Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith Stokes' adventures while exploring and photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact Keith at sfreader@sff.net.

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Saturday - October 30, 2010: For the second morning in a row, there was a rainbow outside the Aruba Radisson Resort in the early morning.

Before returning the rental vehicle, I photographed the old Dutch Windmill and Bubali Bird Sanctuary.

Our return to the US was uneventful.

 

Rainbow at the Radisson Resort in Aruba Rainbow
 
Friday - October 29, 2010: For our last full day on Aruba, we rented a vehicle and roamed the island, stops included the Aruba Aloe Museum and Factory, Casibari Rock Formation, and shelling on a shore filled with more interesting large shells and corals than we had ever seen before.

My favorite find was Zeerover (Sea Pirate) Bar in the small community of Savaneta where we had fried snapper and enjoyed the view of the fishing boats with Venezuela in the distance.

Supper was at Screaming Eagle where we had fine food in a canopy bed.

 

Zeerover Bar - Aruba Zeerover Bar
Thursday - October 28, 2010: In the morning we returned to Fort Zoutman and King Willem III Tower to tour the small museum. In the afternoon we went out in the Submarine Atlantis VI and dove to a depth of 141' while seeing many more fish and two ships that were sunk to provide interesting stops on the tour.

Supper was at Amazonia, a Brazilian Steakhouse with great food and the best service which we received during the entire honeymoon trip.

 

Submarine Atlantis VI - Aruba Submarine Atlantis VI
Wednesday - October 27, 2010: The highlight of our day was SNUBA on Aruba's 397' long shipwreck Antilla, a German freighter which was sunk in World War 2.

SNUBA is a mixture of SNorkeling + scUBA. We had air hoses leading down from two small rafts which had our air supply. We could go down about 20 feet. The De Palm tours catamaran Palm Pleasure also made tow snorkeling spots where we saw many beautiful fish and corals.

 

SNUBA on the Antilla Me diving on the Antilla
Tuesday - October 26, 2010: We hired a taxi for four hours and visited many of the Aruba attractions which we missed on the Jeep tour on the day before. My favorite stops included Ayo Rock Formation & the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary. We also went into Arikok National Park where we saw Boca Prins, native drawings in Fontein Cave and the larger and more pleasant Guadirikiri Cave.

We saw many goats and a few donkeys wandering Arikok.

In the evening we attended the weekly Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman, which included local crafts, music and dancers. After losing our way a couple of times walking the unmarked streets, we had a great supper at Gaucho Argentine Grill.

 

Guadirikiri Cave Guadirikiri Cave

Bon Bini Festival dancers Bon Bini Festival

Monday - October 25, 2010: The first half of our day was a tour of much of Aruba with ABC Jeep Tours. It included the California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, old gold mine & natural bridges, the Ostrich Farm and Baby Beach.

We concluded the day with a sunset cruise and diner at Smokey Joes.

 

ABC Jeep Tours - Aruba ABC Jeep Tour
Sunday - October 24, 2010: Our flight from Kansas City departed at 5:55 AM. After changing planes in Atlanta, we arrived in Aruba at mid afternoon. When we checked into the Radisson Resort on Palm Beach, we were pleasantly surprised with an upgrade to a 1,100 sq. ft suite! My casually mentioning that it was our honeymoon, when I confirmed the reservation paid off. The master bathroom was bigger than many hotel rooms which I have had.

Our first real meal together was at at Passions. Our table was set in the sand about 25 feet from the ocean. We arrived at the restaurant just as the sun was setting. I had a seafood chowder and Dutch style mussels. Linda had the Seven Seas Paradise which included lobster, shrimp, grouper and Mahi-Mahi. We weren't going to have dessert, but in honor of our honeymoon they brought is a slice of extremely light cheesecake with a sparkler on top. 

 

Radisson Resort - Aruba Radisson Resort

Passions Restaurant - Aruba Passions Restaurant

 
Saturday - October 23, 2010: Today at 2 PM, I married Linda Lipp at Lenexa United Methodist Church in the  Old Town section of Lenexa, Kansas. Nearly 200 people attended the wedding, but the wedding party was small. Our only attendants were Linda's daughters and my two best friends. The 35 minute service was followed by a receiving line that took 45 minutes, and a church reception.

We spent that evening at the Airport Marriott in Kansas City, Missouri. They have a nice package which included a suite, a week's parking, champaign and chocolate covered strawberries.

 

Linda and Keith Stokes wedding picture Linda and Keith Stokes
Saturday - October 16, 2010: We had supper at the new Char House Barbeque and Fried Chicken in Shawnee, Kansas. It opened 3 weeks ago in the space briefly occupied by Daniel's Bar-BQ.

