Oh what a night in Kansas City

I have found so much fun in Kansas City and tonight was almost too much excitement to bear.

We went out to dinner, tapas at a cute little Spanish restaurant called La Bodega with Hiker Buddy Brian and his friend (my new friend) Hillary and then cruised around KC in The Mustang with the top down singing songs that included some Australian music by ACDC and Jet.

Then we hit the nightlife of the Power and Light District and I was told I had to ride the mechanical bull. I had always wanted to ride a mechanical bull, but never really had the opportunity, or the guts to do it when the opportunity was nearby. But, when in the Midwest at a bar that caters to the country music loving crowd and has a mechanical bull as its centrepiece, you are in the right place to take that bull ride.

And so I did.

I got off that bull jubilant and with quivering legs from gripping it so tightly. Not even watching the “professional” girls and guys working at the bar leap upon the bull and expertly ride it without holding on with their hands could take away from me the fact that I totally nailed that bull ride.

Con los vaqueros

I got my first real sighting of Mexican cowboys at a place called Silver Saddle in Las Vegas. After a night at the club, I popped in there with Chandler on the way back to the hostel and found myself in the Hispanic equivalent of a b & s.

I had my handbag searched while Chandler was patted down by security for concealed weapons. I faced the establishment agape at all the beige and black cowboy hats, perched atop heads proudly displaying preened mustaches. While the bar was typically the domain of the male (including a sleeping male whose mustache was nodding towards the counter), the tables and dancefloor held mixed groups and couples.

They played cumbia, which I’m not a fan of, but the couples were getting into it as they held each other closely and trotted around the dancefloor in a type of waltzy, jig fashion.

It was something so far removed from what I’ve seen before, and it was the opposite of the glitz and sparkle of the Strip, but it was utterly fascinating and such a great place to see the stereotype of the vaquero.

Raising the bar

Gin driving the U-Haul truck in ranch country

Craigslist is like an online Trading Post. It’s where you find all sorts of stuff to buy. Today it was a bar for a bargain.

The bar was a dual purpose purchase. It would form part of props for our short film and at other times grace Ricky’s apartment.

At 7 feet long, the bar was too big to fit in the back of the wagon, so a U-Haul truck was required for the 30 mile trip to Santa Clarita to pick it up. I rode with Gin in the truck on the freeway out of the city into ranch territory. So many horse ranches with the stereotypical white wooden fences lined the road as we struggled to find the address.

After about three u-turns on the windy road (not easy in a big moving van I may add, so high-fives to Gin) we finally found out that we’d been given the wrong address. Thankfully it was only a bit further up the road.

We drove into a small complex of four big ranch houses and met Butch, a retired guy, probably in his early sixties.Not living up to his tough name, he was lean with a silver beard, twinkly eyes and lovely demeanor. Butch used to be a set constructor and built the highway you’ve seen in The Matrix. Some of his old set equipment, a dolly trolley, helped to move the heavy bar from his upstairs self-proclaimed ‘mancave’ above the garage down to the truck. It was still quite a delicate process to get it down the stairs but we managed, and Gin and I proved our mettle to Butch, who had looked surprised at Ricky for bringing some girls to help with the job.

Once loaded in the truck we made our way back into LA where the next challenge was to unload the bar and then find a park in the street. We were lucky in finding an easy park in the street not far away because they can be tough to find, especially truck-sized parks.

Then, the big test was getting the bar up two flights of stairs and into the apartment. With some think-throughs, talk-throughs and just-do-its, we got the bar and a sweat up. Although the last little bit couldn’t have been done without the help of a neighbour who lent a hand at precisely the right moment, while it was in the air and in a pocket of inertia.

But, it looks great and was worth the adventure, although I’m not sure I’ll be volunteering to move it again…