“Gotta get away to where the boat leaves from”

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?

14 thoughts on ““Gotta get away to where the boat leaves from””

    1. Hi Paul! We’re not doing the rivers again, and thanks to you we’ve already visited the Columbia Yacht Club so there’s not much for us to see or do in Chicago. We’re heading north and east from here. Are you done rehabbing Oma yet?

  1. Ready to go tripping with you two. Kay Braziel (Keith’s classmate). He is sorely missed by our group on Thursday.

    1. Hi Kay! We all miss Keith. Sorry we didn’t have a chance to chat more.

    1. Hi Becky! We’re not so interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty yet again, but definitely looking forward to meeting up with you and Dave. Maybe this time you’ll take a lovely ocean cruise down to Atlantic City or Cape May . . .

  2. I meant to comment before you laid up last winter and try to entice you to visit Escanaba, Michigan with a cryptic invitation to look up the movie “Escanaba in da Moonlight” over the winter. If it doesn’t scare you off and make you high tail it straight through the, well, straits, you might find a stop in Escanaba amusing.

    Think of “Escanaba in da Moonlight” as “Fargo” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” have a love child.

    Interesting side note: “Escanaba in da Moonlight” was written, produced, and directed by Jeff Daniels Here is a link to a local Escanaba site that celebrates the making of the movie.

    Escanaba also has a fine example of one of Andrew Carnegie’s libraries completely unadorned with ivy and actually probably still empty. I haven’t been there in several years.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! You obviously bring the gravity of a deep knowledge about the region’s Carnegie libraries, and the nice lady eavesdropping on our debate at dinner tonight politely interjected her opinion that we should do it. So we’re going to jam it in between Sister Bay and Fayette. Escanaba or bust. If Escanaba turns out to be a bust, of course, we very likely will call you out, by name, so that others will know not to trust you. (We can’t identity the lady who chimed in, so you’ll shoulder the blame alone.) If on the other hand Escanaba displaces one of the places on the list of top places we’ve visited, you’ll have earned our undying gratitude for reaching out, which we admit isn’t worth much.

      Don’t fret about the movie. Even if you’d made the suggestion last fall, only one of us would’ve watched it. One of us refuses to watch comedies that aren’t prefaced by “romantic,” and she wouldn’t be swayed despite the fact that UC Riverside scientists recently named a tarantula-killing worm after Jeff Daniels. Plus, we’re not hunters, we’re gatherers.

      1. OMG, I am so screwed!

        I apparently have already called myself out by name so now the pressure is on to try and make Escanaba at least not suck. Depending on what day you arrive, the town may still be in hibernation. Tourist season is just kicking off on Memorial Day weekend. The marina is in Ludington Park. The Delta County Historical Society is located at the end of the park near the marina. Sand Point Lighthouse is on the historical society grounds, and both are worth a visit but neither may be open until Monday, Memorial Day.

        A short walk of 4 or 5 blocks up Ludington Street will take you to a restaurant called Hereford and Hops on the right-hand side of the street. I’ve always had a good meal there when I’m in town. Hereford and Hops is very close to Escanaba’s Carnegie Library building. I have fond memories walking to this library when I was a kid and spending a Saturday afternoon in the children’s section in the basement. It is a block or two south of Ludington Street across from The William Boniface Art Center. The Art center is closed Sundays and Mondays so that one may be hit or miss but also worth a visit if open.

        A few blocks further up Ludington on the left-hand side is The Swedish Pantry which is good for breakfast. The Swedish Pantry has the largest cinnamon rolls I’ve ever seen. One cinnamon roll could satisfy the morning sweet tooth of everyone at the table. Swedish Pantry’s other claim to fame is a collection of, let’s call them whimsical, wall clocks (probably all made in China, and all for sale).

        My last restaurant recommendation is The Stone House. It is the best restaurant in town in my opinion; but, hey, I’m the guy who hoodwinked you into this port call so take that for what it’s worth. The Stone House is at the other end of Ludington Street and may require a cab ride or Uber (If Uber is even in Escanaba yet). Excellent food and a really cool antique toy car collection behind the bar.

        Escanaba has seen better days. It is not Fish Creek or any other little village in Door County but the folks in town will give you a genuine yooper experience! And I haven’t even mentioned pasties yet . . .

        1. All good stuff, but perhaps for naught. The marina folks are MIA today . . .

  3. You did not have much to say about Kansas. i thought the big ball of twine (world’s largest!) in Cawker City would have caught your interest.

    1. Is it really the world’s largest though? Through the years in this blog alone we’ve either voluntarily or involuntarily debunked many many claims like this one. We ain’t going out of our way to see a big ball of twine that may be eclipsed by balls of twine in Egypt or Borneo or some such place.

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: