Appetite for Solo


A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T

“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”

Mark Twain ~ 1907 

Dateline: Idaho Springs, CO; Tommyknockers Bar

Peeling from the pack, Mapquest indicates I’m 958 miles from Rochester, MN. Reuniting with Lynn at Mayo Clinic in a few days, the open road celebrates both anticipation, random musing and wiggle room in case the roadster breaks down.


Or should you happen upon a fellow traveler at an Esso station in 1958




1st, convening with the cars became a smorgasbord of personalities, an exceptional travel value, member support, and encouragement to drivers of these little beasts.  Consider it in your future; you’ll never be disappointed.

End of pitch.

Adios Denver, a short stretch of I-70 heading east, a reminder to return to the blue highway soon.  Being followed too closely by a motorist, left rear quarter, he is in that unseen isosceles triangle spread between the two, too small mirrors.  At age 16, learning to drive, the instructor warned us to ‘watch out for Helen Keller‘, when referring to the “blind spot”.  Today, he would be pilloried by the A.D.A. and sacked by the superintendent of schools.  That he was the best teacher, ever, would have not been considered.

I slow, he slows, I accelerate, he velcros, then at last, passes.  His co-pilot is taking pictures of the roadster on her I-phone.  Nearly flattened, I should be flattered, although I feel the victim of a drive-by shooting.  This is new tech…old tech was a thumbs up and a beep.

Old tech is better.

The stark plains landscape provides miles of power lines.  Standing silent sentries, as if marching soldiers at ease, tethered together by an electric umbilicus.  Stoic.  Technology may soon doom them to antiquity, an industrial relic overshadowed by buried lines, fiber optic cable, satellites, wind and solar farms.


Goodbye REMC, hello wireless.

The desolate agriculture here, grazing land, to feed our addiction for beef, the In & Out Burger, MacD, and 5 guys & fries.

Forget the Druids’ unhinged rocks in Wiltshire, UK ⬇


No pickle, lettuce, mayo on a sesame seed bun. Face-to-face with rural Kansas’ Route 36, very own Hayhenge ⬇


As beautiful as Claude Monet’s grainstacks in Chicago’s Art Institute ⬇


Beauty is in the eye.

I awaken before the rosy fingers of dawn on a new day.  Nearing a town of 600, Pretty Prairie, Kansas, the genesis of the civil sunrise emerges, at 60 mph, the view can best be described by the image;


The reflection on the roadster bonnet, engulfed in the bosom of the fenders is exhilarating.  I begin to hum the Woody Guthrie refrain,  🎼  his soliloquy on this land is your land;

When the sun came shining, then I was strolling
In wheat fields waving and dust clouds rolling;
The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting:
This land was made for you and me.

The balance of this final day was colorful.  A drive down Johnny Carson Blvd. in Norfolk, NE, Tom Brokaw’s boyhood home in Yankton, SD, and a brief stop in LeMars, IA, ‘ice cream capital of the world’ to taste sample at the home of Blue Bunny.

Blue Earth, MN boasts the statue of the Jolly Green Giant, a very large well-known vegetable, and Austin, MN, not to be confused by vegetarians, home to Hormel Meats and the SPAM museum.

Arriving in Rochester, Lynn welcomes me with a warm embrace after a week apart, knowing I’m refreshed, exhausted, and hungry, and asks “where should we go for dinner”.

“Anywhere I can get a lunchmeat sandwich, steaming dish of green beans in melted butter, and a dish of vanilla ice cream”.

“That’s odd, I was thinking of going to Chipotle”…oh well, welcome home.


“In life, don’t wait, the time will never be just right”  Mark Twain 



Not the Hilton, but It’ll Do

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T


“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”

Mark Twain 1916

Miles slip by, encouraging random thought. Road burn and fatigue are ameliorated by the gentle rumble of four cylinders, soothing flap of the fabric top, and static from a radio receiving only a single AM station….Christian radio. The combination is a stimulant equal to a monster 5-hour energy drink, freed from caffeine, so help me God.

Signs on the roadside provide constant entertainment. Passing LaClede, MO, the billboard notes the birthplace of General J.J.Pershing, where on this very day, 13Sept2016, he would have turned 156 y/o. Although no longer alive, having fought the Sioux wars and then leading forces to victory in WWI Europe, he survived 88 years.

350px-john_pershing_bain_bw_photo_as_major_general_1917     400px-pershings_tombstone

Remarkably, he made the news in Feb. 2016, when a U.S. presidential candidate made reference to a myth about old ‘Black Jack’ Pershing. Although the story turned out to be a fable, I’d wager the general would have relished the acknowledgement.

156 years beats 15 minutes of fame, like a flush over a straight, every time. Wouldn’t I love to have him riding shotgun with me today ?

Our three roadsters pass through Atwood, KS, a burg of 1000, self-proclaimed “Pride of the Prairie” and note its sole accommodation, the It’ll Do Motel, and hence, this essay. Intrigued by the clever title, I vowed to stay here on the return trip and I did. For $66, it beat any Route 66 motel.



When was the last time you had a key to your room ?

Room eight was a winner. It featured the 100 year background, enclosed within several window box wall displays, of the local Williams Bros. grocery.

Both Williams boys died years ago, but the three generation Braxmeyer family is carrying the torch into the 21st century. Being drenched in supermarket history is soporific, resulting in a good night’s sleep. Who needs Ambien© when bananas are on sale for 56cents a pound.

