Small Towns Can Be Fun and Interesting – Traveling In Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , September 6th, 2018

Oakley, Kansas - small towns - Gay Travelers

Ever go to a town with a population of about 2,000 to have a fun and interesting time when you absolutely know no one? We did a couple of weeks ago and had a fabulous time and met some really, REALLY wonderful and interesting people. Oakley, Kansas is located on Interstate 70 in western Kansas, 350 miles west of Kansas City and 250 miles east of Denver.

We checked out the motels ahead of time and chose the Kansas Country Inn, www.kansascountryinn.com which turned out to be the best one in town. Amanda was the Manager and had a personality perfect for her job description. She was fun, funny, very professional and made everyone staying at the motel feel right at home. She was a ‘hands on’ manager who knows what is going on and is on top of everything. More motels around the country needs to hire more people like her and they would get a lot more business. We could not have asked for a better place to stay out in western Kansas. She directed us to the best places to see and dine. There were some oil rig workers staying at the motel and we had a great conversation on the history and workings on what they do which was extremely interesting. They are such hard workers. They deserve double the salaries that they receive.

Oakley, Kansas - small towns - Gay TravelersThe first afternoon, we toured the Fick Fossil Museum, www.discoveroakley.com/167/Fick-Fossil-Museum. Kansas was a very different place 80 million years ago and an inland sea stretched from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico and Kansas was under water. In 1964 Ernest and Vi Fick began collecting fossils left by ancient sea creatures that inhabited this prehistoric sea. After collecting thousands of items, it was time to establish a museum. Any museum or town or anything is only as good as the staff or people involved. The receptionist, Donnette was a REAL JEWEL! She explained about the museum, the town and surrounding area. We enjoyed talking with everyone in Oakley but she was our favorite. We wish her well. She was ‘born FABULOUS’ and she is staying that way!

Oakley, Kansas - small towns - Gay TravelersOur next stop was the Buffalo Bill Cultural Center, www.buffalobilloakley.org/ which has a 2X life size Bronze statue of Buffalo Bill and a Buffalo. Like kissing the Blarney Stone one is supposed to kiss the Buffalo. They have a great Center adjoining the statue. We met a wonderful lady who works there, Alice and she was extremely interesting to talk with. She also gave us recommendations on where to go in the area and also where to dine.

Our first night we dined at the Buffalo Bill Bar and Grill downtown. The food was exceptional and our server Audra was very proficient and friendly.

Oakley, Kansas - small towns - Gay TravelersThe next day we drove 20 some miles south of town to visit The Chalk Pyramids and Monument Rocks,  www.kansastravel.org/monumentrocks.htm. Out here in the middle of nowhere are these absolutely wonderful rock creations which you can park your auto and walk all around. One has to go the Grand Canyon or someplace like that to see this type of a scenic vista. They do not go for miles and miles however it is certainly worth the trip to see these extra ordinary structures. Do be careful because this on private land (the owners are very nice to allow visitors drive on their property for free,) but there are dozens of cattle walking all around and they do leave ‘droppings’ NOT to step in! Be sure and check out the photos on their website.

Back to Oakley we had lunch at the Dairy King and had a delicious cheeseburger and chocolate milk shake. Our clerk, Leesa was a delight to talk with. She actually is a cousin to Amanda, the motel manager. Needless to say the cheeseburger and milk shake was made from scratch unlike at the fast food restaurants. Then off to Russell Springs, Kansas about 30 miles southwest. The population is 24, yes, 24! It was the original county seat of Logan Country until 1963 which it was moved to Oakley. The beautiful county court house is now the Butterfield Trail Museum, www.butterfieldtrailmuseum.org/. which is full of history as well as hundreds of artifacts and relics from the area. Debbie who was in charge of the Museum was great! She loves her town and it’s rich history. A ‘friend’ of hers, Kendal walked in from town like one block away and he was equally interesting to talk with about the town and it’s history. They were perfect together and we think that they should get married. Needless to say the town has no grocery stores or service stations or anything other than it’s residents. On cold winter nights one needs to stock up on groceries and beer/liquor from another town far away.

