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by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser

I’m traveling a lot for my corporate acting/role-playing gigs lately and that has kept me out of my normal routine. During the last two weeks I have been traveling for The American College and playing multiple roles with students in their Master’s degree program.

I love traveling, but hours on a plane, all day seminars, and a quirky Microsoft Outlook/firewall issue (it conflicts with most hotel WiFi) puts me in a position of scrambling to stay up with email. Everything else begins to fall behind and my blog is one of the victims.

I spent three days in Dallas, Texas and I learned that they like to name their roadways after people. They also like toll roads. The problem with naming roads after people is that the President George Bush Turnpike is a lot for the GPS to spit out before it says, “exit right now”.

Lover's Lane in Dallas

Toll roads are not as common in the western United States, but over the past two decades Denver has been joining their eastern sister cities with pay-to-use roads. Both Denver and Dallas are going over to the dark side with cashless toll roads. The concept is that you don’t have stop and pay to use the roadway. Instead you obtain a transmitter that records your car and deducts the toll from your account.  Great idea, but it has a wicked ‘gotcha’.

The “gotcha’ is that if you don’t have a transmitter, they just take a picture of your license plate and send the bill to the owner. The problem is that rental car companies are making a killing heaping fees on renters who are caught unaware by the cashless toll roads. I went to downtown Dallas for dinner when I left my GPS took me to a toll road. I didn’t know it was cashless until I was on it and it was too late to exit. GOTCHA!

Dallas is the only city I know that will charge you $2 to drive by the airport. I understand that this road is the access to all the terminals at the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) airport, but it also continues past the airport and if you are using the road to get from south of DFW to north of DFW it will cost you $2. Ironically, I dropped someone off at the airport and it only cost $1 even though I spent longer in on the DFW property.

Thanksgiving Square in Dallas

Despite my negative comments, I liked Dallas. It reminded me of Denver, without the mountains…and warmer…a lot warmer. I spent just enough time in Dallas to get a 10,000 foot view and that is not enough to really know the city. The next time I’m back I will have a better plan to ferret out the cool things to do in Dallas.

I met with the District Governor and District Membership Chair for the Dallas/Fort Worth region and discovered that Rotary clubs in Texas are not that much different from the clubs in northeast California/northern Nevada. We face similar challenges in membership recruitment and the adaptation to using Social Media tools is on a similar pace; however most of their clubs have an existing website. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with them and learn about Rotary Texas style.

I was in Chicago last week and I have trips to Minnesota and Richmond, VA coming up. Might as well make this a travel blog…or not.

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