High Plains Drifters

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The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 11:21:39 (permalink)
I am glad you were able to find a statue of our fine 8th president.
rumaki
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 11:26:19 (permalink)
The mnemonic device I was taught was:
stalaGmites grow up from the ground
stalactites are stuck "tight" to the ceiling.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 11:37:44 (permalink)
Nancy-
It looks like all he needs is a brick wall.
 
TTM-
Now, exactly which one of those was the 8th President?
JRPfeff
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 11:48:18 (permalink)
And which # Prez is this one?
 

MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 12:38:03 (permalink)
Hayes
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 12:53:36 (permalink)
JRPfeff-
I don't know what number, but he was definitely our coolest president!
Davydd
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 13:03:09 (permalink)
rumaki

The mnemonic device I was taught was:
stalaGmites grow up from the ground
stalactites are stuck "tight" to the ceiling.

Even simpler.
 
stalaGmites - Ground
stalaCtites - Ceiling
 
In all the tours we've taken I gather every tour guide tries to come up with a unique explanation.
 
This year we have toured Kartchner Caverns in Arizona and Luray Caverns in Virginia. Kartchner has soda straws which are hollow columns from ceiling to ground about the size of soda straws. Never saw those before. You really appreciate Kartchner which was only discovered about 30 or so years ago and is being carefully preserved exactly as found as much as possible. On the other hand Luray Caverns' stalactites are almost all broken off wherever within reach and generally looks duller. Caves are almost all fascinating in their unique ways.
The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:25:51 (permalink)
MiamiDon

Hayes

Well played.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:34:08 (permalink)
Thursday June 16, 2011
 
This was another day with lots to do, so we checked out of the hotel room early and headed south on Rte. 385 into western Nebraska.  Looking for someplace for breakfast, we came across a sign for Helen's Pancake & Steak House

in Chadron, Nebraska.  The inside was big and comfortable,

full of regulars who all seemed to know each other.  There was one big table, full of mostly older men, who were sitting around and playing some dice game.  Anybody know what that was they were playing?
 
Since this is a small town, no surprise to see a steak and pancake house combination.  What struck us as strange was the full range of variety on the menu.  Besides the usual suspects, they also offered potstickers, frogs legs, fondue, lobster bites and rocky mountain oysters.  We were happy to settle for just a normal breakfast without fondue and frogs legs!
 
Johnny ordered the 2 pancakes, 2 eggs, and 2 slices of bacon for $4.00 breakfast. 

He called the bacon flimsy, but liked the eggs and especially the thick, crispy edged pancakes.  Knowing we had a very full itinerary of Roadfood ahead of us, I tried to eat a little lighter.  I started with a 1/2 order of the biscuits and gravy. 

The gravy was thin, but pleasantly peppery.  The biscuits were also as soft as can be.  Next for me was a couple slices of that flimsy bacon.

I also got a homemade sweet roll for us to share. 

This roll was so big, that when the waitress brought it out, the two older couples at the table next to us started laughing.  The sweet roll was good, although it could have used a bit more icing.  Maybe we are just spolied by what we ate at Stella's earlier in the trip. 
 
They did have some pie in the case, but there wasn't a big selection and what was there didn't look too promising.  Still, if you are driving through western Nebraska and looking for a quick breakfast, this place would make a good stop.
 
Helen's Pancake & Steak House
950 W Highway 20
Chadron, NE
308-432-9958 
 
We continued further south into Nebraska.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/12 15:39:56
MiamiDon
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:42:25 (permalink)
Notice the closely-spaced, transverse lines on the "flimsy bacon?"  I wonder what they cooked it in/on.
 
Isn't that the second or third monster sweet roll you've gotten on this trip? 
6star
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:46:42 (permalink)
Davydd:
"On the other hand Luray Caverns' stalactites are almost all broken off wherever within reach and generally looks duller."
Duller formations are due to dust in the air clinging to them and mean that the formation is "dead" (no longer active with cave moisture running thru and/or dripping on them). 
 