That night we dined THE BLUFF restaurant in Oakley which was highly recommended to us by several people. The food was excellent! Our server, Jessie was friendly and professional. The two guys in the kitchen (and owners) certainly knew what they were doing and our food was outstanding! Three more people we want to mention was John at the Meat Processing business across the street from the motel. They process all of their own meat. Large cities needs a place like this. Unfortunately we were running late when we left and didn’t have time to purchase some meat to bring home. They have a wonderful grocery store in Oakley. Heartland Foods, where everyone is super friendly, especially Jack and Matthew. If you are ever driving along I-70, take a couple of days and stay in Oakley. You will be glad that you did. You will also meet some of the friendliest people around. Thanks again to Amanda at the motel for being so fabulous! For more information about Oakley, Kansas, check www.discoveroakley.com/
Don and Ray

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Gordon Parks Museum in Fort Scott, Kansas – Traveling in Our Fabulous Gay World

Author: , August 6th, 2018

Gordon Parks

As we travel around the country we are always interested in visiting the different museums. This week we found one that is extremely interesting. THE GORDON PARKS MUSEUM in Fort Scott, Kansas was founded in 2004. Gordon Parks, the famous photographer, filmmaker, musician and writer was born in Fort Scott in 1912. His journey with his camera took him all over the world.

He was the first African-American staff photographer for LIFE magazine for 20 years and his remarkable photographs many times were on their cover. He was the first African- American to direct a film for a major studio and his credits includes, The Learning Tree, Shaft, Leadbelly and others.

He wrote 20 books and composed music as well. He was truly a Renaissance man in every sense of the word. President Ronald Reagan presented him the National Medal of Arts Award in 1988. He lived most of his adult life in New York City.

Gordon Parks

Gordon ParksExecutive Director Jill Warford has truly done a remarkable job in creating this memorial/museum to this great man. Under her guidance this museum has turned into a national treasure. In all of our travels from coast to coast she is the most professional, friendly and articulate Director of any museum we have ever toured, and we have toured over 100 museums!

She knows the history of Gordon Parks explicitly and is a great tour guide. After the death of Gordon Parks in 2006,his personal effects were given to the Museum including awards and medals that he was given throughout his life, personal paintings, clothing, cameras and photographs, etc. They have dozens of his original photographs on display. The museum was able to obtain his ‘writing desk’.

His works can be found at the National Film Registry, the National Archives in Washington, D. C., the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C., Wichita Kansas State University as well as Kansas State University in Manhattan, Ks. If you are not familiar with him, check him out online.

The museum is open daily and is located on the campus of the Fort Scott Community College at 2108 South Horton. Their website is:  http://www.gordonparkscenter.org/ and you can call them for more details at 1.800.874.3722, Ext. 5850.

Their museum has the largest collection of his work in one place, where he was born and is now buried. Be SURE and read what he wrote about the town where he was born which is on his tombstone which he wrote 5 years before his death in 2006.

Gordon Parks“This small town into which I was born has for me, grown into the largest and most important city in the Universe. Fort Scott is not as tall or hearlded as New York, Paris or London – or other places my feet have roamed, but it is home. Surely, I remember the harsh days, the sordid bigotry and segregated schools – and indeed the graveyard for Black people, (where my beloved Mother and Father still rest beneath Kansas earth). But recently, the bitterness, that hung around for so many years seems to have asked for silence, for escape from the weariness of the ugly days past. Thankfully hatred is suddenly remaining quiet, keeping it’s mouth shut! And I’m thankful for the contentment we lost along the way. My hope now is that each of us can find What GOD put us here to find – LOVE! Let us have no more truck with the devil.”

And a BIG thanks to Director Jill Warford on doing such an outstanding job with the museum!

