My research for J.R. has fanned out considerably these past few days as I’ve temporarily moved on from my subject’s autobiography to a stack of other books about the time and place that he lived.

Most of these books are only partially related to his story, which means I’m spending a lot of time in the indexes, finding the most interesting parts, and zipping through those (this is preliminary research, I should add) with notes about other books I should track down. As a result, I’m jumping from book to book with a sense of completion that’s not so common for a plodding reader like me, and the whole thing is loads of fun. I feel like a crow bringing shiny things back to his nest.

So, I’m enthusiastic about this project. But just how enthusiastic? So enthusiastic that yesterday morning when I suggested to my wife that, for research purposes, we add a 550-mile extension to our family’s upcoming 300-mile round trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center (you know, since we’ll already be in that direction), it sounded eminently reasonable.

To me, I mean.