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Trip Report Day trip Report - yk in Kansas City

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Taking advantage of an AA promotion (fare sale and bonus miles), I decided to go on 2 separate day trips from Dallas - one to Austin and one to Kansas City.

My trip report to Austin (on 5/18) is here:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=1&tid=34808787

I went to Kansas City on 5/19/06 (Friday)

In order to take advantage of the day trip, I booked myself on the 7am flight out of DFW. I had to drag myself out of bed at 4:40am. Traffic was light early in the morning, and I made it to the gate with pleny of time to spare.

The flight left on time, and I was able to catch a nap before arriving in Kansas City at 8:20am. I took the shuttle to Hertz, where I picked up my compact rental car (booked via Hotwire). I was quite pleased to get a Hyundai Elantra.

Finally, at 9am, I was on my way to Independence, Missouri, to visit the Truman Library & Museum.
http://www.trumanlibrary.org/
I didn't have much expectations, especially after yesterday's visit to LBJ Library/Museum in Austin.

Surprisingly, the Truman one was quite exceptional. I arrived at around 9:30am, just in time to watch a 45-minute film on the President's life. It is a excellent overview and saved me much time and effort while looking at the permanent exhibits later. The Library & Museum is also home to the gravesite of Truman.

The remaining exhibits are well-organized, with several other short films focusing on specific periods of his presidency (Hiroshima, Berlin airlift, Marshall plan etc). Visitors can easily spend half a day there. As I was in a hurry, I quickly browsed through all the exhibits and left at 11:15am.

I drove back to Kansas City and headed for the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, where I had a lunch reservation at Café Sebastienne inside.

I sat in the glass-roofed courtyard area, and ordered the "Pan-seared crab cakes on chilled soba noodles with ginger-carrot sauce." The food was fresh and tasty, except for one minor problem. The noodles served were not soba noodles, but rather Thai noodles (the ones used in Pad Thai). It still tasted good, but I was just disappointed.

After lunch, I was ready for some contemporary art. What a disappointment! The museum is tiny, with about 3 galleries on one floor. I kept walking around and around thinking there are some more galleries hidden somewhere. Nope.

The museum store sells some unique gifts, and to my surprise, has a few glass works by Chihuly. The one I like is the Lapis Persian Pair. At $5000, I decided to pass.
http://www.kemperart.org/

Next, I headed to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art located just around the corner.
Its collection of European paintings isn't bad. The "prized" painting of its collection is probably the Caravaggio - really a stunning painting. It makes all the other paintings in the same gallery look lackluster. I also enjoyed the Modern Art collection.

Outside the museum lies the scupture park. Unfortunately, it was 92F and too hot to stroll the park.
http://www.nelson-atkins.org/

Next, I headed to the Union Station (not much to see), then some retail therapy at Country Club Plaza. I also drove across the state line over to Kansas - my first time in Kansas! As I still had some time, I returned to the art museum for the Friday evening jazz at the Rozzelle Court Restaurant.

I ended up lingering for too long. I rushed out and began my return trip to the airport. There must be a conspiracy at the Kansas City Airport, as there are no gas stations in sight! Since I was running late, I didn't have time to drive back on the highway to look for a gas station. I'd better off paying for the outrageous price for gas at Hertz than miss my plane.

When I returned my car, the attendant asked if I had refueled the car. I told her no, but she said, "Don't worry about it!" and gave me a receipt with a $0 balance. I'll see if I end up getting charged or not.

I finally arrived at the terminal. The self check-in kiosks were locked down already because it was past the 30-minute check-in minimum. Fortunately, the agents were still present and with carry-on luggage only (really just a purse and a shopping bag), she let me check in. The return flight was okay, except for the 2 passengers next to me and the 2 behind me who wouldn't stop talking during the entire flight! I finally got back at 9:10pm.

This trip costs a little more than my Austin daytrip:
Rental car via Hotwire $22.50 all-in (unbelievable deal!)
Truman Library & Museum $7
Lunch $21.50 (minus a $10 Opentable coupon)
Kemper Museum and Art Museum both free admissions
Snacks and drinks $5.50
Shopping $21

Firsts on this trip
First time in Kansas City
First time in MCI (airport)
First time in State of Kansas
First time driving across the state line between Kansas and Missouri

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