Wichita was our fist rainy morning of the entire trip. Of course, being a dark and dreary day, Rico had to resort to dumping the big kids out of bed. Punk landed in the remains of yesterday's pizza, while Kooka managed to hang on somehow. Thirty minutes later we were on our way to downtown Wichita.
The Museum of World Treasures was a great way to spend a couple of hours. A cross between Chicago's Field Museum and Ripley's Believe It Or Not, this three-story Kansas gem has an eclectic mix of everything. From fully reconstructed t-Rex skeletons, to a lock of George Washington's hair, a piece of the Berlin Wall to Hitler's personal family photographs, a crucifiction nail from the time of Jesus' death to a room full of shrunken heads and mummies. There was even a generous play space for Yoda (she could only "rawr" at the dinosaurs so many times).
The highlights for us were probably the world war exhibits, the copy of the resolution desk, and the real pitchfork the scarecrow used in the Wizard of Oz. Kooka and I were also taken with the Berlin Wall exhibit, but Yoda kept climbing into East Germany and rattling the soldier's fully sharpened bayonet, so we were forced to move on.
The Monroe School was next on our list. This elementary school in Topeka is home of Brown vs. The Board of Education. I must admit to being a little disappointed. We really wanted the kids to see this part of history and be able to think about what part we all play in affecting change in society, but I don't think they got that here. If anything, they got it during our discussion in the car, or when we first walked in and saw the "white" and "colored" signs, but the rest of the museum was just filled with written presentations, and video clips. There was no recreation of the rooms, or real delineation between the difference in the local elementary schools. I'm glad we went, but wouldn't drag everyone back again.
As much as Wichita was a pleasant surprise, Topeka was a turn in the opposite direction. Run down, and dirty, we decided to keep moving, and headed toward Kansas City, Missouri.
We had ribs and burnt end sandwiches at Gates BBQ. Rico loved the ribs, but I preferred the ribs we had in OK City. We discussed why this was true and concluded that I really like the dry-rubbed, deep-smoked, fall-off-the-bone type of ribs. Rico's fave is more along the lines of tying some beef jerky to a bone, bathing it in a gallon of sauce and burrying your face in it in a vain attempt to scrape off some meat. Tonight, he was in heaven. Punk and I had the burnt-end sandwich -good, but I'd go back to OK City in a heartbeat.