Hitch-hikers, no-where land, and the Land of Oz…
From the Lake of the Ozarks I began driving back up North to Kansas City, Missouri. I had to stop for a few hours to get my brakes done and an oil change here but decided to kick off my day with a free brewery tour I had read about. If I had to waste a day sitting around I figure I may as well start off with a few brews. And that’s exactly what we did, by 10:30 in the morning I was sipping on a breakfast brew with a handful of strangers at Boulevard Brewing Company.
Boulevard Brewing is the 5th largest brewing company in America. The brewery was like its own little town and the tour consisted of walking from building to building spread out over two streets as well as a stop on the rooftop balcony where you can overlook the city with the delicious aroma of brewing beer lingering in the air. It is family owned and still family operated to this day. The founder’s son (who was born in the brewery) still works on site and the daughter is involved in marketing for a sister brewery. The brewery was very modern with wooden décor and large glass windows allowing customers to see into the room where their beer is being crafted. There was a homey, basement bar feel to the establishment but on a much larger scale. The best part, 12 ounces of beer for free! I recommend the berry ale- high alcohol content with a light and fruity taste.
Finding Danny Brown’s mechanic shop was no problem with the wide array of Volkswagen busses out on the lot. The job was estimated to take three or so hours so he dropped me off at the plaza where I spent the day at the library reading and writing- no one even noticed I was carrying a cat in my bag with me. From here I wandered back into the city to wait for my ride back, where I stumbled upon a new friend also waiting on a ride. We got to talking and realized we have a lot in common, including the fact that we will both be arriving in Denver on the 19th and attending the 420 rally the following day. What are the chances, right? His ride arrived first so we exchanged numbers and plan to meet again at the rally.
Back at the shop I learn that the wrong parts were delivered, and the right ones won’t be available until morning. Stuck in a random town again due to the van.. but I’m used to this by now and have began to see it as an advantage. In a way, the car trouble helps to slow me down by forcing me to stay in a town long enough to really get a feel for what it is like to actually live there, for better or for worse.
I moved a few of my things into Danny Brown’s house adorned with tribal rugs, tiny banjo drums, and the invigorating smell of incense. We went to dinner and then sat up late into the night chit chatting. He told me all about his stories from back in the day throwing huge parties in the house with people playing ping pong and everyone roasting joints. As he said, if they didn’t smoke they probably didn’t hang with him. This statement reminded me of the way Steven Tyler talks about their circle of people in Walk This Way. Danny truly was an original hippie. The best part of staying here was I got to spend my whole next day playing with his Doberman pup, Rita. Check my Instagram for a video of her playing: writeyourownstory2017.
As soon as the van was done I started heading west and soon entered into Kansas. Advertised as the state of flat nothingness for as far as you can see in every direction, I was surprised to see so many rolling hills. However strait out of Wichita I began to see this side of the state. The drive felt like it was never ending- literally nothing to see in every direction for hours. I pulled off into a national grassland to sleep for the night. This place was the definition of no where land. Check out a short clip of it on my Instagram if you want to experience the vast nothingness of the Kansas grasslands.
In the morning I was headed to Liberal to see Dorothy’s house from The Wizard of Oz and take a tour led by “Dorothy” herself through her home where we were picked up by a simulated tornado and dropped in Oz, but I wouldn’t make it all the way here without picking up some quick adventure on the way first. I passed two travelers on the side of the road looking to go west way out in the middle of the fields on a Kansas highway which looked more like a back country road in any other state.
They were two young guys around my age, and at this point in my journey I had met enough backpackers to feel confident in my decision to give them a lift. I took them 60 miles up the road. They told me they were making their way to the train station to catch a ride to Dallas where they were meeting their girlfriends. They were in a competition with their girls who were traveling by car to see who could make it there first, and with my help they were now in the lead. They gifted me some of the dankest OG Kush I have ever come across in return.
Speaking of Kush, it was finally it was time to head to one of my favorite states- Colorado.