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7 Quick Vignettes From The Road June 5, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Travel & Leisure, Word Play.

On June 1st, we returned from a 10-day road trip to Fort Collins, Colorado to visit my 87-year-old mom.  I’ll share more stories and photos from the trip in upcoming posts.

In the meantime, here are 7 Quick Vignettes From The Road:

#1.  Clocking Out . . . 

We arrived at our first hotel (in Valdosta, Georgia), and ran into the tail end of an unfolding drama.

The Front Desk Clerk (who had been waiting on a group of 4-5 “unruly” travelers) stormed out from behind the counter at our approach, glared at a co-worker, and said, “I’m clocking out.”


His astonished co-worker quickly stepped behind the counter to check us in.

When I asked what had happened, he said he didn’t know.  But he agreed with my initial assessment ~> the guy had QUIT!  On the spot.

Customers might always be right, but desk clerks may respond by “clocking out.”

#2.  Me and Nanny McPhee!

After checking into our room, we decided to explore the premises.

As we walked into the pool area, a toddler in the spa on the far side of the pool called out to me, “We’re swimming in the WARM water!”

A second child chimed in with, “The water in the big pool is COLD.”

The kids continued to regale me with travel tales, tidbits, and trivia . . . as two supervising adults sitting on the sidelines were ignored.

The next morning, as I entered the breakfast room, a third toddler swiveled around in her chair (doing a full 180) to speak with me about a V.I.T. (Very Important Topic) ~> what she planned to eat for breakfast. (Answer:  Fruit Loops!)

I was beginning to feel a bit like Nanny McPhee . . . AFTER her charges had warmed up to her.

In other words, post warts!

This thought solidified a few hours later at Magnolia Plantation ~ a modern day rendition of Stuckey’s, complete with Pecan Logs, Pralined Pecans, Pecan Turtles, and Praline Fudge.

At the front entrance, I saw a young girl sitting on the floor anxious to try on a pair of moccasins.  Her mother (busy combing the stacks of boxes) said, “I’m not sure if they’ll have a pair in your size . . . oh, wait, here’s a pair.”

As the girl beamed up at me, I beamed back and said, “I can’t wait to see what color your moccasins will be.”

Her mom held up a pair of pink moccasins (perfect for a modern day Native American Princess).

I made a parting comment to the tyke (expecting it to be our last interaction), “Oh, pink! They’ll look great on you.”

After admiring all manner of fruit preserves, jams, jellies, and relishes, I began to explore the Souvenir Emporium’s vast collection of Southern Cookbooks (e.g., 365 Ways to Serve Grits & Biscuits).  As I turned pages featuring puddles of butter, the young girl, now clad in pink moccasins, arrived at Cookbook Corner and stationed herself in front of me . . . presumably for inspection.

“At ease, Private!”

Like Nanny McPhee, I’m a child magnet ~> kids love us like biscuits love butter!

#3.  Kill the Lights!

Once we decided on a basic route out to Fort Collins (Florida ~> Georgia ~> Tennessee ~> Kentucky ~> Illinois ~> Missouri ~> Kansas ~> Colorado), I scrolled over the route on my iPad taking screen shots of the “tricky bits” around Macon, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, etc.).

As the map slid beneath my finger, I saw “Dalton” in Georgia and remembered that one of my college roommates lived in Dalton.

I shot her an e-mail to see if we could hook up with her and her husband for dinner on our way out to Colorado.

She tossed me a generous dose of Southern Hospitality in response, inviting us to stay with them for the night.

So, on night two, we checked into Chez Partain, went for a tour of Dalton (including a behind-the-scenes look at the new courthouse where her husband, a Superior Court Judge, works).

After dinner at Cherokee Pizza and Brewing, we headed back to their place to sip margaritas on the screened porch while watching the Georgia Mountains lit up by an approaching storm.

Aah . . . bliss!

When it came time to turn in for the night, I turned down the comforter and plumped the pillows.  BFF went one further and killed the lights . . . literally!

As he swung his “extra” pillow around to place it on the floor, a resounding *CRASH* signaled that he had knocked over a lamp, smashing the bulb.

