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John Drake Robinson

John Robinson grew up in the Ozarks and graduated from Mizzou JSchool. Along the way he formed a deep abiding love for Missouri’s culture. He served Missouri as director of tourism immediately following the tragic events of 9/11. Beyond all that, he sailed on the Queen Mary, held a tarantula, moved grand pianos for a while, and sat in a gas chamber. He was a field producer for America’s Most Wanted. John is an avid sailor and survived Hurricane Omar and Tropical Storm Gamma. But his sloop was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019. John and Cheryl live in Columbia.


A Road Trip into America’s Hidden Heart

Together, my car and I have traveled every mile of every road on Missouri’s highway map, a 300,000-mile journey to discover the real America beyond the interstate veneer. Real People. Obscure places, Forgotten facts. Along the roadsides we found stories in diners and dives and dead-ends, in graveyards and courthouses and museums, we found history and culture beyond the beaten path, and tales that shout out from America’s flyover country. During this 13-year odyssey I kept notes in 40+ steno notebooks, and eventually wrote the stories that appear in my books and magazine submissions. My speakers bureau presentation will explain why I set out on this journey, and tell some of the stories I encountered along the way. For each audience, I will select stories and subject matter custom-tailored to t their interests. There are 350 million different reasons why people travel. But one common thread runs through them all: stories. People want to hear stories. I’ll give ’em my story, and within that road trip framework, tell more tales.