GNABRT Day 30 – Stone-faced expression

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GNABRT map - day 30An extremely long day for the Great North American Baseball Road Trip ends in the wee hours, even counting Mountain Time Zone.

Today’s run, from Denver to Hot Springs, South Dakota was a relatively short one, in GNABRT terms.  Getting back in touch with some old friends and jumping right into doing stuff accounted for most of the day (and night).

The couple I’m staying with this weekend I met through an odd chance.  During my time at the last company I was with, I was notified that I was awarded a special opportunity for me and a guest to go on an all-expense paid trip to Spain.  This was probably about 15 years ago.

I took the daughter of my friends’ (the same one from my recent Disney trip) and on the ensuing 8-day extravaganza met up with a fellow associate of the company and his wife.  The husband and I had bumped elbows a few times at the company, but never worked directly with each other.

They were delightful and had a wonderful impact on my friends’ daughter.  Over the course of the rest of my time in the company, I got to spend time with both of them at various company events, occasionally “filling in” while the husband was busy organizing things.  I gained the nickname “Hubby #2” for my status as dinner companion.

Located up in South Dakota for the past seven years, the chances of seeing them again were slim, except by virtue of the GNABRT.  Thus, my diversion north from Denver when my next game would have normally taken me south.

We ate some sandwiches together, visited a festival in the heart of Hot Springs and took a mad dash out to Mount Rushmore (which is every bit as stunning as you might imagine).  We ended the night with a competitive game of Rummykub, which ended by lateness rather than winning.  I was acquitting myself well, despite it being the first time I had played the game.

Owing to the lateness, we’ll leave the city history for tomorrow.

Miscellany of Day 30:

– Under the mistaken belief that Hot Springs was bigger than it is, I took the chance to make a straight run without a stop for a gas fill-up.  Sadly, there were no gas stations waiting for me at the main highway turn-off.  In fact, I began to worry there were not gas stations in the city at all.

My friends informed me that a gas station was actually just down the hill and over from their house (the opposite side from where I entered town).  Tomorrow I will roll the car down the hill and push it into the gas station (only a slight exaggeration).

– When we went to Mt. Rushmore, we bumped into Miss South Dakota as we were leaving.  Not only do my friends help run the pageant for South Dakota, but this year’s winner is actually local from Hot Springs.  It was a nice coincidence and I could see why she would be a winner, both in her looks and her personality.

– Also on the way out of the park, we were accosted by Alabama and Georgia fans.  My friend pointed out my Gator hat and, after a few friendly barbs, the Georgia bulldog wife had me pose for a picture with the Alabama fan, her and her husband.  Funny stuff.

– When I began this trip, I sent out an email to everyone who I might be visiting laying out my schedule and jokingly saying that only an accident or falling in love could possibly interfere with my plans.

Since the idea of falling in love was far-fetched, it has allowed me to live out of my suitcase guilt-free.  Plenty of my clothes look a bit on the wrinkled side, but, since I’m not out to impress or attract anyone, they are just fine for going to a ball game.

It occurred to me, then, that this same freedom from presentability could allow me to keep faith with my barber.  I have not had anyone other than him cut my hair since I was 13 and I was pained that this two-month trip would cause me to be unfaithful.

Upon further thought, I realized that my beard trimmer might be the solution.  The trimmer piece has high settings that I’ve never used because they don’t cut close.  I assume these settings might be for those men who have thick or long beards (like those weird jutting ones they have in Baseball now).

I decided to see if I could trim my hair with those high settings and it seems to work.  Granted, it’s probably uneven and maybe too long in the back, but since I wear a hat on any extended outdoor activity, I don’t think it will be too noticeable and I can manage until I get back to South Florida for my regular haircut.

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