"They should do a Real World Kansas City.” – Brian
At the beginning of the trip that above quote would have sounded ridiculous, but by the end of the trip it sounded like gospel. On I-35 heading back to Minneapolis through the fields of Iowa we were discussing possible reasons (NCAA tournament, Royals-Twins, College World Series) that would bring us back to Kansas City. Now I am getting ahead of myself, so let's start with a timeline of the events of the weekend with my thoughts at the time.
- 7am - I wake up slightly tired from staying up watching the Rockets-Lakers playoff game. No worries though since I am sure I will get lots of sleep over the weekend.
- 7:30am – We (myself and two of my guy friends) leave Minneapolis.
- 9:30am – I am able to convince everyone to let my further my quixotic goal of getting my picture next to every sign. Now, despite Iowa being the neighbors to the south I have never stepped foot in or driven through the state. Therefore this was the perfect opportunity to remedy that situation because who knew when I would come back. Below is another state off my list:
- 10am – We stop for gas in some small town in Iowa. At the gas station I noticed they were selling their own chicken, so I thought I would test my *gas-station chicken theory out in Iowa. I am pleased to report that the chicken drummies were very tasty and a good morning snack.
*I am convinced that the best fried chicken comes from gas stations. This genesis of this theory probably goes back to high school when I would go get a chicken kabob for $2.50 at the Chevron on Old Agency Road in Ridgeland, MS. That chicken put fast food chicken to shame.
- Noon – Now it is time for lunch in Iowa City, Iowa, where we choose the not so local establishment called KFC. The best thing I can write about the new grilled chicken they just recently started offering is that it is edible. Add another point to my gas station chicken theory even if it is an unfair fight to compare grilled chicken with fried chicken.
- 3pm – Our drive is going fine until we start to notice dark clouds that are quickly followed by the sky emptying on us just outside Mark Twain’s birthplace in Hannibal, Missouri.
- 4pm – Unfortunately we realize that unlike the Metrodome Busch Stadium is an outdoor park and that rain is probably not something we want to see in the forecast. No worries though since it can't rain on our baseball road trip....right? I mean this is the only game that we bought tickets for in advance.
- 4:30pm – The longest part of the trip is over as we arrive in St. Louis at our desired destination of Pappy’s Smokehouse. There we order the Big Ben platter consisting of a full rack of ribs, a half chicken, a pile of pulled pork, a pile of beef brisket and sides of sweet potato fries, potato salad, baked beans, and deep-fried corn on the cob. The three of us put on our eating shoes and proceeded to finish our plates.
- 5pm – Welcome to downtown St. Louis as we arrive at the hotel and immediately check the local news for weather updates. Not good news.
- 6:30pm – We stupidly “upgrade” our seats with a scalper despite the fact that we knew rain was coming and also the fact that our original seats would have been better despite being 1/3 the price of the upgrades. I don't know how the Cardinals can charge $90 for seats where you can barely see the field.
- 7:10pm – First pitch of a game that only exists in the minds of the people in attendance.
- 7:30pm – The Cardinals up 2-0 on a home run by some player who probably really hated the fact that the game ended up getting canceled.
- 7:40pm – Rain delay. No worries though as the National Weather Service is advising that we should be back in business by 8:30pm.
- 8:30pm – It is now raining even harder.
- 9pm – We are still in the concourse of Busch Stadium watching the rain and wondering when/if they are going to call the game.
- 9:30pm – Now, we are wondering if the Busch Stadium officials are purposely not calling the game because they want to sell more concessions.
- 10pm – A waitress down near the lower club seats tells us the game has been postponed. We don’t know if her information is accurate and are even more confused as to why they haven’t announced anything to the crowd.
- 10:30pm – Game is finally called. I think less of the Busch Stadium officials for the poor communication that might have even been unethical.
