November to Remember

Since 2006, when Mrs. Shuttletrain and I got married. We have always visited Kansas City each year over our anniversary. Kansas City is where  I ask the future Mrs. Shuttletrain to marry me, in front of my best friend and his wife, and hotel resturant full of diners. We have stayed in different hotels, in different parts of the city. One year it was in Westport, one year in Downtown, and this year as once before in the famous Country Club Plaza area. We drove up this year because we were planning to visit a friend’s hometown layout.

We arrived in KC about 10 in the evening, checked into the hotel, dropped out stuff in the room and headed down the hotel bar, We usually to the bar thing three or four times a year, Usually on special occasions. The next morning was the third Saturday of the month, so I asked my friend and fellow host KC Nathan, to help host the Let’s Talk Trains show. I had been trying to have the Kansas City Southern officials and the Kansas City Southern Historical Society on the program, but, they never returned emails or voicemail messages. That’s why as a former broadcaster, I always have a back-up plan. I interviewed KC Nathan as a Kansas City Railfan. It worked great for 95% of show, Mrs. Shuttletrain called me during the last 20 minutes of the show and told me that she was not feeling well, and needed to go to the ER. We drove the four blocks to the hospital. We spent the next six and half hours in the ER. they found she had a very bad case of acid re flux. When back to the hotel and let her fall asleep. The next morning, our actual anniversary date. we got up head off on the annual chores. First stop, we headed to Ward Parkway Mall to visit Train Town KC. This is the club that KC Nathan belongs to. It is located inside an un-used store, provided free of charge by the mall. That’s until someone else comes and pays to use it. The visit awhile and then head for Crown Plaza for the Christmas Card picking, and the tree ornament selection. Then the walk through the stores of Crown Plaza. next, we walk over to Kansas City Union Station. This year, the walk was different. Union Station has been trying to right itself of downward slide. They have allowed non-train related businesses hold court in the complex. The Chamber of Commerce has moved into the east end of the station blocking off the normal entrance from the Link from the hotels and Crown Plaza. Visitors now have to walk past a stark white walls to a elevator, down to a floor into long corridor that they have attempted to fill with pictures of days gone by. The corridor then opens into the Grand Hall a few feet from where you used to come through the Pullman Food Court and then most recently, the Harvey Diner. As we walked to the area of the Grand Hall that used to have a large train display. This year, the only think there was a large Christmas tree.  The restaurant that was in the middle of the Grand Hall has was closed, at least the day we visited. We walked back to the Sprint Hall. The hall was decorated at the Christmas trees and as we walked back, we could see the Jones Store train going around the tree. the Jones Store was a department store that was founded in Kansas City. The chain was taken over by the May Company, then the Macy’s Chain. Slowly, we walked around the tree and found two Christmas Train displays on either side of the KC Model Train Exhibit. One of the unique features was this gingerbread KC Union Station. Image

 

The Holiday Train Experience was located in the Exhibition room in the far back of the gathering hall. After wandering through it we walked through the AMTRAK area, to see what it looked like. It shows its age. Mrs. Shuttletrain remarks, that the residents used their tax dollars to give the station its rebirth.  The AMTRAK shows wear and tear. You would think that since the KC Chamber has an interest in the station now, they would really keep this up better. We left the station and walked to the newest attraction in the Crown Center. The KC Sealife and Lego experience. You notice they call lots of things experiences? Adults are only allowed in the Lego area with children or during an occasional adult night. As for the Sealife, I would give it a seven out of ten. The larger Sealife’s in the Mall of America is better.

After to walk through, we headed back to the hotel, and cleaned up, and headed to the anniversary dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. The Cheesecake Factory is where I took Mrs. Shuttletrain on our first date. We had a great view of the Plaza and we always seem to imagine what it will be like in a few days after the annual lighting of the Plaza, over a million people come and watch the lighting. We head back to the hotel and relax. Then on Monday, we headed back east to the great city of Washington, MO.

Kansas City has a lot of offer visitors, no matter what the season or the weather. Did I mention that Crown Center has a restaurant that serves the food via a train, its called Fritz’s.

See ya real soon.

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