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April 12

Missouri, Kansas

White House miniatures are a staple of presidential libraries. This one is in the lower level of the Truman Library.

Dave Hayes works at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue-Freight House. Dave, formally a flight attendant for Eastern Airlines, was literally dropped off a flight in Kansas City, when his union called a strike. The airline tanked, and Dave, remained in KC. Today, he will "hook you up" with some of the city's best barbecue. Jack Stack is right across the tracks from Union Station, one of the best updates of a classic mid-west train station.

Kansas City has been the biggest surprise of the trip. It is a bustling city with several different areas that look very interesting. Wish we had more time to explore.



This is the longest part of the trip. It's just mile after mile of prairie.

We had planned to go to Kansas City from St. Louis and then do a 560 mile drive across the rest of the prairie. But, we got to Independence about 11, and had a great late lunch in Kansas City, ending at 3. So, westward bound on I-70 to Hays, pretty much the last big stop before a 140 mile jaunt to the Colorado border. We are now officially halfway across the country.

It never dawned on us that two recent presidents came from an area less than 200 miles apart. We visited Harry Truman's library in Independence, but were too late to stop at Eisenhower's Abilene, KS library.

Truman's presidency came at a time of unprecedented challenges. From making final decisions on World War II, to setting up the Marshall Plan, to defining the outlines of how the US would function during the Cold War, it all happened on his watch. He left office with only one term, after winning one unexpected election against Thomas Dewey. He chose to not run in 1952 against Dwight Eisenhower (when his popularity was less than 30%)...

We didn't realize that President Truman worked at his library in Independence for many years until his death in 1972. His wife, Bess, survived another 10 years.

The photo below is of a section of a Thomas Hart Benton mural called Independence and the Opening of the West in the Truman Library. More information

Last Updated: Friday, April 14, 2006 5:51 AM

Last Updated: Friday, April 14, 2006 5:51 AM