- 11:30pm – 3am - Go out to “the Landing” in St. Louis where we started talking with this Scottish businessman in town having a drink. We decided to be his best wingman (since we are all in relationships) and go bar hopping with him. Not much to report from the rest of the evening besides the fact that we all had unsuccesful runs at the casino. Anything we can do to help stimulate the local economy. Pappy's barbecue was definetly the highlight of the day and St. Louis.
- 3am - Sleep
- 8:30am - I wake up due to a missed call from someone from Mississippi. Why is it whenever I get a missed call from my home state the person always seems urgent and extremely tough to understand? Would a "hello, how are you" be too much to ask for?
- 11am - We all wake up for good and two out of the three of us head over to the Arch.
- 11:15am - We are stopped in line because a radioactive sensor went off and they had to check each person to find the source.
- 11:45am - We finally get into the Arch only to realize that we don't have time to go up in the elevators, so we check out the museum and then turn around to go back to the hotel.
- 1pm - After packing up it is on to I-70 and off to Kansas City. Goodbye St. Louis. We aren't shedding any tears about leaving the city.
- 1:15pm - It is time for Brian and I to introduce Soumen to the power of Bob Evans. The under $5 country biscuit breakfast took me back to the glory days at Miami.
- 4:30pm- We arrive at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City. This is supposed to be the best BBQ in the city and based on the line at a random eating time it looked like a lot of people agreed with that statement. The ordering system at Arthur Bryant's reminds us all of the soup nazi from Seinfield. The line is snakes around like what you would expect at an amusment park until you reach this spot where you are supposed to order. At that time you are supposed to hand over your plate and let the worker know what you want. During this time he is yelling at people (including customers) and making it very difficult to place your order. I end up getting the brisket sandwich with pulled pork and fries, which is great except that I twice declined fries when he asked if I wanted them. However, after tasting the que it is easy to see why people put up with this poor customer service. Below is not too in focus picture of my meal:
- 6pm - Game time between the Orioles and Royals. There is a clear sky and no chance of rain, which is very welcome news to us after Friday night. Just like Busch stadium I will have another post on my review of hte park. Let's just say that I was impressed and loved the scoreboard and fountains.
- 9pm - O's win 3-2.
- 10pm-3am - Kansas City just recently built this new Power and Light District next to the also relatively new Sprint Center.
What is their to say about the Power and Light District? First lets start off by stating the fact that it is worth the $850M that was spent on it. It is incredible. Just imagine Bourbon Street crossed with a huge wedding and some unique bars. Do you want to go to a sports bar? Check. What about a Irish bar to see a U2 cover band? Yep. And bowling, sipping a mint julep at the Maker's Mark lounge, a beach bar, and even a country western bar with a mechanical bull are just a few steps away. All of this surrounds an open air courtyard where drinking/dancing in the streets is legal and encouraged. There really isn't anything bad to write about the place and it makes me jealous that Minneapolis doesn't have such a fun, all-inclusive bar scene.
- 3am-4am - After a few cocktails we were all thankful for the street vendor serving up gyros just out side the Power and Light District. While enjoying our late night food I start up a discussion with some guys about Kobe vs. LeBron. The conversation is intellgent, heated (but respectful) and all in all very surprising considering the time of the evening, the state of mind of everyone, and the fact that we didn't know these guys. What a great way of capping off the evening.
- 11am - Wake up.
- Noon - Leave for the Sunday O's -Royals game.
- 1pm-4pm - Royals win the series by beating the O's 7-4 despite committing 4 errors.
- 4pm - 11pm - Drive through Iowa and get back to Minneapolis after one great baseball, barbecue, beer and bourbon roadtrip.
Quick best/better of from the trip
- Best food - Ribs from Pappy's. All 3 of us agreed on this.
- Better ballpark - The K
- Better city - Kansas City
- Better enterainment district - Power and Light
- Better national monument - The Arch. I don't think their was any competetion, but I was starting to feel bad for St. Louis.
- Best part of the drive - Probably through Hannibal Missouri even though that isn't saying much since southern Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri are pretty boring areas to drive through.