including an actual sequin (yes, just one!) from Judy Garland's ruby slippers. They had lots of fun, kitschy stuff to buy so we complied and got the Glinda crown/WW hat S&P shakers and a magnet. Next door to the Museum was a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, Toto's Tacoz, that turned out to be really tasty and the people were so friendly.
KC is a great town--I'd never been there before--we stayed in a wonderful boutique hotel downtown, just steps away from the theatre and a bunch of restaurants. Again, every single person we encountered in the city was friendly and polite. We didn't have much time so we drove a bit along the Missouri and took pictures of spots where Lewis & Clark stopped along their voyage of discovery. I must say, Kansas is much prettier than I expected...a lot greener than Colorado, and hillier than its reputation, especially the eastern part. Granted we didn't get much off I-70, but Wyoming (excluding Yellowstone) is much more boring than Kansas when it comes to driving across.
Oh, and Wicked, wicked good! We listened to the soundtrack on the way so that it was somewhat familiar--my daughter already knew all the words by heart. What a fun show--catch it if you can. Different storyline than I anticipated. I expected not to like Glinda (i.e. Galinda) at all, but I did. Kristen Chenoweth was born to play that part. Of course, we didn't get to see her, but the actress we did see was great, as were all the cast. I hope they make a movie of it--would be really fun.
The price of gas? We never paid more than $3.87 between home and KC.
I also got to eat breakfast in a real Harvey House in Union Station in KC. I have loved the story of the Harvey Girls since I first learned about them when visiting the Grand Canyon 5-6 years ago, and I've wanted to eat in one of the restuarants or diners ever since. They had pictures on the wall of the diner during the height of rail travel in the U.S., and it looked pretty much the same. I asked for a menu for my small but growing collection of HH memorabilia, and was given a nice clean one...did I mention how nice everyone in KC was!
One final treat was the huge Van Gogh sunflower painting in Goodland, KS where we stopped for a late lunch on the way home. For more on the painting, visit this website: [http://www.kansasphototour.com/goodland.htm].