Unforgettable Fun on the Road

My schedule has been really packed with fun recently. Since Sunday, I’ve been in Washington, DC, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And right before I got here, I enjoyed a whirlwind lecture tour through Kansas City, Grand Junction, and Milwaukee. It was a great little trip, filled with crowds crazy about travel, and I got to talk in beautiful halls — such as Milwaukee’s venerable Pabst Theater.

Rick Steves on stage

Photo: Wade Johnston

Rather than make people wait politely in the conventional long line for an autograph, after I give a talk I like to hang out in the lobby and just say, “Pretend you’re in Italy and there’s no line…just gather around, and I’ll turn in a circle, signing whatever’s in front of me until there’s nothing left to sign.” The pandemonium is always a lot of fun (and far quicker than the alternative).

Fans surround Rick Steves

Photo: Matt Perley‏

In Milwaukee, I had an unforgettable experience during my post-talk scrum. For 20 years, I’ve closed each episode of Rick Steves’ Europe with the tagline, “Keep on travelin’.” I’ve seen my sign-off line on hats, T-shirts, and journals. But this was a first: Three happy travelers actually greeted me with brand-new “Keep on Travelin’” tattoos.

Rick Steves fans with tattoos that say "keep on travelin'

And in Grand Junction, I spoke to a very spirited crowd at the Colorado Tourism Conference. Many people at the conference were using their state’s name as a verb — and, that night, I was very nearly “Colorado’d” myself. To add memories to the already-fun little road trip, I dropped by the Twisted Turtle for some high-altitude fun and went local, for a moment, with the help of a fine cowboy hat.

Rick Steves with cowboy hat