|Monday - June 30, 2008: Added
new Kansas Travel pages devoted to the OZ
Museum and haunted Columbian Theatre
in Wamego, Kansas.
|Friday - June 27, 2008: Attended
the 27th Great Lenexa Barbeque
Battle in Lenexa, Kansas. Since 1984, the event has also been the official
Kansas State Championship. Nearly 200 teams compete and Friday evening
is a big party.
There is free BBQ sampling at mid-day on Saturday, and
commercial BBQ is available on both days, but an outgoing person can quickly
make friends and find themselves invited to sample Que and enter parties.
I'm not that outgoing, but was accompanied by a long time
Lenexa resident who knew many contestants and got us into a number of the
parties. We sampled ribs, chicken, pork, beef, goose and side dishes.
There was also live music and activities for children.
Great Lenexa Barbeque Battle
|Thursday - June 26, 2008: Added
a new Kansas Travel pages devoted to Chase
Lake Falls, 1.5 miles west of Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. Totally reworked
the two pages already devoted to the Eagle
Valley Raptor Center with 9 new photos.
|Wednesday - June 25, 2008: Revisited
Paradise India Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. This is the 4th or
5th time I have visited the restaurant which opened earlier this year.
The food is inconsistent, but some dishes are very good. It is improving
Paradise India is worth visiting if you find yourself
in south Overland Park, but at this time, I wouldn't make a long drive
just to eat there.
Updated the Kansas Travel page devoted to Tanganyika
Wildlife Park near Goddard, Kansas.
|Monday - June 23, 2008: Added
the very first ads to this website. They appear at the bottom of just 30
pages including the Unique Kansas Restaurants
|Saturday - June 21, 2008: Saturday
morning I drove out to the Eagle Valley
Raptor Center in Garden Plain, Kansas where I was greeted by Program
Director, Ken Lockwood. I first met Ken when visiting Eagle Valley in 2006.
Ken told me that their visits from people that live outside
Kansas are up significantly and that 40% of those visitors say they found
them on www.kansastravel.org.
This was a chance to see the new facilities and new birds
residing at the center. There are two new pens just for wild birds that
are expected to be released again, and two new larger cages for Eagles.
Each of the Eagle pens were built by Eagle Scouts for their Eagle Scout
Leadership Service Projects.
Highlights of my visit included two baby vultures that
came in a week before from a building that had been destroyed by tornado,
posing for photos with Miles the barn owl and WaSu the male bald eagle,
plus the opportunity to enter the pens and become familiar with many of
the other birds at the Eagle Valley Raptor Center.
From there I returned just a few miles east to the Tanganyika
Wildlife Park near Goddard, Kansas. This was the Grand opening of the
formerly private park as a public zoo.
Frankly I was baffled by the opening. About all there
was to see were men building the zoo. Almost no exhibits were open. Really
just the nursery near the entrance and a few other small animals that were
outside being held by staff so visitors could meet and pet them. There
wasn't nearly as much to see as on my previous visit to the private park
and the only large animal seen anywhere was a camel which people could
ride for an additional $5.
I went all the way through the small zoo, then turned
around and went back through to make sure I hadn't missed anything. I was
done at Tanganyika in under a half hour.
Back in Wichita, I had lunch at my favorite BBQ in Kansas:
& C Barbeque Restaurant which occupies a former garage on the edge
of Old Town. The buffet was as good as always with the ribs, sausage &
beef being my favorite meats, and the hot spicy baked beans & garlic
coleslaw being my favorite sides.
A woman was playing acoustic guitar and singing at one
end of the dinning room and a group of about of a dozen women dinners were
joining her singing and clapping. It was a really cool lunchtime.
Then to the Great
Plains Transportation Museum. It has a great location in Old Town,
with tracks and an large old steam engine extending over a main street.
But there was little to see there. Just a gift shop and one room museum,
and about 13 old engines and other railroad cars outside. Most aren't in
very good condition and there are few labels to tell a visitor what they
are seeing. It would be more interesting if they gave guided tours.
Before leaving Wichita, I stopped by the original Nu-Way
Cafe for a homemade root beer frostie, and pints of chili & garlic
salad to bring home. The frostie and chili were wonderful, but I didn't
care for the garlic salad.
I drove back by way of Cottonwood
Falls, where I took some fresh photos of the old bridge and dam, then
drove west of town to Chase Lake to photograph the falls that was created
by the spillway from the dam.