#4.  A Missed Opportunity

The next day, as we crossed over the Ohio River from Kentucky to Illinois at noon, I saw a sign for Metropolis . . . the home of Superman.  I recalled having read an article about the town awhile back.  We debated stopping but decided against it because we had driven only 300 miles of the planned 750 miles for the day.

Here is what we missed:

In his various portrayals, Superman resides in a fictional American city named Metropolis, and on January 21, 1972, DC Comics declared Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman.” On June 9, 1972, the Illinois State Legislature passed Resolution 572 that confirmed this, declaring Metropolis the “Hometown of Superman.”

The city has a 30-foot painted bronze statue of Superman which sits in front of the county courthouse, and a statue of Noel Neill‘s Lois Lane from “The Adventure of Superman” stands just a few blocks away.

Each year on the 2nd weekend of June, Superman fans from all over the world gather in Metropolis for their annual Superman Celebration, which features celebrity guests from movies, television, and the comic book industry. The 4-day annual celebration also boasts vendors selling food, comics, homemade crafts, and other merchandise, as well as discussion panels, auctions, a costume contest, and a variety of other events throughout the weekend.

Travel Tip:  If you plan to be near Metropolis next weekend . . . remember to pack your cape!

#5.  Better Than A Buckboard

As we continued to roll on down the highway, our butts grew numb.  Numb butt is a real danger on long distance road trips, requiring frequent stops to regain circulation in the nether regions.

Sometimes we just wander around admiring the view:

Other times we climb rock formations and play Simon Says:

Back in the car with another 1,000 miles to go, we consoled ourselves by playing the “It Could Be Worse” Game:

Instead of covering 2,000 miles in 3 days in an air-conditioned mini-van with ample snacks and padded seats, we could be covering 10 miles a day in a horse-drawn wagon . . . while periodically taking cover from tornadoes, dust storms, and angry Native Americans.

In short, our Toyota Sienna is . . . Better Than A Buckboard.

#6. “¡Arriba, Arriba! ¡Ándale, Ándale!”

The I-70 exit for Arriba, Colorado (which we passed going and coming) made us think of Speedy Gonzales and his catchy catch-phrase:  “¡Arriba, arriba! ¡Ándale, ándale!”

Curious, I decided to check the translation to see if Speedy meant, “Hurry Up!” 

The Spanish Dictionary I consulted concurred with my tentative translation ~> Arriba means “go! or hooray for…!” and ándale means “come on!”  

Close enough!

The dictionary noted that most people aren’t as enthusiastic as Speedy, so they use one or the other, not both.

#7.  Does your conscience bother you?  Tell the truth.

Cats NEVER feel guilty . . . they feel entitled!

We chose a southerly route (Colorado ~> Kansas ~> Oklahoma ~> Arkansas ~> Mississippi ~> Alabama ~> Florida) for the return home.

As we crossed into Alabama from Mississippi, we popped Lynyrd Skynyrd’s One More From the Road into the player.  As Ronnie Van Zant sang about his “Sweet Home Alabama,” I sang along:

“Well, Watergate does not bother me . . . does your conscience bother you?  Tell the truth.”

BFF suggested (with some degree of insistence) that I was singing the wrong lyrics.

Surprised, I asked, “what do you think the right lyrics are?”

“I think they’re singing, ‘Your one-eyed gaze does not bother me . . .’

So, Morgan and Gracie . . . that’s One More From the Road for you!

Aah . . . that’s better!



1. Val Boyko - June 5, 2017

Whew! What a trip. Thanks for sharing your light hearted vignettes 💛 I hope your mom is doing fine. x

nrhatch - June 5, 2017

Mom was delighted to see us, enjoyed our visit, and is looking forward to my sister’s family arrival in a few days.

She is doing reasonably well for her age and current limitations. She has difficulty conversing due to (1) hearing loss, (2) a stroke that affected her vocabulary, (3) short term memory loss, and (4) cognitive impairment. But she is in no pain and rarely complains about anything bothering her.

