We continued our tour of the Midwest with a jaunt across Missouri and Illinois to The Windy City itself. This leg of the trip was decidedly more urban than the previous.
In Kansas City we stayed at a KOA to be close to the city itself. I think the campground manager intentionally put us next to the only other non-traditional vehicle there--a revamped "short bus". Unfortunately, we got there late and they left early, and we didn't get a chance to meet our funky neighbors. Staying at the KOA was a weird experience for us. It was a sea of giant RVs, humongous homes on wheels that for most people just serve for an occasional weekend "getaway". Peeking into their tinted windows, I could see complete living room sets, floor lamps, and the ubiquitous blue glow of the TV screen, beaming in programming from the satellite dish mounted on a tripod in the front yard. It seems so surreal to me, living full time in 54 sq. ft. I hope I don't come across as judgy--it's more a fascination with what our culture's perception of "the bare necessities" seems to have become.
But enough of that. We headed into KC and had ourselves some famous BBQ at LC's. The pork was particularly delicious, as were the homemade beans. The two of us only made it through one sandwich. The beef sandwich was repurposed into a stir fry later that night. After BBQ, we headed to the jazz district to hear some of that Kansas City jazz. We went to The Majestic, on the national register of historic buildings. It was a speakeasy in the 20s, and has some amazing tin ceilings. Sadly, the jazz wasn't so hot and we were the only guests for happy hour. We had a lot of fun tooling around Kansas City. There are some gorgeous old buildings, a pretty impressive (and free!) art museum and sculpture garden, etc.
We stopped in Columbus, MO just long enough to fill the cooler at a local health food store. Two other store patrons saw our rig and asked for a tour. They were interested in green building and tiny houses, and it was great fun to chat about our process in designing the wagon.
Then it was on to St. Louis, where we enjoyed some street-side sushi and then stayed up late at the City Museum, a must-see on any visit to St. Louis. Words cannot describe this lovingly crafted found-object playground/sculpture/tribute to St. Louis.
On our way to Chicago, we stopped for an evening in Quincy, IL, where a reader had invited us to drop in. We had dinner with Matt, his wife Leslie, and their neighbor Carrie. It was soooo amazing to have a home-cooked meal and enjoy some really stellar conversation. I can't get over how generous these folks were to feed a couple of complete strangers. I wish we could have stayed longer, but we pushed on, crashing for the night in Siloam Springs before trucking into Chicago.
Chicago found us again enjoying the generosity of a blog reader, who let us park in his driveway for three nights and fed us as many wonderful meals. Grant and his wife Lisa were so great to us, and Grant has some tiny house ideas of his own, not to mention some cool solar and wind projects cooking in the garage. We did the tourist thing in Chicago and hung out with a good friend of mine from way back in high school. Deep dish pizza was consumed, free concerts were heard, water taxis were taken, and many miles were walked.