The dam spillway travels about 200 feet before descending
in a series of three really beautiful waterfalls. A total decent of about
40' in a short distance. The middle falls is the most impressive, but I
don't think my photos captured how neat this location really is.
Finally, I visited the Chase County Historical Museum
in Cottonwood Falls. I'm afraid this is mostly a typical small local historical
museum. The only thing that I found to be unique and interesting was a
display about Knute Rockne, who died in a plane crash near the town. The
nice lady volunteer also gave me contact info someone that may take me
to the Knute Rockne memorial some time in the future.
Keith Stokes & WaSu
Great Plains Transportation Museum
|Friday - June 20, 2008: After
work, I drove to Wichita, Kansas, where I spent the night at the Days Inn
South (4875 S. Laura). After trying several other inexpensive motels in
the Wichita area, this is the only one that I really care to return visit.
For dinner I tried a restaurant which was recommended
by another user at Fodors.com: Fat Ernies Family Dining at 2806 South Hydraulic.
This crowded little restaurant has a lot of "character." The main room
is smoking, with a smaller room to one side for those that don't like to
smell burning tobacco while they eat. Both rooms were full, and I had to
wait for a table to be bussed before I could sit down.
The menu is large and varied, plus there are many daily
specials. I had the smoked rib and hot link combo which comes with choice
of potato, baked beans, salad and dinner roll for $8.99. I substituted
chili for the salad and all of my food was good. The meats had quite a
bit of flavor on their own, but went well with the thin, sweet BBQ sauce.
My cottage fried potatoes were very good.
Fat Ernies has its own pies, and the chocolate peanut
butter pie was good, if not outstanding.
The special for the evening was all you can eat catfish
for $6.95. Many people had the special, and I overheard good comments about
the catfish. Almost all of the customers appeared to be regulars and most
didn't even look at the menu.
|Thursday - June 19, 2008: Today
I had lunch at a recently opened restaurant, Brobecks
Barbeque in Overland Park, Kansas.
I was pleasantly surprised by Brobecks. They provide service
at the table, rather than going to the counter, something unusual at the
less expensive BBQ places in the Kansas City area. And that service was
very good. Attentive without being intrusive, and doing all the little
Brobecks offers a lunch special that is plenty of food:
regular sandwich with 1 or 2 meats, 1 side and a drink for $6.96. But I
was wanting to check more items for KansasTravel.org and had Brobecks Combo
Platter: three pork ribs, Polish sausage & one sliced meat, with 2
sides for $11.95. Enough food for two not very hearty eaters. My choices
were pulled pork, French fries and cheesy corn.
The sides were my favorite part of the meal. The fries
were perfectly cooked and the cheesy corn was good. The sausage and ribs
were both very flavorful. The dry-rubbed ribs had so much flavor that I
ate them without sauce. I found the pork bland, but someone that doesn't
eat BBQ as often might be happier with the pork.
Although there is nothing distinctive enough about Brobecks
to make the list of Unique Kansas Restaurants,
it is good enough that they were added to the list of other
restaurants at the bottom of the page. Note: a review
and more photos added to this website in September.
Brobecks combo platter
|Tuesday - June 17, 2008: Added
three more waterfalls to the new Kansas
Waterfall page: Soden's Dam Falls in Emporia, Kansas; Otto's Mill Falls
in Fredonia, Kansas; and Ozro Falls southeast of Cedar Vale, Kansas.
|Monday - June 16, 2008: Launched
a new Kansas Waterfall page, starting
with only 9 waterfalls. I have a couple more waterfalls to add, but many
more to visit. Waterfalls have turned out to be among the hardest locations
to find in Kansas and I hope that you visitors to this Kansas Travel website
can point me to many more.
|Saturday - June 14, 2008:
This morning I conducted a seminar on Kansas Travel at the Olathe
Ford RV Center in Gardner, Kansas. The standing room only crowd
seemed to enjoy my presentation and several people came up to talk more
when my presentation was complete.
Lunch was at Rosedale Barbeque in Kansas City, Kansas.
Rosedale Barbeque has long been listed on the Unique Kansas Restaurants
page, but I took several photos and added a new page devoted to Rosedale
|Friday - June 13, 2008: Added
a page devoted to Alcove Spring and Waterfall.
The park is adjacent to Independence Crossing, a famous ford where pioneer
wagons following the Oregon Trail forded the Big Blue River. Six miles
north o Blue Rapids, Kansas.