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Kansas Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: A Two Week Driving Trip to California

Author: , December 4th, 2017

Nevada - Donald and Ray

Kansas Church - Donald and RayWe decided to take a 2 week driving trip from our home in greater Kansas City to California. We always travel by auto and there are good Interstates all the way there. We usually stop in small towns for lunch and dinner since we really are not into chain restaurants. Usually they are good as they are so far on this trip.

Kansas is 400 miles long and really nothing to see or visit. However they do have largest Catholic Church in the Midwest which was built out of limestone over a year ago, so we did visit it. The architecture is very interesting.

Limon - Ben & Jerrys - Donald and RayOur first day’s stop was in Limon, Colorado which is a very small town. We always talk to everyone and a semi truck driver came in and we were talking with him. He had a truck load of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream.

We kept telling him how much we enjoyed Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, but being such a small town they didn’t have any at the only small grocery store in town. Yep, he felt sorry for us and went out to his semi and brought back a 1/2 gallon for us. It PAYS to talk to people!

Kansas Historical Marker - Donald and RayOur second night was in the middle of Utah and the only place to stay is in Green River which has a population of 952 and most everyone works in the 10 motels in town.

Needless to say after the sun goes down, there is absolutely nothing to do in town. However the scenery along Interstate 70 is absolutely incredible. Native American Indians are selling their hand made wares at the rest areas.

Bonnie and Clyde Car - Donald and RayThe next night we stayed in Primm, Nevada which is about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas. Room rates at the resorts are like $39.95 so is much less expensive than staying in Las Vegas. We were both lucky on the penny slot machines. Ray first won $49.60 and Donald won $176.50. So that was a nice surprise!

At the Resort where we stayed they had on permanent display the actual auto that Bonnie and Clyde were killed in – with dozens of bullet holes in it.

Jom Nabors Star - Donald and RayThen, next, onward to West Hollywood where the temperatures are tremendously warm! Upon arriving to Hollywood the news came out that Jim Nabors had died so we went immediately to his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Stars on Hollywood Blvd. Flowers had already been placed at his star by fans.

Now we will have a very interesting time in West Hollywood and then more fun times in Palm Springs before driving back home.

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Kansas City is Pretty Darn Gay

Author: , October 27th, 2014

The American Restaurant - Kansas City

Batter up, boys, it’s World Series season here in America, in case you didn’t know. This is the 110th World Series, with the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals fighting for the title. Baseball non-fans may be tempted to throw their casual support behind San Francisco simply because of the city’s reputation as a mecca. How unfortunate, however, it is to so easily turn one’s nose up at the thought of Kansas City.

True, not every neighborhood of the city is glamorous. Carol Burnett created her famous “Mama’s Family” sketch when her tour bus broke down in the Kansas City suburb of Raytown, and she met some of the locals. However, every city has its ups and downs. Ever been to the the Marina in San Francisco? Probably not, and there are many reasons why.

So wipe that furrowed, judgmental brow off your faces right now. It may be easy to dismiss places like Kansas City as fly-over country before you get to an exciting city like San Francisco. Those who take time to get to know Kansas City may find some delightful surprises that would even impress the most jaded urbanite.

Full Story at Queerty | Kansas Gay Travel Resources

Quick Escapes for Business Travelers in Kansas City

Author: , April 29th, 2013

Tell a Kansas City resident that they’re located in a flyover state and see what happens. Actually, don’t do that. For those traveling to the heart of America for business or pleasure, you’ll find plenty of extracurricular activities to make the most of your visit. In an effort to get you outside the boardroom and into KC, here are two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

EAT: Webster House is situated next to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. There’s plenty more to do than just dining here (shopping and gawking at the artwork, to name two), but the food is truly exceptional. Webster House is on the National Register of Historic Places, so if you’re into atmosphere, you’ll find it in spades here. It’s the ideal location for a client dinner – or just a splurge for you and your colleagues.

Authored By Darren Murph – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Missouri.