Monday, August 15, 2016

Refreshed and Recharged

On Thursday I did something I never really do.  I took a vacation.  Vacation to me is pretty much a one day getaway and an overnight stay.  It isn't always too far away but enough distance away from home that I just block everything out and enjoy myself.  It doesn't happen too often though and since my mom had time off from work we decided on a little road trip.  Besides getting away for a day, another main reason for the trip is something I'll discuss on another post later this week.  I think I can get a few things out of this, but none are really dependent on the other so it won't really be a series of posts, more of just a common theme throughout (and no, it doesn't include a big bag of cards taking over a week to post).  The other days will have more things than today's but I just wanted a light post to get back into it and so I can finish working on some things.

We ended up going to Independence, Missouri which is a suburb of Kansas City.  In fact, when we got there we was about 8 miles or less from the home of the Royals and Chiefs, and its a shame I had to go almost 100 miles away just to catch a game on TV, when if I thought about it, I could have just WENT to the game.  We made great time and even had a few pit stops along the way.  We was worried about traffic since we aren't used to heavy traffic, but my mom drove, and I was in charge of directions and everything went off without a hitch.  We got to the first hotel about 4 PM or so and we didn't book in advance, but luckily they had rooms, and since Thursday was the first day of school in many parts of the Metro KC area (including Independence) and the fact the temperature was 97 and heat index of 110, we decided to call it a day and cool off in the air.  We aren't needy people, a nice hotel is really all we need for a getaway, and we could spend a whole day in our room if we felt like it.

The hotel I picked out was the Drury Inn which I have never stayed at before, but my mom did when she went with my nephews and sister for my sister to get chemo.  My mom always talked about how nice it was, and so due to that and the location, I wanted that to be the first choice.  If it was booked, I had about 4 other places in mind, and if all booked, then I guess we'd gone home a lot sooner.

The location was one of the main reasons I chose the Drury first and it was because it was fairly close to all the places we planned to go and yet it was away from all the business that is in most cities.  The rate was pretty fair and was well worth it as well.  We ended up checking in around 4 PM or so and got a third floor room which was a prime spot and allowed us to see our car for a little extra security (we always like to keep an eye on the car in case someone likes to drive away with it).  We settled in, and as I normally do with most hotel stays, I checked out the TV channels.  The last few years I haven't watched as much TV, but when I go to hotels I love watching local stuff.  I miss getting the chance to watch the Kansas City news stations so I figured I'd be watching them a lot.  We watched for a bit, but the coverage was dominated by the kid who was killed at the water park last week and we wanted to see what else was on.  The good thing about vacation TV is getting channels you never get to watch.  I spent most the time in the room watching classic TV on channels like Antenna TV, Cozi, and MOVIES!.  Where I live we get TV Land, but its the same shows all the time, and if I had an antenna to hook up, I could watch Me TV, but that's it.  At the hotel I watched classics like The Munsters, The Jeffersons, Good Times, All In The Family, Simon & Simon, Quantum Leap, and even classic Johnny Carson episodes.  Though one show really got me excited to watch.

BAYWATCH!  YEAH!  Sure I liked seasons 1 and 2 more than the rest of the series (it went downhill in my opinion storyline wise once Parker Stevenson and Billy Warlock left) but this was a season 3 or 4 episode so I wasn't too upset.  Pamela Anderson was in it, but I was happier to see Nicole Eggert, unfortunately Susan Anton guest starred in the episode (she played Eggert's mom), and I'm not a fan of hers so I didn't watch it all.  Another familiar face also guested in an episode- Wendie Malick.  I forgot until recently that she played Hasselhoff's ex wife in the series and in this show she almost drowned (it took like 40 minutes just to get to their plane they were in that crashed, a very crappy episode).  Anyways, I loved the variety of the shows I got to watch while on vacation, and I still managed to watch some Olympics as well.  I also managed to watch some morning news as well.

There was a view from our hotel room, which only had two other properties on the street, a Corner Cafe which was busy the entire time we stayed, and a Children's Hospital.  The area looks like it is in the process of being developed more with roads already planned it appears in case expansion does happen.

On Friday morning we watched the morning news and the forecast had rain in it for most of the day with it being heavy at times.  As we are mostly inexperienced in driving in city traffic and our car has recently been showing a potential of problems with our brakes in wet weather, we had to decide to risk driving in rain or staying another day.  We felt it was best to just stay another day since Saturday was planning on being much nicer, and we had no plans.  Looking back, I don't think we regretted the decision, but as it turned out, most of the rain already passed and we could have gone home with not much risk.

