Tag: vacation

Whoa! Slow Down America

Memorial Day is the traditional start of the Summer season. It is hard to believe the holiday is right around the corner and as it approaches so does the promise of sun drenched days at the beach or pool, barbecues, fireworks, and of course, the family vacation. But before you pack up the Winnebago and head out to the coast or a National Park, consider a getaway to less traveled locations. They might be closer to home, a lot cheaper and less crowded.

As the title of this article suggests, I am suggesting we all take a moment to enjoy the little things in life that naturally slow us down and help us ponder the reason for our existence. Of course, I am talking about some of America’s most natural wonders: Speed Bumps.

Here are some of my favorites.

yellow-horiLegions of grieving fans pay a visit to the grave site of fallen music icon Prince ever year. This pop-star pilgrimage makes up a whopping 94% of Minnesota’s annual tourist revenue. That means while big crowds are queuing up to pay their respect, you can take advantage of the small lines at the Cedarhurst Speed Bump of the DOT entrance off 394. This majestic formation dates back to almost a decade before anyone had ever heard of Prince yet still retains the brilliant industrial yellow which is best viewed in full daylight. Closed on weekends.


yellow-angleNashville is well known as the Country Music capital of the world but what many don’t know, or won’t tell you about, is the Speed Bump of Park-N-Pay just outside the bright lights and fanfare of the legendary Honky Tonk Highway. This noble beauty rises with a gentle grade to a modest but elegant summit. Sadly, at the time of this writing, the right side of the Bump has suffered a fissure and there is a danger of splitting free and crumbling. Be sure to call ahead for information about closures or hazardous conditions.


tarhead2An ugly controversy over ownership has surrounded Glenbrook Speed Bump in Cleveland. However, the bitter dispute has done nothing to detract from the august, I daresay, imposing shoulders of this Bump of rugged beauty. Locally known as “Old Tarhead,” Glenbrook is comprised of dense conglomerated synthetics created in a  crucible of high pressure and heat. Old Tarhead’s composition sets it apart from the other stone based formations on this list. He is far younger, too. You can begin your ascent of Old Tarhead from either side of the two territories still squabbling over possession, East from Kohls or West from Ulta.


twinsNo list of American Speed Bumps would be complete without the Whispering Oak Twins in Houston. Found far of the beaten path, this unique pair of Bumps can be be a bit challenging to access but the rewards are breathtaking. Side-by-side, the massive width of the Twins more than makes up for their elevation, which a first time visitor may find underwhelming, and the dominating deposits of chalky white that stripe their indomitable backs are awe inspiring. During wet weather, you may be treated to the sight of a glistening stream running between the Twins. To be on the safe side be sure to check local weather; flooding in the Houston area is common.

I’m Taking Next Summer Off

My Jim Anchower Impression

“Hola Amigos, I know it has been a long time since I rapped at ya.” This is how columnist Jim Anchower began each article for The Onion – America’s Finest News Source. This was back in the days when the venerable periodical was worth reading, or perhaps I’m just nostalgic for the old days when satire was still possible, a time when a reader could differentiate between real life and stories too ridiculous to not be a joke. 

Anchower’s articles chronicled his life as a total, hapless loser with absolutely no irony and few, if any, moments of self-reflection that might turn his life around. Anchower is retired but bad luck is still around and sometimes, for no fault of your own, you can experience a string of it that would rival Unlucky Jim.

So, amigos, let me rap to ya about why I haven’t posted for a while. It has been a bad summer. I had a vacation that got canceled due to a natural disaster, my father passed away, I contracted the latest variant of covid and was out of commission for a few weeks. I got the ax from my only remaining music gig (for reasons listed above, no less). And I had a procedure to fix my eye left damaged by radiation from my skin cancer party of 2020. For about three weeks I have been trying not to stumble into walls and work with one peeper sewn up.

Of course, none of these events were my fault and, unlike Anchower who made bad decisions, my moments of self-reflection were many. I realized after all of this that it doesn’t take very much to make things fall apart even when we think we have it all together. 

Here is a little verse that Jim Anchower wouldn’t care for because it doesn’t rhyme like the lyrics to an REO Speedwagon song.

Smooth and polished as glass
      Clear, flawless
           A pleasure to hold
To fill and lift up with rousing plaudits

One day you flowed over
       And slipped from my fingers
            The hard world caught and shattered you
Into sharp, untouchable pieces