I based my riding route on a pair of roads that bisect the Chianti region, following the recommendations of motorcycling friends. Both were said to offer the best in curving climbs, bella vistas and access to attractive hill towns.
A word, please, about Italian drivers. They were weaned on Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and Lamborghinis. They are expert operators, generally, who seem to think every trip to the supermarket is a Formula One event.
Our captain, the avuncular "Marvelous" Marvin Mullings, pilots our boat, the Always Something, away from a squall and toward a quiet beach - quiet, that is until all the other boat captains of Providenciales, the most-visited of the Turks and Caicos Islands, reach the same conclusion and join us, forming a moored flotilla. Marvin is one-part seaman, one-part showman; he encourages us to attend to his safety instructions while gently inebriating us on rum punch. We then snorkel above a school of small, blue and utterly complacent fish, next climb back onboard for our next destination, Half Moon Beach.
Knott's Soak City in Buena Park announced last week the addition of two new water slide attractions, including a thrill ride that drops guests through a trapdoor from a tower more than seven stories tall.
Staring at the horizon, I might have been looking at a vast canvas where the technique of chiaroscuro, the interplay of light and dark, was used to create a specific mood. One minute sunshine dappled the landscape; the next misty rain enveloped it.
My Wisconsin hometown is easy to miss - the real Eau Claire, that is. Take any of its three I-94 exits, 90 miles east of the Twin Cities, and you'll find gas stations, fast-food joints, chain hotels, a shopping mall. Nothing too memorable.
Take a walk on 125th Street. Check out the Apollo Theater marquee, the latest exhibit at the Studio Museum, the patio dinner crowd on Lenox Avenue, the high-priced brownstones, the locals of all hues striding past Afrocentric sidewalk stalls while a drum circle grooves across the street.