Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Kansas City Monarchs baseball - Kansas City, Kansas
Friday - July 2, 2021: I drove to New Century AirCenter in Gardner & Olathe to photograph the practice day for the Kansas City Air Show. It was a hot sunny day and it was nice being there without the crowds which would be there the next two days. The Air Show wouldn't provide a schedule of when the acts would rehearse, so it was pot luck, which acts would perform during the two hours I was there.

The highlight of that time was the flight of a Yak 110, a unique custom made aircraft created by combining two Yak 55 aircraft and adding a GE J-85 Jet Engine between them. It was like watching two planes in an extremely tight formation.

Before leaving New Century, I photographed the the jet aircraft in Naval Air Park.

On my way home, I stopped for lunch at Olathe's Downtown Diner. I dined there many times in the years when I worked in Olathe, but had not been there since last September. The owner, Sue Caines, waited on me and it was good seeing her again.

I ordered one of my old favorites, a Sheboygan burger - hamburger, Swiss cheese, house made Italian sausage, grilled onions, sauerkraut. It is still a very good burger, though I still find the Downtown Burger with hamburger, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, corned beef and bacon to be their best these days.

 

New Century AirCenter - Gardner and Olathe, Kansas
Yak 110

Naval Air Park - New Century Air Center Naval Air Park

Sheboygan Burger - Olathe's Downtown Diner Sheboygan Burger

 
Sunday - July 3, 2021: We went to Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas to check out the new Kansas City Monarchs  baseball team. The team was originally called the T-Bones, but nearly folded at the end of the 2019 season. In 2020, though there were no games the team was sold and the new owner renamed them the Monarchs, after the longest running franchise in Negro Leagues history that played in Kansas City, Missouri until the 1960ís. They have also partnered with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This is brilliant marketing?

We didn't decide to go to the came until that morning, but I still managed to get tickets in the first row behind the visiting team dugout. They cost $22/each plus fees which brought the total for two tickets to $51.02. I really enjoy being that close to the game, where you can see players expressions, hear ball slamming into the catchers mitt and be highly aware of the action. The Monarch's had little trouble with the Lincoln Saltdogs from Lincoln, Nebraska and won 11-3.

My photography opportunities were limited during the game as the stadium has added netting protecting the fans along both sides.

We dined at Legend's field, first walking all the way around the stadium checking on all the options. We found the options fairly limited and Linda had a "bratwurst sausage" (that sounds redundant) while I had loaded French fries with nacho cheese, chili, and sliced jalapeno peppers. The fries were pretty good but could have used a little more toppings and I wish that there had been onions on the condiment table.

It wasn't until after we ate, that I learned of the most interesting offering in the stadium. "The Kansas City BBQ Project" were five different KC BBQ joints are each taking part of the season and offering their own barbecue. THis night the provider was Jousting Pigs BBQ from Liberty, Missouri. Jones BBQ ran the booth from May 14 - June 3.

The game was followed by an impressive 20 minute fireworks show which had 6 different times that so many fireworks were going up that we thought it was the finale.

 

Kansas City Monarchs baseball - Kansas City, Kansas Jan Hernandez hitting his second 2 run homer of the game
 
 
 

The Kansas City BBQ Project - Legends Field The Kansas City BBQ Project

Fireworks - Kansas City Legends Field Monarchs & their families watching the fireworks from the field

Monday - July 5, 2021: We drove to Arthur Bryant's Barbeque in Kansas City, Missouri to update its listing on our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide. We went early, but the line was already over half way to the door. We had a nice conversation with a family passing through on I-70 on their way to Colorado.

There were several changes to the menu, the biggest being that chicken is available only as chicken tenders on the children's menu. They also stopped offering the choice of a short or long end of ribs. You can only order a half slab with no choice.

I was going to order a sliced brisket & pork combo sandwich, but they only had pulled pork, so I went with brisket & fries, while Linda had a half slab of ribs and onion rings. Bryant's is one of the few places I have brisket, which I enjoy drenched in their sauce. Linda cares nothing for Bryant's sauce.

We both had plenty of meat to take home.

 

Arthur Bryantís Barbeque - Kansas City, Missouri Half slab & brisket sandwich
 
Friday - July 16, 2021: We are off for three days in north central and northwest Kansas, heading west on I-70, with our first stop being lunch in Salina, Kansas to check out Bravo Sliders-N-Bites, which opened in 2019. The small restaurant has quickly gathered many positive reviews and a reputation for supporting the community.

Sliders are small hamburgers and Salina already has a famous place for sliders, the 99 year old Cozy Inn, but a slider can be any small sandwich made on a slider bun and Bravo Sliders currently lists 27 varieties, with the choice of four different proteins (beef, chicken, pork, beyond beef) on nearly half of them.

