The others did not wake up quite as early as I did, but by 8 am we were sitting at the kitchen table with coffee, fruit, and muffins fresh from the oven that Tony made from scratch, talking until almost 10:30 before Mark and I packed up and left. (He also played with his camera some more and caught some of the many hummingbirds that visit Billy and Tony’s porch.) It was really fun to catch up with Billy and Tony after so many years. They were old friends of the Andersons’ and I had last visited them in Mountain View in 1993! Wow; time passes so quickly.
We then drove north through the Ozarks (very beautiful but zipping by fast!) into Missouri and all the way to Kansas City, about 320 miles, with just a short break for roadside Chinese food (avoiding the hideous Branson brouhaha by way of a handy bypass). We were pretty tired when we got here, but determined to find a motel that was relatively near the Country Club Plaza, where we wanted to eat tonight, and near the art museum we want to visit tomorrow morning. Thankfully, the Holiday Inn had a fairly decent rate with AAA, and so we ended up in walking distance from the Plaza area and the museum.
We got ourselves tidied up a little and took off to explore the plaza, with its interesting Seville-inspired architecture and its many decorative tiles and spires. It would probably have struck us as hideous and kitschy if it were brand new, but this area is actually one of the oldest “outdoor mall” areas in the country, dreamed up by this developer with a truly new idea for a shopping district with a theme. Future developers kept with the style, so the visual impression (although I am sure not anywhere like real Seville) is uniform and the little segments of roof tiles and color roof tiles as well as the various spires and arches actually work together pretty well. We kept looking at various restaurants, but then settled on the Cheesecake Factory. We had two of their light meals (good, too), but made up for it by sharing a piece of Godiva chocolate cheesecake. It was a lovely dinner. We walked back through a little park to our hotel and were very glad we got a hotel nearby and didn’t have to do any more driving! We went to our room and just rested a bit more, but tomorrow, there’s only 200 miles left until Lincoln.