We did find a pocket of clear weather (as they said before no rain came through) to get out and head to a couple places, but that will be discussed in another post (and the reason I wanted to go on this trip), and made it back before (what we thought) was round 2 of the heavy stuff.  Round 1 came overnight Thursday with some heavy lightning and thunder.

We made it back to the hotel and relaxed for a second day, and since we had nothing to do, we explored the hotel a bit.

It had a spa as well as an indoor and an outdoor pool.  Not much of swimmers we passed on those, but it was pretty nice and if we return we might pack some swim trunks and get in.

We also checked out the exercise room which was a bit small, but it was adequate.  I think if we planned for a little more time we might have worked out a bit, but we did at least try some of it out.  They also had a couple computers and printers which I didn't take a photo of, and they had a few business rooms and conference centers which seemed to be mostly full but I never saw anyone in them, just closed saying they were occupied.  The lobby was nice too as we sit there for a short time before getting something to eat.

The main draw to us to stay here was the food.  Besides having a great breakfast each morning, they also offer free popcorn and soda each evening, and also a full dinner each night for free (or like 10 bucks if you are a hotel patron).  I tend to be a picky eater, but I also figured if they had at least something to eat it could hold me over until we went out to a few nearby fast food places if needed.

On Thursday night they offered some baked potatoes and chicken tenders as well as hot dogs.  That was enough for me so I loaded up.  They also had nachos, but they were out by the time we got there, and they had a small salad bar as well.  It was more than enough to feed us as we were hungry and didn't want to get out anyways.  We got back to our rooms (we could have dined down there, but we opted to eat in our room), we dug in.  The chicken tenders were pretty good and the potato wasn't too bad either (a little salty, but it was still good).  However the hot dog was something else.  I admit I eat a lot of hot dogs but this was one of the best ones I've ever had.  It was so good that once we decided to stay another night, we hoped they'd serve it again.

On Friday after checking out the rest of the hotel we got into the dining area and they had potatoes again, which I had two this time because I didn't eat since breakfast and was hungry, but instead of chicken tenders, they had pasta which I passed on.  We got to the last section, and HOT DOGS!  I got a couple and was ready to go (after I loaded my potatoes up).  It was one of the better meals I had in a while.  Sure we could have gone out to eat but having food like this at about the same price as other hotels, its a no brainer.

The breakfast was good as well.  I've been to many hotels where the breakfast wasn't good, but this was an outstanding mix as well.

Scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, sausage (no bacon, but oh well), potatoes, and even a donut (I got the muffin on the second day in case I needed something on the way home but never ate it).  A full hearty meal and I even had orange juice as well.  Again we ate in our room, and we enjoyed it very much.

Friday night I didn't sleep much at all.  I don't know the reason, maybe it was excitement from actually being on vacation, maybe I wasn't sleepy, or maybe it was being scared.  In deciding to stay another day, I totally forgot we'd be heading home on a Saturday, a day in which was also the first preseason game for the Chiefs who play a couple exits away.  I'm the guy that maps things out but I knew my mom would be anxious driving in traffic so I knew I had to scrap the days events and just head home.  I was fine with it as was she, but the bigger problem now was I mapped everything out about how to get home from those locations and not from the hotel.  Sure I could have gone the way we came, but again, weekend traffic would be much more nerve-racking than Thursday 2 PM traffic.  So I spent half the night trying to figure out the best way to go.  I finally fell asleep and got about two hours of sleep.

After we ate breakfast I checked Google Maps again to figure it out.  I found a way to cut down some side roads and make it easier.  Remember I don't have GPS or a smartphone, so if I get lost, I can't just pull it up to figure it out.  I have to remember it all before we leave and hope for the best.  That works out about 95% of the time.  So do I risk going down side roads and still risk traffic and getting lost or is there a better way?

Two things my mom absolutely hates driving through is roundabouts and diamond intersections.  She has little experience at both so until she's comfortable its better to avoid them (Though she did go through a roundabout at one of stop on Thursday).  I found an easier way home, but I asked if I missed a turnoff if she could go through a diamond.  She said probably but asked where we would end up.  Luckily if I did miss the turnoff, it was close to the old turnoff and it would be fine.  She said let's do it, and we left the hotel.

Before I get to that part, here is what else was in the neighborhood of the hotel.  At the turnoff of the road was a corner cafe called.... umm... Corner Cafe.  It was busy the entire time we was there and as you can see in photos the cars lined up all the way back to the hotel just to park.

