Pony Bob

The arrow smashed into his jaw, knocking out five teeth. He kept riding. It was his second wound, delivered from his pursuers. He had jerked the first arrow out of his shoulder, and kept riding. Now Pony Bob’s mouth had … Read More

Barbecue Epiphany Leads to World Peace

The credit card machine kept disconnecting. I didn’t have cash, or my checkbook. “No problem,” said Perry Foster, “mail me a check.” Perry Foster’s Bar-B-Que embodied all that is good about humankind: Trust and harmony and world peace. Oh, and … Read More

Rays of Sunshine

  It’s hard to overlook Ray’s Diner. On Broadway in downtown Excelsior Springs, Ray’s low-slung exterior shouts the words “Ray’s Famous HamburgerS” stretched across the diner’s face in mismatched hand lettered fonts over an awning that screams in candy cane … Read More

The Ghost of a Roadside Inn

Took a nap beneath this sign, sharing space with the ghosts of travelers who stopped here long ago to add a sticky chapter to their Route 66 journey. It was a time when cars had crank-down window air-conditioning and tube … Read More

Erifnus Likes My Bike

Hopped on my ’67 Schwinn Continental–taxicab yellow from the factory–and rode to the grocery store. We’ve made this trip for years now, almost daily, bringing back cargo in cloth bags hanging from the handlebars. Erifnus sits at the curb with … Read More

Worldly Courthouse

We took a series of concrete ribbons to New London to roam the Ralls County Courthouse. Built in 1861, its Greek temple look was adapted from the Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson. The courthouse cupola copies the belfry … Read More

Rafting the Mississippi

  It isn’t a big raft. In terms of cubits, it’s a two-by-four. But it has a big back yard, a mile wide and 1800 miles long. And it became the summer palace for a big thinker who has no … Read More

A Root Beer Toast to Huck’s Home

I took solace up the hill where a giant water tower-sized root beer mug hovers over the Mark Twain Dinette. They serve giant tenderloins, too, and root beer floats, and Maid-Rite burgers and plenty of photos of the dinette’s namesake, … Read More

Mount Hopmore

The back entrance to Waynesville is guarded by Fort Leonard Wood. But the sentry along the east approach is the world’s greatest frog, if size means anything. Sure, to most observers it looks like a giant rock outcropping, but to … Read More

Life Cycles

She had a good run, this old tree, harboring ten thousand birds and squirrels. Now she’s barren, seems to clutch the sky in despair. But stop. And listen. She’s alive with the staccato sounds of woodpeckers  who have rented her … Read More