A Tip-Off to Truckers

Published 12:02 pm Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

Somewhere between pig Latin and social media’s abbreviations substituted for words–perhaps a quarter-century ago–American drivers communicated on CB (citizens’ band) radios.

Truckers used CBs best, and probably still do, warning of wrecks up ahead, bad weather and “smokies”–the “do right” guys who write tickets when excessive speed is detected.

I miss the chatter, including such expressions as “breaker one/nine” and “got your ears on?” I also enjoyed random chats with “good buddies” on the “super slab.” A preacher caught up in “CB talk” ended a prayer one Sunday with “catch you on the flip/flop” rather than “amen.” And a trucker asked, “Hey, Van Gogh, got your EAR on?

Since most truckers still have CBs, I’m counting on them to spread the news about food that’s “larrapin’ good” at a restaurant in the innards of a swanky resort hotel in San Diego.

Though the hotel is unique, the eatery–in appearance, anyway–isn’t. Tucked away at the Town and Country Resort on Interstate 5, “Charlie’s” depends on clientele who arrive there “on purpose.”

It has true “Texan appeal,” meat cooked on a custom stainless steel smoker on a trailer. The servings are so generous the plates need sideboards. Once drivers of 18-wheelers visit, they depart with enough left-overs for their next meals. And they spread the news on their CBs.

Texans know the secret to finding good grub is to stop where trucks are stacked up. Truckers know.

Town and Country has been around more than 60 years, beginning with 47 units when many travelers called road lodgings “tourist courts.” There are almost 1,000 units now, and they’re on the front-end of an $80-million makeover.

While we were there, hundreds of ballroom dancers converged from across the nation. The resort–awash in conventions–recently hosted men’s and women’s body building competition. Another, a “Steampunk” gathering, featured guests dressed in period costumes. (Truckers may gawk, of course, but are reminded their stops are for victuals.)

Chef Paul McCabe, who doesn’t have enough walls or shelves to display his awards, directs food and beverage operations. Charlie’s seems to be a pet project, featuring his “Texas-style” brisket.

We were encouraged to try his “poutine appetizer,” a dish of Canadian origin. With ingredients including fries, burnt brisket ends, gravy, fried cheese curds and celery, one order would feed a scout troop, perhaps even a fleet of truck drivers.

Enough said.

San Diego is a favorite destination, for us and millions of others. It’s the largest city in the world with a single airport runway–it stays hot. The arrival gate is one of the happiest anywhere, but boarding on return flights is sad. It’s a city tough to leave.

We loved the “hop on, hop off” trolley tour. Timed correctly, visitors can hop off at Old Town, if only to grab grub at the world-famous Coyote Café, then hop back on.

At our stop in Coronado, American flags flew in great numbers. Riders grew silent upon learning the flags honored the memory of a Navy seal, slain by ISIS and trained at the Coronado seal training school. Such poignant moments are too rarely experienced.

Little wonder that the late Dr. Theodor Geisel resided in nearby La Jolla during the last half of his life. Most of his writing was inspired by experiences there. A wise and unique author, he founded the Geisel Foundation. It continues to support many causes, locally and beyond.

He didn’t mind the “Dr. Seuss” pen name that was always mispronounced. It is, indeed, his middle name. Correct pronunciation of “Seuss”–of Bavarian origin–actually rhymes with the word “choice.” They said he preferred the mispronunciation; it rhymes with “goose.” Worse would have been use of his nickname: “The Kaiser.” Need more be said?

Folks with at least casual interest in the life of this brilliant writer should “Google” away. Better yet, visit his museum in La Jolla, CA. It’s just a few pebble tosses from San Diego, a destination city that’s the starting point for many adventures. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Try it, try it, you will see.”


Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Columns archived at venturegalleries.com, newbury blog. (More San Diego information at Town and County, destinationhotels.com; sandiego.org)