Over all, the food at this new offering was good but not great. The fried chicken had good flavor, but the skin on the pieces was limp and soggy. The sausage, biscuit and cornbread were good, but the beans and jambalaya left a lot to be desired. 

The baby back ribs did not look very appealing and had no flavor from the cooking. Char House seems to rely on the flavor coming from the sauce rather than from the cooking. Their were 3 BBQ sauces and 4 types of Tobasco Sauce on the table.

 

Char House Barbeque and Fried Chicken in Shawnee, Char House Barbeque & Fried Chicken
Friday - October 15, 2010: Revisited Mr. Epp's KC Barbeque in Kansas City, Kansas. Tonight I tried chicken wings, sausage and seasoned French fries. The fries were good and the sausage with cheese inside was as good as I remembered, but I don't think the wings were fresh today.

The last time I had the wings, they were moist and so tender that they would fall apart when I picked them up. Today they were slightly dry and very tough.

 

chicken wings at Mr. Epp's KC Barbeque chicken wings
Wednesday - October 13, 2010: Added a new page devoted the the Museum of the Kansas National Guard in Topeka, Kansas.

 

 
Sunday - October 10, 2010: The morning was spent at the the 100th anniversary celebration at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Topeka, Kansas. I particularly enjoyed the message delivered by Scott J. Jones who is Bishop for the Kansas Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church.

Before leaving Topeka, we stopped to photograph the Powell Family Halloween display on Leo Avenue near Lake Shawnee. The Powells have repeatedly won prizes for their Christmas displays and are one of the featured displays on my Topeka Christmas Light Display Tour.

On the drive back to Kansas City, we detoured through the tiny community of Stull, whose cemetery has been called one of the Seven Gates to Hell. The stories about the Stull Cemetery supposedly go back 140 years, but it is possible that they began at the nearby University of Kansas in the 1970s.

In any case, the local residents do not appreciate the notoriety and occasional vandalism which the cemetery has experienced. The cemetery is surrounded by a chain link fence with prominent "No Trespassing" signs. I respected the signs and parked across the street and only took photos from the road, but I was still yelled at by someone in a pickup pulling out of the cemetery.

Although this is the cemetery which has received all of the attention, the cemetery of legend is actually a mile or two away.

 


 

Powell Family Halloween display - Topeka, Kansas Powell Family Halloween display

Stull Cemetery - Stull, Kansas Stull Cemetery

Saturday - October 9, 2010: Today's exploration of the Topeka, Kansas area began with a drive to the Prairie Band of the Potawatomie Nation Indian Reservation north of town. I photographed yet another Kansas waterfall - Rocky Ford on Soldier Creek. The small waterfall is a nice peaceful location, but didn't photograph very well - in part because of a large dead tree which covers one end of the falls.

Returning to Topeka, I had lunch at Tuptim Thai Restaurant. I last dined there in 2007. Today I started with Caliari and went on to the Tuptim Passion, which is described as a combination of shrimp, scallop, squid, mussel, chicken, pork, beef, asparagus, bean, egg plant and kaffir leaf in unique fiery red curry spice. Much as I like all of those ingredients this dish wasn't as flavorful as I would have liked.

Overall, Tuptim Thai has fairly solid Thai food.

In the afternoon, I visited the Museum of the Kansas National Guard which was celebrating the opening of new addition which features an exhibit on the 35th Infantry Division, a new education center and a research library. The new exhibit honors the 93 year history of the 35th Division which is based at Fort Leavenworth and earned three battle streamers during World War I and five more during World War II. The division recently had duty in Bosnia and Kosovo.

This was also Civil War Living History Weekend at the museum and the grounds had reenactors from the civil war period displaying their uniforms, equipment, weapons and encampment sites.

 

Rocky Ford on Soldier Creek Rocky Ford on Soldier Creek

Tuptim Thai Restaurant - Topeka, Kansas Tuptim Thai Restaurant

Museum of the Kansas National Guard - Topeka, Kansas Museum of the Kansas National Guard

Friday - October 8, 2010: Today's lunch was at K&M BBQ in Spring Hill, Kansas. K&M has been in its large current building since 2007, but has been in operation for over 20 years.

I had the  deluxe dinner which includes ribs, two meats and two sides for $10.95. I thought the side dishes (onion rings & coleslaw) were the best part of the meal. The slaw may be be too sweet for some people, it was almost a dessert.  The ribs looked wonderful but didn't have much flavor from the smoking. The brisket also lacked smoke taste but was very good roast beef. The sausage was ground fairly course and tasted mostly of the spice used in making it.

 

K&M BBQ - Spring Hill, Kansas K&M BBQ
Tuesday - October 5, 2010: Added a new review of the Greenwood County Historical Museum in Eureka, Kansas.

 

 
 
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