May 6, 2013

Adventure in Kansas & Missouri

A couple of weeks ago I had a whirlwind week long trip to Kansas and Missouri.  This trip included many stops - Kansas City, Missouri - Pittsburg, Kansas - Topeka, Kansas and then back to Kansas City, Missouri.  The trip was supposed to be Sunday through Thursday but due to weather and the absence of a flight crew I ended up not getting home until Friday afternoon.  But let's start at the beginning shall we?  Kansas and Missouri are two of the states I am responsible for and the truth of the matter is that if you are going to fly all the way to mid-west, which will typically involve multiple flights to small airports, you might as well try to visit as many cities as possible and provide as much TA as you can - so  this trip was no exception.  My colleague and I held a forum, presented at a statewide summit, gave a presentation to a city-wide CoC and attended a statewide SOAR meeting.

We started out in Kansas City, MO.  I left Albany around 5 PM on Sunday evening and flew to Chicago for what was supposed to be an hour hour layover, enough time to enjoy my packed dinner and maybe do a little work before my next flight.  Unfortunately that hour layover turned into my flight not leaving until 11:30 PM CST.  Originally I was supposed to get into KC, MO at 9:30 PM but did not end up arriving at my hotel (after a VERY bumpy flight) until well after 2 AM!  After a rather sleepless night my colleague and I headed to Pittsburg, KS which is in the SE corner of Kansas and about 2 hours from KC, MO.  That afternoon we held a SOAR forum and the next day we were slated to present at the Kansas Statewide Homelessness Summit.  The Summit is held annually throughout Kansas and numerous speakers present on various topics.  It was great to be apart of the Summit and I got to meet some great people.

Kansas Statewide Homelessness Summit - held in Pittsburg, KS at the Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium!

HUGE cows with various advertisements seen all over town!

Me and the cow!  I told you they were huge!

That Monday night in Pittsburg, KS we set out to find a good place to eat - unfortunately hardly anything was open in the town on Monday nights!  Our choices were Chili's or El Charro - we chose El Charro and if you couldn't tell from the sign happy hour drinks in SE Kansas are CHEAP - $1 draft beers and $1.25 margaritas!

Go Gorillas!  Pittsburg, KS is home to the Pittsburg State University Gorilla's.  There were gorilla statues ALL over town!

That night there was the most intense thunderstorm I have ever experienced.  That storm made any storm I had ever experienced in the Northeast seem like a shower.  I know the Midwest is flat and because of that the storms are going to be more intense but it was still scary.  The entire time I was in Kansas/Missouri their were tornado watches/warnings which freaked me out!  Natives told me it was nothing and I shouldn't worry but when you wake up at 1 AM to intense thunderstorms (including hail and crazy lightening) and turn on the TV and see that a tornado warning has been issues - it is pretty scary!

Seen everyday/night while in Kansas/Missouri.

After we presented at the Summit we began our journey back to KC, MO to drop off my colleague at the airport, atfter that I was going to continue to trip!  Before we left though we had to hit up Chicken Annie's!  I have this great app on my phone - 'TV Food Maps' - which lists any restaurants nearby that have been featured on any Food Network or Cooking Channel show.  Chicken Annie's was listed MANY times and was famed as delivering some of the best fried chicken around.  It was located WAY off the main road and for a while I wondered if we would ever actually find it - but when we finally did the chicken did not disappoint.

Chicken Annie's - home of Kansas' original fried chicken!

 I ordered the standard - friend chicken breast, cole slaw and green beans - yum!
The next morning I presented at the Kansas City Continuum of Care meeting.  The presentation went really well and it was really good to see my state team lead (STL) and some of my trainers.  After the presentation my STL offered to take me to get some real Kansas City BBQ - I immediately said yes and we headed to Gates BBQ!
Gates BBQ - pulled pork sandwich and steak fries - as you can see I sampled ALL the BBQ sauces.
After lunch I hit the road and headed to Topeka, Kansas.  The next morning was to attend the Kansas Statewide SOAR meeting but in the meantime I had the rest of the day to get to Topeka.  Along the way I stopped at Kansas City Motor Speedway which was a HUGE complex; unfortunately they were prepping for a race and I wasn't able to really stop or take any pictures.  Closer to Topeka I started seeing signs for the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site which is located in a relatively run down section of Topeka and is housed at one of the schools that was involved in the case.  The museum was really powerful and I was so glad I stopped for a visit!

Brown v. Board of Educational National Historic Site in Topeka, KS

Housed at the Monroe School which was one of the schools involved in the historic case.

"[No State shall] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
- Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified 1868

This was probably one of the most powerful exhibits.  Adjacent to a quote explaining why separate but equal works and should be law is a picture of the black school in a county in South Carolina next to the white school in the same county - clearly separate but hardly equal.

"We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of 'seperate but equal' has no place.  Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal."
U.S. Supreme Count in Brown v. Board of Education, 1954
That night I was craving some more BBQ so after some 'yelping' I decided to try Boss Hawg's BBQ - it did not disappoint!  I had the pulled pork sandwich again with some spicy BBQ sauce and it was delicious!

Boss Hawg's in Topeka, KS

Seen inside the menu at Boss Hawgs - ha!

The next day after the Kansas Statewide SOAR meeting I headed back to KC, MO for what should have been a 3:30 PM flight to Cleveland and then back to Albany.  After a couple of delays the airline ended up canceling the flight all together which meant another night in Kansas City.  The airline put us up at a hotel, gave us a food voucher and rescheduled my flight for 7 AM the next morning.  The flight home was uneventful but that extra overnight in KC made the trip extremely long.  That Friday night I was so excited to see Adam and since I had had such a rough week (personally, professionally it was a great trip but between delayed and canceled flights, intense storms and a ton of driving the trip was seriously a comedy of errors at some points) he brought me flowers!  They were gorgeous!

Beautiful flowers after a long week away!

No comments:

Post a Comment