Soda straws are somewhat common in active caves, though many times they are very small and the cave guides do not always call attention to them.  The closest cave to you where I know there are soda straws would probably be Crystal Lake Cave, about 10 miles south of Dubuque, IA, on US 52. ( http://www.crystallakecave.com/ )
 
More unusual are helictites, small formations which seem to defy gravity as they grow in all directions with branching twisted shapes, even with some branches turning toward the ceiling. Wind Cave National Park (in the Black Hills) is one cave that has helictites.
post edited by 6star - 2011/07/12 15:48:27
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:47:12 (permalink)
MiamiDon-
I did notice the unusual lines on the bacon.  Reminds me of the Rodney Dangerfield line from Caddyshack, "This steak still has marks from where the jockey was hitting it."  Actually, the bacon was fine, just not as crispy as we would have liked.
 
Yes, this was a big trip for huge sweet rolls and cinnamon rolls, with the best ones still to come.
rumaki
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:48:24 (permalink)
What's on top of the pancakes? I assume that's syrup in the cup with brown stuff in it, but are those two things on the pancakes little cups filled with butter (perhaps whipped)?
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 15:48:52 (permalink)
6star-
And if we would have it to do over again, we would have skipped Jewel Cave and gone to Wind Cave instead.
 
rumaki-
Those are two cups of butter turned upside down on top of the pancakes.  Unfortunately, both my memory and my notes fail me, so I can't tell you if it was whipped butter or not.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/12 16:02:22
MilwFoodlovers
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/12 20:12:05 (permalink)
I had a ridged microwave bacon cooker that left lines similar to that. It was a bear to clean and I didn't care for the bacon. It was years ago but maybe it made my bacon flimsy which actually sounds like a roadfood item. "I'll have the bacon flimsy and two over easy eggs please".
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/13 16:10:10 (permalink)
Thursday June 16, 2011 cont.
 
Our destination was a novelty attraction in Alliance, Nebraska known as Car Henge.  As you have undoubtedly surmised, this is a replica of Stone Henge, only made with old cars.  As we got close, our GPS decided we needed to explore some unpaved roads. 

Thanks GPS!  Eh, at least it was a rental.
 
Car Henge

was easy to find and was actually free, although both of us did make a donation at the little visitor's center.  Built out in the field,


it is a little spooky looking.  All of the cars are covered in gray spray paint, to mirror the stones in England.


Just a little further into the field is a giant salmon

and dinosaur sculptures.

You just never know what you are going to see here next, including two cars stacked on top of each other,

end to end (the yellow really made them stick out), another car being used as a time capsule by the local high school

and just a steering wheel and column buried,

all by itself.
 
You won't walk away from Car Henge thinking it is the coolest thing you have ever seen but for those who enjoy the oddball and unusual or have an appreciation for Folk Art, this place is well worth the visit.
 
Our destination for the rest of the day was the town of Scottsbluff, but we made a quick stop in the small town of Melbeta.  A restaurant called Al's Cafe in Melbeta was listed in the 2008 Roadfood book.  But the review has since been taken down from the Roadfood website and it was not listed in the 2011 book, which made us suspect that they had gone out of business.  And indeed it has. 

Even though the name Al's Cafe is still on the window, it is now a rock shop.  Considering the person running Al's was 92 when the review was written, that is no surprise.  Hopefully, she retired, instead of, well, you know..... 
 
First stop in Scottsbluff was Rosita's

for lunch.  We arrived just about noon and the place was quite busy.  The front dining room

where we were seated had a row of high-backed booths and a few tables.  Another dining room lies in the back.  The fact that the people running the place along with a good portion of the customers were speaking Spanish was a good omen.  As soon as we got seated, they asked what we wanted to drink.  I hesitated, because we hadn't had a chance to look at the menu yet and Mexican restaurants often have wonderful things to drink.  I explained that to the young man and he asked what kind of drinks we were thinking about and I mentioned horchatas.  He told us even though they are not on the menu, they would be happy to make horchatas for us. 

These had to be the milkiest white horchatas I have ever seen and were the perfect compliment for the food ahead of us.
 
Meals here start out with homemade tortillas and salsa. 

The tortillas were still hot and fresh.  The salsa was seriously spicy hot, but full of so much flavor, it was impossible to stop eating it.  Besides the salsa, Johnny was also slathering butter on his tortillas.  He told me, "If there is butter on the table, I am putting it on something!"  Strange that I have known Johnny my entire life and had no idea he was from Wisconsin!  So how did I know the tortillas are homemade?  When I walked to the rest room, I looked in this unusual, brightly colored window

and watched a woman making them by hand.  By the time I went back to the table to get my camera and returned, she was gone.  Too bad, because that would have made a great photo!
 