Also, I just realized that I failed to mention that a
page devoted to Cowley Lake Waterfall,
south of Dexter, Kansas, last week
|Thursday - June 12, 2008: This
morning I stopped by Cottage Rose Teas and Treasures in Olathe,
Kansas for the ribbon cutting ceremony at this new business. Two sisters
opened the tea room a month ago and it is presently open only during the
day on weekends.
The didn't have much in the way of refreshments at the
ribbon cutting, so I can't speak about their food, but the menu lists deserts
and three sandwich entrees. Tea service is by appointment.
Cottage Rose specializes in Princess Dress-Up Tea Parties
for girls up to 14 years old. $21/person including tax includes hats, purses,
boas, beverages, finger sandwiches, fruit, desserts, fashion show and an
In a somewhat similar vein, I decided that today was the
time to visit Andre's Confiserie Suisse in Overland Park, Kansas.
It has been many years since I have been to Andre's original location which
opened near Kansas City's Country Club Plaza in 1955, and this was my first
visit to Andre's second location.
Although I arrived at 11:20AM, I wasn't surprised to find
a line waiting for a table to open. But the wait was only about 10 minutes
and never seemed to get longer. When I left an hour later, only one person
was waiting in line.
Andre's Rivaz Tearoom serves light authentic Swiss lunches
Monday - Saturday. The menu is limited to a couple of sandwiches, Quiche
Lorraine, cheese pie and a daily special. Lunch is $14.05 including sales
tax, and includes tea or coffee, entree, vegetable, salad and dessert.
A middle aged man like I can still enjoy Andre's, but
it really is designed to appeal more to ladies. Of the 50 plus people dining
today, only 5 others were men and there were no children.
But the Confiserie Suisse appeals to everyone: chocolate
candies, French pastries and tortes, all made at the two Andre's locations.
A video playing in the background shows the candy making process. I couldn't
resist picking up a small box of mixed chocolates for a friend on the way
A new page devoted to Andre's
Confiserie Suisse has been added to this Kansas Travel website.
Cottage Rose Teas
Andre's Confiserie Suisse
|Wednesday - June 11, 2008: Added
a page devoted to The Hollow in Sedan,
Kansas. An attractive small park with a boardwalk and a tiny waterfall.
|Sunday - June 8, 2008: I revisited
Amor de Brazil, an Overland Park, Kansas steakhouse I hadn't visited since
shortly after is opened last year. It has a high quality salad bar (I particularly
liked the pepper crusted seared tuna and the large wheel of blue cheese).
The gauchos brought 11 different meats to the tables. The chicken legs
and pork ribs were both good, the alcatra (top sirloin), leg of
lamb and garlic beef were all VERY good.
Amor is fairly pricey, but they have lower prices this
summer: weekday lunch $20 (salad bar only $10), Dinner $40 ($22), Sunday
$35 ($18). Overeating is a big temptation. Just added Amor de Brazil to
the other restaurants section of the Unique
Kansas Restaurants page.
Amor de Brazil
|Saturday - June 7, 2008: After
staying overnight at the Salina, Kansas Day's Inn, I drove to he community
of Glasco for the first ever Bring
Your Own Lawn Chair (BYOLC) meeting. Held on the sidewalk next
to the Glasco post office, it was designed as a opportunity to support
and encourage the tiny community's dream to save three derelict old buildings
by turning them into a National Highway 24 Museum.
When I arrived 15 minutes before the gathering, there
were only 3 people there and when I got out of the car wearing a Kansas
Explorers T-shirt, they cheered. This was the first time that I officially
met Marci Penner (the Executive Director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation)
and Assistant Director WenDee LaPlant, and it was a great pleasure. We
have had a lot of contact by email over the past few years.
About 25 people (half local and half from around the state)
attended the one hour session. I enjoyed this a lot and hope to make it
to the August BYOLC event in Stark, near Chanute. After the meeting, I
photographed the nearby historical museum, and had a smoothie (local name
for a milk shake) at the Hodge Podge soda fountain up the street.
Before leaving town, I photographed an 1800's truss bridge
at the edge of town. Between the bridge and the downtown, I think there
is enough to add a Kansas Travel page in the near future.
There is a restaurant in Glasco and I would have had lunch
there, but it doesn't seem like they want business from out of town. You
can't see into the restaurant and there is no sign other than "open." So
I headed east and north toward Alcove Spring Park.
Along the way, I passed the community of Barnes - one
I have ever visited. I decided to pull off the highway and photograph some
of the buildings on the main street. Although there are few buildings remaining
in the one block business district, every one is in use and looking good.
