For over 30 years, I’ve wanted to ride in one of those “air boat” (or is it a “fan boat”?) things in shallow water, dodging alligators like a slalom skier with the wind blowing in my face. Last July, we drove from Atlanta to Florida Everglades National Park to do just that. Our trip started at Delray Beach, FL, where my mother-in-law had booked a large house for her 2 daughters and their children to spend a week; I joined via a one-way Delta flight on Thursday morning. …

When you shut the door to my office, you see 3 framed University of Alabama degrees on the wall that I didn’t earn.  One from 1939 for Jamie Waid; one from 1941 for Prentice Thomas; one from 1967 for Janice Thomas.  When the first 2 were being pursued, the Tide took a train to the Rose Bowl to win its first national championship under coach Frank Thomas, and it featured a player so tough, he earned a nickname for life by wrestling a bear at a carnival, and…

We left Atlanta on December 27th and headed north, stopping for soul food at Southern Star in Chattanooga, our borrowed Kia Sedona packed for 1,000 miles of exploration across the Bluegrass State.  A couple hours later, we were peeing at the Kentucky Welcome Center off I-65, and 45 minutes after that, pulling up to Mammoth Cave National Park. Here’s what’s ridiculous about Mammoth Cave–it’s 80 miles from where I grew up in Hendersonville, TN. I loved exploring caves as a kid; we had a few within biking distance,…