On our eastward journey, we drove 6 hours out of our way for one reason: NASCAR! The Kansas Speedway was hosting one of the 24 NASCAR events held each year. Kansas City surprised us in more ways than one: first of all, Kansas City, Kansas & Kansas City, Missouri are the same city, just split by a state border (did everyone know that but us?); secondly, there are a bunch of beautiful homes and parks here.
Our First NASCAR Race
Attending a NASCAR race was near the top of Adam’s shortlist while on our cross-country road trip. We were looking to do things that were “different from our day-to-day” and this certainly qualified. On our way to the speedway, we stopped at a Rite Aid to pick up little pink earplugs based on the recommendation of our Airbnb hosts. Adam thought that these would be sufficient. They weren’t. Not even close. As we walked up to the speedway, we could feel the vibrations of the cars in our teeth. We immediately stopped at a stand to purchase these huge, noise-cancelling headphones that had a controller for commentary so that we could keep tabs on the race.
Watching people was even more interesting than watching cars race by. The track seats 63,000 people and there were plenty of groups that opted for no ear protection, which is straight-up crazy. Even with the headphones, it’s really loud. The crowd went wild when midway through the race, there was a car wreck involving three vehicles, including Danica Patrick’s. One driver needed to be airlifted to the hospital and we later found out that he had broken his back. Danica was pissed because she was doing well and when questioned afterwards, she suggested that one of the drivers had caused her to wreck on purpose.
We asked one guy to take a picture of us, and he said to Annie, “Just so you know, you look goofy as fuck.” Annie smiled and graciously said thank you for taking the picture, pretending that she didn’t really hear the comment, but of course, she knew exactly what he said. We looked at him and the rest of his friends - blue jeans, cut-off shirts, beer bellies, well-worn baseball caps… and thought to ourselves, “you're right, this isn't our world, and we might not fit in with your crew.” Beer and fried food were all anyone was eating here. More than half of the spectators in the stadium were overweight, but then again, this may reflect America's broader health and obesity challenges.
This race was a once-in-a-lifetime experience… as Annie said, “one time only.”
Run in Loose Park
One morning, we set off on a run in nearby Loose Park. We wandered through the park for a few hours, which was packed with people having picnics, running around, playing games, and watching their kids. We stopped for a short workout in the middle of a very green lawn before wandering into the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of the houses were enormous with large circular driveways and gates out front. They were expensive too, based on our Zillow stalking.
Lunch and Dinner at The Mixx
This place is bomb. If you're ever in Kansas City, Missouri, you should check it out. We ate hear 6 times in the span of 2.5 days. It was delicious and healthy. It reminded us of an even better Sweetgreen. After non-stop barbeque over the last few weeks, the Mixx was a welcome respite. We even stopped there one morning as soon as they opened to pick up our lunch for the road.
Annie reports that they have delicious cookies too.