Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks III: Week 3

Day 15

From "The Good News, Bad News Department" today: I found gas in Youngstown, OH for only $.84 a gallon, the bad news that I was almost on full when I found it. Anyway at $.84 a gallon I had to stop and get gas.

The first stop today was at home of "The Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators, and Weather Prophet Extraordinary" the one, the only, Brian Boytano, er I mean Punxsutawney Phil. The world famous ground hog from central Pennsylvania. (For the record, the movie was shot in Woodstock, Illinois. He does live in tree trunk called Gobbler's Knob, which also sound like something that you can get in Philly for $20.00.

Before the movie came out, a group of 5,000 to 10,000 people would come to see if Phil saw his shadow. It was a small town gathering where some people would be a little intoxicated. All and all it was a Happy Family Outing. The movie hacome out and now Phil is known world-wide. Even more importantly, he is known through every college campus in Pennsylvania, which there are a lot of in the greater Punxsutawney area. Including IUP were Mike Doughtery goes, to name one.

February second is now more than just Ground Hog day. The town swells to population of over 35,000 people mostly drunk collage students. As anticipation to the moment gets near, the group has been known to start chanting "free the rat, free the rat" In their defense what else is there to do at 5:00 am on a cold day when you are drunk?

The last stop today was at the corner of Hurd Ave, and West Shore Drive. Sound familiar? I didn't think so. I did find the town on the New York State map, they don't list it in the cities, but if you look up Lake Superior State Park and go a little to the right you will find the town of Bethel, NY.

Hurd Ave and West Shore drive was ground zero for "An Aquarian Exposition in White Lake NY." The music and art show that took place their will forever be known and remembered as WOODSTOCK. The party that ended the 1960's andwas a turning point for a generation, unfortunately not mine. I was at LIVE AID in Philly in 1985 with my cousin Sean from Canada. Mary, from Peter, Paul and Mary told us that this was our Woodstock. I don't think the two compare.

As I arrived in the little parking lot on Max Yasgur's Farm looking over the field, there were two cars parked. One car's license plate said WOODSTOK and the other one YASGUR69. Surprise, surprise one of the people was sitting on his hood smoking pot.

Everyone else was cleaning up from last weekends "A Day In The Garden", a reunion show of sorts. It was the first and only time most of the performers came back to the spot and played again. It would have been a fun time, but as usual, I was a week late. The town of Bethel is a rural, economic deprived area. They have missed out on a lot by not capitalizing on their history. Only one store in town had anything to do with the show. They did have a campground called "Woodstock on The Lake" it was so bad I asked for my money back and left.

With only a 100 or less cars in town, the area was quite congested. Small country roads, one lane bridges, and even at times only dirty roads. The one quote that the radio stations always use from Woodstock is the stage announcer saying "Hey man, the New York State Thru Way is closed." This and it being referred to as "Upstate New York" made it rather difficult to find. First of all, Its not Upstate NY. Its only 20 minutes way from the PA Line at Port Jarvis. Although, if you are in NYC then I guess that everything else is "Upstate". Secondly it is no where near the NY Thru Way. If people parked on the Thru Way they had a long walk So far of the beaten track, so hard to find, so unable to handle the millions of people, that is just some the myth and magic that will always be WOODSTOCK.

Eight Post Cards, Three to "B"

I have $174.00 left in the budget and four days to get to work. Still deciding what to do next...

Day 16

My CD player is stuck on the 88th song of the 88th disc and its only a ten disc player.

I awoke this morning in the shadow the Highest Point in New Jersey monument. Located at High Point State Park. The monument is 1803 feet above sea level. For the fourth time this trip I have come across a monument shaped like the Washington Monument in DC. I know that the obelisk is a type of architecture, but give me break. It's been done, and you are not going to top it. The one in Washington was there first. Pick some thing else.

This was the only obelisk that was big enough to walk in, but wouldn't you know it, the damn thing was closed for renovations and I was unable to go inside.

I spent the rest of the day driving around my old stomping grounds in the Pocono Mountains. By the way the "Pocono Mountains" as they are known, is nothing more than an advertising gimmick. The Pocono area is technically a plateau. One of the many thing that I learned in geography before graduating from the University of the Pocono's, East Stroudsburg University.

On a parting note, it has been called to my attention that some of the post cards have been sent with no stamps, and people are getting Postage Due notices. Sorry about that, let me know and I will send you the $.20...

I would like to take the time and thank everyone that helped with this trip. The list is to long to mention everyone. A lot of people have lent, or given or helped out in some way, and I would just like to say thank you.

Tune in tomorrow to see how this whole trip ends...

6 postcards, 4 to "B"

Day 17

Well it's over! Yet any other trip has come to an end. Next year's trip will hopefully be to Alaska via the Alcan Highway. It's the same thing I said at the end of last year's trip also. I only have four more states until I've been to them all. Hopefully, after next year I will only have one...

The following is stupid facts and figures about this year's trip:

2 country's
13 states(crossed state lines 22 times)
3 providences
6840 miles (1382 miles in Canada)
4 miles on the back of a tow truck
391 hours, 27 minutes on the road
307.981 gallons of gas
$324.66 spent on that gas (356.94 Litters of gas, $191.50 Canadian funds spent on that gas)
Most expensive gas: $1.22 a gallon in Billings, MT
Cheapest gas: $ .84 Youngstown, OH
19 miles to gallon (4.5 miles to the liter)
$38.50 in tolls
$15.00 spent in towing
$142.00 in car repairs
1 run-in with the local law enforcement
$54.00 spent in speeding tickets
181 postcards sent
37 postcards sent to "B"
$126.70 spent on postcards and postage (Ouch!!!)
3 pairs of sunglasses lost or otherwise destroyed.

It should take me a week or so to clean out the car....

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks III: Week 2

Day 8

I went to the Warden Show last night. It wasn't all that great. The Ranger was a bit too happy about her job. As I was driving back into the camp site, not wanting to bother the other campers, I turned off my headlights and was just using the parking lights. I hit the picnic table at full speed. Turns out the wagon is built stronger than the concrete bench. I got out to survey the damage and locked my keys in the car. As much as it pains me to say this. I had to use the Hide-A-Key that Mr. Ertel made me bring...

I drove up to Lake Louise today and took my first ever gondola ride to the top of the mountain. It was quite a bit high. On my way down I was a bit more daring and took an open chair lift down. When you ride one of these things up a mountain, all you get to see is the hill in front of you and it does not seem all that high. On the way down the mountain all you see is DOWN. It was like I was in a slow moving free fall for 10 minutes.

Upon my return to Banff I went to the Cave and Basin. The birth place of Canada's Parks. It was here in 1883 that three rail road workers found the hot mineral water flowing from the mountain that, in turn, turned into Banff National Park. I walked up the hill to the vent of the cave and then down the bottom to the inside of the cave. The water that was coming out was rather cold. The hot water stopped flowing out of here a few years after the opening of the park. They did have signs around that said "Caution, water is radioactive" I thought to my self what a pleasant thing to know.

My next stop at the Upper Hot Springs where you can go for a swim in the hot mineral water of Banff. It comes out of the ground at 114 degrees F. They cool it to 104 F... it was quite a relaxing swim.

I then walked down to Bow Falls and saw a herd of Elk, (or Moose, or Caribou) it's hard for me to tell when they don't have their antlers on.

I walked down to the Hoodoos again and took some more pictures. I am going to the Ranger show again to night, different Ranger, different topic. While waiting for it to start I will be writing post card to "B".

Day 9

The Ranger show tonight was better. It was about the wildlife that live above the tree line. After the show he told us that there are three bears in camp and to watch out, and lock up our food. It was lightning out and the Ranger assured us that it was not going to rain. He said that "the sky was full of stars, it's not going to rain."

It rained. No, make that, poured. The inside of my tent was very wet. Luckily my pillow made a good sponge to keep me from getting wet...

I went back to the Upper Hot Springs for another swim this morning. It was cold out side and the steam coming off the water made it almost impossible to see your hand. The only real stop today was the World's Largest Starship Enterprise in where else, Vulcan, AB. All the signs in Vulcan County had a starship enterprise hanging on the upper right. The thing measured 31 feet long, depth of 9 feet and the primary saucer was 15 wide. Over all, it has a weight of 5 tons. The one thing that I kept asking myself is, " why are all the measurements on English instead of metric?". They even had "I've beamed to Vulcan" T Shirts for sale.

By far, the most interesting road sign that have ever seen was "Caution, run away logging trucks crossing highway"

I am now in Waterton / Glassier Park in Montana. You've got to love a state whose speed limit is "Prudent and Reasonable". I crossed over in the town of Carway, AB, population two and a cat. And the town of Pigeon, MT, population 8 custom officials. It's a good thing I crossed when I did, because they close the border around here at 10:00PM

38 Postcard today, 8 went to "B"

By the way I received a email from the town of Blackduck, MN thanking me for visiting them. Here it is. (It also has some corrections on it.):

Hey there...
The Blackduck Mayor, Milton Beck, and City Clerk, Dave Decker, told me about your visit...I was out of the office when you were here. Milton wanted me to check your web page for him as he was interested in what you had to say.

Yes, some time ago, the rifle was removed from the "black duck" display just as the woman at the Tourist Info Center said, because folks in general thought it detracted from the quality of the display. And yes, we're "daffy about ducks" as the name of our town, BLACKDUCK, is unusual...so why not have a bit of fun with it?!! The name originally came from Blackduck Lake, named for all the black mallard flocks that used to frequent the area. I'm not certain of this, but there was also an American Indian tribe--either Blackfoot or Blackduck--and also the Laurel Indian tribes that settled around the Blackduck Lake area.

Two clarifications: our Police Chief's name is Jeff, not Mark, and Dave is the City Clerk, not City Manager. Thanks for visiting our community--we are very proud of the Blackduck community--about 800 folks within the city limits, and about 5,000 residents within the school district. I prefer to define our community by the school district boundaries simply because "Blackduck" does not end at the city limits.

FYI--Jody Johnson, Blackduck City Planner

If you want to Jody's email address to send her an email to put the rifle back on display, let me know, Ill give you her email address.

Day 10

It got rather cold last night, and it's quite windy in the morning. I drove up the "Going to Sun Road" to the top of the mountain of the same name. For the third time this trip, I have crossed the Continental Divide. I did find a small glassier and tried to climb it. My feet kept on sinking.

