- July 11, 2020: Today's day trip was spent exploring Kansas Counties
which require the wearing of masks in public spaces.
first stop was Grinter's
Sunflower Farm, east of Lawrence, Kansas. They stopped saying anything
about growing sunflowers this year and have not been responding to inquires.
Neither of the fields where they have grown sunflowers in recent years
had been touched and all signs have bee removed.
Grinter's silence has ended. They are now talking about this year's season
and sunflower seeds were planted later in the day)
returned to Aunt Netters Cafe in Lecompton,
Kansas for lunch, wanting to try the chicken fried steak and more desserts.
Much like our previous meals, the chicken fried steak was fine, but not
a standout. The desserts are still the stars of the show. I had a chocolate
peanut butter cupcake and it was spectacular. The cake was good, but it
was the frosting (pilled high, with a tiny peanut butter cup on top) that
made all the difference. It was thick and rich, so good that I took small
bites to savor. I believe that is is made with cream cheese.
got two slices of pie to do, peach & Dutch apple. The peach was quite
good, but the Dutch apple rivaled the caramel pecan apple from the previous
week. The cup cakes are only $2 and the pie is $3.
staff were masked, as were all of the customers.
drove on to Berry Hill UPick
Farm in Berryton, Kansas, just south of Topeka. They planted their
sunflowers early this year and this week is the peak of this year's bloom.
The plants are shorter than previous years and the blooms aren't as plentiful
as a couple of years ago, though more full than last year. This is early
then the public sunflower fields have bloomed in this region and I don't
think the public is ready for them yet. There were only 3 or 4 other parties
present in the time I was there.
Hill recently planted more sunflowers, so we can hope for another bloom
in Kansas counties which require the wearing of masks in public spaces,
I drove down to Franklin County and revisited the Old Depot Museum in Ottawa.
When I arrived at the door, a sign said, "We Are Open By Appointment Preferred,"
but it turned out there were no visitors in the museum at the time and
I was permitted to enter. The two docents on had were both masked parts
of some exhibits were blocked off, since they could not properly sanitize
them between exhibits.
main thing that I remembered from my last visit to the museum was the large
model train set up. It is still there and was operating. What I found most
interesting were exhibits devoted to some businesses which had been in
Ottawa, particularly that of William H. "Dad" Martin, who made many exaggerated
postcards, including things like ears of corn large enough to sit on or
I left, it was getting quite dark, so I raced to my next stop before the
storm hit, Jesse James Cave, on the south side of Pomona, Kansas. It is
on private property, but open to the public and only a few dozen yards
from the road. There is no sign, just a red pedestrian gate in the fence.
got there just before the storm, but it was too dark for very good photography.
Many cattle had taken refuge in the cave, and although some of them moved
out while I took photos, many stayed in place. They were very dark cattle
and some photos with a flash showed only the glow of their eyes.
started lightly raining while I was at the cave and rained harder as I
headed back to Ottawa, but stopped by the time that I reached Buck-U Distillery
on the east side of Ottawa. The micro distillery started with the name
Monster Buck distillery and has been producing flavored liquors in 2017,
primarily vodka, brandy, rum and whiskey. They have also produced a large
amount of sanitizer in the past few months.
were two large parties tasting the liquors and making purchases, so I waited
until they were done. The sign on the door said the face masks are at your
discretion. One party was masked and one was not. The owners were not.
couldn't begin to sample all of their products at one time and still drive,
but I did have small tastes of apple brandy, Monster Buck Bourbon Mash,
blackberry flavored whiskey, peanut butter flavored whiskey, Some of the
products were out od stock and others will become available soon. The whiskey
must be aged at least two years, but many of the products can be turned
out in a short period.
Daryl Kleitz, took time to explain how they made the liquors and told me
about their partnerships with local farms, getting peaches from Pome on
the Ranch and apple cider from Louisberg Cider Mill. He also gave a brief
tour of the distillery and told me about the adventure of suddenly moving
into the production of FDA registered liquid formula hand sanitizer in
the past few months.
and Trudy Kleitz have purchased a former Stuckey's Restaurant off I-35
on Tennessee Road, east of Ottawa. They plan to move into the much larger
facility and add a restaurant.
drove south to Princeton, Kansas to have supper at Brand N Iron Bar and
Grill. It is tucked behind a gas station and a little hard to find.
heart sank when I walked in and saw not a single person wearing a mask.
The tables were not spaced out to allow distancing, they were reusing menu
without sanitizing them or sanitizing the table. Not a single visible effort
to protect customers or staff. I should have turned around and left, but
had been planning to try this restaurant for some time.
had chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes, white gravy and chopped asparagus.
The potatoes and gravy were fairly good, the coating on the steak was not
crisp or particularly seasoned. The same with the asparagus. The "Texas
toast" was ordinary toast.
had high hopes for the house made pie, but the chocolate peanut butter
pie couldn't hold a candle to the chocolate peanut butte pie at Aunt Neuter's
Cafe the week before.