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Thoughts from Places: Western MO

In the words of a fantastic author, activist, and all-around individual, John Green: “Hank, Sometimes when you go places, you think things.” While this isn’t an actual quote, I’d like to think it is something he would say.

This article is presented here as a part of Throwback Thursday, where we revisit some highlights from the archives of both Sabrael D. Carroll and M.E. Garey. This particular piece comes to you from February 2016.

You see John and his brother Hank make videos for a somewhat successful YouTube channel called Vlogbrothers. John often travels, and in his travels makes these amazing “Thoughts from Places” videos, I highly recommend checking them out. I have traveled more in the last months than I have in the past few years. A lot of it has been to and from Saint Louis, but there are two longer trips that were all in the name of research and knowledge.

This particular adventure took place over my birthday weekend when my wife and I took upon ourselves the task of making a trip to the wonderful Shakespeare Chateau in Saint Joseph, MO in order to take in what a higher-class bed & breakfast feels like. We had a great stay, an amazing 5-course dinner for their Valentine’s Day event and learned a thing or two about where we stand in regards to our future plans.

We also visited the Pony Express Museum where I discovered that once upon a time, Mormon’s rustled Pony Express riders for entering their territory, all while standing in the very barn that the first Pony Express rider left from oh so many years ago. It was a fun experience, and I even got halfway out of Liberty, MO at an old computer they set-up for kids to play Oregon Trail. Only 1 man had died and it was a miracle because he drowned, and didn’t suffer the same fate all those settlers usually did (according to Oregon Trail): dysentery.

The next morning we were set to head home when lo and behold: a blizzard had hit home, making our options to abscond quickly in hopes of getting home before it got too bad, or continue on our route, stay the night in our next destination and delay our return a day. We chose the latter and so went south to the home of what BuzzFeed declared was the best Southern BBQ in the U.S.: Kansas City, MO.

Our adventures here were no less educational. We visited the museum of the Steamboat Arabia, a Steamboat that was sunk in 1856 with thousands upon thousands of items on board that were bound for stores and newly settled homes in the west. Excavated in 1987, it is a massive collection of china, gold, beads and boots (oh so many boots) that is on display. The single largest organic collection, as well as the single largest collection to be unearthed and kept together. It is a fantastic spot to visit if you are ever in the area.

After all that learning, we needed food, and you don’t go to Kansas City for broccoli. Striking out at Joe’s Kansas City Barbecue, which we were told is the best BBQ in the town, we decided to try our luck based on proximity to our hotel. Enter Q39, what I am declaring to be the best BBQ I have ever tasted in my life. They have on their menu what are described as “The Best Wings on Earth”. I don’t contest that declaration. After that, with it being a Sunday, our adventure options were limited so we went to our hotel so we could get some rest and head home the next day. We had laundry to do, repacking, and a 15-hour drive to our next adventure: Liberty Hill, SC.

Upon the desk of Sabrael D. Carroll sits a half empty cup of tea, the leaves waiting patiently nearby for their second or maybe third brewing. This inevitable future creeps nearer as yet another sip is taken. The teapot, proudly swathed in the English flag, is empty but for the lone drop perched precariously at the end of the spout. The cup is placed back down again, amid a haphazard pile of character sheets, open rule books, and dungeon maps. All the stats and buffs and modifiers mix together in his mind, the numbers forming the framework of the story he’s dying to tell. He will surely get back to those in just a moment but for now, his attention is stolen by pixelated firefights and a meter running dangerously low. Don’t worry, he’ll write that next article… eventually.

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