As I was leaving the Park I had the laptop on charge. That little "Thomas Magnum" voice in that back of my head kept on telling me to plug in the radar detector. I could not find the cable to plug both of them in, so I opted for the laptop. That little voice that I never listen to, kept on telling me that the radar detector should be plugged in. My answer was, "I'm in a state with no speed limit why do I need the radar detector?

As I'm driving along, going to get post cards for "B" I see the Park Ranger behind me with his lights on. I'm thinking to myself, that's awfully nice of them I must've forgotten something at the camp site and they're bring it to me. Wrong, I was doing 54 in 25 MHP zone. I was pulling out every trick out of my bag to get out of the ticket, I even tried to trade Fire Company T-Shirts and Police Patches with the guy. The damn Rent-A-Cop-want-to-be still was going to give me a ticket. He did say that he would give me a break and write me for 54 in 45, which I was also doing before the speed limit changed.

As he is writing the ticket, that little "Thomas Magnum" voice came back and said, you don't have to pay the ticket, it's a Park Ranger, what are they going to do, ban you from camping for a year?" "They will never get the money from me," I was thinking, "it's like a parking ticket in Philly." Well, boy was I surprised when he got out and told me that all fines must be paid on the spot or collateral taken. He then tells me that he takes VISA. As I gave him the VISA card to take and have approved (he had a credit card thingie in his car). I was never so pissed off in my life. By the way it cost me $54.00

I'm now driving in the middle of Montana and I see a Historical Marker sign ahead. I pull in and there is no marker. A little bit later I see another one and pull over. This one turned out to be a good one, and fit with in the "Off the Map…" way of thing. It was "Camp Disappointment". (No it has nothing to do with the speeding ticket) It has to do with the Original "Off the Mappers…", Lewis and Clark. Camp Disappointment was the highest north the expedition of 1804-06 ever got, and the farthest west on the Marias Rivers. They where hoping that the Marias River ended above the 49th Parallel, which would have made the Louisiana Purchase much bigger.

penguinThe official stop for today was the Worlds largest Penguin in Cut Bank, MT. It's located out side the Glacier Gateway Inn. The Owner of the Inn, Ron Gustafson made it in the spring of 1989. For those of you who don't know, Cut Bank has the record of being the coldest spot in the nation, and what better way to celebrate it than having a 27 foot tall Penguin at the entrance of your town. Weighing in at over 10,000 LBS and at a cost of $1,000 for the materials, Ron donated his time to make it, this is most definitely the Biggest penguin I have ever seen.

I arrived in Great Falls, MT still not knowing why I wanted to stop here. I asked around and they did not have anything to my liking. They did have the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. I did not spend much time here. The only thing that I found neat about Great Falls, is that I think this is were Jerry Springer gets most of his guests from.

I am now in Billings, MT. As I was coming from the north and through Roundup, I kept on looking for signs for "Justice Township" and The Freemen. Those wacko's from two years ago who had a standoff with the Federal Government. I did not see them and needless to say, I did not ask.

28 post cards. Four to "B"

Day 11

The first two stops today were both lame. The first was Pompey's Pillar NHS, where in 1806 Lewis and Clark wrote their names on the side of it. It is a glass case and hard to read. The second was Home On The Range, ND. It sounded good at the exit ramp. It turned out to be a home/work farm for bad kids. They did have, on the side of a mountain, the world's steepest stations on the cross, for all you religious people.

For last year's trip, I received several Emails telling us to go see the Painted Canyons. They were not near our route. As I was driving along today I came across the Painted Canyons. And the Badlands of ND. I stopped at both places only to find out that they must have been having a senior special. The line at the rest rooms was a mile long. There was more Geritol then you could shake a walker at.

cowAs I was driving East on I-94, I could see from 4 miles away, the World's Largest Cow. I got off at the New Salem, ND exit and followed the signs. The Holstein cow measured 38 feet high and 50 long. It was built in 1974 at a cost of $40,000.00 I could make a comment and about how I was also at the worlds biggest set of TITS, but the would be an UTTER-ly bad joke.

After I left New Salem, the radio started to make these odd noises. It turned out to be the EBS Warning telling everyone about a tornado to the west of us. 34 counties in North Dakota are under a tornado warning. Unfortunately I was unable to see any Super Cell activity. Needless to say I will not be camping out tonight.

The last stop for today was the Pettibone Pagoda. The main road to the town is gravel and I still have stones in my hubcaps. The Pagoda is an old grain elevator, filled with old trinkets and other junk. It has eight floors and looks like it is covered with industrial strength aluminum foil. The man who made it is now dead, and his wife does not let anybody in it. There is also a wooden cow that you can walk in. The lady at the local café said that the guy was a little weird... I asked for the population of Pettibone and was told that "it's been a bad year, we are down to 119 from 122".

12 post cards, 4 to "B". (By the way you can send your own post card to "B" at PO Box 401 Edgemont, PA 19028.)

Day 12

buffaloAfter the fear of tornado's last night, the first thing that I did today was go and see if the local trailer park was still standing. It was, so I took that as no tornado's last night. The World's Largest Buffalo was located near the trailer park here in Jamestown, ND. It is located at the Frontier Village an old historic-I-want-to-be kind of place. It was kind of just one shade of brown and not all that exciting. It could have used some more color or at least some different shades of brown. For the record, it measured 46 feet long and 26 feet high. With a weight of 60 tons.

From the I thought it was going to be a disappointment category: the Largest Stack of Empty Oil Cans in Casselton, ND was not. I pulled into town and asked about it. I thought I was going to get a bunch of weird looks, but they knew what I was taking about and where it was. Loegering Manufacturing is the proud (if not reluctant) owner of the stack. Built in 1933 when a Sinclair gas station used to occupy the land. It measures approximately 45 feet high and a width 18 feet. It was built around an old windmill and has a slight lean to it, "that get bigger every day" according to the receptionist at the plant.

Once back inside Minnesota, where, for the record, most of my stop's are, I ended up at The World's Largest Prairie Chicken. Not trying to sound like the stupid city boy, but prairie chickens are just like regular chickens, but they live in the wild and are an endangered species. Yes, they do lay eggs but you can get them at a KFC. One of the smallest "worlds largest" I have come across, it measured 13 feet high and 18 feet long with a weight of 9,000 pounds. Although if you put it in proportion to the other animals, it could be rather big.

From the name of this next one, I believe it falls into the "I don't believe they Wasted The Money On it" department, it is The World's Oldest Rock in Granite Falls MN. They claim that the exposed granite has been certified by geologists to be over 3,800,000,000 years old. That was in 1976 so we can add 22 more years to it's life. If they went ahead and wasted the money to put up the bronze plaque , they can have the bragging rights. What else should you expect from people who live in county called Yellow Medicine.

The first controversy on the trip. The fight between The Biggest and The Largest Ear of Corn. Today was Olivia, MN's turn. The ear is 25 feet high. The people at city hall were quick to point out that with its pole at the bottom and the monument that it sits on, it is over 50 feet tall. Sorry folks, but you know the rules, Rule number one, bases don't count. But I will say that the people were very nice, and wanted to know about the Biggest Ear of Corn that I will visiting tomorrow.

The only place this trip that I have been led to with official state signs was The Biggest Ball Of Twine in Darwin, MN. Made famous by Weird Al Yankovicks song of the same name. Certified by Guinnesses in 1991 with the measurements of 11 feet high and 40 feet around and weighs over 8.7 tons. It took Francis Johnson over 30 years of his life to build it. Ripley's Believe It or Not had a ball constructed for them that is bigger. But if you remember from last years trip. They are charging $10 a head to see it, and it does not weight that much. Rule number two. If it was made for the purpose of making money, it doesn't count. With that in mind and the fact that all the street signs have a ball of string on them, the award goes to Darwin, MN.

I am now at a free camp site at the base of the Biggest Jolly Green Giant. More to follow tomorrow.

For those of you who don't know, my life-link at the other end of this keyboard is Nick and Jodi. I sit here at night on my (well actually its Lefty's) laptop. All my papers are under the windshield wipers and I am typing with almost no light. I then email updates to Nick and Jodi. First, Jodi spell checks it for me, (for those who don't know me, this is a big job) and Nick then designs using GoLive's CyberStudio software on an Apple PowerMac 7600 and uploads with a cable modem to the website. We hope this year to finally put all the pictures up, so do visit this page often even after the trip. (Thanks again guys.)

13 post cards, 3 to "B" and one to Jodi. Tomorrow I will answer the question "Who is "B"?

Day 13

It poured rain last night. The storm has been following me for three days. I out-drive it during the day, but it catches up with me at night. I experienced a total complete failure of the tent. My lawn chair was carried by the winds and took down the tent. I had to turn the tent inside out to get all the water out. The pillows and sleeping bag will never dry out. To complicate the situation, I pitched my tent on the edge of the drainage area for the parking lot of the Jolly Green Giant. The only good news was that the tent next to me was IN the drainage area.

The World's Largest Jolly Green Giant is located in the Blue Valley. If you remember the TV commercials "From the valley of the Green Giant, HO HO HO…" At a cost of $1,000 per foot and a height of 60 feet, this is the tallest and most expensive road side object that I have seen. They also have a plywood cut out of ""little nibbler" the green giants side kick. They have also added a cutout of the Pillsbury Dough Man. I guess to keep Pillsbury happy -- they bought out Green Giant Vegetables a few years ago.

Owatonna, MN is home to two things. First is Cabela's, The World's Largest Sporting Goods Store. It was rather neat and impressive and don't even like to hunting or fishing. But the major stop was Casey's Jones Locomotive, Number 201. I have found out that the song is only half right. Casey was "driving that train" but he was not "high on cocaine." He was "watching his speed," as a matter of fact he was trying to make up lost time on the cannonball run. There was "trouble ahead" but there was not "trouble behind", and the only thing that crossed his mind was a parked freight train in his way.

I found my self in Preston, MN. Population 1530. For the record, US Route "52" goes through the town. Both Police officers were off for the day and no one was around the fire house. I was unable to get anything that said Preston except some post cards. The people in Preston IA are a lot nicer.

The award for the Biggest Ear of Corn goes to Olivia, MN. The one in Rochester, MN is fifty feet high, but its painted on top of a water tower at the local corn processing plant. I pulled into take pictures and was rather quickly escorted off the grounds by security. They said that I did not have permission to take pictures. So I sat three feet a way from where the security caught me which was now out side the gate and started to take pictures. Security got mad, but I was no longer on their property so they could not do anything.

