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Kansas City Barbeque – End of Day 2

by JP on Jan.24, 2010, under Day 2

Arthur Bryant's

After seeing the capital we completed our day long exploration of Missouri by heading west to Kansas City for some of the best barbeque I have ever tasted.

Being a southerner raised in a Barbeque Shack, I must say that I am very proud of the south’s pork cooking traditions. I have tasted Barbeque in nearly 30 states at countless locations, and have never found a place that beats some of my favorite Georgia barbeques. That is why it is so difficult for me to say this, but a new winner has emerged for best barbeque and it is not in the southeast.

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque is world famous, and frankly the only thing I found worth seeing in Kansas City. This restaurant is understated to say the least. It looks like a hole in the wall in a seedy part of town. Inside though, the sandwiches are piled high with pork on white loaf bread and covered with some of the best sauce I have ever tasted. Prices are decent (around $7 for sandwich and fries), but quantity and quality could easily justify higher prices.


Kansas City (2)

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque

1727 Brooklyn Avenue
Kansas City, MO

Finally, after trekking across the state and filling our bellies, we wondered around Kansas City for any last sights to see before bedding down near St. Joseph, Missouri, the home of Jesse James and the Pony Express.

Day 2 was exhausting, we had driven clear across the width of Missouri, taken on 3 towns, went up in the Gateway , Arch, saw the Clydesdales and drank free beer at the Anheuser Busch factory, the Missouri State Capitol Building, and had the best barbeque I had ever tasted. It was quite an exhausting day, and a hotel bed was a well deserved treat.

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Epic Summer Roadtrip- Day 2 (Part 3) Jefferson City

by JP on Jan.23, 2010, under Day 2

Jefferson City Capitol (97)

The road to Jefferson City is only a couple of hours from St. Louis, but the road is flat, and the terrain is different than anything I’ve seen on the east coast. On this road, I first begin seeing flat green land with only the occasional, very small hill.


As for the Capitol in Jefferson City, we discovered why USA Today rated it the most beautiful capitol on the inside, which is not to detract from its beauty on the outside.

Jefferson City Capitol (89) Jefferson City Capitol (90)

Tours of the Capitol are offered for free Monday through Saturday.

Jefferson City Capitol (30)

The Capitol exterior of the building sits above the Missouri River, and at the top of its dome is 238 feet tall. In addition to the intricate freizes surrounding the top of the building, two massive bronze statutes representing the Mississippi River and Missouri River, as well as a statute of Thomas Jefferson due to his role in the Louisiana Purchase. The 3 acre complex located in downtown Jefferson City is worth exploring without the building, as it also contains some beautiful fountains, war memorials, and other Greek statuary.

Inside the building is even more magnificent. As we entered under one of the exterior staircases, we were immediately greeted with large columns

Jefferson City Capitol (79)

One of the Capitol’s most famous paintings is actually a room itself.  The walls of the former House of Representatives Lounge  are an elaborate, colorful mural on the “Social History of Missouri.” This mural by Thomas Benton wraps around the room with real and ficticous persons important to Missouri, as well as the the key economic industries which have historically sustained Missouri. Completed in 1935, Benton not only included the likes of Huckleberry Finn and Missouri’s major rivers, he also included the more controversial images of Jesse James and slavery’s role in Missouri history.

After visiting this room on the tour, head up to the third floor and take a look at Missouri’s numerous bronze busts of famous Missourians.

Finally, before departing, head to the center of the capitol and see the decorative dome nearly 300 feet above containing an ornate 4500 pound chandelier.

After walking the grounds outside of the capitol, we left Jefferson City for Kansas City Bar-B-Que

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Updated: Desoto State Park – Lost Falls and Laurel Falls

by JP on Jan.14, 2010, under Alabama Hiking Trails

Fort Payne, Alabama

Distance: Approximately 5.0 miles.
Difficult: Easy

DeSoto State Park IMG_4933

While I missed out on the opportunity to ski in our wonderful wintry weather, I did get to see enjoy the weather with a nice hike.

DeSoto Park does not list the distance for all of its hikes, and so all I can do is estimate the distance I normally hike in a certain period of time. The reason for this is that a large number of the trails in DeSoto State Park are interconnected together, and allow for numerous paths with varying distance.

On this hike, I got the opportunity to accidentally see two waterfalls instead of one. Be aware, that if you use the DeSoto state park map, the trails are marked with letters, matching the colors of the blazes, rather than trail names. These trails can have multiple colors listed while only one blaze may actually be present on the trail. This means the trails intersect at that point. Also, be aware that creeks and rivers look exactly the same as trails on the map. Finally, not only is the map not to scale, the distances aren’t really even relatively similar.

When hiking to the Lost Falls, the quickest path to the falls is the Blue/Orange trail, marked by Orange blazes initially. This trail begins above one of DeSoto’s campgrounds, and across  the road from the trail parking area.

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The hike begins in a slow downhill wooded area containing lots of pines. As one continues, the trail becomes much rockier, and then begins to continue parallel to a creek on the left.  This creek will be crossed several times over the course of the trail.

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As the trail continues over the solid rock terrain, the Orange and Blue trails separate. This junction is marked by Blue arrows point straight ahead, and Orange one’s heading left. Continue straight to reach the Lost Falls in about 3/4 of a mile. The Orange trail can also be followed to Lost Falls from the other side. Both are about the same distance.

