Berry Tramel is the king of travel bloggers…
9:00 AM EDT on June 3, 2014
Berry "Boomer" Tramel has been my favorite writer at The Oklahoman for a long time, and might be my favorite writer in the whole state, but now that Tramel has the freedom to post basically whatever he wants whenever he wants on his NewsOK blog, his posts have gotten a little... strange?
I'm speaking in particular of what has become a recurring segment on NewsOK: Tramel's Travelblog. Traveling the country over the course of the last few months during the OU football season and the Thunder basketball season, Tramel has used his Travelblog to write about his favorite subjects: traffic, nicknaming people, traffic, food, and traffic. Seriously, the man does not like traffic.
The most recent Travel Blog was about his trip to San Antonio for game 5 with Jenni Carlson and photographer Sarah Phipps. The entire thing ostensibly focused on an Italian meal they were all going to have in Temple, Texas, to celebrate Phipps' birthday. Tramel spends a full 16 paragraphs detailing all the minutiae of their trip -- how they decide who's driving, how Tramel paid for a Route 44 root beer from Sonic but only got a large, and when they took their bathroom break (I'm not kidding) -- before he finally gets to the meal at the Italian restaurant.
When describing the restaurant, he touches on the service ("excellent"), the menu ("interesting") and how affordable it is ("Nothing too overpriced, though you could order buffalo tenderloin for $55. I’ve never had buffalo tenderloin, but I’m not in the habit of ordering $55 dinners").
Tramel also makes sure to tell what everyone had to eat. Berry had a pasta dish with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. And how was it? "It was good." If you think that's a not-really-all-that-informative description of a meal, you should see how he describes Phipps' butternut squash ravioli:
One of the most unique tastes I’ve ever experienced. I wouldn’t order it, but it wasn’t bad. Hard to explain the uniqueness. I’m not good at describing tastes, unless comparing it to something else, and this didn’t really compare.
Uh, ok?! Thanks! Ruth Reichl he ain't I guess, but that's ok.
Lest I be misinterpreted, I find these things to be completely, 100% non-ironically great. Tramel has sort of become like our own Oklahoma version of a cross between Andy Rooney's 60 minutes segment and Larry King's USA Today column, just typing on the page whatever it is that comes into his head. What's the deal with airplane bathrooms? Hey, why do they call it the chicken pox? You don't get it from chickens! He's like your friend who is such a good storyteller that he tells you a story you're enthralled with but when you try to repeat it to someone else, you realize it's completely pointless and can't figure out why you were so interested in the first place.
Here are my top 5 favorite random-ass excerpts from Tramel's Travelblogs:
Full confession time. I packed well for this trip. Over-packed. Packed well enough that two extra days in New York was no hardship.
But when we didn’t take off from Clarksburg, I had to surrender. I was out of underwear.
From New York City:
It made me wonder. Should sports adopt the Broadway plan? Set up a booth where they sell half-price tickets the day of the game, to get as many people in the seats as possible? It might be counter-productive. It might scare off early purchases, I don’t know. But I can tell you this. The half-price plan with Broadway has me awfully interested.
I’m always awake before 7:30. But we had a late night getting to Memphis, a late dinner, then I went back to the hotel and stumbled upon a Richard Gere movie I never had seen, “Primal Fear.” Decent movie, should have turned it off, but it kept me riveted until about 3 a.m.
It’s always fun to walk through the fair, but can someone tell me why anyone actually spends money there? Rides are $5 each. That’s crazy. Concessions are high, too — $5 for a turkey leg or corny dog – but at least you’re getting your lunch, not losing it, when you spend on food instead of a ride.
From Los Angeles:
I’m no country music fan. Most of it is garbage.
God, I love this stuff. Please, people in charge at The Oklahoman, just send Tramel around the country and let him write whatever he wants.