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Author Topic: The Long Way Home
Vincent206
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I had to visit Kansas City and rather than fly directly home, I took the long way back via Albuquerque courtesy of the Southwest Chief. My itinerary was SEA>KC (air), KC>ABQ (train), ABQ>SEA (air). This was my first time in KC and my first trip on the SW Chief. Both were very impressive. The scenery from the Chief was very interesting for a first time viewer. I imagine Clark Gable and Bette Davis got tired of looking at all the cattle on their trips from Hollywood to Chicago, but for me it was beautiful. I did bring a book to read, but I spent most of my time looking out the window. I read more on the 3 hour flight from ABQ to SEA than I did on the train trip.

I wasn't sure what to expect in KC. Travel guides seem to suggest that there is plenty to do in KC, so I set aside Sunday for tourist activities and decided to check out the National World War I Museum and Memorial in the morning and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the afternoon. Both were outstanding and worth making a special trip to see.

I stayed in the Hotel Phillips--a beautifully restored hotel from the Art Deco era in the Power & Light District (near Kemper Arena and the Convention Center). Sometimes stadiums and convention centers make very dull neighborhoods but the P&L District was full of nightlife and activity. KC Union Station is also a restored gem, equal to LAUS, although the Amtrak facility is small and typical Amtrak.

Kansas City BBQ is clearly a point of pride with all Kansas Citians. Just about everyone offered several recommendations. My choice was Arthur Bryant's BBQ, located close the Negro Leagues Museum. The beef sandwich was huge--and I mean HUGE. I couldn't even eat half of it so I packed the rest of it "to go" and had a delicious midnight snack on the Chief.

The Southwest Chief was on-time all the way to ABQ and my time on the train was very enjoyable. The dining car crew was top-notch Amtrak and the food (breakfast and lunch) was good, although the Amtrak Angus burger is no match for KC BBQ. Nevertheless, I had 2 good meals and met some interesting travelers in the process.

My last trip to ABQ was about 20 years ago and I didn't have great memories of my time in the city. New Mexico license plates claim that the state is the "Land of Enchantment". Unfortunately, very little of that "enchantment" actually seems to occur within the city of Albuquerque. Next time I'll rent a car and drive to some of those enchanting places.

Posts: 831 | From: Seattle | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jerome Nicholson
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Sounds like an interesting journey. If I ever get to KC, I'll know where to spend some time. The only time I spent in either city was on the SWC Eastbound from a California vacation in 1995, and I just waited at the station for the train to leave. At least Alb had the Native Americans (Navaho)? selling trinkets at trackside.
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PullmanCo
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I'm nowhere near as fond of Arthur Bryant's as I am of Jack Stack. That's all the more so in the summer, when the deck of the restaurant in the old Freight House looks out on the KCT and UP, BNSF, and occasionally KCS traffic moving through.

While the Philips is a great hotel, the closest two to Union Station are the Westin and Sheraton. The Hilton President (a classic hotel) is between the Philips (and other downtown hotels) and the Crown Center properties.

As far as tourist things to do, the other big things, in the winter, in town are the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the various exhibitions at Union Station. Of course, in season we have the Chiefs, the Royals, Worlds of Fun, and on and on. There's also a lively night life, with jazz at the Green Lady, the Broadway Jazz Club, and the Phoenix, classical music at the Kauffman Center (opera and orchestra) and a fair number of other concerts.

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Ocala Mike
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And if you hit Kansas City during the summer, don't forget to take in a show at the Starlight Theatre in Swope Park, one of the few outdoor musical theatre venues left in the country.
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Vincent206
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Jack Stack was easily the most frequently recommended BBQ spot. It's located across the tracks from Union Station and open fairly late, so it would be a good place to get a late dinner while waiting for the westbound Chief (1045pm departure time). I chose Bryant's because it was close to the Negro Leagues Museum, I was hungry and I wanted to watch the 4th quarter of the Seahawks - (Wide Left) Vikings game. BTW, I wouldn't be surprised to see the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl this year.

The only negative from my trip to KC was my experience with the airport. I didn't need a rental car on this trip, but the trip from the airport to downtown without a rental car is either expensive ($60 quote on cab fare, $18 for a shuttle van) or inconvenient (local transit is hard to find and infrequent). Once in town, the MAX lines (and the soon-to-open streetcar) serve the prime tourist/business locations with frequent service, but getting from MCI to downtown is difficult.

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Ocala Mike
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Lived near Kansas City while in the Air Force, 1965-1966. At that time, MCI was under construction, and one flew into Municipal Airport, quite conveniently located just across the river from downtown.

I remember making courier runs with my .45 pistol concealed to pick up crypto off the Security Service guys in plain clothes at KCMO. Loved that run from 30 miles south of town to the airport, because it always included a stop at the Smoke Stack, a great little BBQ joint on US 71.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Captain SIR; only pop gun I got to carry when I was "in" same era as you, was an M-16. I had to make a courier run to AMEMB Saigon shortly after Tet. The Motor Pool Sergeant at TSN asked if I wanted an M-16; I just took it and it sat in the cab of the pickup with me and a Junior Airman (a Black kid from Watts, who I'm willing to bet, "made something of himself"). After all, I had my "separate peace" with Charlie that I was not about to upset.
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Mike Smith
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quote:
Originally posted by Vincent206:
BTW, I wouldn't be surprised to see the KC Chiefs in the Super Bowl this year.


Whoopsies... not gonna happen. [Smile]
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Vincent206
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and I'm not going to make any predictions on the Seahawks-Panthers game
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