July 28, 2011 Grand Island, NE to Kansas City, MO (posted by John)

Today we say goodbye to Nebraska and make for Kansas City, Missouri. This will not be as simple as we had thought. As we learned yesterday, the flooding in the Missouri River system has closed all the major crossing points from Omaha down to the Iowa line. We have learned that just because flood waters are done cresting (and are therefore no longer nationally newsworthy), it doesn’t mean that the water is gone and the damage magically repaired.

We head east on I-80, detour south on US-81, cross in Kansas (we had actually not planned on any Kansas this trip- we were less than overwhelmed by our brief encounter with southwestern Kansas last trip), and then head east again on US-36. Turns out this road follows part of the route of both the Pony Express and the old California Trail.

We stop for coffee at the town of Marysville KS, take a few pictures of its courthouse, old stores and Victorian houses, and head toward what we are told will be an unimpeded crossing at St. Joseph MO. We decide that northeast Kansas is kind of pretty.

Courthouse, Marshall County, Marysville, Kansas

As we get a few miles from the river, we see a lot of fields covered in flood water. Some crops appear fine, others are just drowned to yellowed stalks. There has been significant damage to roads and buildings. We are given to understand that it will take a very long time for the water to subside.

The actual crossing is without incident. Unless of course you count the fact that we are unable to locate any place for lunch along the loop road around St. Joe. We make it almost all the way to Kansas City before finding a place we want to eat.

After lunch, Missy, our GPS, gets us efficiently to our hotel on the south end of downtown KC. We’ll be here three nights. We unpack, take a swim, locate the tennis courts for tomorrow’s early morning play (did I mention it was 101 degrees as we crossed into Kansas City?), and had a good dinner at Pierpont’s in the beautifully restored Union Station across the street.

Tomorrow: tennis, the WWI memorial, maybe the Art Museum, maybe some barbeque. All depends on the heat and humidity.

Clark and Lewis are exhausted from the long drive

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