01 January 2007

Jokes and road trips

--Carlos Mencia

A great experiment was undertaken during the holiday period following Christmas, and that was a family vacation. I say "experiment" because it involved my about-to-turn-15 son Tiger, who doesn't exactly share his Dad's penchant for spending time on the highway. He wants to get there, and the hell with anything else along the way, while I've often felt that getting there is more fun than what happens at the destination itself.

As a 'test run', earlier in '06 we made a day trip to South of the Border (a gigantic tourist trap straddling the S.C./N.C. border along I-95). He seemed to enjoy it, so we tried a three-day road trip toward Missouri, revisiting old stomping grounds and showing off some interesting sights and what-not to Tiger.

The trip included dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street in Memphis, a visit to the New Madrid Museum in the small Missouri bootheel town of - you guessed it - New Madrid. Then from there it was to Sikeston, and another southeast Missouri landmark: Lambert's Restaurant. (ahhhhh, throwed rolls!). We visited friends of mine in Cape Girardeau, and gave wife and son the nickel tour (it felt very strange showing off Cape to my kid, who is the same age I was when living there). We also drove up to Saint Louis, where we "did the Arch."

The Gateway Arch is an experience unto itself. Some good, but a lot of bad. Basically we were all treated like pesky interlopers throughout the entire process. The trams which carry people to the top of the arch are about the size of a two-ply roll of Charmin. Tiny bastards which do well to seat five (5) people, provided all five (5) aren't as fat as Calista Flockhart. Add to that the biggest crowd of December -- a month which typically doesn't see many folks visiting the Arch. It seemed that all of us had the same idea. Then there was the matter of the NPS people treating all of us like cattle. If not potential terrorists.

All in all, it was a fun time.

Now, to the meat of the matter. The requisite "inside joke" every road trip is supposed to have. Thanks to watching waaaaay too much Carlos Mencia on Comedy Central while staying in West Memphis on night #1, we had our joke: Dee D'DEEEE!!!! Suddenly, we were all acting nice and politically incorrect, throwing that phrase around left and right.

Of course, our last road trip (Pittsburgh) gave us one nice joke: FARM FRESH EGGS!

To use a well-worn phrase, we must do this again reeeeeeal soon.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "Great River Road Warrior" Gleck

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