Add, too, a star to the rating card, for the toilet paper prep in the popular paper airplane motif.  Which strikes me as a miniature adult diaper, in waiting.


And one more for the hand towel/washcloth, a work of folded art.


The drive entering eastern Colorado is pleasantly boring, however the stunning windshield horizon of the Rockies is dampened by tortuous bumper-to-bumper Denver traffic, high temperature, and oxygen starvation causing Parker’s baby blue to overheat. A push downhill, an hour cooling off period with Stella Artois in the Hyatt Regency (for us, not the car) and we’re off to the Winter Park Vintage Hotel.


⬆ Following bug removal, dispatching of leaves, the carcass of a dead bird, the nasal passages are polished and aligned for inspection on the runway.   What Germans term reduktive nasenchirurgieENT doctors a rhinoplasty, is quite simply, a nose job.

Long live the It’ll Do,

and to the upscale duplicates;

Choice® Hotels, Marriott®, Hyatt®, and Hilton®,

It’ll Don’t.




The Twain shall meet

A 2016 trilogy, Colorado and Bust

Subtitle 1958 M-Benz, 190 SL roadsters on a 3000 mile R/T


The opening bell has rung. Kiss Lynn and Wilson goodbye;

roadster : we have ignition 

westward to the first interlude, Westville, IN, a road bend with little Zen. However, any crossroad can evoke a distant memory.


It was here, at the home of the Justice of the Peace, March,1935, two hormonally charged 18 y/o arrived from East Chicago, IN to elope, the brave somersault over parental approval of marriage.

Later those two teens were known, to me and my brothers, as Mom & Dad.

Meet with Traverse City, MI traveling companions, Don and Kathy Drabik, quick how-do-you-do, gas up, next stop Monticello, IL, the Main Street Pub for a cold one, and reconnoiter with Salt Point, NY’s own, Brian & Paula Parker.



Careful examination reveals the Drabik’s have secured a standard American stop sign, matched to the color of their car, and functions first as an attention-getter, and 2nd, as a working antenna for the Blaupunkt AM/FM radio.  People stop and stare.

A backroad strategy session of old friends plotting a new destination, Hannibal, MO.  A peaceful settlement on the mighty Mississippi, here the Twain have met, at the historical museum, notable for its exceptionally clean men’s room.



Allow now for a tangential drift from the blue highway to what might be viewed as the yellow road.  Three men, average age > 70, driving cars nearly as old, find three reasons for frequent stops

  1. The 190 gas tank is = to 13½  US gallons, requiring regular refueling (the 3 R’s)
  2. Male bladders, malted brews, and prostatic hypertrophy, well, you get the whiff
  3. Because my wife said so

Here then, never before discussed, is a description of male behavior at the urinal; (a) you may look down, look up, or stare straight ahead…but never, never look to your left or right, (b) zero conversation unless it refers to sports or some manly theme, e.g.,”how about those Cubs” or, “did you notice that tattoo on the barmaid’s cleavage”, and (c) aim for the para-dichlorobenzene, that pink mothball cake.

Women, I learned only this week, first thing, always, always, look under the stall doors. Rather peculiar, but it must avoid the embarrassment of the abrupt squat stare. Can you sense I’m not ready for the trans, uni, or same sex bathroom ?

I will admit to being confused about the new ‘waterless’ fixtures incorporating the latest green technology.   Why not just pee into an empty Dasani® or Aquafina® bottle and drop it off at the recycle bin?   At issue is the number of urinal manufacturers A-Z made in the USA; American Standard, Kohler, Regal Sloan, Zurn, and then there’s Toto, the clever Japanese upstart where nothing is sacred, including Holy Mary.














Or above, go whizz while watching a quiz .

In spite of Toto’s contribution to male relief, it is unlikely that the stolen intellectual property of MGM’s Wizard of OZ pet canine, Toto, will ever receive the royalties to which he is entitled.  Would it be politically incorrect to refer to the Japanese as “The Yellow Peril”, like we did in 1946 when Dad was a returning marine ?  Sorry.


We have no interstate highway in our crosshairs, crossing into the heart of this great country, next stop St. Francis, KS which is not the boyhood home to the current Pope.   Marysville, KS tourism booster is the black squirrel population, countered by Norton, KS located near the Prairie Dog State Park, although it’s rumored that no prairie dogs actually live there, having moved to states with more favorable property tax abatement.

Our KS zoology lesson is near complete as we ride parallel, FedEx trucks to the left and the original Pony Express Trail on the right. Nearly every sizable town, if there is no Arkansas big box store, boasts its largest, most successful business, the John Deere Implement dealership.




One of these, a used JD 9430 will cost as much ~ #2 condition 190SL, except,

  • The J-D has A/C
  • power steering
  • auto trans
  • cruise control
  • self cancelling turn signals
  • on board wifi
  • and it BEEPS in reverse gear.
Passing through Smith County, a billboard announces the writer and home of a man named Higley, who penned the state song of Kansas, “Home, home on the range”.  For an hour, driving alone in the car, I am loudly singing….Ohhh give me a home where the buffalo roam where the skies….I’ll let you, the reader, finish the lyrics.

….to be continued where seldom is heard, a discouraging word, next, motels on the road less traveled

” The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain, 1896