Monday, April 12, 2010

More Politically (In)Correct Travel Humor

Here, I get to comment on two states -- or three, or four, or heck, even five -- in one entry, and perhaps piss off not just one aggrieved commenter in one state, but potentially a whole bunch, in five.
And it's Andy's fault, sort of. He wanted me to make fun of Louisiana.
Having been there, I can. And more.
Back in my corporate cog days, I received a rather unusual assignment: travel to West Monroe, Louisiana.
At the time, I was an investigator in a Fortune 500 company, based in Denver, CO. So what was I being sent to a major paper products manufacturer facility to do? Surveillance? Internal investigation? A facility risk assessement? A pre-labor dispute preparedness survey?
Nawp...I was being sent to pick up a truck. Phffft. Perhaps I'd figure out later whose Wheaties I'd apparently peed in.
Now, I'd been to Louisiana before: two trips to New Orleans, well before Katrina rearranged portions of it, with a 3rd trip in the near future. But West Monroe (pronounced Munn-row, by some of the locals), was another critter entirely. To get there, I was sent to Dallas via Delta Airlines; and from Dallas, aboard one of those pathetic 'vomit comets', into Shreveport, LA. From Shreveport, I drove on to the land of lots of trees, humidity, possum-paved highways, grits....and huge friggin' palmetto bugs.
We Yankees call the danged things roaches, but I digress.
Not that my stay in West "Munn-row" was totally unpleasant; our local corporate security rep was very helpful by day, and a gracious host one evening, especially after his 4th or 5th bloody mary, interspersed with scotch on the rocks, which helped him break into a bad Irish brogue to bellow a version of Danny Boy neither I nor his wife had heard before, or since (speaking for me, anyway).
That next morning, sporting a tad of a hangover myself, I stepped out of my hotel room in downtown West Munn-row, only to see my copy of USA Today trying to walk off, apparently on its own. Suspecting a bloody mary hallucination, I reached for it, only to become engaged in a bug-o'-war with the biggest friggin' roach (aka, palmetto bug) I'd ever seen (I kid you not, it was the size of a starling). A bug-o'-war which I won, at the cost of a paper that was no longer readable, dripping with palmetto guts after a prolonged paper-in-hand-to-antenna struggle.
A nearby maid just shook her head and muttered something about "danged Yankees". I got to hear that term a lot down yonder.
On the day it was time to pick up the truck -- a brand new 1990 Ford F-350 crewcab, which was not what apparently had been ordered -- my cohort recommended that, instead of heading back west on I-20, I should go north, through the "splendor" (his words) of Arkansas. I'd made the mistake at some point the previous evening mentioning that I'd never been to Arkansas.
Dang it.
I don't remember all of the route I took north out of West Munn-row, but as I crossed the line into Arkansas on a backroad, I knowd I was in for the longest non-stop drive possible, starting with the sign: Welcome to Arkansas, Unless Yore A Yankee, Then Just Mosey Right On Outta H'yar.
I figured I could find solace on the radio, but not in this part of the state. I found two radio stations I could pick up thereabouts: one was broadcasting a fire-n-brimstone southern Baptist revivial, interspersed with some Ray Steven's ditty about a squirrel loose in a Mississppi church.
The other wasn't: it was being officiated by a dj who, doing his best Northern Exposure dj imitation, was philosophizing about the movie Deliverance, and playing the Duelling Banjos theme song over...and over...and over...and between times, speculating on if them hippy-lookin' Brits (I suspect he meant the Beatles) were behind the demonic reversal of the Dueling Banjos theme, and how it was affecting hootch prices and making goats less amorous, or some such a thing.
So I re-reckoned I could take some solace in the "splendor" of the rural scenery as I rolled along, only to note that even the birds had straw in their beaks, straw hats on their haids, and waved muskets at bypassing "city fellers" or the neighboring clan they were apparently feuding with, ala the Hatowls & McCrows.
Charlie Daniels rerouted his trip via Omaha. I was quickly figurin' out why.
But I did eventually hit a north-by-northwest-bearing interstate highway, and started seeing a bit more of the splendor of Arkansas: rolling hills, trees, fewer outhouses, and no 400 lb denim overalled toothless denizens, pointin' flintlocks at the "danged Yankee". I even saw a billboard, advertising a tourist trap destination: Come See The Biggest Dung Pile Outside a DC, Y'all!
I don't remember the town, but at least they were wise enough to know they could NEVER stack it as high as DC, then or ever.
As I got closer to Little Rock, I knew I'd returned to something akin to civilization, as I was able to stop at a gas station that didn't have mule-powered gas pumps. And I even saw a modern Arkansas State Police vehicle, complete with a trooper out recruiting dates/cigar humidors for the then-governor.
The significance of this would register a few years' hence.
Not long after then at any rate -- having entered the state at 55 mph, and exiting at 80 -- I was back on familiar ground: I was in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. And not much else goes on, save for an occasional tornado, rearranging terra firma with no particular design idea in mind during the process.
Evening time was setting in as I saw the familiar welcome sign to Kansas (Kansas Welcomes You; Yawning Prohibited), and pushed on, listening on the radio to a rather poignant missive about the pros and cons of wheat cross-pollinating with sun flowers, and how it was a harbinger of the agronomist's Apocalypse; this on a station that clearly wished it had something else to broadcast about, like tornado warnings or hog price reports (it did those "on the tens").
Sadly, the weather wasn't prime for tornadoes, and what with night fall, it would have been wasted, so I just drove on, enjoying being relieved of the scenery Kansas has to offer, by the cover of night.
Technically, the equivalent of reducing barlighting at closing time to pitch black.
After a short nap on the outskirts of Goodland, Kansas, I saw Colorado at sunrise. It was splendid (other than when I thought someone had moved the sign, for about the first 100 miles, back into Kansas). I knew I was home when I could finally see the mountains to the west, as I sat mired in a multi-mile traffic jam during the latter stages of morning rush hour in Denver. The horns, the gestures, the sirens, the xchanges of road rage gunfire and smell of pollutants, let me know I was back from where I'd begun.
Dang it.
DISCLAIMER:,, and a crapload of other .coms, may or may not necessarily endorse, agree with, or understand one syntax error of what just transcribed on your computer screen via h'yar. Which is probably fine, I think. All pokes and jibes at any and all locations are meant in jest and good humor, except maybe the last part, or perhaps parts of the middle part, or maybe even some other part. BUT be that as it may, the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of a Geico Caveman, Betty White, Tiger Woods' putter, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Cheech 'n Chong, or The Carol Burnett Show on YouTube. And where the opinions expressed herein, tend to clash with those of readers who didn't find anything pleasing herein, I regret that I must tell you I don't care ;-)

