Lawrence is less than an hour from Kansas City, so the drive to the game was short. As we passed downtown Kansas City before turning west, we saw the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. It is an amazing structure and is sure to be a destination when we return to Kansas City on a future trip.
The drive from KC to Lawrence was uneventful and there wasn’t too much traffic; but once we hit the streets in Lawrence, it was a different story. As we neared the Kansas University campus area, the streets were lined on both sides with parked cars. We had been given directions to Memorial Stadium, so we didn’t have any problems finding our way there. Once there, however, we began to search for parking. We didn’t see any parking lots, so we looked for “yard parking” that wasn’t too expensive.
The parking closest to the stadium was $30, but a block and a half away we found a friendly young man who let us park in his backyard, accessible from the alleyway, for only $10. He and his friends (one a KU graduate from Midwest City!) even provided a beverage for everyone. How accommodating is that?! Maybe as much as the parking sign we saw: “$20 Park & Potty”!
As we prepared to cross the street to the stadium, we encountered a number of ticket “salesmen” who were only too happy to offer better seats than we had received from OU. With a little bartering back and forth – and a near fight as two of the salesmen argued over which of them had first dibs on our business – we ended up with 35-yard line seats on row 11, instead of seats past the goal line on row 44. Best move of the night for us!!
So… another football trip but new experiences. With three away games under our belt this year, we’re already talking about where we’ll get to go next year. Maybe as soon as the Big 12 knows WHO the Big 12 is, we’ll get to see a schedule!
When your travels are football weekends, it limits the amount of sightseeing you can do. But during our trip to Kansas City to enjoy the OU-KU game in Lawrence, we saw just enough to know that we’d like to return to KC to see the sights and absorb more of the area.
We stayed at the Marriott Country Club Plaza, which offers a free shuttle to any place in the Plaza, so it was nice to park the car and not have to worry about driving and finding parking, etc. Country Club Plaza was originally built in 1922, but much of it was destroyed by a flood in 1977. It has been rebuilt, and is recognized around the country. It is a 15-block area of shops and restaurants, some uniquely local ones and some national stores.
Kansas City is known as the city of fountains and many of them grace the Country Club Plaza area. It was perfect fall weather, warm but not hot, with the leaves beginning to change colors and the fall flowers in full bloom.
One couple shouted out “OU!” as we crossed an intersection of the Plaza, and what a surprise to realize it was a couple we had known ten years ago in Oklahoma! Turns out they now live in Kansas City, and we had a nice visit. It’s definitely a small world!
Each year at the OU/TX football game weekend, we find ourselves indulging — usually in wonderful dining establishments. This year we enjoyed two excellent evenings of delicious dinners and a lot of fun in between.
Nick & Sam’s in Dallas was packed and rowdy and wonderful. There were frequent outbreaks of “Boomer Sooner” and “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You” from the clientele, and the pianist played both songs occasionally to keep everyone in the spirit of the pre-game evening.
The cuisine is primarily steaks, and the side dishes range from healthy grilled asparagus to rich and hearty lobster macaroni and cheese. Fine wines and incredible desserts make this a dinner destination that deserves the diners’ time to savor the evening.
Saturday’s football game at the Cotton Bowl provided the Sooner fans with an ample serving of victory. The rivalry of this game always makes it a special one, and even with OU favored to win this year, the final score of 55-17 gave the Sooners a chance to truly gloat! The Texas Longhorn fans were far less vocal this year than in years past, and many left long before the game was over.
Of course, the State Fair of Texas is held in conjunction with the Red River Rivalry (or is it the other way around?), so fair food and rides and games are part of the day for Sooners and Longhorns alike. If there’s a way to fry it, you can find it at the fair! Fried butter, fried salsa, fried pineapple upside down cake, chicken fried bacon, fried bubblegum… UGH! Don’t check your cholesterol for awhile following this weekend!
There are many rides at the fair, but the iconic Texas Star Ferris Wheel is a must. Besides being fun, it gives the best view of the whole fairgrounds.
OU/TX weekend is many things to many people – food, fun, football, the fair. Be sure to put it on your bucket list if you haven’t already had a chance to be a part of it!
For years we have made the annual “run” to Dallas for the OU/TX football game, commonly known as the Red River Rivalry. Over the years, we have tried a number of different routes and various modes of transportation. Here are a few to consider:
* Drive your car to Dallas and to the State Fair Park, where you and thousands of others are scrambling to find a close parking lot where they don’t charge an arm and a leg for a spot. We have done this very thing and found parking places in lots, in businesses’ parking areas, in people’s front yards (where the car got caught on a sidewalk step!). The cost for these depends on the distance from the Cotton Bowl, of course, but can run $20 or more.
* Take a chartered bus trip. Whether this originates in Oklahoma or at a Dallas hotel, it is great to “leave the driving to us” and not have to worry about the traffic to get to State Fair Park nor where to park when you arrive. Of course, the charge for these charters is considerably higher than just a parking spot; but it can be nice to enjoy your drink of choice while on the way and during the return!
* Dallas now offers several choices involving the DART system. Dallas Area Rapid Transit has buses and a rail system, either of which leaves you being the passenger and not having to worry about the driving. You still have to drive to a transfer station, though.Several years ago we took the DART rail by driving to the American Airlines Center to park. We arrived plenty early and had no problems getting on the train; and we ended up leaving the game a bit early, so we made the return train trip with no problems. We later heard many complaints, though, that there weren’t enough trains to handle the return riders, and some people had to wait hours for their return trip! * Last year we drove to the American Airlines Center, planning to catch the train again, only to find that DART was prepared for fair visitors en masse with many buses lined up and ready to load. We had taken the DART bus trip in previous years from a downtown station that required we park in a Target parking lot, much to the dismay of Target shoppers who then had limited parking; so we hopped on one of the waiting buses and were chauffeured to the Fair Park. Buses entered the parking area on the fairgrounds, unloaded, and were waiting in exactly the same place after the game. That was a smooth, relatively painless (and inexpensive) way to get to the game.
* So, which mode of transportation did we choose this year? The BEST! We jumped in the back seat of our son’s car, he drove to the fairgrounds, and we valet parked! The cost? $30. Worth every penny as we walked 30 yards to the gate to enter the fair and back to retrieve the car after the game.
There’s no doubt that being “chauffeured” to the OU/TX game makes it much more enjoyable. And look at all the choices you have!