The World's Largest Six Pack in Lacrosse, WI is a beer that I have never even heard of. Heileman's Old Style. Anyway, the six pack is part of the brewery and all together they hold 688,200 gallons of beer, which at a six pack a day would take you 3,351 years to drink.

Six post cards, one to "B". By the way "B" or Bob as we call him is a friend of mine and a big supporter of "Off the Map…." He is also a big collector of Post cards. He has over 25,000 post cards that he has received. He started his collection in the 5th grade and has been having people send him cards ever since. He is now over 30. You to can brighten up his day by sending him a card at "B" PO Box 401 Edgemont, PA 19028

I almost forgot the Spam Museum. It got its name in 1936 at Mr. Hormel's New Year's Eve party. His had is new canned Spice Ham and someone said SPAM, and the legend was born. The museum is in the local mall and had no one on hand to give you information. One half of it was for Spam and the other half was for other Hormel products. Monty Python paid better homage to Spam.

Day 14

I left the Wisconsin Dells area, It is quite a dump. My first stop was the Lewis and Clarke, NHS in… Well I forget the town, but the place was closed anyway. I was too early.

The big fun today was in Illinois. I had a cup of penny's and other small change that I have collected over the trip. What do you do with $10.00 in penny's? You pay the tolls with them. You drive up to the exact change lane and grab a hand full and throw them in. Keep putting them in till the gate opens. It takes awhile, instead of the machine counting three or four coins, it now have to count 50 of them. Some of them have counters and the counters count down one by one. If one of the toll people is around you can count out loud for the last 10 cents. Even more fun is when they don't have a gate. You throw a handful of change in and drive off. All the bells go off, but don't worry, once its done counting, the bells stop. I did find out in Indiana, you just have to drop three coins, and the gates open.

I stopped at the Mud Hens Base Ball Park in Toledo, OH. It, and the Mud Hens were made famous by Jamie Farr's character, Max Klinger, on the TV show M*A*S*H.

Well, It's the end of week two and I have logged over 6,100 miles. I have stopped almost everywhere on the list, and because I'm by myself this time I'm able to make better time. I still have five days before I'm due back at work. I have done some research on a place that I have always wanted to go. It even required me to find a library in Illinois. Believe it or not, the city that I am now going to is not listed on the Official New York State map. It was the location of World Wide event that all other events have been compared too. Rand McNally does not even list this event on their map.

I have read about it, I have seen it on TV and watched it in movies. Where they lead you to believe it is, it is not. I am still not sure that I have the right location, you will have to wait until later to find out if I find it... It will also hopefully bring me close to an other place that I want to go to, but I cant find that place on the map either.

Anyway 9 post cards, three to "B

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks III: Week 1

Day 1

Saturday, August 8

As I departed the old homestead in Newtown Square, the wagon queen family truckster's odometer was reading 91, 256. Today was not so much trip stuff, just a day of traveling. I had to get to my sister 's wedding in North East MD. Pam and Sam's wedding was rather nice. It was held at Elks Neck State Park, in a little chapel that they have there. After the wedding and reception a rather large group of family and friends went back to our camp site.

We had two kegs of Sam Adams, needless to say I don't remember much. However, my sister did lock the keys in the truck of her car, we called AAA. As the guy was picking the lock, everybody came over and told him a different story on how it happened. Not a good thing when you are trying to pull a fast one off on AAA. Anyway the guy got in and we gave him a trip.

Some good news came in today. I found out that this whole trip and the web site has earned the unsolicited Seal of Approval from the very prestigious organization of Heather Kelly CDCB.

Day 2

Much to my surprise I woke up at 6:00 AM with only a little hangover. I pulled out of the camp site at 8:12 and headed south on I-95 to Baltimore. For the record, I was wearing my official road trip shirt which I received from the President, (and only member) of the Off The Map Fan Club, Phyllis from TX. Thanks again Phyllis for the shirt....

The trip across MD and up through PA was rather uneventful. As usual the Pennsylvania Turnpike was in a complete state of disrepair, or should I say a state of repair. As soon as one construction area ended, another one started.

The one and only stop scheduled for today was Mystery Hill in Marblehead, OH. I have read about these places where you put your car in neutral and a force pulls, or pushes, you up the hill. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO SEE. Mystery Hill turn out to be the mother of all tourist traps, second only to Plymouth Rock. After I paid $6.75 to get in, that included the dinosaur exhibit also, I found Mystery Hill to be nothing more than a shack built almost on its side, on the side of a hill. Once inside you think you see water run uphill and a chair stuck way up a hill, but you're not.

They had a level at the first site to show you that the blocks where level. Once inside the house, I asked If I could go back and get the level from the outside and bring it in, they would not let me. I purchased some post cards and the lady told me that they where from the OLD mystery hill, I asked what happened to the old mystery hill, and she would not tell me.

The only thing that I found to be a Mystery at that hill, is how can the police let them rip people off for over 50 years.

The Dinosaur world sucked real bad. The where only plastic models. Big yes, but did they do anything: NO. The only thing that was not plastic was the Woolly Mammoth. But he was not woolly either. He was more like the Steel Wool Mammoth. I swear I think they glued SOS pads to his shell.

As I was leaving Marble head I came across my first Giant Muffler Man in Lakeside, OH. He was in sad shape. Some one had added a chef's hat to him and his arms were missing. Other parts were falling off him also. I guess in reality today I saw the World's only giant double amputee.

7 post cards mailed today with two of them going to "B".

Day 3

My first stop today was the Indiana/Ohio border. Every time we go on these trips, we stop and take our picture in front of all the "welcome to…" signs at each state, we also write our names and the date on the back on the signs. Much to my dismay, by the time I get back to see that sign again, they have repainted the back of it. Last year Peter had the right idea and wrote on the front of the signs.

I drove clear across Indiana and did not stop at all. I have learned from previous stops in this state, that Indiana sucks!

The CD player has not skipped once the whole trip, but as soon as I entered Illinois, with the great care they give the roads, the damn thing was skipping so much I had to turn it off. After clearing Chicago my first mission was to find the Pyramid House in Wadsworth, IL. It was rather easy to find. It is a five story house shaped like a pyramid. It also has a three car pyramid next to it. It was hard to see, its located on the back of the lot about a football field away from the road. It has a wall going around the property that has Egyptian heads on it. On the left, they have two, well I'm not sure what they are, but they looked Egyptian to me. In the center of the property there is a giant statue of a mummy with Sphinx's on each side of it.

Located outside the gate next to the NO PARKING sign that I was parked next to, was a sign that said for more information go to the Adventure Hotel and it gave directions. As it turns out, Mr. Onan of Onan enterprises owns the house and the adventure hotels which has three different themes, for those people who need more that just a bed to sleep. You can rent the house (his family says their with you at no extra charge) or just the property for weddings and parties.

My next stop was in Lake Delton, WI. But first some good news and some bad news. The bad news is I got lost and found myself in Milwaukee, WI. The good news is that I made great time getting there. I made a big left and was off the Wonder Spot" in Lake Delton. I know what you are thinking. If he bashed the "mystery hill" so much, why did he go to an other one. Easy it was on the way. As I was driving I noticed a lot of Signs for "Noah's Ark in the Wisconsin Dells" It had peeked my curiosity, so I stopped in. First thing I found out is that "Noah's Ark" was not owned by some guy named Noah, and more importantly it was not a ark. Had It been a petting a zoo or something close I would had not bitched but it was a water park that was selling gas for $1.17, yet an other reason to bitch.

Anyway back to the trip. The Wonder Spot was conveniently located behind a combination T shirt Shop and religious book store. They only wanted $3.00 to see there mystery spot, so off I went. They had a much better story to explain what was happing here. In 1948 when the shack was built it got pulled down the hill to its location. Geologists came from the University of Wisconsin and blamed it on the high consecration on igneous rock on the other side of the hill. ( we were in a small valley).

The original mystery spot was also torn down, but here the explained it by saying they rebuilt the shack with its odd angles to exenterate the feeling of the mystery spot.

Back on I-94 around Exit 69 I found the "Truck on a Stick". Well actually it was an 18-wheeler on it's end with a Standard Gas sign on top of it. Nevertheless it does fall into the truck on a stick category.

I arrived at The Mall Of America around 6:15 local time. Wow, what a big place. I started walking around and ended up at Camp Snoopy. I went on the roller coaster and the Kite Eating Tree. I was going to go on the log flume, but out of the corner of my eye I spotted the Lego Land store. They had Lego's all over the place and a car building and down hill race track area. After about an hour in there I left. They got a little mad at me when my car kept on winning the races

Around 9:00 pm I arrived at the food court to eat dinner. I went to Jonny Rocket's and they messed up my order not once, but twice.

I am now at a KOA, please forgive me Pam, but I had to pay this time. Also 10 postcards, three to "B"...

Day 4

As I left the KOA this morning, I realized that the exit that I need to take was the same one that I got off at the night before. I took it as a sign from above. I should of taken it as a sign from below, today was not a good day. After I got gas, the next intersection I came to was selling gas for 5 cent cheaper a gallon.

I was 5 miles from Ackeley, MN and all I had to do was make a right. The road was closed for rebuilding and required a 37 mile detour around. Then came a little good news, in the town of Backus, MN I found the first of its kind, Travel Trailer on a stick. Later I found out that the camera was not loaded right so the picture will never turn out.

I found my way to Ackeley and Paul Bunyan. It was Paul on one knee with an out stretched hand to sit on and an ax in the other. They had no information in its size, but for the record his boot was as tall as me. That's 6ft for those of you who've never met me. After taking a bunch of pictures, I then realized that I had no film in the camera, lucky I was still in town.

I left Ackeley and headed up MN 64 about 4 miles out of town the car stopped, in the middle of the road way. After a little pushing, I got it off to the side of the road. If I let it sit for 10 minutes it would run for 30 seconds. So I flagged down the first car going back to Ackeley. The guy drove me to the one and only gas station were he dropped me off. I went inside and told them my story. He called a tow truck to go and get it and told me it would be around 30 minutes. So I went for a walk and came back.