After we placed our orders, the waiter told us to help ourselves to the soup.  Underneath the tv was a little table

with homemade chicken vegetable soup.

Even though the broth was thin, it very much tasted of chicken and was delicious.  As an appetizer, we ordered the chips,

which came with a little side of cheese.  These chips were light, airy and crunchy.  As much as we enjoyed dipping them in the cheese, we were thinking honey might have been a better accompaniment, since these reminded us so much of mini-sopaipillas.
 
My lunch was two cheese enchiladas and an ala carte taco.  The enchiladas

were small and thin, but with the cheese and sauce on top, these were excellent.  The rice on the side, which is usually a throw away dish I don't pay much attention to, were much tastier also.  The taco


was a little light on the inside stuffing (meat, cheese, tomato and lettuce), but like the chips, the puffy outside shell was light and crunchy.  Johnny's lunch was almost identical, only he got it as an enchilada and taco combo.  But, he also tacked on a tamale on the side.  The tamale

was in it's husk and came with a brown sauce, which Johnny said was more like a gravy.  I thought it was some kind of bean sauce.  Anyway, the tamale was meaty and we suspect that it was a pork/beef combination.  Without the sauce, the tamale would have been on the dry side.
 
We didn't seem to have any one person waiting on us during our time here.  The teenage waitress was pleasant, but not terribly efficient.  The man who sat us and took our horachata order was frequently at our table, checking and chatting with us and he seemed to be the man in charge.  He took special interest in us, probably because of the photo taking and that we told him we read about the place on Roadfood.  Even though neither Johnny or I are big fans of Mexican food, we really enjoyed Rosita's.  So much so, we inquired about their breakfast hours, since we saw a sign advertising the morning meal.  Unfortunately, they are only opening for breakfast on Sundays for a while to see if there is any customer interest in this.  We wished the man good luck!
 
Once back outside, I had more time to check out the art outside.  They had a fairly large sculpture of a guitar player

and a horn player

guarding the parking lot.  And in the far corner of the roof was the rest of the band.

 
Rosita's
1205 E. Overland Drive
Scottsbluff, NE
308-632-2429
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/14 15:14:30
The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/13 16:20:21 (permalink)
OK...now I am not sure which feature of your vacation I am more jealous of....
 
The random presidents statues or Carhenge?
 
Ahhh....who are we kidding?  We all know it's Carhenge.  I do love all kinds of 'henges.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/13 16:35:27 (permalink)
TTM-
I do remember your ill fated attempt to visit Foam Henge.  You are a henge guy!
wanderingjew
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/13 17:07:53 (permalink)
Gee "youse guyz" eat alot!!!!  (duh!)
I'm surprised you didn't take out a spork and attack the Salmon at Carhenge......
 
 
Davydd
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/13 18:23:03 (permalink)
I've been to Stonehenge and dead Cadillacs. I think I'll skip Carhenge.
The Travelin Man
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 09:11:40 (permalink)
buffetbuster

TTM-
I do remember your ill fated attempt to visit Foam Henge.  You are a henge guy!

Oh, nay nay.  I HAVE been to Foamhenge.  I definitely found it to have more Styrofoam per henge than all of the other henges do.
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 09:44:37 (permalink)
Thursday June 16, 2011 cont.
 
Just a few blocks down the street from Rosita's, we spotted an ice cream shop in an old building.  The sign for Platte Valley Creamery

says it is homemade and another sign says locally owned, so we stopped in for a few scoops.  The inside was dark and the person who waited on us was not particularly friendly, so we ate in the car.  Johnny started with a scoop of chocolate peanut butter, which was so chocolatey, he was surprised by how intensity of the flavor. 

He loved his scoop of apple streusel, especially the strong taste of cinnamon and the big chunks of apple.  My scoops of English toffee and peppermint

were fine, but nothing special.  He definitely had the better ice cream.
 
Platte Valley Creamery
1005 E Overland Drive
Scottsbluff, NE
308-632-4225 
 
Our next destination was Scotts Bluff National Monument. 