She goes outside for walks a few times a day, takes LOTS of naps, enjoys ice cream and chocolate breaks, and loves seeing flowers, bunnies, and blue skies. Day #1, while chatting in her room, a bunny walked along her window ledge and peered in at us. FUN! 😀

Val Boyko - June 5, 2017

I’m smiling… she sounds in a good place, and has a wonderful attitude. It’s a gift. 💕🙏💐

nrhatch - June 6, 2017

She is in a good place . . . and her short term memory loss allows her to dispel any inner negativity in short order.

She just lets it go!

2. Jill Weatherholt - June 5, 2017

What a great trip…and you got to see your mother too. Thanks for sharing it with us, Nancy. The Superman Celebration would have been fun to see.

nrhatch - June 5, 2017

We had a wonderful time. I’ll be sharing more travel tales in coming posts.

FYI: The Annual Superman Celebration is just days away ~> it runs from Thursday, June 8th – Sunday, June 11th. If you go, let us know. 😀

All we missed on May 23 was the BIG Superman Statue overseeing the Courthouse Square.

3. Kate Crimmins - June 5, 2017

You are so much better than I am. I get numb butt after 30 minutes! Only McDonald’s French fries will cure it. Because that’s salty I will need a milkshake too. Then a potty stop. As you can see, traveling by car is tough for me! 🙂 Morgan and Gracie are delighted to grace your blog. They are now stars!

nrhatch - June 5, 2017

Kate, I was worried about sitting so L~O~N~G. I thought it might take us WEEKS instead of DAYS to cover the 2000 miles out to Colorado . . . and even more concerned that I would be unwilling to even get into the car for the return home! But, it wasn’t a problem. I found the ride meditative (most of the time) and we stopped often enough that “numb butt” did not cause lasting impairment or permanent disability. 😀

I hear you on Fries AND a shake ~> both together exceed the sum of their parts.

I thought of Morgan and Gracie as soon as BFF shared his version of the lyrics. Glad that Vignette #7 meets their approval.

4. L. Marie - June 5, 2017

Sounds like a great trip, Nancy. Had to chuckle at the Nanny McPhee part of your journey. (Love that movie.)

I should have been at that Superman celebration, since I usually discover I’m Superman whenever I take a superhero quiz. XD

Hope your mom is well.

nrhatch - June 5, 2017

I was behind the scenes deleting a few SPAM comments when I saw on the Comment Counter that there are exactly 86,000 comments on SLTW ~> yours is #86,000.

That’s Super!

Mom is doing as well as can be expected ~ see above.

L. Marie - June 6, 2017


5. Debra - June 6, 2017

I hope you had a wonderful time with you mother, Nancy. I’ll look forward to some posts about your time with her. It’s quite an ambitious drive from your home all the way to Fort Collins, but you know how to make the best of it. Your referencing to buckboard travel is very familiar to me. We have such awful traffic in Southern California and when I begin to get overwhelmed by it I start thinking about the early pioneers and their travel methods. You are definitely a “kid magnet,” my friend. I love that. Children know the real deal, and they obviously find you a kindred spirit! 🙂

nrhatch - June 6, 2017

We had a great trip and mom was delighted to see us ~ she enjoyed having me tag along for her thrice daily walks down the driveway and up the street. She’s slow, but reasonably steady.

This somewhat spur-of-the-moment trip lacked lead time for planning (plus the weather on the way out was “wet”) so we didn’t make many detours from the interstate ~ we drove through Micanopy FL, stopped for a few minutes at High Falls Park, GA to admire the falls, and visited Ray’s Pharmacy in Quinter KS to see the antique soda fountain (moved from CA).

BFF got an ice cream cone at Ray’s ~> the soda jerk thought he was a jerk for not buying me one too. 😀

Pre-school kids are the best! So refreshing in perspective . . .

6. Tiny - June 6, 2017

That was quite a trip! Enjoyed yout tidbits, Nancy!

nrhatch - June 6, 2017

Thanks! As road trips go . . . it was almost all smooth sailing.

7. Joanne Sisco - June 6, 2017

That’s a lot of driving in a short period of time!!

nrhatch - June 7, 2017

BFF did ALL the driving . . . I handled the navigation and snacks!

Joanne Sisco - June 7, 2017

… also a very critical job 😉

nrhatch - June 7, 2017

Exactly! As my Great Aunt Edie used to say, “it’s the belly that holds up the back.”

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