Travelogue: Celebrate baseball and jazz in KC

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

America the Beautiful

Quick guide to Kansas City’s 18th and Vine Historic District

Why go: February is Black History Month, and the 18th and Vine district in Kansas City, Mo., features museums dedicated to two of black America’s many cultural contributions: jazz and baseball. The museum complex is home to the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The district also includes the Mutual Musicians Foundation, the Gem Theater, the Historic Lincoln Building and the longtime offices of African-American newspaper The Call.

More about the jazz museum: In the 1930s and 1940s, Kansas City was THE hotbed of jazz, and musicians burst onto the scene from 18th and Vine (Charlie Parker and Count Basie being the most famous examples). The museum documents the history of jazz and features exhibits on Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and more. Also on the property is The Blue Room, a jazz club.

More about the baseball museum: Kansas City was home to the longest-running franchise in black baseball history – the Monarchs – and some of the Negro Leagues’ biggest stars (Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson) called KC home. The museum focuses on the entire history of black baseball, and its main feature is the Field of Legends, which has bronze statues of 12 black baseball greats. Separated from visitors at the entrance by chicken wire, it is accessible only at the end of the tour – symbolic of the plight of the black baseball player in the early years of baseball. The Baseball Hall of Fame and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum are musts for any baseball fan.

Getting there: The museum complex is just east of downtown Kansas City and is about 20 miles from Kansas City International Airport.

Staying there: There are many hotels in the Kansas City area. Check out for a complete listing.

Weather report: In February, the normal high is 43 degrees, and the normal low is 23 degrees.

More information:

Airport Adventures

A Florida kitten had the trip of a lifetime after hiding in her owner’s suitcase. The kitty, Gracie Mae, stowed away in her owner’s suitcase for the duration of a 2 ½-hour trip from Florida to Texas. But that’s not the end of Gracie Mae’s tale: The suitcase was accidentally picked up by the wrong person, and when the Texas man got home, “a cat jumped out,” according to Reuters. The Texan housed the fortunate feline until her owner could pick her up.

Oh, Canada!

Beginning Jan. 31, if you cross the U.S.-Canadian border, you have to have more documentation than just a driver’s license. You can present your license with a birth certificate and still cross the border, but if you want to show just one item, the following will be accepted:

- U.S. or Canadian passport.

- U.S. passcard (not available until later in the year).

- "Trusted traveler card," which includes NEXUS, SENTRI or FAST cards.

- State or province issued "enhanced" driver's license.

- U.S. military ID with travel orders.

- U.S. merchant mariner document.

- Native American Tribal Photo ID card.

- Form I-872 American Indian Card.

- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Card.

For more information, contact the Homeland Security Department: -- Sources: Homeland Security, AP

Number to Know: 12

Time in the morning (Eastern time) that is the best time to check for flight deals if you’re purchasing tickets online, according to travel Web site The best day to check for deals is at 12 a.m. Friday – that’s when weekend specials are generally released.

Talk Like a Local

How to say hello and goodbye when in Indonesia:

Hello: Halo (HUH-lo)

Hello (informal): He (Hey)

Goodbye: Selamat tinggal

Goodbye (informal): Dadah (DUH-DUH)

Good to Know

Airline passengers no longer are allowed to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage. The ban took effect Jan. 1 and was created because of fire risks. If the batteries are in a device, they can be checked with your luggage; if they’re in a plastic bag, they can go in your carry-on bags.

Fun Facts

- Two out of three Australians either already are members of the “mile-high club” or want to join it, according to a recent survey.

- Montpelier, capital of the state of Vermont, is the only state capital in the United States of America that doesn't have a McDonalds restaurant. –-

Travel Tip

How much should you tip for services while abroad? It can vary greatly depending on where you are. Here are some tipping tips by city, according to The Associated Press:

- London: A 12.5 percent service charge is generally included at restaurants; 10 percent for taxis; up to $2 for hotel porters.

- Paris: Between 5 and 10 percent at restaurants, if a service charge is not already included; no tips for taxis; up to $2 per bag at hotels.

- Dubai: Tips are not obligatory for restaurants or taxis; hotel porters are $1.50 to $3.

- Moscow: 10 percent at restaurants; 5 to 10 percent for taxis; $1 per bag for hotel porters.

- Tokyo: Tips are not necessary.

For other tipping tips, go to This Web page also has a wallet-sized tipping guide that you can print out.

GateHouse News Service