Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee

Hi, Guys. I have finally arrived in deepest Kansas, or at least the southeast part of it. If you took out a map and put your finger right where K meets Oklahoma and Missouri, you'd see where I am.

Today I drove on parts of Old Route 66.

I'm in Columbus, Kansas now, but the photo shows where I ate lunch yesterday and bfast today in Chanute, a town where I felt comfortable enough to wish I could hunker down for a longer spell and stay to write. You can see from the picture that the cafe wasn't pretty--it's a former bar--but it was packed with locals who were packin' in the home-cooked food.

Today, I drove through a spooky town named Galena, right by the Missouri and Oklahoma borders, and I realized it's where one of my future characters will meet his unfortunate fate. Ooo, just as I wrote that sentence about that character-- who dies in a motorcycle accident, sorry Far!-- a motorcycle sputtered by in the street outside of the hotel lobby where I'm writing this.

This hotel is pretty strange, itself, and I haven't quite figured out how to describe it for you. It's called The Maple Uncommon Hotel, which tells you something already. When I got here it was locked. I had to call the owner--who is off at an art festival in another town-- so she could give me the combination so I could get in. I'm now sitting in the lobby typing this and there is, I think, one other person on the premises.

The furthest corner of southeast Kansas is a kind of strange place, no offense meant to the natives who are, I'm sure, intelligent, handsome, and charming. I like it for fictional purposes, but I can't say I'd ever want to live here.

I'm seated beside a metal, life-sized sculpture that looks like a cross between Dorothy's Tin Man and a bird. He sends his regards to you.


Nancy P said...

Far, or anyone else who knows motorcycles, I need advice. My character needs a very particular kind of motorcycle and I don't know what it should be.

Here's what I'm looking for. . .

Years ago, I had a friend who had a 10-year-old BMW 350 that he loved passionately. That's the kind of bike my character would have, but that specific bike would be too old now.

He'll have a motorcycle that is old enough to be cheap for him to buy, and which has an aura of "cool" about it. I'd like it to be the kind of bike that other m'cycle lovers would see and they'd nod approvingly and know instantly that here is a guy who knows his motorcycles.

Got any suggestions? Thnx.

Nancy P said...

That BMW might have been larger. I can't recall. What sized bike might a guy have who is about six feet tall, regularly works out so he's strong, and he weighs about 190?

Kimberly Frost said...


I'm enjoying your travelogue. The locale and your entry into the hotel lobby sounds very surreal.

I hope the writing goes smoothly and look forward to more posts!


P.S. Sorry that I don't know anything about motorcycles. :)

FARfetched said...

Depending on the time (modern? 80s?), the type of riding your character does, and the styling he prefers, I'm guessing either the Honda Hawk or the (pre-2001) Triumph Bonneville. Both bikes are affordable & have mini-cult followings.

Let me email you some links & you can let me know what's what. I have a feeling you might be looking for something just a little different, though.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Kimber. Hope your writings going well, too.

Far, thank you. I'll follow your links, but can you tell me why you think my guy may be looking for something else? I suspect you're right, in the sense that it doesn't have to be as well-known and popular as a cult bike, just one that afficianados respect.

FARfetched said...

Well, some of the older BMWs were dual-sports (off-road capable but street legal), so he might have been into adventure touring. If you've ever seen the bikes with metal saddlebags and steel mesh over the headlights, those are adventure tourers. I presume that Deepest Kansas has a not of not-so-paved roads, and you'd want a bike like that to spend a lot of time on them.

I sent some links along in a separate email, including a couple other bikes to consider.

FARfetched said...

Eh, that's a *lot* of not-so-paved roads.

paul lamb said...

Have you ever read the novel Ceremony in Lone Tree by Wright Morris? It is set in a similar strange hotel, in small town Nebraska in that case. Really an interesting novel, and I understand it's a sequel. I think Wright Morris may be the best practitioner of "Midwestern literature" we've produced yet.

maryb said...

I'm shivering. Please don't take a shower at that motel, oops I mean hotel.

I no nuthink about motorcycles. You'll have to rely on FaR. And maybe supersoling (why do I feel he knows motorcycles? or maybe I feel that he is likely to paint them beautifully.)

good luck

katiebird said...

This trip sounds so fun and interesting, Nancy.

But, I share Mary's concerns. Please don't shower while you're there!!

Also, I thought of someone who might have thought of the Balloon thing: Stephen King. (shudder)

katiebird said...

Mister says, "How old is this guy?"

AndiF said...

Well there's weird weird and funky weird and since this place sounds like the latter, I'd say it's safe to shower.

The only thing I know about motorcycles is how not to burn your leg on the exhaust pipe (learned the hard way) so I've go no help to offer.

Happy too-bad-the-weekend's-almost-over to everyone.

Maria Lima said...

Nancy, I love funky, odd, out of the way places. Sounds like your trip is a blast!

In case you (and others hadn't heard), Wolfsbane & Mistletoe, the anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner and containing a story by our own Ms. P, debuted at 31 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

w00t!! Congrats to all the editors and contributors.

Lisa M said...

Staying in a hotel with a combination lock--hmmm.
Definately a detail for a future story.

Andi--agree with funky weird.

How fun to explore the edge of Kansas civilation which is in fact no edge at all. Interesting how you can be so alone while in the middle. West Texas feels a very lonely place but there is also an energy, freedom in being the only one or one among few. The city, civilization can be quite smothering. Some crave that rubbing elbows with the masses. That's actually where I want to visit only now and then. It is solitary time that recharges my energy.
Must be why I like the blog. It is a solitary community. Plenty of people stopping by or lurking but in fact we are each alone behind our screens.

Morning Maria--Thanks for reminding me about that anthology.
I need another book to balance the stack on my nightstand. I do love short stories. I can feel I'm making progress.

No Andi--I'm not ready to give up my weekend. I hold tight to Sunday. Turn my music louder (Coldplay's Viva La Vida)(Beth I got Kenny Chesney's Lucky Old Sun. I need to go to the beach.)and look forward to what beauty the sun will awaken.

Sensational Sunday to All.

Lisa M said...

BTW--It don't get any better than Pancakes, eggs, sausage and coffee. I love breakfast any time.

Down 8 1/2 lbs as of today.

Nancy--:o/ Couldn't really watch the UT-Mizzou game last night. I don't have that killer football instinct.
Preferred finishing Dexter's Season 2.

Nancy P said...

UT-Mizzou game, oh, I had to turn my face away!

Far, thank you so much.

Paul, I've never read Morris. Must do.

Katiebird, I'm still not sure. I think he's in his mid-30's.

Maria, I knew what I was doing when I practically got on one knee and pleaded to be in that anthology, but I had NO idea Charlene would soon be taking over the bestseller lists! Her coattails are great ones to be riding.

Beth said...

NP, I can tell you about riding on the back of a motorcycle, and motorcycle rallies, but that's about it...

Thanks for sharing your traveling stories with us!