As it turns out, the guy at the gas station is the fire chief and he and his wife were rather nice to me. The car arrived by a beat up old tow truck. Cootter got out and drop the car off the back. Much to my surprise it only was a $15.00 tow. One of the mechanics came out and popped the hood, started looking around, he was under the hood, under the car, he even sniffed the tail pipe. He tried starting it, and was back under the hood. He looked at me and said "I hate working on these Fords"; I didn't have the heart to tell him it was a Chevy. The fire chief came back out and looked around some more and they decided that it was either the fuel filter or the fuel pump, either way he said "you screwed because I don't have either one". Well, they got it to run and let me go without a bill.

It puttered along getting worse every mile. I got to Bemidji, MN coasting in the curb lane. I ended up at Dondelinger's Chevy dealer. I went in and told the service guy that my car was blocking the entrance to his dealership and that I could not get it to move. I told him the my story and what I was doing. He told me that he can fit me in on Friday. I asked very nicely if he could look at it today, and his response was what difference does it make " you're stuck here till I fix it and you can't do anything about it."

After telling him where to go and what to do, I left with the Wagon Queen Family Truckster blocking the entrance and walked a half mile until I found SPAULDING's GM, Pontiac, Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Honda. I told them the same story and before I could finish, Wade and Karen at the service desk, sent two mechanics to get the car. With frayed tow rope in hand they got in a truck and within minutes they were back. Earnest and Chris, with lighting speed found the problem and got to work.

They did not have a new fuel pump in stock so they sent another guy of the local parts store to get one. It was now getting close to five and Ernest had to leave, but Chris Pickett rearranged his schedule at home with his wife and kids to fix my car. After he got it all back together it ran great. Chris did smell gas, as it turns out the fuel pump was bad, the parts store was closed, I was to spend the night in Bemidji. They helped me find a hotel and drove me here, they will pick me up in the morning for breakfast. I can not say enough good things about the fine people who work at SPAULDING MOTOR SALES INC.

After checking into the hotel, I was off to find Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I was thumbing a ride when a car pulled up and ask me were to, I told him the Blue Ox and he said hop in. As Jamie was driving he asked what I was doing in Bemidji. I told what I was doing and after a small lag of disbelief, he asked ask if I was going to the see the Giant Fish. I told him I did not know about it and he offered to drive me to it. The big difference between Bemidji Paul and the rest, is that it was the first. If you look in the encyclopedia under Paul Bunyan it shows and tells about this one.

After the Blue Ox we went off to Bena, MN where we saw, to the best of my knowledge, the world's biggest Pike. It's at the Pike Inn, a Super Club. It measures 65 ft long and 15 ft high. It was once an old drive in burger place

Jamie Ketelsen drove me to the Bemidji Fire Department, I was unable to trade shirts as all mine were in the back of the car, locked in the dealership. Jamie then drove me to the local quickie mart and back to the hotel. With the exception of the dingle berry's at the Chevy place, Bemidji is filled with nice people....

Day 5

Add 7 postcards; 2 to "B" at the end of day 4.

After they fixed my car I was off and headed north to the town of Black Duck, MN to see Paul Bunyan's Riffle. Everyone in Bemidji said they did not know the riffle was there, but they did have a big black duck.

Once I arrived, it did not take me long to realize that everyone here has gone Daffy over Ducks. The first duck was next to the Fire Hall and was the original duck built in 1934 by the Civic Association for the winter Canaveral in Bemidji. The duck was in a sitting position and it measured 12 feet long and 8 feet high, not including its pedestal. black duckThe other duck was in the center of town and was built by the Rotary. Why two ducks? The only reason I could find was the Rotary and the Civic Association did not get along. This duck was coming in for a landing and was the same size as the other one, but had a wing span of 17 feet.

Still, I could not find the riffle. I did find a picture of it in the Information Center. The lady said that no one in town liked it so they got rid of it. Not happy with the answer, I was now on a mission to find the riffle. My first stop was City Hall where I met the one and only Police Officer. Both he and the city manager had no clue as to the location of the riffle. As I was trading police patches with officer Mark, the Mayor came in. He said that the riffle was in his garage a while ago, but he did not know were it was now. With little prodding Mayor Milton Beck was in the front seat of the car and we drove off to start searching garages in town.

Milton was kind of shocked that I knew about the riffle, and that I traveled over 1,700 miles to see it. The first one turned up nothing, as we were leaving the second one, out of the corner of my eye, in the back, on the ground lied Paul Bunyan's Riffle! We pick it up and took it outside. It was over 8 feet long. The barrel was on old sewer pipe and the stock was made out of wood. After a few pictures I asked him if it was for sale. Despite my ability to horsetrade, I could not buy the gun. Having the only recent picture, I was off...

Next was the Geographical Center of North America in Rugby ND. Back in the 30's the US geographical department figured out that if you were flatten out all the hills and valleys in North America the center would be in Rugby. On the left side of town they have a big marker made out of stones from all 50 states. That left me with a few questions. In the 30's the USA did not have 50 states, and if it's North America where were the stones from Canada and Mexico?

Next was the World's Largest Turtle in the heart of the Turtle Mountains in Dunseith, ND. It was made of old tire rims, over 2,000 of them and was over 2 stories high. It was built as a tourist attraction by the man who owns the store next to it.

My last stop was the International Peace Park located on the US/Canadian border. I found the place a little to artsy for me. I'm in Brandon, Manitoba. We had a hail storm a bit ago, I am now getting eaten a live by the mosquito's...

Due to the speed of Canada's mail, no postcards until I get back to the USA...

Day 6

With all that happened the last few days I forgot to mention the fire...

While driving west of Grand Forks, ND a fast moving 18 wheeler rear ended a slow moving line painting truck. The diesel tanks ripped open starting fire on the roadway and the field around the accident. The line painting truck had 755 gallon drums of paint on the back which was now all over the road and the driver of the 18 wheeler. He was white from head to toe. Some 45 minutes later the Petersburg fire dept. showed up. The diesel fuel and field fire had burned out by this time but the trucks were still blazing away. With one booster line and 800 gallons of water, in a t-shirt and shorts, I put the fire out. Video to follow when I get home.

The camp site last night was rather close to Trans Canada and trucks keep on waking me up. Anyway, Sheldon Kennedy, who plays hockey in the NHL is roller blading across Canada to raise money for abused kids. It was his brother's camp site that I stayed at last night and today I passed him as he was roller blading along TransCanada.

As I was driving across Trans Canada, I found out the highway turns into a two lane road. It was the flattest straight ride in my life. I did come across a convoy of 10 mobiles homes all from PA. It took me over an hour to pass them all. I pulled into Indian Head, SK to find the World's Largest Indian Head. It was 11 feet high, 11 feet long, and 11 feet wide.

My next stop was the RCMP Headquarters in Regina, SK. It wasn't what I was expecting. Why does the Police academy have its own golf course?

As I was approaching Moose Jaw, SK I could see from the distance the head of the World's Largest Moose. Its was 32 feet high with a rack 30 feet across and weighed over 10 tons. $41.00 later the tank of the Wagon was filled and I was off. By the way….. How many liters to a gallon?

I pulled in to Medicine Hat, Alberta for dinner. There were these very nice signs with the CAA logo on them telling about the Great Wall Of China. I followed the signs, this was going to be an unplanned surprise. The sign lead me to a broken down building, I drove around it looking for the wall. I started to think how great can it be if I can't see it. So, I parked and went inside for directions. The lady told me that Great Wall Of China was in the building. She pointed me down the hallway. As I turned the corner their it was: The Great Wall Of China…Pottery and other thing made of clay. As the lady was telling me that the items are for sale, I flipped her the bird and walked out.

I'm now in Calgary at the Home of my Cousin Mary and her family Dan and Dan Jr. planning the rest of my trip.

Day 7

BanffThe end of week one and I'm in Banff National Park, Alberta Canada. After I left Mary and Dan's this morning, I went to Olympic Park, site of the XV Winter Olympic Games in 1988. They are trying to get them again in 2010. Try as I might, I was unable to find the Saddle Dome, but found everything else.

Arrived in Banff around lunch time. Its much different then I expected. In the middle of the Park is the town of Banff. A lot of high priced stores and a Hard Rock Café and T shirt stand. This place is a lot like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and The Badlands all rolled into one. Speaking of the Badlands they have this area here called the Hoodoos. When I first saw the sign for it, it was with a pictogram of a guy with binoculars. Being the ugly American that I am, I thought the Hoodoos was French for scenic overlook, how was I to know that they are a national treasure? My Mother would be so proud. Turns out that the Hoodoos are a lot like the buttes in the Badlands.

I just finished the Official "Off the Map and Amuck in America" dinner: Oodles of Noodles and hot dogs, cooked at the same time and in the same pot.

Going to see the Warden's show tonight, more to follow on that in the A.M. Contemplating either white water rafting or going to lake Louise on Saturday.

Any way at the end of week one I have traveled 3,045 miles, 4 of which were on the back of a tow truck. This far north the sun sets around 9:30 PM kind of weird. If you are in the Banff area stop by and visit. I'm at Tunnel Mountain One site G-12. BYOB A lot of post cards purchased, but none sent.

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks II: Week 3

Day 15

After a fun day of packing everything wet back in the car, we drove to New Orleans. There is a rather long bridge leading in to New Orleans. It's about 20 miles long, you do hit some land every now and then so it cant be classified as the world's longest bridge. It does give you a nice tour of the swamp land of LA.

We arrived at our hotel and went for a swim and then ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. After a small nap we were out on the town. Bourbon St. was a blast. There were many street performers who we got to sign the Brady Bunch theme song after dropping some change in their box. We arrived at a restaurant that had a guitar player that played the guitar and harassed the audience. We ate and harassed him back.

Back on the street, we walked up and down. We visited the World's Smallest Bar, and Preston got a beer. It was called the Tiny Tap. Sold two kinds of beer and it was only big enough for the bar tender and one customer. The street was blocked off from cars, but you had to deal with heavy traffic on the cross streets. Mike showed how much of a gentleman he is by assisting and elderly lady across the street.

Bourbon street was a blast, and it you ever get the chance, stop by and visit. Mardigras is an even bigger party, but everything is booked four years in advance. Please note Peters beer that he purchased him self with no ID, and is walking down the street drinking it.

Day 16

Today we drove a lot. We're in the middle of South Carolina. They only highlight was when Mike was driving and we hit a really big bug that went splat on the windshield... It left a great big blood stain on the window. Being as it was flying insect, it does not count for a road kill.

Tomorrow, South of the Border, and Washington, DC. and hopefully home.

