Friday, April 23, 2010

What's New With You? I'm Fine.

It's an unusual April here in SoCal. Still cool, with periodic rain, some snow in the local mountains. Hard to argue with, the hills are green, everything is blossoming.

Usually it's a lot warmer by now although warm is a relative thing. My tomato plants are growing like topsy. I have high hopes for a pleasant Summer.

Next Fall, my old Submarine crew is having a reunion in Branson, Missouri. It will be over the Columbus Day weekend. They have been having them on the West Coast. I went to one in Reno maybe seven years ago.  That's not a bad drive for me. I went the back way through Victorville up 395. That was a mistake. I got a cheap gambler's special room, $12 promo rate through the Cal-Neva casino downtown and that was over the weekend. Great deal. The last couple were in the Seattle area. Too expensive there in the Summer. Maybe this will attract some from areas that haven't been previously so easily accessible to them.

I've decided to go.  Who wouldn't want to spend a long weekend drinking with broken down old Lifers at America's favorite family vacation venue? Maybe, once I'm tanked up, the Donny and Marie Show will seem like fun. I don't drink anymore but I'm not one of those white knuckler, Ray Milland type guys either. I like that AA motto, "One Day at a Time". If you skip a few days every once in awhile, no harm done.

I got a cheap rate on a nice motel room a mile from the reunion facility, on Priceline, I could hoof it easy in 15-20 minutes, unless it turns out to be uphill both ways. Only $20 bucks a night, double occupancy, two queen beds. Free breakfast featuring fresh fruit, hot waffles, biscuits and gravy. Pretty good, huh? The cheapest rack rate I could find for anything comparable is $59. It has good reviews on Trip Adviser. I couldn't believe they accepted my first bid. I should probably have bid even cheaper but I can live with $20 bucks a night for four nights. When was the last time you got a nice room in a big tourist trap, that didn't have gambling, for $20 bucks? You wanna go to Branson in October? That's the high season there. They thaw Andy Williams out of his cryogenic chamber for a few weeks, he sings a few old chestnuts for the crowds and then he and Claudine Longet give complimentary blowjobs to all comers. Free Viagra in the lobby before the show. Who wouldn't want to be there for that? I always wanted to meet Claudine. I'll split the room with ya. Probably could even get you into the reunion, it's only 20 bucks registration fee. Nobody will know you're not a submarine sailor. We'll tell them you were a Yeoman. We could tell them you were the wardroom steward but then they'd want sex. It's OK if you don't want to go. There will be a least one other old sailor there stag, that doesn't want to spend $100 a night on a convention center room. A sawbuck a night, with free biscuits and gravy will surely be a deal he can't refuse.

Now I have to find a cheap way to get there. Branson is about 1600 miles from my house. Long, expensive drive, at least 100 gallons of gas and a couple of motel stays long, there and back. I was thinking of taking a little motorcycle ride there on the side roads but I'm not going to do it alone and I've got no one to go with me. I'm hoping to snag a cheap flight booking over the Summer. The cheapest place to fly into is KC and it's 200 miles away. Springfield is more expensive and it's still 60 miles. I'm an easy rider, I wouldn't rule out the 'Hound if I can get a cheap promo rate and they often offer them late in the Summer.  I could ride right into Branson. Take two days, maybe three each way given that they are always behind schedule and then you miss connections and have to wait. I don't mind, what else do I have to do? You always meet some memorable characters ridin' the 'Hound. Short dog and a serape, you're all set.

I'd hitch but nobody has picked up hitch hikers much since the mid '70s, especially old guys like I am now. The only times I ever hopped freights was on the Great Northern Line. You had to dress warm going over the Divide, even in the Summer but it was easy and a straight shot across the continent, both ways. I think I'm too old and fat for that anymore and the Great Northern isn't anywhere near my house or Branson. Anybody got any good advice how to get from LA to Missouri cheap? I could afford to fly, even to stay at the convention center where they are holding the reunion but that's not my way.

I'll let you know how it turns out.


Cut and Shoot said...

I know a guy who needed to get from Florida to Denver back in the 70's. He was flat assed broke.

He went to a truck stop and within an hour (so he claimed) he found a ride that didn't cost him a dime. I don't know if Branson is on an interstate but it might work.

By the way, is Lawrence Welk still playing at Branson?

reddog said...

I think Lawrence Welk has a steady gig at the Morongo Indian reservation casino out in Temecula, not far from me. I've been meaning to catch the show.

I never had much luck at truck stops, hitching in the old days and I even had a Class Three license then. Insurance is pretty tough on drivers that pick up riders.

reddog said...

The people that like Lawrence don't get out much any more. They have big granite stones on their heads that weigh them down.