I’m heading out on a road trip but I don’t know where I’m going.
While that sounds like the premise of a movie, it’s my reality, at least later this month and possibly in early March, too.
With the calendar flipping from January to February, we’re in the final stretch for winter sports. Wrestling and basketball will conclude soon and I’m left wondering who will qualify for state in different sports and classifications.
There are two possible destinations when it comes to wrestling: Salina and Hays.
Salina is home to the 4A wrestling tournament while Hays hosts the 3-2-1A tournament. It’s possible that I start in Salina and then wind up in Hays like I did last year. I hope that’s the case again this year – I want to see some Atchison High School wrestlers in Salina before I head to Hays for the various local 3-2-1A wrestlers in action.
I’ve covered sports in both places previously, so here’s a couple tips. If you’re in Salina, check out the famous Cozy Inn burgers. The best way to describe them is to say they are like White Castle sliders. They are little but tasty.
If the weather is nice enough, order from the outside, walk-up window. I didn’t know this the first time I went and I sat inside. I smelled like onions the rest of the day. It was worth it though. Talking to the owner while I sat at the counter, I learned that several years ago, when the current owners took over, they bought a new flat top to cook the burgers. Several complaints later, they reinstalled the old flat top and still use it to this day.
When I go to Hays, I always make sure to visit Gella’s Diner/LB Brewing Company. They have a solid food menu but my suggestion – to those of legal drinking age – is the house-brewed pale ale. They also have seasonal brews available, so everyone can find something they’ll like.
I had a lot of time to kill in Hays during wrestling last year. That Saturday I didn’t have anyone to cover until the late afternoon. I stumbled upon a movie theater with a super-cheap matinee special. The movie I watched was awful, but I only paid $3 for it. If you’re in the same situation on Saturday this year, try out the theater.
For basketball, I could end up in Salina (4A Division I), Hutchinson (3A), Manhattan (2A) or Hays (1A Division I).
I already have Hays and Salina covered, so no worries there. Manhattan will surely have plenty to do and it’s close enough I may not have to stay the night.
That leaves Hutchinson. I don’t know that I’ve ever been to Hutchinson. A quick look at visithutch.com tells me there are a couple golf courses I could try out if the weather cooperates. There are several restaurants, but I’d love to hear some opinions from people who’ve been there on what I should try out.
All I need to happen to make these road trips happen is our local athletes and teams play to their best ability and book a trip to state. I see the potential in a lot of them, both wrestlers and basketball teams.
Good luck the rest of the way and make me book a few hotel rooms, please.