Day 17

Our last day on the road. We left our beautiful camp site and it's wild animals, in Aiken SC. We did however, take with us a large portion of the sand that was around our tents. In SC we had our only close call with THE MAN. We were driving along, the radar detector was going off and we saw two cops in the middle of the road. One of them pulled out and followed us for a couple of miles. Then he got off at the next exit. We were not really speeding, but being pulled over would have been a drag.

After complaining for 16 days, we arrived at South Of The Border, SC, and Peter was able to get the fire works that he wanted so much. SOB is located just SOUTH of the North Carolina BORDER , hence the name. It is quite the large tourist trap. More spread out then we were expecting. They had many different shops, some amusement rides, and a hotel. Our first stop was the fire works store. Peter was like a kid in a candy store. Come to think of it, he WAS a kid in a candy store. In no time he had is cart filled. two of these, three of those. He spent his money faster then...?? He just spent it fast. Preston grabbed some items and we were off. Mike was busy checking out the over priced items in the Western Shop. We all went to the T Shirt shop, but did not buy anything. The prices where rather high, and the even charged you for the SOB bumper stickers. Wall Drug gave them away, and is a much better stop.

On our way again, we tried to figure out how much more fireworks Peter could have gotten if he had not bought so much candy on the trip. We estimated it two ways. We figured 7 candy bars a day at $.65 each. Over the 17 days it comes to $77.35. Peter did not agree with our math and told us to calculate it at $3.00 each time we stopped for gas. We stopped 28 times, for a total of $84.00. Either way I think we are low.

We arrived at Washington, DC and our first stop was the Jefferson Memorial. To keep the tradition alive, the National Park Service was nice enough to have the Memorial and the Statue completely covered with scaffolding so we could not get a good look at it. Being as the building is round, one should be able to whisper by the wall and some else on the other side can hear it. We tried but there was to many other visitors and we could not hear over all the talking.

We tried to get to the Lincoln Memorial but we kept getting detoured over one bridge or another. We did end up at the Washington Monument. We illegally parked and walked up to it. It's made with a stone from each stated of the union, and has fifty flags around it. None in the flags are marked and there is no reference to which stone came from which state.

After a brief visit to the White House, we were on our way in DC rush hour traffic. What a mess. We got gas, ate dinner and found our way to route 1 above Baltimore. Our last stop was the Mason Dixon Line Marker in Rising Sun, MD. The very marker that Preston tried to steal in his first road trip... We arrived back in Newtown Square at 9:05 p.m. with the Brady Bunch playing as we drove through town. We unpacked and the car, what a mess.

Some stupid facts and figures for the trip:
409 hours, 50 minutes.
7,120 miles.
437.21 gallons of gas.
$527.67 spent on fuel.
22 States plus the District of Columbia. 25 states if you count the ones we went thought twice.
No break downs.
No speeding tickets.
No unwanted run ins with the law.
No accidents or body damage to the car.
No road kills.
No thefts. With the exception of one pair of sun glasses, nothing lost of forgotten any where. Pretty remarkable if you think about it.

Day 18

We spent the day cleaning that car. We found $15.59 in spare change in the car. It came in very handy at the coin-op Wash 'n' Vac. We also found a dozen post cards that where never mailed, and the stamps to go with them. Most of the dirt came out with the exception of a small amount of Blizzard stain in the back seat. The car needs a good wax and will be for sale for who ever wants to buy it.

A quick thank you to everyone who helped with this trip, and a big thank you to Nick Iacona, our web page God. Thanks for stopping and reading along. We hope to have pictures of the trip up soon. Stop back!

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks II: Week 2

Day 8

We started out the day by jacking the car off the tree stump that Mike parked it on.... No damage to the car or the stump. We went out and about on the shuttle busses today. We were the typical tourist. They talked about this old mine that you could go and see. We got off the bus and walked only to find out that it had a 10 foot high fence around it. The fence also had DANGER HIGH RADIATION AREA signs on them. They used to mine uranium in the 1960's.

In the afternoon, we went back in the Canyon on the Kaibab Trail. The trail was a lot easier that yesterday's. The only problem was that it was the mule trail, and the trail was dotted with mule dung. As we were walking, we did our best to find Bobby and Cindy Brady... Despite our efforts, we were unsuccessful. We asked one Ranger where the Brady's camped and were the Indian's that they meet were. He had no idea what we talking about. The second Ranger was nicer and played along with the game and explained how the Brady's trip was impossible.

Tonight we are going to the free show in the ampitheater. We will let you know if we get our money's worth. Tomorrow we are leaving for Las Vegas and more of route 66, and visit the Flintstone's in Bedrock.

Day 9

We went to the Ranger show last night. It was quite interesting and educational. We found out more info on the Brady's visit. They filmed the shots of the Grand Canyon from Mather Point and the rest was filmed about 45 min. east at an Indian reservation.

Our first stop today was the Flintstone's Bedrock City in Valle, AZ. The Bedrock in Custer, SD was better. This place was also a camp ground. They had no grass and everything was dirty. In Custer the Flintmobile was and old VW bug and the guy drove it fast. Here it was an old golf cart, not known for speed. We ate at Fred's Diner, and much to our surprise, the food was good. The waitress was kind of mean, so we kept up the bedrock theme and tipped her three rocks.

We then drove the last part of route 66 on our trip. From Seligmen to Kingston, AZ. They did have some old stores on this part of the route , but most of them had been deserted. In Kingston, AZ they did have the "Historic route 66 zone" and had a bunch of old shops that were open. We stopped and got gas, took some pictures, and moved on. After driving route 66 from Chicago to Kingman, I can say although it was interesting, and nostalgic, the mother road is dead.

As we were driving to Las Vegas, Mike noticed a sign for an old abandon ghost town from the 1800's. We followed the signs, but could not find it. We found another couple also looking for it. The only thing we found was and old mine shaft.

Our last stop before Vegas was the Hoover Dam. What an enormous and colossal contraption. It was much bigger then expected. We walked across it and back. The water was so clear that you could see the fish swimming in it. The had an informational AM radio station that you could tune in on you car, but with all the electricity around the place you could not understand them.

We are now in Vegas and just got back from the all you can eat buffet. I think they lost money on us. We have not eaten a good meal in over a week. We are going to go gambling now, and then to see the show at the Treasure Island.

Day 10

We lost in Vegas. About $60.00, and the change that had accumulated in the car over the last week. We did see the Buckerner Bay Show at Treasure Island last night. It was a pyrotechnic spectacular. The second time we saw it we were a little on the close side. The heat from the fire was intense. Speaking of heat, the average temperature of the Mohab Desert that we having been for the last two days is 110. The humidity is very low and all of our nasal passages are dried out.

We stopped in Neddles, CA and got Peter's hair cut. The sign said free, but it was not. Gas in CA was $1.79 a gallon. five minutes away in AZ, it was $.99 a gallon. We found the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ without any problem. The town was very big for being in middle of nowhere. They race the speeds boats that you see on TNN here. MTV even did a spring break show from here.

We are now looking a cactus making a left hand turn. (By the way if anybody knows the song that the Brady Bunch was signing as they drove cross the county, email us!)

What we thought would be our last stop was the Pre-Historic Case Grande Indian Ruines in Coolage, AZ. We did the self tour. Not all that interesting, but it is believed to be the oldest structure in the USA. They have built a large steel roof over it, to protect it.

Being as it was 6:30pm and the temperature was well over 100, we stayed in the coolest spot we could find. The car. We drove to the Titan Missile Base in Green Valley, AZ and camped in the shadows of the missiles.

For some odd reason I-19 south of Tucson, AZ is labeled in metric. The mile markers and exits are all in kilometers's.

Day 11

Our first stop today was the Titan Missile Site in Green Valley AZ. We were the first ones in the door. That's what you get when you sleep on their door step. It's the only one of over sixty missile sites that is still around. They imploded the rest after the coldwar, or so they said. We saw a movie and had a tour of the above ground area. There was not much to see as everything was below ground. After we donned our hard hats, we walk down 55 steps and through several blast doors until we ended up at mission control. They gave a demo of what the steps they went through to launch the missile. The equipment was 1960 vintage, and we were quite surprised to see it work. After that they took us to the missile 9 stories under ground. However, they would not let us touch it. The other 59 missiles have been retro fitted to carry satilites to space. Awfully nice of the government not to let your $60,000,000.00 go to waist.

We drove back up I-19 still trying to figure out why it was labeled in metric. The only thought was that we were close to Mexico which Peter wanted to go and visit. Luckily we talked him out of it, because we didn't want to have the Customs officials tear apart the car. Not that there was anything illegal in the car, except for the four day old mayonise that probably would have scared them away anyway.

We drove for a couple of hours and ended up in Tombstone AZ. a silver boom town that had over 20,000 residents in it's day. It was the town that "demanded and had a man for breakfast everyday" We saw some recreation gunfights that go on daily. It gave new meaning to bad acting. We took our picture in front of the O.K. Corral, site of the world famous shoot out at the O.K. Corral that took place on 10/26/81 (1881 that is) it lasted 30 seconds and in the aftermath 3 dead, 2 wounded and Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp where unscathed.

The wildwest and lawlessness still run supreme in Tombstone, as judged from the prices that they where selling the souvenirs for. The main drag of Allen St. is still pretty much untouched. The road is paved but that's about it. Most of the buildings are from the 1880's and are on the National Landmark registry. Since everyone in town was walking up and down the streets telling you to come see their re-enactment of the shoot outs, we felt it only fitting to drive slowly down the center of the street with the theme song from the Brady Bunch playing as loud as The CD player would go. To add to the excitement, we sang along, and Peter hung out the window with the camcorder going.

Our next stop was the worlds most purposely mysterious attraction "THE THING" in Benson, AZ. It's behind a Dairy Queen and cost $.75 to get in. They had three buildings to walk though. The first building had some old cars with a sign that read "this antique car was really THE THING" next to an old Rolls Royce the sign said "This car was believed to have been used by Adolph Hitler...THE THING is we can't prove it. Next to each car was a sign that had a reference to THE THING written on it. The next building had different carvings and other antique items claiming to be worth millions, but we did not see any security. They also had signs making reference to THE THING. The last building housed THE THING. I was curious how they kept THE THING such a big secret all these years. I thought some one would slip. After seeing THE THING, we are going to keep with the tradition and not embarrass our selves by telling you what we wasted our $.75 on.

