Shawnee Mission Park and Jerry’s Bait Shop

The Shawnee Mission Park Trails circle the park and also connect with the Gary Haller Trail in the Mill Creek Streamway on the west side of the park. 20140902_101105  Hiking within the park on a recent overcast day gave us plenty of miles and an abundance of beautiful scenery to admire. 20140902_092420 The asphalt trails delight our feet and joints, and there is a wildlife/horse trail for those intrepid enough to douse themselves with insect repellent and hike through the woods. (We like to do that in the early spring or late fall.) Shawnee Mission is as great for walkers as it is for picnickers, fishermen, and water sportsters. 20140902_094940

After this invigorating walk, we drove to Old Leawood where we found Jerry’s Bait Shop, a bar and grill with a great, award-winning pizza. 20140902_114537 We almost passed this little gem by, because we took the name literally, until we peeked inside and saw the bar and outside, the courtyard eating area. Good clues. 20140902_114507  We got there early, before the crowd came in and we were joined by lots of discerning folks for a yummy pizza lunch. There are also a number of other good-sounding items on the menu. 20140902_114433 Fun place.

When I got home, I noticed how much my kitties were missing me on a cool day in September. 20140901_131746 Not. When they are cold, they like to curl up together in an armchair, sleep, and pay no attention to their humans.

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Kill Creek Streamway Trail and De Soto, Kansas

20140828_085842  Kill Creek Streamway Trail can be reached by exiting Kansas 10 onto Lexington (the sign says De Soto exit,) going south a short distance to 95th Street, then driving east to a parking area. From there one can walk south or north. We walked south first, along the creek on a shady asphalt trail20140828_092005  until we reached a circular turnaround. 20140828_092542   Then we walked north, past the parking area and under the highway to where the trail becomes a sidewalk in a housing development. It made for a nice walk, easy on the feet and with enough shade to make it comfortable on a hot August day.

Another one of those pretty Johnson County trail bridges, this time over Kill Creek

Another one of those pretty Johnson County trail bridges, this time over Kill Creek

We could have walked into the town of De Soto by taking a branch off the trail, but we chose to walk back to our car (a two-hour hike total) and drive into town.

The two businesses we visited in De Soto are hidden treasures and spectacular finds. Mercato Italian Antiques & Artifacts knocked our socks off with its impressive array of  imported antiques and pottery. 20140828_113300  20140828_113242 20140828_113428  Mary Lies, the owner, designed her own tableware collections based on Italian patterns and has them made in Italy for her shop. (Sneaky me–maybe my kids will see this and purchase pieces of the tableware for me for birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day…Gesso or Compagna, please.) 20140828_113403

Our last stop was across the street from Mercato at Wanda’s Roadside Café, a quaint country kind of place with a full lunch crowd.20140828_115406 I can understand why it is so popular. 20140828_115359 Two of us shared the vegetarian omelet served with crispy hash browns, plenty of food and the best omelet I can imagine, but we each ordered our own piece of Wanda’s homemade pie. We liked it so much that we split the pie, too, buttermilk pie and peach pie with ice-cream–sooooo fulllll, but so happy. Yummy.

Happy Trails!

Gary L. Haller Trail

Our walk this week was on part of the Gary L. Haller Trail, a north/south trail which winds it way from the Kansas (Kaw) River at its northernmost point to 119th Street in Olathe at its southern extreme. It goes all the way through Shawnee Mission Park and through or by several smaller parks.

We started at an access parking area west of I-435 on Shawnee Mission Parkway, left on Midland Drive, then an immediate right on Lawrence Road. It’s a pretty creek-side lot with  shade for summertime parking. The access trail to the beautiful Gary L. Haller Trail is at the end of the parking area. At the Haller Trail, one must decide whether to turn north or south. To the south, the trail leads to Shawnee Mission Park, is hilly for a time, and then passes meadows with bluebird houses and treed areas with all kinds of deer, wild turkey, and many other animals.

We turned north. The trail is rather flat and easy to walk (no concrete except on the intersecting Clear Creek Trail; we avoid concrete, but it’s good for bikers.) There are shady stretches and sunny areas, and eventually it reaches the Kansas River, turns a loop on a small island and returns.

During the hike we met a bicyclist who stopped to talk. He stopped because one of our group jumped ten feet when he came up behind us and signaled to pass on a narrow bridge. This hiker is nervous about bikers because she’s been hit twice on our walks over the years. To read the story of her terrible troubles and the polite guy with whom we talked, go to my Cozy Mystery Blog. Bikers see KCBike.Info for good trail and ride ideas, and please remember the rules of courtesy for bikers–announce yourself to hikers, be ready to stop quickly if necessary, and pass on the left.