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Blogger classicaliberal said...

What? Nothing about California?! I'm insulted. State Ridicule FAIL!

12 April, 2010 02:01  
Blogger slommler said...

You totally crack me up. So many little time!!

12 April, 2010 02:25  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

CL, my bad. But on this particular trip, Califorlornia didn't factor in. But I do have a few travel experiences in CA...I'll look into making it up to you h'yar ;)

12 April, 2010 04:08  
Blogger The Dental Maven said...

Tiger Woods' putter. Too funny :)

Will Maryland be coming up on your roster, Skunk?

12 April, 2010 04:49  
Blogger Andy said...

Excellent, Skunks! LOL...Oh man, have I had me some go-rounds with Palmetto bugs. You know, they really are different from rorchez.

And, I know the highway you took from West Monroe to Little Rock...all too well...

BTW, I know where that paper plant is, too. Used to get to whiff it for several hours once a month when I worked "on the road."

12 April, 2010 06:52  
Anonymous Leeuna said...

Hilarious as usual Skunk. You nailed a bunch of 'em that time.

12 April, 2010 07:38  
Blogger Debbie said...

I know what you mean about those big roaches. When we first moved to Hawaii, or I should say when the Navy moved us to Hawaii, we moved into a nice house, nice area, nice people. The first evening there something flew by my head in the living room.

I thought a bird had gotten into the house. Nope, it was a HUGE, UGLY, ROACH. And it was FLYING.

From Tennessee I had no idea a roach could be that big or could fly. I almost had a heart attack.

After a while, you learn to live with it, just like you learn to live with the geckos jumping out at you when you open a cabinet early in the morning or climbing up the wall while you watch TV at night.

Right Truth

12 April, 2010 07:43  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, I can't seem to settle on a favorite line this time...I'm crackin' up the whole way through...Although I must say, "which helped him break into a bad Irish brogue to bellow a version of Danny Boy neither I nor his wife had heard before, or since (speaking for me, anyway)" caused me to laugh until the tears streamed...and Oh, my...Arkansas? And of course the Palmetto bugs down South...this is so packed with winning lines...How are you at delivery? No, not pizza...I mean speaking? I think Leno has some competition h'yar...If you are ever out of work...I think you need to try for a DJ/talk show host or Stand-up comic...Heck, you could audition at the local casinos! This was terrific! And your disclaimer at the conclusion? Priceless! Hugs, Janine

12 April, 2010 11:16  
Blogger Eva Gallant said...

How about Maine--except you can't get here from there!

12 April, 2010 13:11  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Eva: Oh, yeah, I've been to Maine, on a business jaunt that started in Boston, went to NH, then onto Maine, back into MA, and eventually back to Denver via air.

I'll put it on my list ;)

12 April, 2010 19:01  
Blogger Andy said...

Skunks, don't forget to mention that it gets so cold in Maine that Olympia Snowe once froze one of her balls off.

12 April, 2010 19:10  
Blogger Serena said...

I'm pretty sure the Deliverance Boys live across the hall from me. I actually love Louisiana, but it IS a whole 'nother world down there.:)

12 April, 2010 19:35  
Blogger Frank Baron said...

I'm telling myself you were exaggerating the size of that bug....

13 April, 2010 10:43  
Blogger She Writes said...

LOVED the last sentence :)! That is the best attitude for telling a story!

14 April, 2010 19:09  

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