Long-time followers know our affinity for old country songs and for dead or close-to-dead country singers. Zac Brown is neither dead nor dying and barely is country, but Dana was right: this line makes a great post title. Because a week ago we left the Scottsdale blast furnace, heading back to Green Bay, brimming with hope that the ice was gone and that the yard had completed the winter maintenance. Green Bay is where the boat will leave from.
We’ll not detail the entire two-thousand mile trek, but a couple of quick notes. Remember that time almost exactly a year ago when our horrible experience with Hertz ultimately yielded a too-small car that required a car-top carrier, rather than the cargo van we reserved, such that at every nightly stop we had to load and unload stuff in rain and snow as we crossed this great country, which required excessive profanity? This year we went with Avis. Avis delivered the exact minivan we requested. No drama. Beautiful.
Of course, not everything was smooth. The first two hours got us north of Payson, but then we had to bounce back to Goodyear for an unexpected last-minute doctor visit. This is important only because of the absurdly ambiguous cul-de-sac we observed when we were trying to leave.
Anyway, we ultimately did get away. Which leads to an observation about the middle part of this vast country. We allow for the remote possibility that states like Kansas have redeeming qualities that for some reason they decided to keep hidden from the rest of us. Based on our experiences, however, there’s only one place that justifies stopping in Kansas: the Kansas City Chuy’s.* That’s it. Just Chuy’s.** And the Kansas City Chuy’s isn’t even in Kansas, it’s in Missouri.
Out of necessity we did spend a night in Dodge City, Kansas, whose history of assorted gunfighters and lawmen like Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson would make it cool if its coolness wasn’t more than offset by the bogus claim of Boot Hill Cemetery. Everybody knows the real one is in Tombstone. Arizona, not Kansas. Also, Bill Self rivals John Calipari in lying, cheating, basketball dirtbaggery.
Ok, that’s way more attention than Kansas deserves. Onward across Iowa. Even if Iowa wasn’t significantly more scenic than Kansas, we wouldn’t belittle it out of deference to all the famous and important people from there—people like John Wayne, Radar O’Reilly, and our good friends Sharon and Angie. Plus, John Dutton planted a baseball diamond in his Iowa cornfield just so he could show it off to Elmer Gantry and Mufasa and have a catch with his dead father.*** Now that’s cool.
Our other noteworthy stop was in Madison, Wisconsin, mostly because we met Peter and Yvonne for dinner. Peter and Doug worked at the same law firm before Peter left to become a bigwig in the Justice Department. It was great to catch up some twenty-five years later. Next year, pickleball in Wickenburg.
In the days since leaving Peter and Yvonne, we’ve encountered a series of unfortunate events that put Lemony Snicket to shame; events so numerous and so unfortunate that—to steal the line faithfully submitted by Sergeant-at-Arms Douglas C. Neidermeyer—“decorum prohibits listing them here.” But Tumbleweed was waiting in the water, and we’re planning to get underway tomorrow. Hopefully the quality of blog posts will pick up from here.
*In fairness, one of us thinks going out of the way to see the still-standing house in Holcomb where Herb and Bonnie Clutter and two of their kids were slaughtered In Cold Blood would be worthwhile. Dana? Not so much. Dana would rather gargle with battery acid.
**Only one thing on God’s green Earth dresses a tortilla chip better than Chuy’s salsa, and that one thing is Chuy’s Creamy Jalapeño Cilantro Dip. Fact.
***Are we the only ones who find it odd that Kevin Costner’s dad in Field of Dreams looked nothing at all like his dad in Yellowstone, who looked exactly like Dabney Coleman, because he was Dabney Coleman?