Once you enter the park, you immediately start a steep climb on some winding roads, that take you through three tunnels.  Once you reach the top, you great some wonderful views.

Looking in this direction,

you get to see the town of Gering and further north, Scottsbluff.  Looking this way, you get to see the valley and the entrance to the park.

 
Before leaving, we took some time to explore the museum inside the visitor's center, where we learned that this area was part of the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail and the short lived Pony Express also passed right through here.  They also had a small outdoor exhibit, with some covered wagons. 

At one them, a park ranger was waiting there in period clothes,

showing what life was like on the trail.  Very interesting!  And I sure didn't envy him sitting outside in that heavy clothing, consideirng how hot it was that day.
 
Driving back through the town of Gering, we easily found Gering Bakery

There was one young lady working and she could not have been nicer.  She told us how everything they sell is made fresh that morning and said that with obvious pride.  Johnny and I asked for a couple of cabbage burgers (known elsewhere in Nebraska as runzas), while we picked out some other snacks from all the goodies filling the glass cases.  She brought out the heated up cabbage burgers, still wrapped in paper.  Unwrapped,

it looks like a substantial thing to eat, but it is so soft and doughy, it is nothing more than a snack.  The bread seemed very floury, while the inside

was stuffed with lots of cabbage, beef and spices.  Very simple, but utterly delicious.  This was an item that I liked much more than Johnny, but he had a bit of a stomach ache, so that didn't help.  We also loaded up on cookies and we had to grab a few of the peanut butter pretzels, 

which was topped off by rich peanut butter icing.  Fantastic!  They have all kinds of other things here
 
and we really wished we could have bought and sampled more, but we still had to save some appetite for other Roadfood stops while in town.   
 
Gering Bakery
1446 10th Street
Gering, NE
308-436-2817
 
We were both tired, so we checked into the hotel and took a long nap.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/14 14:57:37
ScreamingChicken
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 10:15:05 (permalink)
buffetbuster

This was an item that I liked much more than Johnny, but he had a bit of a stomach ache, so that didn't help.


So one of you is human after all!
 
Hopefully he felt better and was back in action before long.
 
Brad
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 10:29:58 (permalink)
A peanut butter frosted pretzel . . . what an evil and awesome idea!  Glad to see that the -henges are being well covered by our intrepid crew.  :)
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 10:50:40 (permalink)
Buffetbuster
 
I was looking forward to your photos of Gering's Bakery. Unfortunateley I was really disappointed that it was too far out in Western Nebraska to hit when I was back in the breadbasket.
 
BTW I know you were looking forward to all things Huckleberry in Montana, however when I was out in big sky country 2 years ago, I found out that Huckleberry Country is out in Western Montana, not Eastern or Central Montana.
 
 
rumaki
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 11:49:14 (permalink)
No kidding. I fondlly remember huckleberry daiquiris at the now-closed Fenders  restaurant in Kalispell, MT.   In that part of the world (northwest Montana/southern Alberta), you also can get Saskatoon berries, which are delectable.
 
Fenders, by the way, was a great Roadfood-type place.  One room had booths made out of the seats/chasses of vintage cars (hence the name).  I can't speak for the food in general, but on Sundays they served delicious all-you-can eat pan-fried chicken.
wanderingjew
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 11:57:24 (permalink)
rumaki

No kidding. I fondlly remember huckleberry daiquiris at the now-closed Fenders  restaurant in Kalispell, MT.   In that part of the world (northwest Montana/southern Alberta), you also can get Saskatoon berries, which are delectable.

 
I went around to several places in Billings asking about Huckleberry Pie or Ice Cream and no one even knew what it was.
 
I literally went from place to place to place in Downtown Livingston and downtown Bozeman  I did find huckleberry ice cream, but everyone told me I was in the wrong part of the state.  I actualy didn't find any huckleberry pie until I was in Idaho.
 
buffetbuster
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 14:51:28 (permalink)
Thursday June 16, 2011 cont. 
 
While we were napping, Scottsbluff got hit by a pretty serious storm, which included, we were told, quite a bit of hail.  Watching the local weather, there was  was warnings another storm was coming this way.
 
Dinner destination #1 was a place called Taco Town.