Peter and Mike were in total disbelief over our next stop. They did not believe we wasted so much time to go and see it. It was the rock shaped like a toilet in the City of Rocks state park in NM. It was a very large toilet, that despite our efforts, we could not climb. After looking at it from many directions, quoting Mike "this looks nothing like a &$#@!# toilet." The park turned out to be quite nice, with a cool breeze blowing by. We contemplated sleeping there, but with no showers, and flies as big as the blizzard stain in the back of the car, we were on our way.

Day 12

Our first stop was the White Sands National Monument in NM. Well known for its wildlife, white sand made mostly of gypsum, and the filming of movies in its dunes. Also, the home of the Trinity Site which was ground zero for the first atomic bomb test. Although the site is only opened two days a year: the first Saturday in April and October. The best thing about the place was that it has been the only National Park that we have visited that has not been overrun by foreign tourists. Gee, I wonder why?

We did get out and walk on the dunes, the sand was hard-packed and easy to walk on. It was cold to the touch so we did not burn our feet. We found this odd as the temperature was well over 100. The sand blows so much, they have to get out a snow plow and plow the roads clear of sand on a daily basis.

Our next let-down-of-a-stop was Roswell, NM--the home of UFO's, and the site of the alleged Roswell incident in 1947. For those of you who don't know, a "flying saucer" may or may not have crash landed in Roswell in July 1947. All this depending on who you talk to. We found out that the crash site just north of town, well at least the sign leading us in the right direction. The sign said that they where charging $15.00 for a tour of the site. We never found anyone to take out money, or the site. We did find a family from Texas looking for the same thing and a small parking area that had some trash in it. Being as the 50th anniversary of the incident was three weeks ago, we deemed this to be where all the UFO nuts came, and quite possibly the crash site.

(It was not out mission to debunk or uphold the alleged incident that may or may not have taken place but--judging from the people working at he Burger King--we believed not only did they land, but they have been breeding for the last 50 years.)

As we where driving to Texas, we saw a signed for a Dairy Queen that had a road side attraction. Being as we wasted $.75 at the last Dairy Queen when we stopped at to see THE THING, we figured what the heck, we'll stop. We pulled in and the only thing we saw was an old broken down bar in the back parking lot. We went in and asked what the road side attraction was. The two people did not know, nor did they know that their signs had been offering a road side attraction. They did have small cones dipped in chocolate for $.99. Quite a deal! Almost better that a road side attraction.

We're sitting in our camp site and we believe that a pole cat--more commonly know as a skunk--has let loose in the area. (Will keep you posted.) After watching the video of when we left, we have come to the conclusion that some body had taken the hubcap off as we where getting our stuff ready to go....WE WANT IT BACK.

Day 13

We had some surprises at our first stop today. For the first time in our travels to road side attractions, the people in the town knew what we were looking for, and could give us directions. Sounds too good to be true? Upon our arrival at the historic ghost town of Old Abilene, TX we found it to be burned to the ground. To be par for the course on this trip, it had not burned down recently, but 20 years ago. It had been turned in to flea market, and that went belly up. It's now a old parking lot filled with old washers and driers. So goes the travels of the un-informed...

If you read our itinerary, you may have noticed that we were to stop at the truck on a stick somewhere in NM. We had no idea of it's location, and were unable to find it. While driving though TX Peter did find a truck on a stick by a gas station. It was not the one we were looking for, but it was a truck on a stick.

Upon our arrival in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we checked in with our sleeping arrangements and went off to Delay Plaza--the site of the shooting that killed then President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Our first stop was the grassy knoll, where we saw an Abraham Zapruter (sp?) look alike with his 8mm camera taking pictures. We walked around, into the street where the fatal shot hit Kennedy . We stood where the umbrella man stood. We went behind the fence where some say a shot may have been fired.

We went up into the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. It was a neat museum. They would not allow us to take pictures. We looked out the window where the shots where fired. After seeing the Zapruter film and walking the site, Preston believes that there was more than one gun man. Mike believes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Peter wanted to know what the big debate was all about. As we were leaving we drove the fated route of the presidential motorcade with the Brady Bunch blaring while screaming "back and to the left".

Our only scheduled TV site visit this trip as the South Fork Ranch from "Dallas". It's now a horse show ground. They've added more buildings and a set of bleachers. After a fine dinner from our host, Brian, we went to the Forth Worth Stock yards. Kind of an old historic area where they use to bring the cattle to slaughter. The stock yards is also the home of the White Elephant Saloon. For you Walker, Texas Ranger fans this is the bar known as CD's on the show.

While driving around the Dallas Fort Worth area, we utilized the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes. Usually reserved for car pools, but they're for anyone who has three or more people in the car. Being as we meet the requirement, we used them. This enabled us to move around Dallas with lightning speed, However it also enabled to drive pass our exits with the same speed. This allowed us to see more of Dallas then we had planned...

We stayed at a friend's house, his name is Brian. Here is his two cents about our trip.

The Travellers have come and gone. They arrived in Fort Worth on Monday afternoon and were VERY glad to get to take showers. I got to see some of the video they've been shooting - they're not kidding about driving around blaring the Brady Bunch theme! (Of course those of you that really know Preston already figure that out.) The family station wagon does have a lovely assortment of ???? on the floor. Fortunately, they bought one of those car air fresheners on Sunday, so the "fragrance" wasn't all that bad, but I would have hated to experience it before the air freshener, especially with the 100 degree temperatures we've been having. Well, that's all from here. I'll be flying to Philadelphia on Friday night to be in town for the Grand Arrival back on Newtown Square on Sunday. Have a great rest of the trip guys!

Day 14

Two weeks 6,645 miles, 336 hours and 15 States (18 states if you count the ones we have been in twice). Peter is working on proving that you can live by junk food alone for two weeks. We don't think that there's a candy bar out that he has not tried. Mike, with Preston's help, is trying to win money by playing the instant lottery in ever state that we visit. To date we are out $15.00 bucks.

Enjoying the hospitality of Brian in Fort Worth, we got a late start. Our one and only visit was the death site of Bonnie and Clyde in Gibland, LA. It's south of town on highway 154. Upon our arrival we found the marker had as many, if not more, bullet holes in it than Bonnie and Clyde's car. Most of it was unreadable.

Due to the excellent map reading abilities of Preston, we had a lovely tour of the Louisiana Bayou. Due to our late start and our tour of every back road of Louisiana we are sitting here in the bathrooms of camp hurricane conditions. Well known for its mosquitoes, luckily or unluckily on our part the mosquitoes were washed out in the flood along with our tents.

Being as this was a boring day, we will take this time to thank our sponsors. As we drove along in our finally tuned car from Don Kelley's Automotive we were rapidly taking pictures with our photography equipment from Photo Express in Newtown Square. We were able to end our tour of the Bayou by utilizing the GPS system from DeLorme. We are now going to upload via our Bell Atlantic Nynex cell modem, to Nicholas Iacona. Nick has been a vital part of this trip, in making sure that all our updates to the web page which he designed are done in a timely manner. Look for us on Bourbon Street we will be the ones leaning against the post :-)

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks II: Week 1

Day 1

We are outta here! On the road again, launched off from "the pad" of the Newtown Square fire company tonight. We are on the road! Peter, Preston, MikeWe left at 7:15 PM from Newtown Square, PA. We took care of some stuff and got on the PA Turnpike in Harrisburg. Day one was rather uneventful. 234 miles later, it was mid night, and we were still in PA. We did stop for gas, and the great news is that we are getting about 24 MPG!! We had planed on 16 MPG, so we are happy over that! Tomorrow we will hit Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

We were planing to stop at Hell MI. Its a town that's one mile square. If you want to look for it, it's just south of Pinckey. They have a store their called The Devil. As we were going to be arriving in town about 6:00 AM, we tried to persuade the shop owner to open early for us. She would not. Since none of the stores would open for us, and the local Chamber of Commerce has stop replacing the Welcome to Hell sings that have been stolen on a regular basis. There was no reason to stop. If you want to have some fun, call information for the lower part of MI. The number is 313-555-1212 and asks them for the number for The Devil in Hell. After they call you childish and immature, and get mad at you for wasting their time, have them type it into their computer and see what comes up. Guaranteed loads of fun!

Day 2

As we were going to Sullivan, OH, we noticed the exit for Kent State University. We decided to stop in and visit the site of the killings in 1970. Being a Neil Young fan, I have always wanted to visit this place. The campus was very nice. Mike wants to transfer. We drove around looking for the plaque. My previous research on this location told me that it was a plaque in a field. We were surprised to find it located on the campus map. We thought it was something that they would like to hide. As we were driving around, looking for the May 4th Memorial, we noticed that the campus Police were closing in on us, so we beat them the punch and pulled them over. Much to our surprise they were quite nice and lead us right to the location. We read the information that they had there. A new memorial was built in 1990, and all the information was written by a public relation firm, so it is one-sided.

We arrived in Sullivan, OH--it gave a new meaning to the word a hick town. We could not find Paul Bunyan, and did not think that this place had a need for a muffler shop. At About 5:00 am the local quick mart opened. We stopped in for directions. I knew that we were in trouble, when I had to explain who Paul Bunyan was. He gave us directions to the local trading post that has a 20 foot totem poll in front of it. We were surprised to find out that the Indians native to Ohio had sliding glass doors, and A/C in the Tee Pee's... Not wanting to get some buck shot in our back side, we left before we woke up the shop owner.

We camped out in a rest area somewhere in Ohio. Mike parked the wagon in the RV area and we slept for about an hour. We did not stop in Indiana, After the let down that we had last year in Notre Dame, we choose not to stop in this state again.

As we approached Chicago, I found out that I should have checked the maps that AAA gave us, because the map of Chicago was not in the pack. Luck was on our side, when you are trying to find the World's tallest building, a map is not needed, you just look up. We parked and got our tickets. They made us watch a movie about Chicago. I thought that it would be a video on the making of the Sear's Tower, but it was a 8 minute commercial on Chicago. We went up, did the tour and came back down. They don't let you get on the roof. Mike and Pete liked it, Preston thought that The World's Trade center was better.

Luck once again was on our side, as we were looking for Lake Shore Drive, Peter noticed the Route 66 signs, and the beginning of old Route 66 in Grant Park. The start of our trek down the Mother Road. For all you Married with Children fans out there, the fountain that is shown in the opening is the one from Grant Park.

