Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beautiful Downtown Kansas City (MO) . . .

Well . . . the city travelogue has now taken us to the Midwest and to Kansas City, Missouri--right across the river from Kansas City, Kansas. It is a beautiful urban settlement--lots of parks, beautiful old homes, wide streets and endless highways across the plains of waving grasses and crops. On this past Friday we drove to Abilene, Kansas, home of the 34th president of the United States, Dwight David Eisenhower. He was one of seven brothers who were raised in Abilene and their family home stands on the original site and foundation where the family lived for 48 years. Mr. Eisenhower was only one of a handful of army officers who ultimately became General of the Army--a five-star general--along with Omar Bradley, Douglas MacArthur, George Marshall, and one or two others. In the 50's he was elected president and was re-elected for a second term. He died in 1969. His widow, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, survived him by ten years, dying in 1979. He was a remarkable man, curiously unswayed by political ambition and agendas. He was truly an "everyman's man" kind of person. He was one of a very few high ranking officers who made a point of being with his troops, no matter how "lowly" their rank, especially before a large campaign. He was the Supreme Commander of the European Theater during WWII, and was the person who gave the command that initiated the D-Day attack on Normandy. It was an interesting trip down "memory lane" for some of us who remembered him and his era, and a very educational experience for my kids and grandkids. It was well worth the time and effort to travel there. Having visited President Truman's presidential library/museum last year and Eisenhower's this year, I am determined to take my grandkids to the Presidents Nixon and Reagen libraries that are so close to home in So. California.

Went to church at the beautiful St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in KC this morning, and after a wonderful lunch of that famous KC barbecue, are now packing and getting ready for boarding the Amtrak Southwest Chief this evening for the final trek home.

It is a beautiful, scenic trip through the plains of the Midwest and on into the Southwest states. the scenery is absolutely gorgeous and as we have found out time and again, train travel has allowed us to get in touch with the beauty of our marvelous country in a way that is far more enjoyable than the crush of air travel. If it's an emergency or someone we love is dying, then by all means, go with the plane. Otherwise, the train has our vote.

We are looking forward to being home in a day or two -- hoping for no difficulties with diesel engines or bad track problems due to weather. I hear it has been terribly hot where we live -- 100 plus degrees, but of course, it is the famous "dry heat" -- the dry heat the paramedics are telling us about when they are taking us to the ambulance after suffering heat stroke. (Just kidding) Actually, the hardest part of this summer travel has been the humidity. Today it is 90 degrees with 77 percent humidity. We can hardly breathe. But there are promises of thunder storms so maybe it will cool off later today.
Anyway, please stay cool and hydrated -- if you are thirsty you are already dehydrated--and keep your noses in those wonderful books. I will be returning to some reviews and some regular postings once we get home and lug our suitcases in the front door.
Until next time . . .

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