Tag Archives: Ohio

“Travel America” and Me

20 Feb

The other day, we were flying to Arizona, and I picked up a magazine to read on the plane. Travel America lists over 250 places to visit in the United States. As I skimmed through the pages, I began to count all of the ones that I have visited. I have been lucky enough to travel to all 50 states and have seen some great stuff. This is a list of places that Travel America and I have in common.

Wait, here is a picture that I took on the trip to get you in the mood. It is in the Superstition Mountains.img_2279


Paul Revere House

Old North Church

USS Constitution

New York

Central Park

Madison Avenue

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building


Niagara Falls


Independence Hall

Liberty Bell

National Constitution Center

Rhode Island

The Breakers


Walt Disney World

Kennedy Space Center

Everglades National Park

Miami Beach

South Beach


River Street


Georgia Aquarium

World of Coca-Cola Museum


University of Kentucky


Garden District

Lafayette Cemetery

French Quarter

Louisiana State University


Ground Zero Blues Club

Delta Blues Museum

Natchez Trace

North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Biltmore

South Carolina

Harbour Town Golf Links


Beale Street

B.B. King’s Blues Club


Ryman Auditorium

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Hermitage

Union Station Hotel

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Alum Cave Trail

Cade’s Cove

Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Washington Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Old Town Alexandria

Mount Vernon


Michigan Avenue


Indianapolis Motor Speedway


University of Michigan


Gateway Arch

North Dakota


Fort Mandan


Progressive Field

Warehouse District


National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Cattleman’s Steakhouse

South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Wall Drug

Mount Rushmore

Crazy Horse Memorial

Custer State Park

Saloon #10

Mt. Moriah Cemetery



Mission San Xavier del Bac

Grand Canyon

Canyon de Chelly

Goulding’s Lodge and Trading Post



Great Sand Dunes National Park

Mesa Verde National Park



Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield Indian Memorial

Beartooth Highway

Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road


Death Valley National Park




New Mexico 

Carlsbad Cavern

Palace of the Governors

Inn of the Anasazi

White Sands National Monument


Sixth Floor Museum

South Congress Avenue

Sixth Street

River Walk

The Alamo


Bryce Canyon

Temple Square


Snake River

Grand Tetons National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Old Faithful Inn

Yellowstone Lake

Old Faithful

Lower Falls

Yellowstone River

Buffalo Bill Center of the West


Glacier Bay National Park

Denali National Park


Universal Studios


Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Walk of Fame

Rodeo Drive

Golden Gate Bridge


Redwood National Park

General Sherman Tree

Sequoia National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls

Pacific Coast Highway


USS Arizona Memorial

Lanikai Beach

Volcanoes National Park

Waimea Canyon


Haystack Rock

Columbia River Gorge

Mt. Hood

Historic Columbia River Highway

Crater Lake


Mount Rainier National Park

The Yard Dog Award – Lodging Fit for a King

29 Mar

A while back, I introduced the concept of the Yard Dog Award. Later, I presented the award to the first “winner.” During the past few days of recharging my blogging batteries, the next winner came to my mind.

In the mid-1990s, I was coaching a professional men’s softball team. That, in and of itself, is another story that I have touched on and will write about in the near future. However, this post is about a place where that experience led me.

We were scheduled to play in an important tournament in Cleveland, Ohio. All of the arrangements were set weeks in advance. Flights. Rental cars. Hotel rooms. We were good to go. All was smooth as we flew into the city and got our cars. Then, the plan went awry.

We drove to the softball complex to meet the tournament director who had handled our lodging. He booked rooms for us in a nice hotel, but we needed to meet with him before settling in. We pulled up to his office. Larry, the other coach who you have read about, and I went in to get everything taken care of. That is when the weekend went off the rails.

At the last minute, the nation’s top ranked team decided to play in the tournament. The director gave our rooms to them and booked us into another hotel. I was to ride with him to the new hotel while everyone else waited. We got into his car and drove and drove and drove. I noticed that the buildings we passed were getting dingier by the block. A bad feeling was emerging from the back of my brain.

Then, we arrived at the Camelot Inn, and it was a disaster. In the parking lot sat a couple of cars on blocks. The lobby was locked tight, and we could only talk to the desk clerk through bullet-proof glass. The top ranked team was staying in our rooms at a nice hotel while we stayed in a dump. Heck, we were ranked in the Top 10. It was not like we were some church league team.

I knew we did not have a choice, and I took the rooms. We drove back to the fields where everyone else waited on us. We had been gone a long time, and they were beginning to think that something bad had happened to me. They did not know the half of it. Something bad was going to happen to all of us. We were going to stay at the Camelot Inn.Camelot Inn

I tried to soften the blow, but the sight of the hotel shocked them. The neighborhood. The cars on blocks. Everything was bad. We climbed the stairs to the second floor and realized that the balcony was leaning. It was basically pulling away from its moorings and could collapse at any moment. It would have been nice if we could have moved to rooms on the bottom floor, but they were filled with people living in them.

