Sunday 9th November. Indianapolis, Indiana -> Cincinnati, United States.
David, Jeanne and I put the finishing touches on the painting yesterday. Apart from the couple of blotches that David left on the ceiling, the whole job turned out great. The pale maroon colour- which we'd all been in favour of for the doors- turned out to be quite pink and against the green walls, made the place look like a Mexican brothel. *at least that's what David said- I wouldn't know what a Mexican brothel looks like* It had to be quickly reconsidered and painted over with an antique white. We celebrated a job well done with pizza and beers, and I slept my fourth night on the comfy air mattress. The last week and a half has been a fantastic break from the constant movement of the trip so far. Five nights in Toledo, four nights in Indianapolis. I feel recharged. Thanks to David and Jeanne and to Sergeant Joe and his family for their help in keeping this project going!
I should mention a book that David introduced me to. It's written by Rick Steves and is called 'Europe Through The Back Door'. Nothing to do with Greek style, it's a grass roots guide to really experiencing Europe -or anywhere else for that matter. This line on the back cover caught my attention- 'As far as I'm concerned, spending more for your hotel just builds a bigger wall between you and what you've travelled so far to see. If you spend enough, you won't know where you are!' 'Europe Through The Back Door' is the featured book on my favourite books page, so rather than me try to explain it here, just go have a look. Remember any purchase you make at Amazon.com after following an Amazon link from my website, earns me a commission. How cool is that?
I woke up early and flopped into the hot tub. The air was icy. The temperature had dropped well below freezing again during the night, but the water in the hot tub was a bubbly hundred and ten degrees. Phew! We spent the morning sipping tea and chatting, until it was time for David to take me to the Greyhound station. At least today's bus ride was only a short one, to Cincinnati. Normally, it's only a two and a half hour drive, but with a transfer in Dayton stretched to four hours.
Last time I was in Cincinnati, I missed meeting Tony. He'd invited me to stay some months ago, but when I approached Cincinnati six weeks ago, I misread my notes and figured he was out of town at the time. Also I believe I recall being distracted by a very sexy barmaid at some stage! Anyway, to cut a long story short, I caught up with him this time.
Tony came to meet me at the Greyhound station. For once I'd managed to catch a little bit of sleep on the bus. Tony brought me to his place, and the first thing he asked was if I wanted to get onto the internet.
A lot of people don't realize how much time I spend working on the computer, or how important it is for me to stay up to date with my journal and my email correspondence. Tony knows exactly what it's like, after keeping a web journal of his recent trip to New Zealand. It was a relief to get my 'work' out of the way first, and catch up on important emails, so I could relax for the rest of the evening.
Tony had mentioned in an email that he wanted to take me to a restaurant called Montgommery Inn. He'd read about my ribs challenge when I was in Memphis, and was confident that the ribs at Montgommery Inn would surpass anything that Tennessee had to offer. His friend Kathy joined us for dinner. She was full of questions for me, which I didn't mind. Anyone who knows me, knows I love taking about myself!
*which reminds me of something... you know how you can make your own pornstar name by using the name of your first pet and your mother's maiden name? Okay, mine would be Spike Chapman, which I think is kind of cool. Technically, Spike wasn't exactly my pet, but I'm not about to go by the name 'Pip', am I? I don't know why we started talking about that last night, but Kathy's was 'Henrietta Head'! What an awesome pornstar name*
The ribs were really something to be experienced. They were juicy and tender; so tender that you barely had to touch them with a knife and they fell apart. The rack was served with a fresh salad and a bowl of homemade potato chips- not fries, but thin sliced chips. The service was professional and courteous, such a change from being served by dazed teenagers, and a world apart from the rude service at Rendezvous in Memphis. *not your fault Tim. I enjoyed the ribs, and the bad service has given me something to laugh about since* The room we were seated in was the Bob Hope room, with the walls covered in memorabilia. Bob Hope had been such a fan of the ribs here, that he would often phone through an order and have it delivered...to California!
After dinner, Tony showed me through his personal website *he even has a section where his mate Mike posts updates from Iraq* and his business website. He gave up his career as a business consultant about a year ago, and now runs his own successful business consulting company. He gave me loads of ideas for improving my site.
Between now and Christmas, my site will be undergoing something of an overhaul. For starters, I want to completely redesign and simplify the main page. It's about time I added some functionality to make my job easier. For example, when I post a new journal update, I want the oldest update to 'fall off' the page and automatically archive itself. As well as that, I'd like to set it up so that the first paragraph of the latest journal update appears in a box on the main page, enticing visitors to explore further. Currently, I'm working with a table width of 760 pixels. I'd like to increase this so I can set up two or three columns on some pages without resorting to a tiny font size. I've been dreaming of adding a live map- showing where I've been and where I'm at, and I'm still looking for some code to change my slide shows from 'random refresh' to a more ordered approach where the reader clicks on the photo to proceed to the next. Some short video clips should start appearing soon too, if I can figure out how to upload them- that should make the site a lot more interesting. It's been suggested that I post the video clips in a 'subscribers only' paid section as a way to cover my costs. I'm still thinking about that, but don't worry, all my hosts would get an automatic subscription to any paid section, if it ever comes to that. I wouldn't be that mean!
But all of this is a big challenge for a dummy like me. So any of you who are tech savvy, feel free to give me some suggestions. I'll need all the help I can get!