Excursion 11, Part 3 (Motor Castles for Motor Carriages)

In which our intrepid hero encounters much roadside lodging of a bygone era…

Every frequent traveler has their hotel stories to tell.  One little one of mine comes from a trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, in the 1990s.  I walked into my hotel room to discover that there was an agitated bee in the hotel room.  That was a little disconcerting.  I am not afraid of bees but I respect them and being in the same hotel room as one struck me as being a mite too close for comfort.  So I called down to the front desk and told them to send someone up with some bugspray.  Eventually a hotel staff member arrived but he didn’t have any bugspray.  How the hotel expected him to kill the bee was beyond me.  What he did have was bug-eyes and I soon discovered the reason that he was so fearful was because he was, allegedly, allergic to bee stings.  “So the hotel sent the one guy allergic to bee stings to come kill my bee?” I asked.  “And didn’t give him anything to kill it with?”   We saw, eventually, that more than anything the bee just wanted out of there—he kept trying to get out through the window (which did not open).  So finally we decided to team up—one of us trapped the bee in some of the window curtains while the other thwacked him with a book (probably the hotel room bible).  Final score:  Bee 0, Two Idiots 1.

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Excursion 11, Part 2 (There and Back Again)

In which our intrepid hero reaches his destination and begins his return to the Shire…

One consequence of growing up in the desert is that I came to enjoy rainy days, rare as they are there.  This, I discovered, was an attitude quite foreign to people living in the Midwest, where I have lived for the past quarter-century.  Yet even so many years later, cloudy days do not depress me as they do so many others and I get a thrill every time a thunderstorm occurs.  Ohio gets its fair share of thunder and lightning, but the most impressive lightning show I ever saw occurred in El Paso one summer night in the mid-1980s.  I left the house that evening on some minor errand, driving on a wide-open street with an expansive view.  The storm had already begun and lightning lit up the entire sky.  Indeed, so many simultaneous lightning strikes were occurring each second that it was almost like an eerie artificial daylight.  I was virtually the only person on the road, so the whole display seemed as if it were some sort of special show just for me.  I have never forgotten that moment.

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Excursion 11, Part 1 (Those Little Town Blues)

In which our intrepid hero rejects Cary Grant and goes south by southwest…

For the past 18 years I have had to travel quite a bit for work, typically training law enforcement officers, prosecutors or judges in some part of the country (or, rarely, abroad).  These travels have taken me to 46 of the 50 states and, were it not for incidents such as breaking an ankle, I would have visited 49 of the 50 states by now.  Because of those facts, many people think that I get to see far more than I get to see.  “Wow,” is a typical comment, “You’ve really seen every corner of the country.”  But this is work travel, not vacation travel.  It turns out that the Jackson, Mississippi, airport looks a lot like many other airports and the Hilton hotel conference center in Yellow Snow, North Dakota, is amazingly similar to the Marriott hotel conference center in Asscrack, Alabama.  I’ve been to Arizona many times, for example.  Have I ever seen the Grand Canyon?  Not on your life.  Moreover, when I travel for work I am not even of the mindset that wants to go do a touristy thing.  My overwhelming desire is to get in, do what I need to do, and get back home.

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