I have stayed in some bad hotels, but this was the worst. As usual, Larry and I roomed together, but this was an unusual weekend. He refused to walk on the carpet barefooted and put his shoes on each time he got out of bed.

I like to think that I have a decent sized vocabulary, but I do not have the words to describe how bad the Camelot Inn truly was. However, that was not the only bad part of the weekend.

We easily won the first game, which put us on schedule to play the top ranked team. That would be the same team that was staying in our rooms. It was one of the worst beatings we had ever taken. They hit home run after home run. We could hear limbs breaking off trees as balls flew over the fence and threw them. One ball hit the scoreboard and scared birds that were nesting in it.

As they plated run after run, the score was getting embarrassing. Larry goes into some kind of trance and starts staring into the distance. To no one in particular, he says, “Boys, this is about to get ugly.” The high school girl who was operating the scoreboard replied, “Sir, I hate to tell you this, but it’s already ugly.”

After that beating, the rain started, and it did not let up. That meant we were stuck at the Camelot Inn with no games to play. That is when Bucky and Richie, our two best players had to take one of the young guys to buy some toothpaste. He had forgotten to pack some and needed a certain brand.

A while later, there was a knock at our door. We opened it, and Bucky was standing in the doorway. He was drenched and had a shocked look on his face.

“Bucky, what’s wrong?”

“We just got hit in the ass.”

“We know this is a bad neighborhood, but how did you let somebody do that to you?”

“I mean we got rear ended at a red light.”

They were sitting at a red light when a car barreled into them from behind. The front seats broke, and they were flat on their backs while rolling through the intersection. The one stuck in the back seat kept saying, “Damn boys!” Over and over, he kept saying it.

At some point, this horrible weekend came to an end. For starting this weekend in a disastrous fashion and putting us in the Camelot Inn, the Yard Dog Award goes to the tournament director whose name I have forgotten. However, I have not forgotten what he did to us.

The State of Music – Part 4

23 Apr

The analysis of states and their musical equivalents continues, but I must throw out some thank you’s before moving ahead. The Snob and Trask have offered some great alternatives to my choices, and I appreciate their input. You can find their favorites at One, Two, Three – Turn it Up.

New Mexico – This is one of my favorite states, and I will be heading into “The Land of Enchantment” in a few weeks. There is a different feeling that comes over me when I cross its state line and wanted to find a song that embraced that feeling. I am not sure that I found it with Michael Hearne’s “New Mexico Rain” because I’ve never really seen it rain there.

New York – Countless songs have been written about New York, but most of them are about the city and not the state. However, that really isn’t the point of this project. Songs do not have to be ABOUT the state. They only need to be named for the state. With that in mind, I choose a song from my iPod called “New York’s Not My Home”. Jim Croce’s song does not provide a positive view of New York, but that really isn’t the point, either.

North Carolina – Do you realize how many songs have been written about Carolina? They are everywhere. After a long search, I finally found “North Carolina Line” by Gene Vincent. Weirdly, it’s more about Norfolk, Virginia.

North Dakota – Another state that provided a difficult search, North Dakota does not lend itself to easily penned songs. It’s a good state and provides a lot more enjoyment that most may realize, but the only decent song I could find is Lyle Lovett’s “North Dakota”. Please allow me to apologize for creating a list with Lyle Lovett on it.

Ohio – With the first state in the alphabet, Alabama, I used a song that replied to a song by Neil Young. With Ohio, I use a Neil Young song…well, a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. “Ohio”, one of the most famous protest songs, was inspired by the tragic shooting of protesters at Kent State University.

Oklahoma – There’s a musical. There are cowboy songs. Then, there is a native son, Leon Russell, singing about “Home Sweet Oklahoma”.

Oregon“Portland, Oregon” is the result of one of the coolest collaborations I know of. Jack White, who owns a record store in Nashville, teamed up with Loretta Lynn, “the Queen of Country Music”, to create an award-winning body of work. I know it seems weird, but it sounds great.

Pennsylvania – Remember when I said that a song does not have to be ABOUT the state. This pick is a great example of that. “Pennsylvania 6-5000” is named for the phone number of a New York hotel. It is a classic by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. For those who may not know, Glenn Miller’s plane was shot down during World War II and was never found.

Rhode Island – I was hoping to go with the theme song from Family Guy, but my efforts were thwarted. If it hadn’t been for those meddling kids I would have gotten away with it. Instead, I went with “Exeter, Rhode Island” by Jennifer O’Conner.

South Carolina – South Carolina provides the same complications as North Carolina. Everybody wants to sing about Carolina and not specify which one they are talking about. Perhaps, it would have been easier if the colonies/states had never developed separately in the first place. With that in mind, the Outlaws recorded “South Carolina”.

That’s it for forty states. I’ll be back next time with the last ten. Until then, remember what they say down at the fire hall. Always shake off your hose before you roll it back up.