Our next stop was Wrigley Field. It took us a while to find it. We went to ask a local man getting in his car for directions, he blew us off. It turned out to be a good thing, because if we had asked him, we would of looked like fools, because we were parked in front of it!

Our next stop was Des Plains, IL and the World's First McDonald's. After back-tracking and re-back tracking, we found it. We went inside and the lady said that they where closed, and to come back tomorrow. I told her our story and begged for the two-cent tour. She wanted to know how we got around the gate. I told her that it was opened. As we were in the building, she had no choice but to give us the tour. She reluctantly gave us the TWO-CENT-TOUR, and not a penny more. Not what we were expecting from America's number one family restaurant...

We then arrived in Niles, IL, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. After our last let down, this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. We could not get in to it, but it was as promised. I was not the real thing, but close, well worth the visit. After a day of let downs, it was nice to find a cheesy road side attraction, and it was in deed cheesy.

The total miles for day two: 875. We have stopped in the middle of IL and are planing for day 3.

Day 3

Mike repackaged the car so that the stuff is easier to get to. We ate and got on Route 66. The road is well marked, and made finding our way easy. Our first stop was the ROUTE 66 Museum. It turned out to be a hallway in a truck stop in Shirley, IL. We got our Route 66 map and were quite happy to find out that not only is it a map, but is a poster, too! We drove to Atlanta, IL and they had Bermashave signs telling us about the old clock in town. It was closed.

As we drove down Route 66 we were expecting more, it's not what we pictured. We did see some old hotel signs, the neon was gone and they just painted over it so you could read it. We paralleled I-55 and were thirty feet away from it most of the day. We were only people on the road and were able to make good time. We ended up on Route 66 spur that took us nowhere. The road dead-ended at the Chain Of Rock Canal. We looped back and sat in traffic on interstate 55.

Hannibal, MO turned out to be a bit of a detour, and since Mike was the only one who read The Adventures of Huck Finn, we opted not to make the detour. We did, however, stop at the Home Town and Tomb of Abraham Lincoln. I thought it was kind of tacky that they made you sit in a theater to watch a movie about the life and death of President Lincoln.

Once in MO, we went to the Arch (Its correct name is the Jefferson Westward Expantion Musuem.) and found out that you can go up in it. It's a 40 minute ride in a capsule that seats five. There was a forty five minute wait, and we chose not to do it. As I sit here typing Mike and Peter are talking about Six Flags Over the Mid West. Peter wants to stop and get some fireworks. We will camp out tonight and Mike has just promised to cook a creative dinner. Last year he was well known for his ability to cook spaghetti and hot dogs, in the same pot, and at the same time.

We are now driving through Sullivan, MO and looking for Paul Bunyan. This town looks like the kind of town that would have one, but no luck. We spent some of today playing with the GPS. It was amazingly accurate. We should have the mapping program up at the end of the day. We saw signs for Fort Leonard Wood and one of the locals said "yeah they came there". Much to our surprise, Fort Leonard Wood is an ARMY camp. A quick visit to the base fire dept, and dropping off a couple of T-shirts, we managed to find a spot to pitch our tents, and warm showers in the morning!

Day 4

Wow, what a night. I have seen some real bad campsites in my day, but the campsite at Fort Leonard Wood was the worst. Between the smell of urine and the rocks in our backs we were pretty happy to leave. The fire dept. at the fort was kind enough to let us use their showers this morning and God knows we all needed showers. The car ride would have been hell if we didn't take showers. Speaking of cars, you should see the '89 Caprice Classic Estate now. There is not a single trash bag in here, and Preston loves to keep his car as messy as possible.

We are currently driving on Interstate 44/Route 66. The wonderful people of Missouri are the worst drivers we have ever seen. They love to switch lanes without using their turn signals. Actually, they very rarely use there turn signals for anything. The proud residents of this state also have a problem with going the speed limit. The speed limit in Missouri is 70 mph on the Interstate, but for some God-forsaken reason they all drive 65 mph. Why they do this we don't know, but one thing we do know is that it is very annoying when you set the cruise control at 73 mph and you have to keep hitting the break for the damn locals... Suprisingly the state of Missouri resembles Pennsylvania in a lot of ways. It's all mountains and trees, not a lot of farmlands.

We made it to Branson, MO for the biggest ball of string. As we were pulling into town it looked like a nice clean area. It was bigger then we thought for a population 3,500. It is, however, a big vacation spot in the Orzark Mountains. It was like Wildwood NJ, only newer. A pre-fabricated, stucco-covered, over-priced, tourist trap. The ball of string was custom made as a money-maker. Not what we would call a road side attraction, and not worth $30.00 to see. We left Branson, the town turned out to be a bust, but so was the whole state of Missouri.

The only hilight on this state was in Aurora when Peter was dancing with the STAR 104.1 FM chicken in the middle of the road so he could win a mug. The last stop in this state was Joplin, MO and KLIU the radio station that played Louie, Louie 24 hr a day. Thankfully Joplin was not a detour, because, you guessed it, they changed their call letters, and their format. They are now Christian rock.

Back on old Route 66 we went in to Kansas, and the "13.8 miles that links Route 66". Happy that we were no longer in MO, we drove the 13 miles and stopped at all the road side attractions. Since the Interstate does not go through Kansas, the towns where all but deserted. We did find the last arch bridge on Route 66. It was no ball of string, but it was a road side attraction.

As I sit here in the back seat, I can't help but notice all the change stuck to the floor. It makes me wonder what happened to the remnants of Peter's Heath, Snickers, and M? blizzard that he got in Indiana? Although Peter did tell me that they ripped him off with the M?'s, and didn't put any in his cup.

We just left Oklahoma City, and the bombing site. It's a vacant lot with a fence around it. People leave items on the fence ranging from crosses to car license plates. The street is closed and the buildings around the site have not been fixed or torn down for the most part. They still use the parking lot under the Federal building for government employees in surrounding buildings.

The city of Oklahoma City was clean and easy to get around. The people were nice, but Mike noted that it seemed that the whole town was in mourning. We stopped by two fire houses, including Station One. They where the first ones in on the explosion. They had 6 poles, and would not let us slide down any of them.

We have traveled 536 miles today. Peter can't wait until we get to Arizona where there are no trees. Camping out again tonight. (Sorry this page was not updated last night, but we couldn't get cell phone service at the bottom of Red Rock Canyon).

Day 5

Red Rock Canyon was a neat place. It did have it's drawbacks, though. The shower head was the low-flow type, so by the time the water hit your feet, it was a fine mist. The shower heads themselves, were installed by a short person, because we kept hitting our heads on them.

Route 66 in Oklahoma is not well marked, and we kept on losing it. We did, however, find the Route 66 museum in Clinton, OK. We are not sure why, but the Route 66 museum is not on Route 66. It was closed and did not open for five hours. It looked like a real neat place. Lots of neon, and old cars. As we were leaving, we saw a truck pulling in and the guy driving it turned out to be the Director of the museum. We told him what we were doing, and asked if we could have a quick tour. He told us that "this is run by the government and we have to follow their hours of operation" We tried to bribe him, but where unsuccessful. He said that the only reason that he was there that early was because of a small fire that they had last night, and he was there to clean up.

Back on the road again, we tried to find the historic gas station in Canute, OK, but with no luck. As we drove along getting on and off the Interstate as Route 66 winds its way across OK and TX through cities and towns, it was what we were expecting of Route 66. We saw more hotels and diners, the neon was gone but the old signs where still there. As we pulled into Amarillo, TX. the town was filled with Route 66-era hotels, diners, and filling stations, (now with new gas pumps).

We found the Cadillac Ranch without too much problem, and it was most definitely, and without a doubt, a cheesy road side attraction! The ten Cadillac's were sitting there face down in a row. When Stanley Marsh planted ten brand new Cadillac's in the ground they where complete. Now, several decades later, any piece that can be broken off, has. They are covered with graffiti, and once a year Stanley repaints them white to let more graffiti build up on them. People from all over the world have stopped by to scribble their name on them. Mike and Peter were expecting the car still to be in good shape. They said that it was better this way.

We had seen some street signs with stupid sayings on them all over Amarillo. As we found out from a local who stopped by to check on the cars, Stanley Marsh put them all over as art. Personally we think he should stick to Cadillacs.

As we entered New Mexico we came across the neatest 'Welcome To...' sign to date on this trip. We do have some items from the good news / bad news department. Crushed up Cheetoes do wonders when trying to get dried heath bar blizzard out of the carpet. This little item was found out by accident. The bad news is that now that the floor is clean, Mike took it upon him self to spill Pepsi on the drivers seat. Also when Preston was driving we lost the right rear hub cap!

We planned on driving to Gallup, NM., but we decided to spend the night at the Marriott in Albuquerque. Preston turned on his charm and we got a lovely room on the concierge floor, for a very cheap price. We ate dinner at a cafeteria type restaurant at a rest stop. Needless to say the first thing we checked out in our hotel room was the lovely toilet. Boy, was that food good. Tonight will be a relaxing night spent by the pool.

We will be awaking bright and early tomorrow to continue this exciting journey through the beautiful USA!

Day 6

Let me start out by trying to explain the foul odor that has taken over the inside of the car. On second thought, it can't be explained.

Our first stop was the Aztec Indian Ruins Nation Monument in Aztec, NM. As we were approaching, Peter was looking for Tee Pee's that the Indians lived in. He was quite upset to find out that they lived in condos, drove cars, and owned motor boats. We later found out that, from the park service, they did not use tee pee's because they did not have any large game to kill for the hide.

The Aztec ruins turned out to be real neat. They had three story buildings that they lived in. The door ways where really small and Preston had trouble getting through. We quickly came to the conclusion that the Aztec's where short and in good shape. They also had a community center called a Kiva, that they meet in for community programs. You could hit a button and they played Indian music. We tried to get Peter to do an Indian dance, but he wouldn't.

Our next stop was the Four Corners National Monument. That spot where four states come together. In case you are wondering, the four states are Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. The site is run by the Navajo Nation and it coast $3.00 to get in. Well worth the money. We took the mandatory pictures of us standing in all four states. They did have an authentic Indian tee pee there. I told them the Aztec Indian's did not have tee pee's do the fact that they did have large game around for the hides.

We did find out what the major money maker is for the Navajo Nation. Gas. All the gas station that we drove past and eventually had to stop at where selling gas for $1.59 a gallon. You don't realise how big the Navajo Nation is until you are paying $1.59 for a gallon of gas. It went on for ever, covering two states.