Long walk finished. Time to eat. We drove a short distance on Midland Drive under I-435 to Eggtc.  EggtcI had the Low Carb Chicken from the lunch menu sandwich section. Actually, it’s not a sandwich at all, but a chicken breast grilled and topped with Monterey jack and mango salsa, no bread.  On the side I could have had French fries or fruit, but I chose sweet potato fries–not a low-cal choice, but I love them when they are fried well–not greasy or burnt. These were delicious. My lunch was yummy.

Happy Trails.

Stilwell, Kansas and Rock Collecting

This week too many members of my walking group, The Roaming Readers, were out of town. No group hike took place—sad. I enjoy my solo walks around my neighborhood, but it’s always more fun exploring with the group.

Fun. Exercise. Exploration. Good food. Those are the components of our weekly hikes. I need (want?) that at least once a week. So my husband and I took off on an expedition to collect rocks. We traveled south on Mission Road toward 199th Street. Along the way, we took detours onto country roads which looked likely to have a creek or a rocky outcropping with fallen stones.

IMG_5159Bumping along in our Ford truck, rumbling past fields and woods, we found a couple of creeks and a crumbling rocky ledge. The edges of the creeks proved most lucrative, but our final haul of rocks  proved skimpy. That was because of the heat and humidity. Did you ever try to carry a bunch of rocks with sweat rolling down into your eyes?

On 199th Street we turned right to look for a lunch spot in the small town of Stilwell. At 199th and Old Metcalf, two fire trucks and a bunch of people surrounded a jazzy-looking motor home. We had to investigate. IMG_5151  IMG_5153

It turned out the firemen and all those people were there for lunch, at a food wagon called Beauty of the Bistro. My husband and I loved the food. (And so did other people in the community. More and more stopped to eat or to order for take out.) I had a Blue Moon burger—juicy hamburger, sun-dried tomatoes, blue cheese, greens, corn… Yummy! They cater, too. We ate at a picnic table under a shade tree across from a field of wild flowers.

Delightful lunch.   IMG_5155   IMG_5158

I want to take my walking group there. Does anyone know of a walking trail in or near Stilwell, Kansas?

The rocks we gathered will be used in the rock wall I’m building around my garden. I was inspired to build my wall by the rock walls we saw in Ireland and in England on our walks into the countryside. Kansas City summer weather makes it hard to grow all the lovely flowers I saw there, but my green beans, cilantro, zucchini, potatoes, and onions are doing fine. We’ve had enough water this summer, for a change. IMG_5162  IMG_5165  IMG_5163

Happy trails!

Hiking in Mission, Kansas

South of the Target at Metcalf and 61st Street in Mission, a hiking/biking trail takes one east along a creek , through a park by the DMV, and on toward the Mission Mart shops near Roe. You can find this trail and many, many other Johnson County trails by using the maps on the Johnson County trail maps site: http://www.jcprd.com/parks_facilities/trailguide.cfm

This a shorter trail than our group usually walks, and on Tuesday, June 17 part of the trail was closed. It looked as if, unfortunately, the trail is being paved with concrete. That’s good for bicycles but very, very unhealthy for our poor feet. We walked around the new construction out to Johnson Drive and found a happy spot for a short stop.

There is a small breakfast and lunch spot named Twisted Sisters Coffee Shop (find out more at its Facebook page  at 5606 Johnson Drive, on the north side of the street. T S coffeeSisters Sandy and Nancy run the homey little shop with a personal and humorous style of their own–only a little itty-bitty bit twisted. I’m not a coffee drinker, but if the iced-to-order tea is any indication, the coffee and other drinks are most likely delicious.

The food is–delicious, I mean. We shared a tasty blueberry scone at 10:30 to go with our tea and then walked back to our cars in the Target parking lot. Both of us agreed to walk another trail, the one starting at Lamar and Shawnee Mission Parkway or the new trail on the west side of Metcalf above I-35 and Turkey Creek. But it being a hot day and late, we unanimously decided instead to return to Twisted Sisters for an early lunch. (Earlier, we had noticed the lunch menu.)

We each chose a half sandwich and soup for only $5.00. Mine turned out to be a fabulous treat. The homemade tomato basil soup is chunky and tastes as if the basil is in a pesto infused into a creamy tomato base. I didn’t ask for the recipe, but I should have. My half sandwich, chicken salad on raisin bread, tasted so good I wished I’d ordered a whole one. I asked our personable server where the bread came from, and she told me. You can’t get it, unless you go to Twisted Sister. twisted sister logoI rate it Yummy!

Happy Trails.