Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ottawa and Russellville and parts in between...

All right! We just got back from a five day long road trip, mostly up and down the I-35 corridor, but with a slight detour to Arkansas.

Cyn spoke in Ottawa, Kansas, at the high school (the alma mater of, among others, Steve Grogan), and then at Prof. John Bushman's Writing Conference's Celebration of Writing.

Cyn also did a couple events at the Russellville, Arkansas, public library: Friday evening was a dinner with the author and Saturday was a workshop on children's and YA writing.

We left Tuesday morning and made an excellent lunch in Ardmore, Oklahoma, at the 2 Frogs restaurant: if you happen to ever find yourself in Ardmore, go there. The food's great and they (apparently) have great live music (see the stage in the photo); the place is decorated with music/band paraphernalia and they also sell tickets to acts coming to the big music venue in town. Willie Nelson was there the day after we were and (shades of Music and Lyrics), Rick Springfield will be there next month.

We made it up to Ottawa uneventfully and had a relaxing dinner with Professor Bushman at the Applebee's across from our hotel. The next day, Cyn did three sessions with students in the Ottawa High School library; Dr. Bushman was gracious enough to invite us to his place for refreshments afterwards, and then, that evening, Cyn spoke to the writing contest (Dr. Bushman's utterly sublime license plate appears to the left).

The next day, Cyn and I slept in and had an relaxing (and picturesque) drive to Russellville, where we checked into the hotel, did some e-mail, etc., and worked on our current projects. We went out to dinner and sampled, for the first time, chicken-fried corn-on-the-cob. Next day, we did a bit of a drive around town (home of Arkansas Tech University), but spent most of it (before the dinner) writing.

Dinner in the center of the library was intimate and fun -- I had the chance to speak with, among others, a lady who had recently moved down from my old haunts in Chicago, as well as a family whose patriarch is a self-described "redneck, truck-driving Star Trek fan" who is more optimistic about the new movie than I am :-).

Cyn's workshop the next morning -- in the "Heritage Hall," the remodeled original library building -- was a great success. Afterward, the librarians took us to a lovely lunch at Italian Gardens Cafe, where the breadsticks alone are almost enough to make a meal.

We hit the road again and stayed overnight in Sherman, Texas. By this time, we were exhausted, so unfortunately, didn't get a chance to explore the town. Instead, we watched IGOR on the in-room movie system and noticed the odd warning next to the sprinkler head whose photo appears to the left (may need to click to read).

This morning, we had an early start and made remarkably good time on I-35.

Thanks to everyone for their hospitality and graciousness!

The other big highlight of the trip was listening to the Blackstone audio of Bram Stoker's Dracula; twelve CDs and fourteen and a half hours. An excellent production but, wow, Van Helsing is wordy!

All in all, a most enjoyable trip -- I really enjoy seeing parts of the country I wouldn't necessarily ordinarily see, although there were, as always, a number of places I wish we'd had time to explore further...

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