Bravo also offer "frips" (fresh cut French fries shaped like thick ridge potato chips), salads, and "bites" (bite sized house made desserts). We ordered 4 sliders, cheese streak, fajita, jalapeno cheddar brat, and club. I enjoyed all of them, but liked the hot sandwiches the most, particularly the fajita (sliced steak, red & yellow peppers, onions and cheddar). 

The frips are all about toppings, but they are good fries and would be good without toppings, though I think I would want them a little crisper if they were on their own. Orders come in four sizes and include the choice of 17 seasonings: Greek, salt & pepper, ketchup, Sriracha, cajun, garlic parmesan, jalapeno cheddar, dill pickle, ranch, BBQ, Congolese, sour cream & onion, cheesy bacon, jerk, lemon pepper, truffle parmesan, and cheddar 'n chive. We tried the jalapeno cheddar and enjoyed it but would try a different seasoning the next time.

You can also order topped versions of the frips and we got a $6 half order of Chicken Bacon Ranch Frips. They include shredded cheddar and fried French onions and we really enjoyed them. Next time I am torn between trying Fiesta (beef, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and guacamole sauce) or Poutine (ground pork, peppered gravy and shredded cheddar).

The "bites" on the menu are bite sized desserts are made in house and you get a choice of 4 for a dollar. We had two brownies, peach cobbler and baklava. We intended to to also have a cheese cake, but when they were out, the server had substituted the second brownie and I said that was fine. The brownie was my favorite of the three we tried. The peach cobbler was like a peach muffin.

On the way back to I-70, we passed a home with four large school or church bells displayed in the yard. I posted a photo to our Facebook page. While it received a lot of attention, no one provided more info about the display.

We drove to Trescott, Kansas to see some outdoor metal sculptures by Trent Dickerman. We saw one of his father, Jim Dickerman's sculptures on Highway K-18 east of Trescott, but could not locate Trent's Forever Flower Gardens in the cemeteries in Trescott or Beverly. 

We did locate Jim's present home and Soaring Heart Gallery art studio in Beverly and took some exterior photos. We noticed several of Jim's "Creature Creations" in nearby yards and on the K-18 Open Range Zoo as we continued west to Lincoln, Kansas.

We finally located some of Trent Dickerman's art in Lincoln. There were multiple pieces making up a "Forever Flower Garden" and "Flowers & Hearts." If the pieces in the cemeteries are at all like these, we don't know how we could have missed them in the two cemeteries.

With an appointment in Ellis, Kansas at 4PM, we were soon back on I-70 headed west to the Bukovina Society of the Americas in a beautiful stone 1907 Congregational Church. It is open only by appointment and we were met by Guy Windholz, Norma Lang and Erin Henderson-Rogers. The museum is modest and size, but Guy was happy to point out his favorite exhibits and tell us about the history of settlement in the Americas by people from the region of Europe once know as Bukovina.

Following the tour, we caravanned to St. Mary's Church, a beautiful Catholic Church on the east side of town, which we had never seen on the interior. Norma tracked down the Father and he graciously turned on the lights for my photography.

Supper was at The Brazen Bull in Wakeeney, Kansas. The mountain oyster appetizer was tender and very enjoyable. My chicken fried steak had an unfamiliar coating which I really didn't care for, but Linda's flat iron steak was cooked perfectly, something hard to do well done. She also enjoyed the German fries (thin slices of potato, pan fried with onions and butter), by I thought it needed a little more seasoning.

We drove around Wakeeney after dinner and discovered that the Trego County Fair was taking place, so we stopped to check it out. It was the smallest county fair I have visited, but we enjoyed seeing the open class and 4-H fair entrees. In the Commercial building, we learned that there is a group raising funds to build and operate a Trego Sky View Drive In Movie Theater. We would have bought raffle tickets for a beautiful University of Kansas quilt, but we would be out of town when they selected a winner.

We spent the night at the Super 8 by Wyndham in Wakeeney.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 

Bravo Sliders-N-Bites - Salina, Kansas Sliders & Frips
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bells in a Salina, Kansas yard Bells on Ohio Street
 
 
 

Forever Flower Garden - Lincoln, Kansas Forever Flower Garden
 

Bukovina Museum - Ellis, Kansas Norma Lang, Erin Henderson-Rogers, Guy Windholz

The Brazen Bull - Wakeeney, Kansas Mountain oysters

Trego County Fair - Wakeeney, Kansas Raising funds for a Trego SKy View Drive In

Saturday - July 17, 2021: We got away from the hotel a little early, so we added a stop in New Almelo, Kansas to photograph St. Joseph Catholic Church. The striking stone church was constructed on a hill in 1908 and stands out as you approach the tiny community from the east. The building is kept open from 8AM - 8PM and after moving the padded weight which keeps the doors closed I photographed the interior. The furnishings seemed plain after having been in the ornate St. Mary's Church in Ellis, Kansas the day before, but I love the stained glass windows.

