Not Our Best Aventure (And Not Our Worst)

The unique Cactus Rose Tearoom in McLean, Texas©Jim Hinckley’s America

It has been a voyage of discovery. The Cactus Rose Taproom on Main Street in McLean, Texas is a new addition in this faded old town. I will need to verify this, but purportedly it is the first bar in the town’s history. And hands down it is one of most unusual locations to sip on a cold one that I have yet to encounter.

A stop at the iconic Jack Rabbit Rading Post and visit with old friends.

But on this adventure, our first major road trip since 2019, the oddity of this place seems normal. Rental car reservations were the first issue. Budget rental car in Kingman has closed. Hertz pulled out of town quite some time ago.

That left Enterprise. No problem. I have an account and before the apocalypse used them often. So, a reservation was made several months ago.

On Monday, I had a phone call to confirm. And I was told that there shouldn’t be an issue, a vehicle would be available Thursday. Thursday morning, I received a phone call. Instead of a small van, I could choose between a full size 4×4 quad cab pickup with diesel engine or large Dodge Promaster van that stood nearly eight feet tall. So, we are driving a Dodge van, which will come in handy if we purchase a grandfather clock along the way. And besides, now I don’t have to pack gear like it’s a Chinese box puzzle.

Sunset in McLean, Texas. ©Jim Hinckley’s America

So, bright and early on Friday morning we set out on our odyssey, destination the Miles of Possibility Conference in Pontiac, Illinois. Picture post card perfect weather until late last evening when an impressive and beautiful storm rolled through McLean.

To date the high points have been many. A delicious lunch at Angela’s Cafe in Gallup, New Mexico, a favorite of my dearest friends is one of these. And that was followed with a fascinating and productive meeting with the owner, Angela Chavez, who is involved with Main Street and other organizations that are working to revitalize the historic business district.

There were surprises aside from the Cactus Rose Tearoom. We had a superb dinner at the Red River Steakhouse in McLean and learned that all evening meals come with a small dish of peach or apple cobbler. That isn’t proclaimed on the menu.

We have had productive meetings. Delightful visits with old friends. Lots of great scenery. Met some very fascinating people. And gathered lots of fodder for future programs, posts, and podcasts, and the trip is just getting started.

I will be sharing more of the highlights and discoveries with future posts as the trip is less than half over. On today’s episode of Coffee With Jim, an abbreviated version of our audio podcast, I shared the story of our trip to date.

Aside from the rental car issue, the overall trip has gone well. But rental car reservations were but one problem encountered before hitting the road.

One motel canceled our reservation days before our departure. The property had been sold, and renovations would require closure for weeks. During the same period two book signings were canceled, and two more were requested. Those were completely unexpected and unplanned. But those in Tennessee, and a third that was received the day before we left, could not be confirmed as the schedule was set.

I have what appears to be a spider bite on my forearm, not sure where that came from, or how I didn’t notice. A mild bout of what might have been food poisoning, that always enhance the fun of travel. Can’t prove it but my prime suspect is truck stop food in Moriarty.

Today, aside from bug bites, we are both right as rain. So, tomorrow the adventure continues as we explore some Ozark Mountains backroads and pay a visit to the forgotten capitol city of Kaskaskia, Illinois, which happens to be on the Missouri side of the river.

Stay tuned! We have adventures and discoveries to share, and we are just getting started.