Friday, August 8, 2008

Frugal family on the road - day 2

We (rather, I) had originally intended to spend the morning in Lawrence and the afternoon in Topeka on day 2, but we liked Lawrence so much we decided to spend the whole day there, in part because we wanted to go to the pool that was closed yesterday and in part because we were sure the food options were going to be better in Lawrence than in Topeka.

So bright and early (well, 9-ish) we checked out of the hotel. And get this - because the treadmill didn't work, and because the front desk clerk didn't know thing 1 about the town, and because ... well, I don't know what else, I'll have to ask DW, but she complained to the manager about a bunch of things and they ended up comping us the room! So we thought about staying another night there, but that was quickly vetoed because she hated the place. (Baymont Suites, but any other place of that ilk probably wouldn't have been any better.) So she said, you know how you always spend a little extra money to find an interesting place? Keep doing that. Yes, ma'am.

We went to Clinton Lake - a man-made lake outside of Lawrence with a lot of trails and bikepaths and marinas and picnic areas and such. We found a little trail and off we went, for about an hour hike. I took the little ones back and DW and DK1 came back separately. The weather was about 10 degrees cooler than the previous day and the day was clear so it was really beautiful. Then the DKs played for a while on a playground right there, and we had another picnic, but it wasn't so cheap this time because we hadn't brought it from home this time but bought it at a health food store that morning - cheese, bread, a couple of salads, almost $30! Maybe we should go back to PB&J.

After that we drove back downtown and swam at the pool for a couple of hours. (It cost $17 to get in, 4 each for us, 3 each for the kids.) I was throwing DK3 into this waterfall thing they had an he kept coming up and saying, Again! And the girls went down the slides, it was all a lot of fun, a great way to spend the afternoon.

For dinner we went for Chinese food - we can get tofu and rice for DKs 2 and 3 and the rest of us had veggie entrees which were far more numerous and interesting than anything you can get in Wichita. (Veggie General Tso's chicken, etc.) About $45.

So get this - because we hadn't paid for the hotel room the night before, I called a bed and breakfast I had seen listed in a couple of the tour books. It's called the Old Stone House, it's a 1850s era stone house just on the Lawrence side of Topeka and the books all said, "We cater to vegetarians." I called the guy and said, listen, we're here now, he was fine with it. $85 per night per room, we booked 2.

The place has a lot of antiques and antique-looking decorations and DW was a little worried that the kids were going to break something but they were great. They did find a little trunk filled with old-timey clothing that fit them perfectly - they were so cute! It kept them quite busy. In the meantime I talked to the innkeeper, Alan, about politics and Kansas history - I think I need to find a book about Bloody Kansas, which I don't know much about. The rooms were comfortable, the landscape was beautiful, it was convenient, breakfast was much better than anything you would get in the White Flour Motel and the price was competitive compared with the Motel as well. So a good choice there.

So we passed a pleasant evening. Cost for the day - lunch $30, dinner $45, swimming $17, B&B $170.


John B. said...

Welcome back--it sounds like you had a good time.
You made a good choice by staying in Lawrence another day. The Capitol building in Topeka is worth a trip--it's an impressive building that's just been fully restored, and it has the famous John Steuart Curry murals--but aside from that and the zoo, which I've not been to but which I hear is okay, that's really about all there is to see there.
The "Bloody Kansas" period, what I've read of it, is as fascinating to me as Texas history (which is saying something for this native of Austin). Wichita's origins are not so dramatic but do arise out of Indian-white interactions over land and the cattle trade. Curious in their banality and in determining just why the Wichita indians were forced to leave for Indian Territory.

Sorry to prattle on so. But, again, welcome back.

Mary T said...

That sounds like so much fun! When we were living in Fargo ND for a year I came across an old quote that said that (paraphrased) says you can gain contentment by getting acquainted with the new environment. I see you are becoming interested in the history where you now live.. that's step one. :)

Blessings! mary