Finally back in the office after a series of road trips – both personal and business – that have taken me to some interesting places. Before I get back to writing about serious topics like solvency, sustainability, tax reform, and relevance, I thought I’d give you a quick glimpse of some of the stops along the way. Here goes…
Dallas, TX – Lovely city for a wedding. Here’s a photo of the happy couple; our son, Ben, and his new wife, Erica. What a joyous celebration it was!
Nash, TX – After the wedding, my wife and one of her best buddies (and the godmother of the new groom) headed east from Dallas looking for adventure (sort of a “Thelma and Louise” thing) and some good barbeque.
It’s not always easy finding open restaurants on Sundays in the Bible Belt, but thanks to a Yelp app and an iPhone we stumbled across Smokey Joe’s in this little town just west of Texarkana. We had the combo platter, of course, and it was delicious. The complimentary pinto beans (“made with love,” according to the owner) provided plenty of extra fuel for the rest of the day’s travel. And the added bonus was Anthony McAdam, the nicest busboy in Texas, who refilled our ice tea (“I knew you weren’t from around here because you asked for unsweetened tea”) and dished out what proved to be some very helpful travel tips (“visit Eureka Springs, Arkansas; we used to take family vacations there when I was a kid”). We tipped him $30 – just about what we paid for the meal – and I think we made his day. He certainly made ours.
Little Rock, AR – Great little state capital. Visited the Clinton Library and Museum and no matter what your politics are it’s worth the trip. Bill is beloved down here and when I asked a local if they cared about his dalliances while in office, I was rewarded with the best quote of the trip: “Not really. Most folks know someone who knew him in high school when he was a complete nerd. Then he married that awful Yankee woman. So we really don’t blame him for getting a little something on the side.” You just can’t make up lines like that.
Hot Springs, AR – Beautiful setting, wonderful history of two of the great loves of my life (baseball and The Mob), and a couple of 19th century bath houses that are still in operation. Some great food, too. What’s not to like?
Eureka Springs, AR – Thanks to Anthony the busboy we took a side trip down Arkansas back roads to get to this jewel in the Ozark Mountains and it was worth the effort. Built around natural hot springs in the late 1870s, the village climbs almost straight up the steep sides of mountain slopes. Great place to walk, shop, eat – and smoke cigars. Lots of kitschy, touristy things on the outskirts of towns (caves, zip lines, zip lines in caves, etc.) and many hotels that cater to bikers, but very cool nonetheless. Thanks, Anthony!
Branson, MO – Mayberry on steroids with horrendous traffic. Never again.
Hannibal, MO – So much potential for a wonderful walking history tour of Mark Twain’s hometown…but not quite there.
French Lick, IN – I went there for the Gleaner Convention. Hometown of Larry Bird, the hero to every slow, white kid with a dream of playing in the NBA (one of which was me). Another resort community built on the presence of natural springs, people flocked to French Lick to drink and bathe in the water that had “healing properties.” It was later discovered that those properties were due in large part to high quantities of lithium in the water. The springs were shut down and the place almost died until about 20 years ago a group bought the two major resorts and restored them to their 1920s glory. They added a couple of world class golf courses, too. Put this one on your “got to go at least once” list.
Hershey, PA – I went there for the Pennsylvania Fraternal Alliance meeting. It’s a true company town – everything is named Hershey – but how can you not like a place where they give you a full size Hershey bar when you check in? Can’t wait to get invited to another meeting there.
But like Dorothy said, there’s no place like home!
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