Across the road was Children's Mercy East Hospital, which had traffic most of the day and night.  What was odd to me was the people going in and out after hours.  It was odd because as the sign says, NO EMERGENCY SERVICES, so I don't know what all they do there, but it stayed busy.  In the second photo you see a car parked on the road next to a speed limit sign, that car is parked there for the Cafe.  It was right at the entrance to the hotel (as seen in an above photo).

So we started gathering our stuff and got ready to go, then I flipped some channels and found something to calm my mom down a bit.

My mom is a big lover of cats and where she lives she can't have a cat.  To top it off, her cable doesn't have Animal Planet, so she misses out on #Caturday though sometimes I show her stuff on the computer.  We ended up catching about an hour and a half of cats before we left.  It was fun to watch to be honest, and it makes me wish I got Animal Planet again.  When I had the channel I got to see My Cat From Hell but that was about it, it appears their programming has gotten better (or worse depending on who you ask).

So after that we decided we better leave to beat more potential traffic.  So we took a path I wasn't familiar with, but things went smooth.  We remembered all the turnoffs and never made it to the diamond intersection, and within 30 minutes was outside of the Kansas City metro area and on the road back home.  In fact in what I figured would take 3-5 hours to get home (we took back roads and even then we figured with road work and the state fair nearby we'd still see heavy traffic), it only took us an hour and a half to make it back to Marshall, MO which is the point my mom could make it back home without asking directions.  We made a couple stops and then we made it back home.

We had to make one last pit stop to get something for the local gas station, and I went to get a soda, I was pleasantly surprised.

Crystal Pepsi returned to the shelves recently in a limited run and I was able to snag a bottle.  I was surprised because I just heard about the return the night before and actually looked at a map to see where I could buy one.  I even thought of ways to get a bottle in Blue Springs if we had to go back the way we came.  Since we didn't I figured oh well.  The map I saw didn't have any location within 45 miles from home, with the closest being in Columbia which wasn't worth the drive especially since we just got home.  So I bought this bottle and I got home and was reminded of the days Van Halen sang Right Now in the TV commercial and it tasted good.  I might not drink it all the time, but a yearly release for a few weeks wouldn't be bad.  It tasted just like Pepsi to me, and that's all I ask for.

When I got home and relaxed it was time to start working.  So even though its been a couple days, I've already been scanning and taking pictures and have most of what I did on the trip (not discussed here) planned for future blogs, and I still have stuff from pre-trip I haven't touched.  All in all I feel refreshed and ready to get back in the swing of things here and above all that still hope to have my new design on here soon.  It will be a busy couple weeks, but I think it will be fun.

Thanks for reading about my trip, I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you all have a great night.


  1. I have not been on a true vacation since I got sick, the last time was September 2012. We used to go away pretty often. Usually at least once a month in the 2003-05 time period. I miss it in one way and in another I don't miss the stresses of it. It got really expensive too. Not having a working car hasn't helped either. We prefer smaller places, but that food sounds good. We traveled as far as Maine and as far as Michigan and Indiana in the other direction. Never went farther south than New Jersey though.

    1. Our favorite place to go was and always will be Lake George. Probably 95% of the trips were to the same place, which unfortunately in 2013 closed. Took away my favorite place in the world. We spent the entire month of July 2000 and June of 2002 or 2003 there, the second time we spent a month there we actually spent 7weeks there, a full month, the last week of the month before and the first two weeks of the month after. We actually took a vacation from the vacation to come home and check our mail!

    2. That sounds cool. I've been to a few places, but mostly for events and not so much as getaways. Most of my trips were school related or church, but I enjoyed them just the same. I've been north to Des Moines, Iowa, south and west to Fort Worth, Texas, and east to Charlotte, North Carolina. I'd like to go back to all three but if I planned a vacation to a place I've been it would be Louisville, Kentucky. I loved that place. It's been 20 years this November since I've been though.

  2. It is good to get out of town every once in a while. My wife and I share a love of travel so we are always looking for places to go. Now that we have our daughter the trips are more of the long weekend variety, but we live in a pretty convenient area to get to a lot of different metro areas in short time.

    Looks like you had a good time.

    1. I've always said one day I'd like to get on a Greyhound bus and just go somewhere. I've always wanted to visit Boston, and if I did I'd have to check out Fenway. I think I'd have fun there. I've never been to the northeast but I think it would be fun.