Michael has been begging for a day long scooter ride for weeks now and it just hasn't been possible with the weather and kooky schedules. Finally we got a decent forecast for a weekend. The problem is that good day landed on a Sunday. Sundays for me tend to be get-my-shit-together-for-the-week days. The nightly chore thing I had going fell overboard a way long time ago. Saturdays are run around, hunting and gathering days. That leaves me with Sunday to clean the house and do laundry and not brush my teeth. It might have had something to do with the Sudafed I ended up taking, but I was able to accomplish most of all of those things on Saturday (including cleaning out and vacuuming my car. Sudafed=speed) and thus freeing up Sunday for yoga, CBS Sunday morning, and scooter riding.
We decided to do the Battle of Westport driving tour. You guys? Kansas City has had some major historic things go down here and one of those things was the Civil War. The last major battle of the Civil War in Missouri and the largest engagement this side of the Mississippi took place right here in October of 1864. The battle involved 30,000 troops with 1,500 causalities on both sides and covering a 25 mile radius. There are 23 stops on the tour with permanent markers at 25 different sites, each containing a description of events. Now, when the self guided auto tour was finished in 1979, I'm sure the markers were very prominently displayed around the Kansas City area, but time and sprawl has taken it's toll on this tour. Spotting a marker is a lot like doing a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt on scooters! There were a few times we ended up driving up and down some neighborhood streets before spotting a marker. We missed marker #2 all together, but the neighborhood you have to go through to see markers 2-5 are full of big houses nestled in the side hills with small winding roads. I had never been in this area before and was completely distracted by all the beautiful old homes. We found one marker on the sketchy side of Troost, in a parking lot next to one of those fast cash loan places.
A number of the markers are around Loose Park, where the biggest part of the battle took place. Loose Park is like Kansas City's version of New York's Central Park. On Sunday, it was packed. Parking spaces were no where to be found. Marker #5 is right across the street from the North end of the park and has small driveway next to it. We parked the scooters there so I could get my camera out and take some pictures. Then we got to watch too ladies battle it out over a parking space across the street from us. It was pretty much like that scene in Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates' character smashes into that VW that stole her parking spot (Towanda!). Except there was no smashing, but lots of yelling. Marker #8 is on the south side of the park and was the staging ground for Sterling Price's Confederate Army. This was the most interesting marker for me. Loose park was full of people that day. Families having picnics. People flying kites, playing frisbee. A wedding party was gathering for pictures. All of this life happening on the same field where a 150 years ago men battling to the death. It was a surreal experience.
We spent the rest of the afternoon traveling from marker to marker. We missed one because we just couldn't find it. By the time we made it to #21, the wind was so strong that I was having trouble keeping my scooter in the lane. Michael called it at that point. So, we missed the last two, but oh, the distance we travelled! It was at least forty miles and we never left Kansas City. It was so great. I can't wait for the next scooter adventure.