We had a 10AM appointment to visit the Norton County Museum in Norton, Kansas. The museum occupies the main floor and basement of a former 1938 WPA Stone Library. I found many interesting exhibits, starting with one devoted to the February 18, 1948 Norton County Meteorite. Other notable exhibits include the 1st aviation fatality in Kansas in 1911, the Norton Manufacturing Company which made farm machinery from 1910 - 1967, women's suffrage, and the Norton BB Gun Team which won 38 state championships and 8 international championships.

From Norton, we drove west on US36 to visit the US 36 Highway Association Museum in Norcatur. Kansas. We saw a lovely old building with a sign saying it would be the future home of the museum, when we were in town about 5 years ago. But the building looked nothing like like I remembered. We soon learned that the grant which would have been used on the old building did not come through. This former bank was purchased for use as the museum by a relative of Elmer Kellner, who greeted us at the door and showed us through the whole building.

At this point there isn't a great deal to see in the museum, but it is worth getting off the highway to enjoy a half hour of chatting with Elmer and learning more of the area history.

On our way back to Norton, we turned off to visit Prairie Dog State Park. We were lucky and the curator, Michael Richard, was at work in the Hillman School. We had been unable to make contact with him through the state park office. He was excited to show us that the cage, which once separated visitors from the interior, had been removed as they plan to eventually start having programs for children there. 

Michael took us on to see the Adobe House about a mile away. This is the only original adobe structure being used as a museum in Kansas. 

Michael explained that they have scheduled fund raising events and intend to move school near the adobe house under a combined name of  Norton Living History Museum. On the way between the two buildings we must of seen 30 or more prairie dogs and we took about a half hour photographing and watching at least twice that many after visiting the Adobe House.

We lunch at Destination Kitchen in Norton, where the front of the building is a kitchen store, the back is a restaurant and the attached shop is a fabric store. 

Linda had the "Good Fellow," a $12.99 brick oven pizza with olive oil, jerk chicken, fresh tomato, roasted red pepper, fresh basil and mozzarella. She had been a little concerned that the jerk chicken would be too spicy, but we didn't notice the "jerk" and she was very happy with the pizza.

I had a Classic Reuben, which they described as layers of juicy corned beef topped with homemade kraut, a slice of Swiss cheese and a smear of their own Russian dressing on marble rye. It was only $7.99 with kettle chips and a pickle and was the best Reuben I have had this year. I thought the various ingredients were perfectly balanced and I could tell it was homemade sauerkraut, even though I hadn't noticed that it said that on the menu.

Our young server didn't ask if we wanted desserts and there were none listed on the menu, but as I was paying at the register near the front of the store, I saw a selection of large, house made cookies. We got three, peanut butter, chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. The first two were good, but it was the best snickerdoodle I have ever had!

Before leaving Norton we photographed the Remington statues at the library, the new Kansas Centennial Women's Suffrage Mural by Erika Nelson and nearby Cope Cemetery which contains just 5 known graves, that of Civil War veteran Abram Louk and four children.

We drove on to Logan, Kansas, where the Dane Hansen Museum has reopened after a $3,000,000 renovation. The building and displays are very attractive, but I'm not sure how much there is to interest people outside the area of northwest Kansas which has benefited from grants from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. There is a large gallery for temporary exhibits, which currently has "Animal Groups" with art by 9 artists. The permanent exhibits are devoted to the Hansen family, with personal materials, a gun collection, small coin collection and a recreation of Dane's office. I think that exhibits devoted to the work of the foundation would be more interesting and educational.

Continuing east, we passed through Speed, which was severely flooded when we were in town 5 years ago. After a taking a few photos, we moved on to Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge and Kirwin, Kansas which lie below the Kirwin Reservoir dam.

We headed north for a pass through Agra, Kansas to photograph some WPA buildings and then back to the west to Phillipsburg where we had diner at Willers Casual Dining. My prime rib was garlicky and fairly good, though the fries which came with it appeared to be the cheapest frozen fries. Linda was satisfied with her sautéed shrimp. Her loaded baked potato was unusual, in that the toppings to load it were in a little plastic container, rather than being prepared in the kitchen.

It wasn't until the entrees were brought, that we knew that they weren't bringing Linda's salad. We told our server and explained that there was no point in bringing it now that we were eating the main meal. She made no offer of anything to make up for that.

When the check came, there was no adjustment for the missing item, and there was an up charge for the baked potato being loaded. Something we hadn't been told when ordering.

After taking a photos of a few buildings and art around Phillipsburg, we checked into the Roadway Inn. We went back out about 8:45PM when Linda noticed that there was a deep red sunset, and hurried northeast of town to take photos of the sunset.
 
