After two days of driving, I have arrived in Surprise, Ariz. And it can now be revealed (because he said he really doesn’t care) that my driving companion was Brad Fanning, formerly of KCTV5 and currently president of Sports Feed KC. Brad’s down here to shoot video of the Royals; I’m down here to talk to players and coaches.
As expected, the drive was a trip.
We weren’t out of Kansas yet when we stopped at one of those giant rest stops to load up on coffee and donuts (“The Breakfast of Guys Who Are Unlikely to be Champions.”) As we were leaving the rest stop, we passed a truck hauling Doritos — at least that’s what it said on the side — and Brad hit the brakes and backed up to ask the driver how many bags of Doritos he had in the truck.
The guy started laughing and said he had 5,000 cases of Doritos, six bags to a case. Do the math and the answer is: a helluva lot of Doritos. (Brad said he thought the driver was Australian. I didn’t get that impression, but what do I know? My idea of Australians is based pretty much totally on Crocodile Dundee.)
Curiosity satisfied, we headed out for the Oklahoma Panhandle and the northern part of Texas. And, boy, can they give Kansas a run for its money when it comes to flatness. They are flat-out flat out there.
We stopped for lunch at a roadside hamburger stand, locally owned. We could’ve gone to McDonald’s, but I pointed out that we knew exactly what we’d get at Mickey D’s and we might be passing right by the greatest hamburger in the world. And after sampling a Jumbo Cheeseburger and onion rings, I can now say we should’ve gone to McDonald’s.
Next stop: Hooker, Oklahoma.
When a town’s named Hooker and its Chamber of Commerce is also a T-shirt shop, that’s worth investigating. So we did. There we met “Shorty” — a nice woman who’s either 4 feet, 9 inches or 4 feet, 10 inches tall (I clearly should have written that down). She told us her family history while we looked at T-shirts.
Later, I checked out the Hooker Chamber of Commerce, and this is what their website said: “It’s a Location, Not a Vocation.” On the other hand, the Chamber of Commerce is next door to a massage parlor that offers “table showers.”
Afer checking out Hooker’s Chamber of Commerce, I also checked out table showers. It turns out a table shower is just what it sounds like: You lie on a table and get hosed off like a prized hog headed for the county fair.
But back to the scintillating story of two knuckleheads driving across the country. We drove most of the day on Monday and made it Albuquerque before calling it quits. That’s five states in one day — not a bad effort.
On Tuesday, we continued our drive and the topography got a lot more interesting. It looked like John Wayne was going to come galloping out from around a boulder at any second — which would be an especially neat trick because he’s dead.
We climbed into the mountains and at one point Brad said it was 42 degrees. We passed through a forest of pine trees and saw snow on the ground; before the day was over, it would be in the 80s and we’d be driving past cacti, a whole lot of sand and octogenarians who think driving a golf cart in traffic is normal behavior.
Brad and I got along amazingly well, but we ran out of typical conversational topics somewhere around the Arizona border. I imagine the same thing happens to astronauts in space: “Hey, Buzz, if you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?”
Here’s what we discussed:
If we had to commit suicide, Brad and I agreed we wouldn’t do it by jumping off something high; too much chance you’d change your mind on the way down. And I wouldn’t really want my last thought to be: “This was a really dumb idea.”
Next topic: if we had to kill someone and not get caught I suggested the “Strangers on a Train” scenario. In other words, you do my murder and I do yours, and that way nobody suspects us. But then Brad said he didn’t really want to kill anyone.
(See? Donald Trump is right; this country’s getting soft.)
We were getting directions from Brad’s phone — I think he was hooked up to Google — so then we wondered what woman provided the voice we were listening to. Did she really sit in a studio somewhere and name every street, avenue, boulevard and highway in the U.S.? Or did she just make every vowel and consonant sound and a computer stitched it together? Or was it a real woman at all? (If you know the answer, leave a comment and enlighten us. It’s the least you can do; we told you how many Doritos are in a Dorito truck.)
OK, that’s about it. Today we go over to the Royals’ spring training complex and start covering the team — a job that might end in November again.
I just wanted to let you know that Brad and I got along so well that after we got to Surprise, we went to dinner together last night. And that ought to tell you something about our friendship.
We’re gluttons for punishment.