Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 72 ~ Kansas City Mix-up

This photo is courtesy of Natalie and Mark Johnson. Note Mike is wearing a headset on loan from Mark. Mark was nice enough to lead us through 20 miles across Kansas City via the back roads. Thanks Mark!

Our New Friend Mark

Riding in the back of Linda's pickup on a historic tour of Kansas City, Missouri

Linda's dog Bo got to ride in the back of the truck with us!

Our hostess Linda and her dog Bo at a Santa Fe Trail Marker in Missouri

"This farmhouse is one of the oldest standing frame residence in Jackson County. Built in 1844 by Archibald Rice and his family on the Santa Fe Trail, the plantation became a friendly layover for westward bound pioneers, who often camped on the Rice property before striking into the frontier...The old house has seen the rise and fall of the three trails west, the border wars of the 1850s, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the coming of the automobile and the rise of the suburbs." (Taken from a brochure:

"Aunt Sophie's Cabin, a replica of the log home occupied by the slave, Sophie White, commemorates the life of a woman born in servitude and who remained with the Rice family until her death in 1896." (Brochure)

"Cave Spring Historic Site and Nature Center is a 36-acre oasis. During the 1840s prairie schooners and Conestoga wagons traveling west passed by the property then owned and farmed by the Barnes family. Many travelers camped here..." (Brochure:

Gregory makes a tee pee at the bunkhouse while Bo looks on.

We set up the tent inside the bunkhouse to avoid the skeeters...

Date: Sept. 29, 2009

From: Shawnee, Kansas

To: Kansas City, Missouri

Route: Back roads provided by our escort Mark


Miles Today: 20 miles


Top Speed on this trip: 54.1 mph

Weather: Beautiful!

License Plates Collected: 5 Montana plates, 8 Wyoming plates (2 motorcycle) and 1 Idaho plate (found in WY), 2 Colorado plates, 1 Kansas plate (gifted from David of Baldwin City)

We were once again extremely grateful to have Mark, a native of this area, lead us to our next destination which in this case took us across state lines from Kansas to Missouri. He led us through some beautiful tree-lined neighborhoods with enormous homes. He loaned Mike a headset so they could communicate while riding and it really made the ride a breeze. Mark could ride ahead and let Mike know if an intersection was clear. The 20-mile ride seemed to take no time at all and Mark brought us right to the doorstep of our warmshowers host. Or so we thought…

We’d parked the bike next to the house and Gregory and I started wandering around the backyard since Linda told us she’d leave the house open and we could go ahead and set up. All of a sudden a women came to the screen door and said, “Who are you?” We gave our names and explained we were the bikers she’d spoken with. She must have thought we were nuts. She’d never heard of us. First we thought we had the wrong house and then when she told us Linda was her daughter, we thought it a little strange that Linda didn’t tell us her mom lived with her. We thought at least she would have informed her mom we were coming. We finally called Linda and got the whole thing sorted out and she asked her mom to show us to the bunkhouse that was formerly her dad’s shop. Meanwhile she was on her way over.

It turns out that Linda has two host sites, one at her home in Kansas City, Kansas (where she thought we were coming) and one at her mom Pat’s house in Kansas City, Missouri! Well, while we waited for Linda we became fast friends with Pat who informed us she is 93 years old and had two sons and two daughters. Her home is set on an acre of land at the end of a road and surrounded by trees so though you are in the city it doesn’t feel like it.

Linda arrived with her little white poodle Bo and Gregory enjoyed throwing the Frisbee for him. Long after Gregory was finished with that game Bo kept coming back for more and kept us all busy while Linda heated up a pizza, we ate, and we visited for a bit before Linda loaded us into the truck to see some historic sites around town. Linda’s truck seats two up front so Gregory, Mike and I got to lay down in the bed (with a shell) to stay out of sight just in case we might pass an officer. Mike commented that he felt like he was sneaking into the drive in movies! It was quite comfy. There were blankets and I had a bag of cat food as a pillow and almost fell asleep!

We went to several sites along the Santa Fe Trail including the 1844 Rice-Tremonti Homestead and Aunt Sophie’s Cabin (a replica of the log home occupied by the slave, Sophie White) adjacent to the home. We then visited The West Family Cemetery where many of the Rice family are also buried. But the site I think Gregory enjoyed the most was Cave Spring Nature Park and Historic Site. He got to explore the many trails and go into Cave Spring. We found it difficult to see the spring as it is down to a trickle but it used to provide quite a nice watering hole. We found the Santa Fe Trail marker and hiked over bridges and along densely tree lined paths. The museum was closed but docents who where there let us browse around briefly and they gave Gregory a Missouri Queen coloring book. They were super friendly and took time from what they were doing to chat with us a bit.

Our last stop was a Chinese Buffett where Gregory filled up on spring rolls and ice cream. Mike’s plate was piled high with quite an assortment and I think Pat was a bit shocked at the amount of food he managed to get on his plate. I sampled a bit of everything but was thrilled to find fresh steamed vegetables and sautéed mushrooms. On the way home Linda wanted to show us a bit of the route we’d be riding on the way out of town. Mike had to sit up in the back of the truck so he could see, that is until he thought he saw a police officer. We hunkered down and were glad we escaped unnoticed. Back at the house we delighted in hot showers and then settled down in the bunkhouse for a good night’s sleep.

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