Monday, April 4, 2011

27 States in (almost) 27 Years: Lincoln in Kansas Day 1

Monday, April 4th. State #27(*) in my list of states I've visited is officially checked off my list of states -- just over a month out from my 27th birthday. (Note the lower map includes only flights, not any of my road trips)

So far my time in Kansas has been uneventful... beautiful blue skies with white clouds. I'm in Olathe, south of Kansas City, Kansas. Sadly, Olathe -- at least the corner that my hotel and project are located in, pretty much looks like any other modern suburban city: Shopping centers laid out predictably and chock full of national brands. When I'm on the road I usually like to try local establishments -- or at least regional chains.

I joke (perhaps unfairly, I realize as I grow older) that the 'local stores' in Temecula while I was growing up were Target and McDonald's. -- and it seems to be the case here as well. While looking at non-descript shopping plaza after non-descript shopping plaza, I why I'm drawn to the "big city" -- aside from the energy that radiates from somewhere like Manhattan or San Francisco -- each has an undeniably unique character that has evolved through the people, food, and architectural expression... even cities that don't radiate energy, like Detroit, have their unique pulses. I'm not getting that unique pulse so far.

Kansas City (Missouri or Kansas) has a few things that pique my interest, most notably the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art [curiously, the Nelson-Atkins logo looks virtually identical to the logo used by the Cleveland Museum of Art on their ticket envelopes], unfortunately the museum's hours are such that that will have to wait until Thursday. Interestingly, one of the Cleveland Museum of Art's better-known (and larger!) pieces, Claude Monet's Water Lilies will be joining its companion pieces on exhibit at Nelson-Atkins beginning April 9th -- I won't be seeing it this visit, but I might try to make a stop by the next time I'm in Kansas City in about two weeks.

I have a rant about Continental Airlines' incompetence with changing a full-fare (aka most expensive possible ticket) reservation... and I typed it out. Then I realized no one's really interested in the nitty-gritty so I'll just mail that to Customer Service instead. Sigh. I used to really like Continental.

*- My official criteria for counting a state as visited is either eating a meal or sleeping at least one night in the state. Most of my states have no trouble meeting both of these criteria, but I feel a bit like I cheated with Wisconsin -- spending a couple hours driving through the scenic middle of nowhere on the Western edge of the state (while driving from an origin in Minnesota to a destination in Minnesota)... finding nothing in the way of "real food" with my flight's departure time approaching, I cheated with a hot dog, bag of chips, and soda eaten in a gas station parking lot. Kentucky, on the other hand arguably qualifies since CVG (the "Cincinnati Airport") is actually in Covington, Kentucky and I most certainly ate a meal there... but since I never left the airport...

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