The drive today went relatively OK. We're in Hot Springs, AK now which is right about on schedule in terms of distance (maybe a little farther than we needed to go), and the nice part is we got here around 5:30, so we got some relaxing time (sweeeet jacuzzi!) before heading out to a nice Italian place for dinner. The bad news is that my allergies are freakin' killing me. I don't know if it's a cold or not, but I was blowing my nose all day long and it's really starting to get raw from all that. I bought some of the fancy Kleenex(TM) with lotion on them which usually helps, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully a good night's sleep tonight will help too.
Hot Springs (population 36,000) seems like a relatively nice place, although we drove through downtown to get to dinner and it looked a bit run down. Bill Clinton grew up here, and they converted his old high school into the Cultural Center of Arkansas, which is "a large complex where artists and performers may live and work". Although now that I search on that, one of the only places this shows up is in the brochure I'm currently reading. Maybe it's not finished yet?
Here's a random question - why is it standard practice to tip waiters 15% of the cost for food and drink? I can understand based on the number of drinks and entrees ordered, but is it harder to keep track of and deliver an expensive steak than a simple angel hair pasta? Or is this just an easy approximation to the number of entrees and drinks ordered? I know hosts and busboys get part of the tips - do the chefs as well? Because that would make sense, since presumably the more expensive meal is harder to cook.
Tomorrow the plan is to stop somewhere in Tennessee (we'll be spending a ridiculous amount of time in Tennessee, going from the southwest corner to the northeast corner), so hopefully I'll be able to post again if we can find another nice hotel :-)