I recognized the name of one from past research and stopped
for lunch at Our Daily Bread - a bakery that opened a few years ago and
expanded into a Christian theme restaurant. The large dining room is attractive
with a mural the length of the longest wall.
The menu had only 8 dishes. Tea room fare. I had Hot Chicken
Salad (chicken casserole with bread crumbs and Swiss cheese topped with
slivered almonds). It came with the choice of one side. I selected potato
salad. The potato salad was very good, but I found the chicken dish a bit
I bought some scones, cookies and a kolache from the bakery
on my way out.
Then on to Alcove Springs for some photos to go with the
ones I took in January. The spring is supplemented by a small waterfall
in wet weather, and I was surprised that the waterfall was almost completely
Back on the highway, I head south to Wamego where I had
scheduled visits to the Columbian Theater and the Oz Museum. My first visit
was to the theater where the staff was preparing for a wedding reception.
The restored 1895 theatre began as music hall and hosted vaudeville, silent
pictures and modern motion pictures before going dark in 1950. Restoration
began in 1989 and the Columbian reopened for live shows and special events
in 1994. The most interesting features of the Columbian Theater are 6 large
murals and various other furnishing which came from the 1893 World's Columbian
Exposition (Chicago World's Fair). The Columbian Theater is also said to
The Oz Museum is just a few doors away. It houses over
2,000 artifacts relating to the magical world created by L. Frank Baum.
There are materials and exhibits related Baum's writing, the silent films,
the movie staring Judy Garland, and the Wiz. I was a little disappointed
that there were no exhibits related to Wicked.
The final stop of the day was in Lawrence at The Orient,
my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. Nothing fancy, just good food. I was
surprised to learn that a lot of changes are taking place. The owners opened
Southern Cuisine, next door, a few months back. In the next few weeks,
The Orient will also move into that space, with both restaurants in the
same dining room. The Nguyen family's third restaurant, Angler's Seafood
House, will move into the newly vacated space.
After supper at The Orient, I decided to purchase a meal
to-go from Southern Cuisine. While I waited for my meal the owner, Pat
Nguyen, introduced himself and we had a great conversation about his restaurants
and the Kansas City and Lawrence restaurant scene. Their fried chicken
was a bit overcooked, but the hush puppies were better and the red beans
and rice was the best I've ever had.
Hodge Podge soda fountain
Our Daily Bread
|Friday - June 6, 2008: After
work, I drove to Salina to be ready for a full day of exploring the north
central part of Kansas on Saturday.
I had planned to stop for supper in Junction City, where
there are three Korean restaurants that I like, but along the way, decided
to revisit the Renaissance Cafe -
the northern Italian restaurant which surrounds the gymnasium of an old
school building in Assaria, Kansas.
Unfortunately it was closed (2 weeks for staff vacations).
Instead, I revisited the Hickory
Tree Restaurant, whose dinning room is in another old school gymnasium,
only about 10 miles away. Their BBQ buffet is OK, but the charm of Hickory
Tree is its location.
When I parked, I saw a car across the street with a Kansas
Explorers Club flag and left them a note saying how much I enjoyed seeing
other Explorers in Kansas. I would get to meet the owner of the car, Susie
Explorer #27 from Concordia, the next day.
|Sunday - June 1, 2008:
I drove down to Colony, Kansas to bicycle a portion of the expanded Prairie
Spirit Trail. The new section of rail trail from Welda to Iola was completed
last year, but red tape has prevented its opening. The rest rooms are not
open, the water is not turned on, and the materials for paying the trail
fees have not been placed at the Rail Heads.
The Wildlife and Parks' Officer that I spoke to said that
while officially this section of the Prairie Spirit Trail is not open,
they are not kicking people off the trail. He said that a grand opening
had been planned for next week but it has been postponed. He doesn't now
when it will open.
The lack of other riders on the trail meant that I saw
a lot more wildlife and I took what I thought would be great pictures of
deer, turtles, lizards and snakes.
I hurried my ride to get back to Colony before the Country
Diner closed at noon. The food was good and a great value. A $2.79 cheeseburger
and $1.29 order of fresh French fries fills a large plate. The homemade
blackberry cobbler was fabulous.
The servers were fun and a bit ornery.
The Country Diner is only a block from the trail and I
will be visiting it again.
One disappointment today. When I returned home and downloaded
the photos, I discovered that the camera had been set to the very lowest
resolution while I was on the Prairie Spirit Trail. Only a couple of the
pictures will be useable.
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