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Road Trip

As much as I hate flying... or rather, what flying has become, thanks to the airlines and the TSA... I love long drives. Seeing the country as you pass through it, rather than just flying over it. Road trips are especially great if you can get off the Interstates. Stopping to eat at little mom & pop eateries, taking in the small towns, visiting the roadside attractions (the weirder, the better).

Our plan was to travel to ConQuest by road in a two-car caravan, with our Aussie friends Stephen Boucher and Janice Gelb. Sad to say, Parris came down with a killer cold and had to bow out, so two cars shrunk down to one... but Melinda Snodgrass made a last minute decision to join us over breakfast at Tecolote, and come Wednesday morning we headed off to Kansas City.

We all missed Parris, but it was a great trip anyway. Well, aside from the food. Mom and pop did not come through for us this time, I fear. A lot of mediocre eateries.

But the roadside attractions were great. Cement dinosaurs and real dino tracks in Clayton, New Mexico. The replica bomb crater in Boise City, Oklahoma (only mainland American city to be bombed during WWII) which almost had Melinda die of laughing. Hooker, Oklahoma, which seems to sell two kinds of t-shirts: ones extolling Jesus, and ones cashing in on the name "Hooker." The Straight Road of Guyman, Oklahoma (it's straight! really straight!! for a long way!!!). In Liberal, Kansas, we bought flying monkeys at Dorothy's Oz House, though Stephen would not let us take the tour (he has a terrible fear of munchkins) and stayed at a motel that looked like a prison (though it proved to be surprisingly comfortable) on Pancake Road. Dodge City's Boot Hill attraction and western museum has grown much more impressive since my last visit in 1978. In Greenburg, Kansas, we visited the Big Well (#1 of the Eight Wonders of Kansas) and I bought t-shirts and mugs to help the town rebuild (it was devastated by a tornado a few years back, but is rebuilding as a green community). Alas, the Cosmodrome in Hutchinson, Kansas was closed by the time we reached it... but it does look cool, with a full-sized Atlas and Mercury Redstone standing outside. Maybe a rival to Alamagordo's space museum, and a "definite" the next time we take a road trip to Kansas City. We finally found something good to eat in Emporia, but by then it was dark.

So after that it was KC and Conquest, one of my favorite regional cons. I'll write about that later. Maybe.

Flew home on Monday. It wasn't the same.

Nothing beats a road trip with friends.


( 57 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 3rd, 2010 05:04 am (UTC)
I completely agree, George.

Talked about you a bit at the Phoenix Comicon (spent more time with Sam Sykes). Hope Parris is feeling better!

Jun. 3rd, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
In less than two weeks, I'm moving. I'm driving cross-country with my boyfriend from Seattle, WA to Cleveland, OH. Hopefully we will also find cool things to see. 5 days, four nights, with me, my boyfriend, the bits of my stuff I need to lay hands on quickly, and my dog. Think good thoughts for me. :)
Jun. 3rd, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
"I hate flying... or rather, what flying has become"

Yes. I am certain that neither Da Vinci nor the Wright Brothers nor even Howard Hughes had imagined that "Civil Aeronautics", as imagined in the 1920's, would be where they are today. It is a shame and an embarrassment.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 06:51 am (UTC)
Big country
Where I live you can drive from one end of the country and back in a day. Living in a small country actually makes you less mobile. A two hour drive seems like a monumental task.

vH pH
Jun. 3rd, 2010 09:03 am (UTC)
Fun on the road
Sounds, like you had a ball.
Pass on to Stephen my regards, haven't seen him for years. We used to game and pizza every friday night for many years.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
Road Trips...
I love road trips. This past winter I took one from California to Toronto, Canada with my boyfriend.

Did you know there is a little town in Arizona overrun with wild donkeys?
Jun. 3rd, 2010 10:01 am (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful trip all around, filled with good people and bizarre attractions. Such a bummer that Parris couldn't come, though. I'm very curious about a replica bomb crater...did they just dig a huge hole in the ground?
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Had to be a replica crater, probably created for the 50th aniversary of the bombing (yes, they held one!) because the "bombs" Boise City was hit with were inactive practice bombs ... dropped by our own flyers-in-training, who mistook the town square for their practice target. Their aim was impeccable -- they nailed the town square with 300-lb concrete blivets. (No one was in the square at the time, no injuries.)

The only bombing casualties in the continental US in WW2 were a family killed by a Japanese "balloon bomb" they discovered in the woods of Oregon, which went off as they approached it to see what it was.

It was good to see you and Janice and Stephen again, George. Sorry you missed the Cosmosphere this trip. It's a treasure. Best to *arris and hope she's feeling better by now.
(no subject) - aulus_poliutos - Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smofbabe - Jun. 4th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 3rd, 2010 11:57 am (UTC)
My wife and I just recently returned from our honey moon. We took a road trip from southern New Hampshire to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.

As I am a rather young man I havn't had the pleasure to experience any significant road trips before this one. What a great time! From getting lost in small towns, and eating local food (fortune smiled on us where food was concerned... best hashbrowns EVER!), to staying in small themed motels, and taking in the sights, every bump and curve in the road was a thrill.

From the stories of road trips related by others and my own recent land trek it is clear, on a road trip the destination runs a far second to the journey itself. Ill dare to say it's a fairly nice analogy for life.

Glad you had fun Mr Martin!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
Sounds pretty good. Hope Parris is feeling better. I really wish I could of made it to ConQuest but it was just too expensive for my poor bank account.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
Mom & Pop
I'm afraid a lot of the mom & pop eateries have been inherited by the 'slow' grandchild, so to speak.
Jun. 3rd, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
Ha! Diggit!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Roadside America loves trips like that.

Might I also suggest the train? The two routes I've been on— the Coast Starlight and the Sacramento-to-Denver leg of the California Zephyr— are simply stunning in terms of scenery. The latter is actually timed to give you the best scenery in the middle of the day. (Overnight is Nevada. While Nevada can also be stunning, it's a little repetitive.)
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
US of A
It's hard for a Northeasterner to imagine long straight roads like that. Were those stone dinos the same ones from Pee Wee's Great Adventure??
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
Cosmosphere, actually, and it really is made of awesome. As a Kansan myself, I'm glad you enjoyed some of our quirkier bits on your way through!
Jun. 3rd, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
I agree, there is something about a road trip that is special. Perhaps it is nostalgia for me. When I was growing up my family moved from North Carolina to California and instead of flying we traveled there by car across the country. I was only about 6 or 7 at the time but I still have fond memories of all the little roadside attractions we stopped at including Wall Drug, the biggest little attraction I've seen, as well as numerous cement dinosaurs and reptile zoos.

Even when I fly now I find myself stopping at places in cities that remind me of road trips. Recently, while I was in New Orleans, I enjoyed stopping at places like the Pharmacy and Absinthe Museums.

Unfortunately my fiance doesn't see the allure of the road trip and prefers the "convenience" of flying. I will have to work on her until we have children. I want them to have these same great memories.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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