Monday, July 27, 2009

Kansas City Here I Come

I got the bill for my first car payment in the mail, so I know I should be a bit more conservative with how I spend my money. But that didn't stop me from spending some money on a roadtrip to Kansas City over the weekend. We went up there for another soccer game. My beloved FC Dallas wasn't playing there (they were getting beat in Salt Lake City). Instead we went to see the circus of Kansas City playing the L.A. Galaxy and David Beckham.

We got into town around noon, and went to eat lunch in the Century Plaza area. After that we drove closer to downtown and went to the National World War I Museum. Well, we didn't actually go through the museum, but did go up to the top of the Liberty Memorial Tower. This is the view of the tower from inside the museum, where you buy tickets to go inside.

The Liberty Memorial tower was built in 1926, and provides an awesome view of the Kansas City skyline. The old building at the bottom is the Union Train Station.

And a photoshopped view of the city:
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And one more view of the tower. There is a guy standing at the bottom of the tower, and I stood to wait for him to move on so he wouldn't be in the way. We both sort of stood there awkwardly looking at each other, me wishing the guy would hurry up and get out of the way. I gave up and took the picture anyways, and walked off. As soon as I did he pulled out a camera and started taking pictures, probably cursing me for getting in the way of his picture.

From there we went down the hill and went inside Union Station. The station was opened in 1914 and was the second largest train station in the country. In 1933, the station was the setting for the "Kansas City Massacre," where four unarmed FBI agents were gunned down by gang members trying to free mobster Frank Nash, who was killed in the gun fight. The station is still used by Amtrak, but seeing the old photos of the station in the heyday of rail travel made me wish (again) that we actually had decent rail service in this country.

Just like the Union Station in St. Louis, this old train station was converted to a shopping area. But this is the view of the Great Hall, which is 95 feet high.

And a similar shot, with the sign for the Post Office above:

There is an old blues song called "Kansas City" that we listened to on the drive up there. The lyrics go like this:
Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
Kansas City, Kansas City here I come
Got some pretty little women there, I'm gonna get me one

Standing on the corner, Twelfth Street and Vine
Standing on the corner, Twelfth Street and Vine
With my Kansas City baby now, buying Kansas City wine

So of course, while we were in Kansas City we wanted to try to find the intersection of Twelfth Street and Vine. Now we probably should have planned this out more, since we had no idea where that intersection was. Driving around downtown, we did manage to find Twelfth Street, and started our search. We had no luck, I didn't think that a blues song would feature this part of downtown, since it was the Financial District. But we drove on and on, and never did see a Vine Street. So we gave up, and tried to get onto the freeway that would take us west into Kansas and our hotel. It was here that we got lost. Well not really lost, since we knew where we were, just that we couldn't figure out how to get onto that freeway.

Eventually (after about 30 minutes) we stopped and asked a fireman for directions. He told us where to go (part of which included Twelfth Street), and we finally got going the right way. After driving a few blocks we realized, with increased annoyance, that the spot for the on-ramp was right next to where we started our confused wanderings. If we had just stayed on Twelfth Street for a few more blocks, we could have gotten onto the freeway. Now I see why Twelfth Street is the setting for a blues song...

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