They next stop we made was at two big pillars. As we were approaching them, we thought they had to be something. They weren't, just two big pillars. We climbed them, and scribbled our names on the pillar as everyone else had. The oldest date we saw was 1972.

As we arrived at the Grand Canyon, Peter summed it up by saying "oh, shit, this is nice." Just as last year, upon our arrived at a National park, it started to rain. All the camp sites where full. To make a long story short, I have to find some guy named Brian tomorrow and give him one of my fire company shirts.

Depending on weather and availability, tomorrow we will hike down to the bottom on the Grand Canyon. We will probably not have a update tomorrow, due to no phone service in at the Grand Canyon, but stop back and find out any way...

Day 7

It's the end of week one and we have been together for 2941 miles, 12 states and 168 hours. This morning we tried to get a back county pass to camp at the bottom. We had no luck. We did go on a hike to the bottom--of Dripping Springs, that is. The Ranger lady said that it was not that bad of hike. However, the trail is not maintained and is rough in places. They advised us that how ever long it takes to get down, it takes three to four times longer to get up.

The hike down was not bad to start. It had its hard spots and its easy spots. The trail was classified as "very serious", but we were making good time. The trail had remains of stairs build in 1902. Most of the trail was the side of the Canyon on one side and a drop off on the other. We made it to Morning Wood Ridge and decided to eat lunch. Peter noted that there was a cave-type dwelling that we could sit in if it started to rain. At that moment, the skies let loose and we ran for shelter.

We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on squished bread. That was only the minor problem with lunch, we forgot to bring a knife to spread the PB & J... Being the ingenious people that we are, we dipped the bread in the jar. We sat for a 1/2 hour in the pouring rain deciding what to do. Wait out the storm and maybe have to walk back up in the dark, wait and still have to walk up in the dark--only with rain--or admit defeat with mother nature and leave now and walk back in the rain.

As we left in the rain, it was hitting us so hard it hurt. Within minutes we were soaked to the bone. The temperature dropped and we were freezing. We marched on with mud slides and rock slides giving way beneath our feet. The path that we had walked down was now a river. All the water from the Canyon above was pouring down our path. It was shin-deep at times. The steps that had helped us down were now a water fall as we tried to make our way to the top--like salmon swimming up stream. All the time I was thanking God that my feet where dry do to my sheep-skin sneakers I had gotten from the J. Peterman Catalog. Now, if only my urban sombrero had not blown off at the height of the storm.

We made it to the top in less time that it took up to get down. We figured we made good time because we were all mad that we were stuck in the rain. We took hot showers and ate dinner, and are now going to bed to contemplate an another hike on Wednesday.

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks

Day 1

We left Newtown Square, PA Thursday Night 7/11 at 9:31 PM. Doc got out of school at 9:30 PM so we had to wait for him. 2311 miles on the car.

We entered Ohio at 3:00 am and our first stop was TYRRELL Ohio and the Tyrrell Fire Dept. Got lost and found our way. We got better at both of these as the trip went on.

Next stop was the ROCK N ROLL HALL OF FAME in Cleveland. It was still early and they were not open yet. Out of shear boredom we started to climb the glass pyramid. Spacoli broke some type of structure cable using it as hand hold.

We went to Toledo Ohio to see TONY PACKO'S CAFE (the one Klinger talk about in M*A*S*H. We also saw the home of the Toledo Mudhens.

Went though Michigan and did not stop. Arrived at NOTRE DAME in South Bend IN. What a let down.

Next stop SMITH IN we were looking for the Smith Fire Company (yes we did stop at almost all fire company's we came across). As it turns out, What we were led to believe was a town, in reality was just a power substation. So Mike made a sign to welcome people to the town of Smith.

Off to THE LEANING TOWERS OF PISA in Niles IL. It is 1/2 scale replica of the original and it is located out side the YMCA of Niles IL. They don't let you climb in it.

The next two stops were at two towns we went to help during the Midwest flood a few years ago. Kiethsburg IL and Oquaqua IL.

The last stop of day one was in Riverside IA at the Future Birth place of Capt. James T. Kirk. Spent the night in Iowa City IA. pulled in at 9:15 PM. If you think about it, He has yet to be born. They have this little trailer that they put in the local parade each year.

Yes we did a lot of miles, our average speed was 109 mph, the car was governed at 110 mph. We drove trough the night only the first night. Our most miles in a day was 900 the least was 250. (We spent two nights in Yellowstone and did no driving).

Day 2

Went to Preston IA and Andrew IA (if have not figured out yet we are stopping at towns named after us) and visited their fire company's. Next stop was The FIELD OF DREAMS in Dyersville IA where they filmed the movie. The field is there and you can play baseball and walk in the corn. I struck out and was unable to hit the %?@* ball.

Went to the worlds LARGEST STRAWBERRY in Strawberry Point IA. It was a big plastic thing sitting on a pole. I felt like and idiot, I though it was a real one that they kept. I have heard of strawberry perseveres and thought that they kept it under glass or something.

Next stop was DOUGHERTY IA and you guessed it the Dougherty Fire Company. Right friendly folks their in Dougherty, The General Store was closed, but the door was open. Take what you need and just leave your money on the counter. Ah, Small town America, You got to love it.

The last stop and first camp out was at Clear Lake State Park. We set up camp and went on our next objective To find the site of Buddy Holly's plane crash.

We went to the Surf Ballroom, the last placed he played, and they would not tell us, but had some gift shop if we wanted to but something. So we went to the MASION CITY airport where the plane took off from and they where no help. So we drove around heading west from the runway the plane took off from. Saw two cars at a stop sign and asked the first lady and she did not know. The second guy said we were right around the corner from it and told us where to go. We parked and headed in to a field and after about 1/2 mile walk we found the site. It was dark out so we went back to camp and the next morning went back and took pictures of it.

By the way, pot grows in the wild in Clear Lake IA. The army grew it to make rope in WW2 and it is still there.

Day 3

Stops included: the Corn Places in MITCHELL SD, A Building that is made out of corn. Well actually it is just covered with corn.

Not to much future down the road we can to Wall Drug in WALL SD. The worlds largest drug store. This was as promised. If you are traveling across South Dakota you will should see signs for this road side haven.

We finished up the night at the BADLANDS National Park. Our first National Park of the trip. Went butte climbing and hiked 1/2 mile or so and camped out at Morning Wood Ridge under the stars, and over the buffalo shit.


Day 4

Went to MT RUSHMORE which was pretty cool, Spacoli was chasing after the wild mountain goats that roam the area.

Right around the corner is the CRAZY HORSE Monument. It was still unfinished and for the most part sucked. What a waist of $15.00. I guess when it is done it will be nice.

Their is a lot to do in this area of South Dakota. Just down the street is FLINTSTONE CITY in Bedrock SD. Its is a Flitstone Themed park. We had some brontoburgers. It was a fun place. Here we are at the Bedrock FD.

Off to DEAD WOOD SD and I won $100.00 (gas money). Went to bike week in STURGES SD one week early and ate at the ROAD KILL CAFE and the BROKEN SPOKE SALON. Had great time and Spacoli had an even better time.

The last stop was DEVILS TOWER National Monument in Devils Tower WY, and we camped out. The National Park did not have showers, luckily by this time in the trip, we had mastered the art of stealing showers from KOA's that are littered across this Country.

Day 5,6

Drove to Yellowstone National Park by way of the BIG HORN National Forest and had a snow ball fight. We had about 6 inches of snow at the peak of the mountain. The park was site of our first and only road kill.

We arrived at YELLOWSTONE National Park, Camped out in YELLOWSTONE the first night in a camp site. They let us have this camp site, but warned us that it had been flooded out the last two night due to rain. Their was no forecasted rain for this evening, se we took our chances and set up camp.

This was also our first trip over the Continental Divide. In true Amuck Fashion, we took a group piss so half of it ended up in the Atlantic Ocean, and the other half ended up in the Pacific Ocean.

The next night, at Spacollies insistence, we went on a SIX MILE back county hike to a remote camp site to see some bears, and other wild animals. We had a camp site next to stream. It was a really nice place, However due to the long hike, shortly after we arrived, Preston fell asleep and Mike and Mike soon followed after a short trek to top of the ridge near our camp site. They sat down for a break on a nest of Fire Ants.


It rained and we never saw any animals, We walked back wet and starving for food. I'LL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. During our time at Yellowstone we went and toured most of it. (The good stuff) Arrived at OLD FAITHFUL about two minutes before it erupted.

At Mike request, we did clean out hte car at The Yellowstone Lodge. You would not belive how much stuff was in that car. Bags, camping gear and trash just on coming. We had all our stuff spread out at the front entrance of the up scale lodge. They were happy to see us leave.

Day 7

Left Yellowstone and went to Promitoiry UT to the site of the last golden spike driven in, for the first transcontinental rail road. It was a pretty neat place. As it turns out, The last last spike was "Driven In" but kind of placed in a pre drilled hole. To top it off, the Golden Spike isn't even here. It is at Stanford University in CA.

Next stop was the WORLDS LARGEST GAS STATION in Laramie WY. It was not what we where expecting. It was a mall with a gas pump in front of it. We were to camp out at SCOTT"S BLUFF but where behind schedule and spent the nigh in some roach infested hotel.

Day 8

Went to Julesburg CO because Doc had never been to CO. Drove in turned around and drove out. Went to Dannebrog NE for THE CENTER OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION. This night we camped out at a rest area in NE. We slept on the picnic tables. They where really nice rest areas!

Day 9

Milford NE for the would largest covered wagon (its now a gas station). The termites are having a field day with road side attraction I don't think there will be much more of this attraction left in a few years.

Next stop the HOME OFFICE OF DAVID LETTERMAN Wahoo NE. They had great big sign, but that was about it. We could not find the Phone Both that acts as his office, and for the most part could not find any signs of life in this sleepy town.

Our last stop of the trip was Coon Rapids for the LARGEST EAR OF CORN. We Drove past it and by the time we figured it out, we where well past it. We sent the night in Indianapolis ID.

Day 10

Drove home. Arrived in at about 9:00 PM and we had put a total of 5723 miles on our car and been to 13 states (plus PA makes 14).

All the driving that we did at speeds in excess of 100 mph and we only got pulled over once in WY and talked our way out of it.