I would recommend following the Orange trail for the shortest trip to both Lost Falls and Laurel Falls, and the return on that same route after seeing both falls.

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Unfortunately, I made the mistake of assuming the map I was reading had relatively correct distances, and that I could cross back over to the Orange Trail at Lost Falls. So for a longer loop, although very peaceful and isolated, continue along the Blue Trail to a wide creek crossing that turns uphill. This crossing has a narrow wooden plank over it, that I assume someone thought could be crossed. DO NOT USE THIS PLANK. Just past this narrow plank is a series of stepping stones to cross the creek. If they are dry, use these to cross.  The plank is too narrow, and one risks falling into the creek, and ruining a good hike.

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From here the trails starts to feel like its in deeper woods. The hike now begins to up and down several ridges, continuing somewhat parallel with the creek.

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After the creek crossing, look for the blue blazes to split again, or for signs of a trail to the left. This trail goes down to the side of the Lost Falls. This view of the falls isn’t really the best place to see the falls from, as it is obstructed by several limbs, and doesn’t really get close to the falls. The other side is much better.  These falls, however, cannot be crossed above, at least not in the winter, and don’t seem to be safe to cross in the summer, as the trail map somewhat indicates.

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Instead, continue back to the blue trail, and head left if one wants to make it a loop hike, otherwise return on the original route.

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Continuing left, the trail moves away from the creek, as a deep ravine separates the trail from the creek. The trail moves up and down the ridge, and into some very large boulder areas. In the winter, these boulders have some great icicles hanging from them. After a mile or so, the trail will reach a bridge that crosses over the creek back to the Orange trail. The bridge itself is marked with red blazes, follow the blazes up to the left to get back on the Orange trail, and stick to the left.

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This portion of the trail has several options, but staying to the left will bring hikers to Laurel Falls. Along this side of the ridge, the trail becomes rocky again, passing around and through several large boulders.

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Laurel Falls is smaller than Lost Falls, but its approach brings hikers much closer to its falls. On the right side of the approach is a series of rocks framed by several small trees, and, in cold weather, contains several extremely long icicles patterns. The falls drop into a small isolated cove. Be careful climbing down to these falls, the approach can be a little slick as well.

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Continue back up to the Orange trail and continue to the left. This trail will return to the other side of Lost Falls, and then back up to the Orange/Blue intersection.

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The orange trail goes back to the trailhead parking area.

Other Nearby Trails:

Indian Falls

Desoto Falls, Alabama

Directions:

1. Take AL-35 South into Fort Payne, AL.

2. Turn left onto Gault Avenue.

3. Turn right onto AL-35. Follow this road up the mountain, and follow the signs to the state park.

4. Turn left onto County Road 89 to the state park.

5. At the country store turn left towards the campground. The trailhead parking area is just past the campground on the right. Cross the road from the parking area for the trailhead.

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Little River Canyon Falls

by JP on Jan.12, 2010, under Alabama Hiking Trails

I was riding by the Little River Canyon Falls this past Saturday after some wintry weather. The falls had lots of icicles, and looked really cool. By the way, the temperature was around 17 degrees Farenheit. I wish I could have gotten down to the falls view, but the trail was way too icy to be safe, not that walking along an icy bridge path was much safer with traffic.

Frozen Little River Canyon

Check out more about Little River Canyon in this earlier article.

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Why I will never ski in Alabama

by JP on Jan.10, 2010, under Alabama Hiking Trails, Outdoor Travel

Skiing in Alabama

This past weekend I thought I would take advantage of the wintry weather in Northern Georgia/Alabama and go for a quick ski at Cloudmont Ski and Golf in Mentone, Alabama. Unfortunately, it seems that Cloudmont had no concern whether I skied or not.


After trying to call to check conditions for two days, and constantly receiving a busy signal from the company’s phone line, I headed down to Mentone for a half day ski. By the way, their website says they will not respond to emails for information either.

This company stated that it  had a half day ski from 1 to 4 p.m. CST.  As such, I arrived at approximately 12:30 planning to buy my lift ticket and rent some equipment to maximize the three hours of skiing. When I arrived, I noticed a long line at the ticket booth. The ticket booth was not open.  I then went to the ski shop to find out if I could go ahead and rent my equipment, to which I was informed I could not until the ticket booth opened at 1:00. Also, I was informed that there may not be sufficient equipment to outfit those waiting in line because those already skiing in the morning were all day skiers.

Skiing in Alabama

This was an unfortunate experience for me. The company’s employees did not seem to care that numerous skiers had arrived early to get their lift tickets so that they could ski their full half day. Most ski resorts allow tickets to be purchased and equipment to be rented prior to entry time onto the slopes.

While the slopes at Cloudmont looked pretty nice, one of the two pony lifts were not working either. Forcing children to hike up the smallest beginner hill while learning to ski.

I was disappointed that I would not be skiing on Saturday, but I was even more disappointed that the this poor service meant I would not be skiing here at any other time in the future. It is sad that what could be a great experience for beginning skiers in Northern Alabama will continuously be marred by poor customer service and a lack of concern for the consumer.

As for me, I will have to space my skiing trips out more often to longer drives in North Carolina.

Luckily the day wasn’t a complete bust as I got to go hiking in nearby DeSoto State Park.

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