The outside sign brags, "We're the Tac-O the Town!" 

A couple odd things I noticed right away was that the parking lot is much bigger than necessary and so is the building.  The inside is huge

and truthfully, the atmosphere is that of a fast food place.
 
Luckily, the food is much better than at a fast food place.  You place your order at the front counter with the friendly staff and you are given a number.  When your number is called, you go pick it up.  Unfortunately, there was one young child eating with his grandparents, who was screaming so loudly, we couldn't hear what numbers were being called.  Johnny finally decided to stand up by the counter to wait for the food.
 
Although they do have everything you would expect from a Mexican place on the menu, there were some surprises.  How about having both green and black sweet teas to drink?  I wish we had tried them because that sounds interesting.  I liked the fact that they had regular tacos, then tacos in a soft shell or tacos in a super soft shell. 

I asked Johnny if the super soft shell was made of satin.  He suggested it was made of cotton candy.  His idea sounds better! 
 
Like at Rosita's, we ordered the same food, without trying.  Captain Combo got the tostada, taco and enchilada combo,

which came with beans and rice.  It was obvious that everything was fresh and made to order, using quality ingredients.  The tostada had lots of beef, plus lettuce, tomato and refried beans on a crispy shell.  The taco

had a similar light crunchiness to the ones we ate earlier in the day, just not as puffy.  The tightly packed enchilada was meatless and was just okay.  My order ended up being the same as Johnny's, but I got all of mine ala carte.  Guess who's food cost more?
 
As we sat and ate our food, it was obvious that the weather was about to turn ugly again.  On the way out, I took a photo of the sky

above the Domino's Pizza store next door.  Luckily, our next stop, Scotty's Drive-In, turned out to be only a mile or so down the road.  As soon as we parked, I took a quick photo of their excellent sign

and then ran inside, just as the sky opened up.  If you compare the skies in the last two photos, they were taken less than five minutes apart, which shows you just how quickly the skies got dark.
 
Taco Town
1007 W. 27th Street
Scottsbluff, NE
308-635-3776
 
We walked into Scotty's slightly wet and with me carrying a big honkin' camera.  The young girl behind the counter greeted us with, "Are you guys storm chasers?"  We couldn't help but chuckle a little and I told the girl, "No, food chasers." 
 
Since we had the place to ourselves (anyone with sense was sitting at home waiting out the storm), we asked lots of questions about the menu (this

is only half of the food menu board) and the friendly young lady was happy to answer them.  When the food was ready, it all came on one big tray. 

Underneath the food was a paper place mat

with happy anthropomorphic food.
 
Johnny and I split the sloppy joe,

which could have used more meat, but was in a tasty sauce.  His burger was called a Scotty burger,

which is a double with cheese, ketchup, mustard, pickle and finely chopped onions.   My burger was the big red burger,

which is a double with their red sauce.  The red sauce?  Ketchup and mayo!
 
One of the things the Sterns highlight in the review is the french fries and they are indeed terrific. 

Thin, hot and crispy, it is like a much better version of McDonald's fries.  The girl at the counter suggested some extra red sauce to dip the fries in and it was good.  But, our favorite items here were the super thick milkshakes.  They also have a very large selection of flavors to choose from, which we both took advantage of. 

I got the grape, while Johnny ordered the cordial.
 
While we were taking our time and dining here, the storm continued to rage.  Needing to use the facilities, I asked at the counter where the men's room was.  Yup, you guessed it, the bathrooms were outside.
 
Scotty's Drive-In
618 E. 27th Street
Scottsbluff, NE
308-635-3314 
 
It was back to the hotel for the rest of the night.
 
Much more to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/07/14 15:12:26
ChiTownDiner
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Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 17:51:11 (permalink)
Loving those shakes...is cordial cherry cordial?
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  • Location: Knoxville, TN,
  • Status: offline
Re:High Plains Drifters 2011/07/14 18:14:13 (permalink)
I envy the trips  by BB and WJ.  I wish I wasn't so old where I wanted to do those trips.  I retired a year ago and I traveled to 40 states consulting for IBR.  We sold the company and unless we start again, I doubt that I will travel to that extent any more.  I cannot imagine a better hobby that BB and WJ has than what they do.  Congrats to the both of them.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
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