Category: Illinois-October2015

The Tangled Web of Bigfeet

The Tangled Web of Bigfeet

Does anyone ever wake up in the morning, rub the sleep from their eyes, stretch and think… “I bet I’ll see Bigfoot today”? I’ve got 5-bucks on probably not. But that’s the funny thing about life. It is seemingly random.

Bigfoot in cave city kentucky Bigfoot in Cave City, Kentucky

I say seemingly because even as I type this I fall back in to the pattern of thinking that maybe things aren’t really random at all. Maybe we draw them to us, like big cosmic magnets. For example, you put the thought of the banana car on the back burner of your mind and just let it simmer. Next thing you know – there it is in all its peelin’ out glory.

Bigfoot’s feet… are big! And well maintained.

Was it a random, chance meeting that put you and a 15-foot banana in the same place at the same time? Or did the universe keep rolling its dice until you came together somehow? Did you cast your banana-wantin’ line out in to the water and troll for it? Here, banana-nana-nana.

Bigfoot in Milford, Pa.

Maybe the universe is a big, glorious web and each step we take vibrates along a thread sending out messages to whoever is listening. Once there is a connection, do you become part of a circuit that passes that particular current through it all the time? Like, you see one Bigfoot and now you’re… an official Bigfoot seer, bumping in to him all the time?

On Sunday night after my most recent Bigfoot sighting in Milford, Pa. I thought I would share the good news with my husband, Kenny. As we tucked in to bed, the blue glow of the tv flickered in our bedroom.

“Guess what? I saw Bigfoot today.”

“Again?”

“Why don’t you support me?”

“It’s hard to get excited after like the 10th one. You’ve seen a lot of Bigfeet. Bigfeet? Bigfoots?”

 

In the last month, I’ve come across two Bigfoot statues “in the wild.” I wasn’t looking for them or anything, they were just random sightings.

What if they were looking for me? I’d be pretty honored if my picture was up at the Bigfoot Lodge and they all sat around, sipping macchiatos discussing whether I was real.

“I saw her once in the freezer aisle at the Stop and Shop…” 

“Ahhhhh, baloney! You’re full of it, Bob. Everyone knows she hates going to the grocery store. But this one time, I did see her pumping gas at the station by McDonald’s.” 

“You guys are bunch of idiots. Everyone knows she’s not real!”

Believe.

 

The Illusion of Safety

The Illusion of Safety

It’s funny how you can become fixated on the potential for things to go wrong. You look at a situation and place some type of possible danger-score on it and then tread lightly.

Maybe that keeps mishap at bay. Or… maybe whatever is going to happen is beyond your control anyway.

Are there unseen forces at the helm of the ship? Who knows?

Now, I’m not afraid of this type of riding, in fact, I like it. Dirt roads grant a view of something you just can’t see from their paved brother. But to me, the Tiger doesn’t feel as sure-footed as other street bikes I’ve ridden on gravel roads. This Tiger carries its weight up high and I’m always aware of its heft. It never feels… “good,” on this type of road. It’s simply not the big girl’s wheelhouse.

While riding here, I kept thinking that if I had a whoopsie on a road like this it might be a little while until help came along. Thankfully nothing out of the ordinary happened and I was fine. I just took in the farmland and the sunshine and went about my day.

But you know? It’s when you’re on autopilot in seemingly innocuous situations that things go pear-shaped. Two days later? I tipped over in a parking lot.

The illusion of safety.

Oh. Hello, Mr. Water Tower – Nice to See You!

Oh. Hello, Mr. Water Tower – Nice to See You!

Do you live in the type of place that could have a smiley face water tower? I don’t. But I wish I did. This tower was along my route from Metropolis to Springfield, Ill. in the town of Makanda.

That bulbous knob with a smirk surveying the land has to do something for morale. Don’t you think? Seeing it for the first time, I found it was impossible not to smile back. He’s a seriously cheerful looking mo-fo.

Little did I know, (until 5-seconds ago when I tried to figure out just where it was that I saw this water tower) there is a listing of known towns with grinning water towers. I feel like this is very important information!

 

 

The Decaying Standard Oil Station of Vienna, Illinois

The Decaying Standard Oil Station of Vienna, Illinois

Meeting a beautiful ghost while road tripping

While riding from Metropolis towards Springfield, Illinois, I passed through the town of Vienna. It was a place I’d never heard of before. As I slowed my motorcycle and approached the stop sign at IL-146, to my right was the most beautiful ghost. A Standard Oil station.

Vienna Illinois decaying Standard Oil Station

Seeing the station, I immediately wished I could have experienced it in its heyday. Thoughts of sharing pleasantries while a coveralled gentleman washed my windshield and filled my tank danced through my imagination.

How could something so lovely fall into such a state of disrepair? The building belongs to someone. Why won’t they save this gorgeous baby? A case of monies best spent elsewhere, I’m sure. Simply trying to survive will always trump everything else.

Practicality aside, I wish that a preservation group would take this beautiful skeleton and return it to its original splendor. To the untrained eye, the building looks salvageable. So many of the lovely elements are just dying to be refurbished. But, who knows? Maybe my wishes and reality are very far apart here.

But it’s nice to dream.

Can you imagine driving over the hose and hearing the *ding-ding* of the bell? I suppose anyone younger than me might not get that reference.

There is probably a generation or two of locals who have this station weaved throughout their day to day memories. People who worked there, filled up there, and now watch it crumble there. Such memories can be bittersweet

Vienna, Illinois’ Gorgeous Ghost

Vienna Illinois decaying Standard Oil Station
Vienna Illinois decaying Standard Oil Station - interior
Vienna Illinois decaying Standard Oil Station - facade

Yesterday, I learned a new word.

Anemoian. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known.

Its definition came from the depressingly named, Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. But I happened to read it while perusing the much less heartachingly titled Route 66 News.

Some articles about the Vienna Standard Oil Station:

That OTHER Guy From Metropolis? Maybe You’ve Heard of Him?

That OTHER Guy From Metropolis? Maybe You’ve Heard of Him?

When I left Fredericksburg, Virginia my plan was very loose. I didn’t have a route but I did have a few points on the map that I wanted to see. One of them was Metropolis, Illinois – the Official Home of Superman.

Now I was never a huge Superman buff or anything but I was curious about what went on in that town. There’s only one way that I know of to satisfy curiosity… go see something for yourself.

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

There is a 15-foot Superman in the square:

superman statue in metropolis illinois

The Super Museum:

Superman’s phone booth:

Some Kryptonite found in Metropolis:

This is what the part of town by the Super Museum in bustling Metropolis looked like on a Tuesday morning in October:

While I was preparing to leave and head north, a man who I later learned was named John, parked in front of me and went into the bank. When he came back out, he struck up a conversation.

After 40 years of marriage, his wife divorced him. He returned to his hometown of Metropolis after 30 years of being away.

He told me that the Super Museum was once a drug store, about his kids and grandkids, his wish to just have a few acres and some horses.

Before he left he said that if I ever passed through town again, that I should look him up. But he never gave me any way to contact him. I guess if I do pass through again, I’ll just stand in the middle of town and shout “John!” and see what happens.

Even if you’re not a huge Superman fan, a pit stop to Metropolis to see all the super goings-on is fun. ::thumbs up::

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