Austin, Minnesota: Where SPAM Began

SPAM Museum

Bill Graves
March 18, 2013

This is Minnesota and the town is Austin. But the name painted across the front of the Convention & Visitors Bureau is “SPAM Town USA,” as well it should be. This is where in 1937 it all began for SPAM – SPAM, as in SPiced-hAM, fully cooked, ready-to-eat, in a can with a flat front, now with... Read more »

Branson, Missouri: Not the Las Vegas of the East

Table Rock Lake

Bill Graves
February 18, 2013

People compare Branson, Mo., to Las Vegas or Las Vegas to Branson, depending on where they were last. I am not going to do that, although it’s tempting — the contrast is dramatic and very real. I’ll let you do it. Not far from the hustle and bustle of Branson and its 80 million visitors per year... Read more »

America’s Outback: Roanoke, Virginia’s Neon Skyline

Roanoke's famous Dr. Pepper sign.

Bill Graves
January 11, 2013

The neon “H” on the “H&C Coffee” sign downtown is not working. I was told that the “H” is temperamental and that it happens quite often. Actually, the “&” is out, too. People here in Roanoke, Va., are understanding and not likely to complain about it. After all, the sign is 60... Read more »

Highland Lakes: The Other Colorado River

120-passenger boat

Bill Graves
December 26, 2012

The Colorado River created the Grand Canyon and keeps Arizona and much of Southern California from being a desert. We think of it as being the quintessential Colorado — unless you live in Texas. Texans have their own version of the Colorado River. A 120-passenger boat pulls up against the shore of... Read more »

Midwestern Magic: A Tale of Two Towns

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari

Bill Graves
November 27, 2012

Had Abe Lincoln and Mark Twain ever gotten together, over lunch maybe, they would have had much to talk about. Both had stories to tell of their days on the Mississippi River — Lincoln poling a flatboat, Mark Twain as a pilot on riverboats — however, their experiences were separated in time by nearly... Read more »

Oysters and Seafood in Eastpoint, Florida

Shrimping in Eastpoint, FL

Bill Graves
October 25, 2012

Highway 98 crosses Apalachicola Bay on a bridge that’s four miles long. The bridge is not that high — it gives enough clearance to accommodate shrimp boats — but Florida is flat, so I have a good view. To the south is a 28-mile-long barrier island called St. George. Its tallest structure is a lighthouse,... Read more »

Northern Port: RVing around Lake Superior

Wisconsin, Lake Superior

Bill Graves
June 8, 2012

“Lake Superior, which we share with Canada, is the largest freshwater lake in the world. It covers 31,700 square miles and contains half of the water held by all five of the Great Lakes. If all of its water were to spill out, everybody in North, Central and South America would be in water over their... Read more »

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