 

St Joseph Catholic Church - New Alemelo, Kansas St. Joseph Church

Norton County Museum - Norton, Kansas Norton County Museum

US 36 Highway Association Museum - Norcatur. Kansas Elmer Kellner

Hillman School - Prairie Dog State Park Hillman School
 
 
 

Prairie Dog State Park - Norton, Kansas Prairie Dogs
 
 
 

Destination Kitchen - Norton, Kansas Good Fellow Pizza & Classic Reuben
 

Cookies at Destination Kitchen in Norton Cookies
 
 
 

Dane Hansen Museum - Logan, Kansas Permanent exhibits
 
 
 
 
 

Willers Casual Dining - Philipsburg, Kansas Prime rib, fries & slaw
 
 

TAMKO Building Products in Phillipsburg, Kansas Sun setting over TAMKO Building Products

Sunday - July 18, 2021: There is steady rain this morning as we start toward home. In Athol, Kansas, we photographed some signs from the car. Many of the streets in Athol are not paved and we almost got stuck in mud.

It continued to rain and we stayed in the car until we arrived at Cawker City to check out the new Eyegore's Odditorium and Monster Museum, which opened in April, about a block from the World's Largest Ball of Twine. Matt Alford and Julie Agee fell in love with Cawker City during a cross county trip last year and moved here from Virginia. Matt is a fan of horror and has created many odd items to amuse and entertain visitors. They sell souvenirs, penny candies, hot sauces and some of Matt's grassroots art, but this feels more like a gallery than a gift shop. The Odditorium reminds of an 80 year old pharmacy and taxidermy shop in my home town when I was a child.

Few highly rated restaurants are open in this area on Sundays, but we found El Tejavan, a Mexican restaurant in Beloit, Kansas. The salsa was a mild style we have had at some other authentic Mexican restaurants, but do not care for. Linda had a huge fajita quesadilla which may have been the best quesadilla she has ever had. 

I had the San Juan Especiale fajita with chicken, shrimp, beef and chorizo. It came out so hot and steaming that it was a minute before the steam died down enough to photograph. The dish wasn't cooked as much as I like when it came out, but continued to cook at the table and was better the longer I took.

It had finally stopped raining and most of the places we visited during the rest of the day did not appear to have had any rain. 

Our next stop was Tootle Park in Miltonvale, Kansas. where we photograph a three arch stone bridge, large play area, band shell and veterans memorial.

We photographed about 10 murals in Clay Center, Kansas, including a lovely set of books titled "Windows to Literacy'" next to the library and a large one on two sides of a grain elevator. The are part of a recent "Mural Movement of Clay Center" and several more are planned.

Our repeat visit of the Clay Center Zoo found that the expansion of the zoo continues and their are now two bears sharing a much larger space. Unfortunately they were ignoring the new space and were exhibiting the stereotypic behavior of repetitive pacing. There are also still other animals in tiny barren cages from the early half of the 20th Century. The zoo is improving, but it yet to warn a passing grade.

About 9 miles southeast of Clay Center, we went though the two block long community of Bala and Bala Park about a mile away. The private owned park is open to the public and includes a playground. picnic area and an 1887 Timber Creek Arch Bridge. Fort Riley is on the far side of the former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad line.

We continued to City Park in Manhattan, Kansas to photograph the 24' tall statue of Johnny Kaw. The mythical pioneer Kansas wheat farmer was invented by Professor George Fillinger from Kansas State University as part of the 1955 Manhattan Centennial, and a series of stories of his adventures were published in the Manhattan Mercury newspaper and later collected into a self published book. The statue was constructed in 1966.

In City Park we also discovered the Pioneer Log Cabin which was built in 1915 the Riley County Historical Society over 100 years ago and was the Society's only museum until 1956. It would have normally been open at this time, but there was a sign that it was closed for the day.

We had supper at Krustaceans Seafood, a seafood restaurant which opened about 4 months ago in Lawrence, Kansas. We got deep fried fish and shrimp, which is is cooked with a heavy Cajun seasoning. They don't say what kind of fish. The seasoning worked fairly well on the shrimp, but I didn't care for it on the fish. The only sauce other than ketchup had the same seasoning. No tartar or cocktail sauce were offered. The fries were so-so.

We have since learned that the fish is swai.

But we weren't turned off by the place and want to return and try some of the boiled seafood.
  
 


 

Eyegore's Odditorium and Monster Museum - Cawker City, Kansas Eyegore's Odditorium & Monster Museum
 
 

El Tejavan - Beloit, Kansas San Juan Especiale
 
 
 
 
 

Mural Movement of Clay Center Windows to Literacy'
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Johnny Kaw - Manhattan, Kansas Johnny Kaw
 
 

Krustaceans Seafood- Lawrence, Kansas Krustaceans Seafood

 
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