Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Staycation - Part Two

I know you've been waiting for the thrilling conclusion to our two days of leisure. Well, wait no more!

Day two was decidedly more lighthearted as far as museum material is concerned. Randyl and I drove over to Lawrence, Kansas. I love Lawrence. I only wish I spent more time there. It's really only 45 minutes away, but my favorite destination there, Free State Brewing, makes it seem like a lot more on the drive back.

We started by visiting the Spencer Museum of Art on the campus of KU. I thought maybe we'd be cool enough to blend in and look like students. I think there was a freshman orientation or perspective student visit going on though, and we had no shot of looking like a frosh. Being aged aside, we saw some really cool pieces in the museum.
This glass piece suggest an underwater scene to me.
This dude was ready for karate chop action.
I'm not a car guy, but this polyurethane painting/sculpture was cool.

They also feature some paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O'Keefe, and other famous painters you should know about, but I was really taken by these pieces the most. Admission is 100% free and they feature travelling exhibitions as well. I highly recommend a trip out.

We walked across the street to the student union where we met up with Randyl's sister. She works at the Pulse and sold us a generously 10% employee discounted cup of tea and we discussed our plans for the day. She's a college chick and infinitely too cool to hang out with us. I think she was doing something awesome like cleaning her boyfriend's apartment while he was at Comic-Con. Foolish us, we're so lame. (Note: Randyl's sister is actually pretty cool...)

Our next stop on the KU campus was the Natural History Museum. Unlike the art museum, they have a suggest donation of five dollars for each adult visitor. We only had 8 bucks. Ah well. We spent a little over an hour combing through displays of dinosaur fossils and stuffed dead animals. By far the coolest part of the museum was an insect exhibit where you could check out grasshoppers, roaches, and other creepy crawlers.
That's a huge grasshopper. If this were Andrew Zimmern's blog, it would be deep friend.
Oh snap! I almost forgot the lights that put off crazy colors under a black light.
They were almost as cool as the bugs.
Our brains full of knowledge, we decided it was time to do some brain damage at one of my favorite brewpubs on the planet, Free State Brewing. I'll spare you the history lesson or links to their beer reviews and just tell you I think they make fantastic beer. I judge a brewery by a couple of factors: the quality of the beer and the quality of the people making the beer. Free State scores highly in bot
h categories. It's always nice to drink good beer made by good people. Before we made it over to the pub, we took a visit to their production facility over at 19th and Moodie to see their bottling line. As luck would have it, we arrived just after they'd finished running. Fortunately for me, I've seen a bottling line and can use some imagination to figure it out. They've added a lot of new equipment and staff since the last time I've been there. It's exciting to see them doing so well. The only picture I took was of some of their super sacks, huge bags that can hold a custom blend of grain for a specific recipe, because I'm jealous we don't have these at Boulevard.
Awesome. Want.
Lunch at the pub was great. We took a leisurely approach and started with a couple  of Beer Royales, a sessionable Belgian style beer brewed with hibiscus flowers, and a fruit and cheese plate. We sampled through most of the specialty beers and settled on a burger and a French Dip for lunch. They had on a Schwarzbier, an IPA, and a Belgian Wit. As usual the food and beer were fantastic, but the hospitality was above and beyond. I owe those guys some beer the next time I see them!

We had originally planned on heading to Clinton Lake for a swim, but ended up heading back home before swimming at a pool around here. I'm glad we did that because I was able to learn something. In all my years of jumping off diving boards, I've never known how long I should wait or where the person previous to me should be in relation to the ladder on the side of the pool. Thanks to a super friendly lifeguard who gained my attention by blowing his military grade typhoon whistle, I now know. You must wait until the person before you is completely on the ladder. That ladder may be 30-40 feet away from the board, but they must be on...the...ladder. Got it! Thanks, dude! At least he called me by dad's name, "Sir".