Continuing our baseball-driven Midwest tour, we drove today from Champaign to Kansas City, across Illinois and Missouri via Springfield IL and Hannibal MO.
The first half of the trip was smooth, with nice weather, light traffic, and not too much road work. About an hour west of Hannibal, though, the sky started to get really dark; then the water started coming out of the sky. The rain got so bad that I could barely see to drive, so I slowed way down just to keep myself on the road. I wasn’t really driving that slowly – maybe 55 mph – but got passed by a pickup and then a semi, on a bridge of all places. That was ridiculous and didn’t feel very safe, so we pulled off at the next little road and waited for about five minutes. Both the rain and the traffic let up a little, so it felt much safer to be on the highway.
The rain continued off and on for another hour or so, but never quite as bad as it was for those few minutes. Fortunately it seemed we skirted to the north of the worst of the thunderstorms – there were a lot of intense lightning strikes just to the south of US-36 as we drove. I wondered what would happen if our vehicle were to be struck by a lightning bolt. Fortunately we didn’t have to find out.
After we got onto I-35, heading south into Kansas City, it took us quite a bit longer to get into the city than it otherwise would have, because of lane closings due to construction. We were ready to be out of the car by the time we got to our hotel.
We hung out in the hotel for bit to decompress. Then we headed out to have authentic Kansas City barbecue at Gates and Sons BBQ, as recommended by a friend who is a KC native. It was quite the cultural experience, and the ribs were tasty.
After dinner we drove to downtown Kansas City, and found ourselves in the Power & Light District, which features a whole bunch of cool restaurants and bars in a tiny few-block area. We walked around a bit first, just to see what else was around, which is when I became infatuated with the Kansas City Power & Light Building.
The major goal of the evening was to find a sports bar where we could watch the Royals vs. Orioles game, to prepare ourselves for tomorrow evening’s live experience. We ended up in Johnny’s Tavern, which was the perfect choice, because all of the walls were lined with TVs showing various baseball games and other sporting events. Dave even got to watch the Yankees for a while. Unfortunately our teams were not victorious. The Orioles were poised to win, but then the Royals had a walk-off 3-run homer in the bottom of the 9th. At least the rest of the folks in the bar were psyched about it. *smile*