Tag: roadtrip

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

Serendipity is a… Giant Rocking Chair?

“Babe! You’re never going to believe where I’m standing right now!”
“Where?”
“In front of the world’s largest rocking chair!”
“Why am I not surprised?”
“Actually, I ended up here completely by accident.”
“Of course you did.”

My husband Kenny’s sarcasm came through loud and clear, even in text. It’s one of those things you learn to interpret after you’ve been partnered for a while. But, for all his disbelief that I hadn’t sought out the giant rocker – it was true.

While bumbling along The National Road in Illinois, I saw a sign for the World’s Largest Wind Chimes. Look… when something like that is advertised on a road sign? You visit it. It could go one of two ways: A fantastic triumph of roadsidery -or- a letdown of epic proportions. Both scenarios could be a win.

When I pulled in to Casey, Illinois following the signs for the chimes I was treated to a fantastic display of roadside Americana. Not only were there giant wind chimes (which you can ring), but sweet holy moly, there was a giant rocking chair, a mailbox, a pencil, a metal cactus. Holy crap, this place was awesome!

Big things, small town.

Casey wasn’t on my radar to visit, I’d just been passing through. Perhaps the universe tugged me there.

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Route 66 holds sway over my imagination. I know, it’s just a road. And yet, for me something about it transcends that. I can’t be alone in this thinking because it has evolved in to a cultural icon. Maybe it has something to do with being built on ideas, hope and possibility.

Though I’ve traveled parts of 66 in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma – in many ways I am more sure than ever that so much was unseen. There is a feeling of a secret beyond the veil and a need to look closer, look longer. Coming home from those stretches of road, I am more curious about what I saw than when I left. Now I know there is a story to be told about what I saw versus going in search of answers about a story that I’d already known. It may seem semantic, but to me there is a difference.

A few months ago, I bought a book called The Route 66 Encyclopedia by Jim Hinckley. The book does a great job of intertwining history, photographs, references to old travel guides and materials. It is.. encyclopedic, really. Peppered all throughout the pages are delicious bites of history for the 66-curious.

When I first got the book, I thought it might inspire me to seek out the things in its pages. But when it arrived and I gave it a cursory look-over, I put it aside and there it stayed for a month or so. For some reason, I didn’t want to know about what I was going to be looking at prior to my trip out to Oklahoma.

When I returned home from my road trip, it was only then that I’ve been able to turn my attention back to the book. Now I want to know about what I’ve seen. What was that crumbling facade? What was in that blank space? How did that town spring up in the middle of nowhere? Now those blank spaces have shape, line and form and I can learn about them. If I did it in reverse the ideas would have been too abstract to appreciate. Or maybe too overwhelming. There is so much to feel in a couple thousand miles. Maybe pre-programming myself was subconsciously too much? I dunno. I’m just riding the wave.

Oh, Hello, Blue Whale of Catoosa!

Oh, Hello, Blue Whale of Catoosa!

In my last post where I rambled on about daydreams, I did have a specific daydream that was the catalyst. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma. Whale? Meet these fine people.

I’d been trying to remember how I first became aware of the Blue Whale. If my memory serves me, it was in a hotel elevator in Leeds, Alabama across from the Barber Museum. My hubs Kenny was just finishing up the Kevin Schwantz school at the track and I flew down to visit the museum. Inside the elevator was a poster that featured the whale and some information about the Hampton Hotel’s Save-a-Landmark program. That was 2010. If I had to guess, that is when the seed was planted.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh…

“Kenny, did you know that the blue whale was an anniv…”

“No. You can’t have a blue whale.”

Route 66 is an important experience for many people.

As I said previously, maybe the “thing” that pulls you out to the far flung edges of the universe doesn’t make sense to anyone else. As a matter of fact, I’m certain that some people will read this post and say “you rode all the way to Oklahoma to look at some dumb whale?” And the answer would be, yes. But of course that is the most simplified truth. The bigger story is that I rode to Oklahoma to live my life.

On the most direct route, there are 1,400 miles between my house and that whale. When you think of all of the sights, smells, experiences, interactions with the world, the thoughts that float through like clouds between here and there? It makes perfect sense to go all that way.

Earlier in 2016, I was Daydreaming of Route 66 and Blue Whales. In 2015, I included the whale on my Roadside Stop Wishlist for the year. Did I really think I would ride halfway across the country to achieve that goal? Did I really think I wouldn’t?

Live your life.

 

Lorain Lighthouse – Banana at East Beach

Lorain Lighthouse – Banana at East Beach

With my belly grumbling, I decided to stop for a spell at Lakeview Park along Lake Erie to eat my electric banana. I didn’t know anything about the park, I just happened to see that it had a waterview.

Though my morning ride was just little over a hundred miles since leaving Napoleon, Ohio where I’d spent the night, with everything I’d seen so far, it felt like I’d already been riding for a long time. The park was a perfect place to take a breather.

After parking myself on the steps I looked out to the infinite horizon, marveling at the size of the lake. I was pleasantly surprised to find a lighthouse bracing against the wind off to the east.

The Lorain Lighthouse – Lorain, Ohio

Road-Tripping: Greetings From Illinois

Road-Tripping: Greetings From Illinois

After finishing the Void Rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia instead of going straight home, I decided to use up some of my vacation time and take a little road trip. I left Virginia on Sunday morning heading southwest. I don’t really have much of a plan other than floating around trying to absorb parts of America that I don’t usually get to see. I’m writing this post from southern Illinois.

I'm a sucker for a Lovers Lane sign - Gordonsville, Virginia
I’m a sucker for a Lovers Lane sign – Gordonsville, Virginia

While riding along all day, I’ve got nothin’ to do but think. Hopefully some of that makes it to this here blog. Watching America roll by gives you lots to chew on. What a weird and wonderful place it is.

Guess I’d better get typing.

Road Tripping: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

Road Tripping: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

A few weeks ago, my friend Rosie and I took a ride to Revzilla in Philadelphia. Though I hadn’t planned on buying anything, I accidentally came away with 2 new pairs of gloves. Oopsie!

Since we were in the neighborhood, I asked Rosie if she’d mind if we made a stop off at something that’s been on my Lifelong Pursuit of Fun list for a few years now – Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. She’s an awesome sport and a curious person too, so off we went.

They’re Magic!

The incredible mosaic space is the work of a single man, Isaiah Zagar:

…trying to make a total encyclopedic vision that has no parameters and no end. My work is marked by events and is a mirror of the mind that is building and falling apart, having a logic but close to chaos, refusing to stay still for the camera, and giving one a sense of heaven and hell simultaneously.

-Isaiah Zagar
PhillyMagicGardens.com

As we walked around the space, it became increasingly difficult to take it all in. There is so much going on that you cannot absorb everything.

Throughout the sprawl of glimmering tiles it felt like you were receiving secret messages. “Did i just read…”, “..does that say..”, “where was that word, I can’t find it now.” Perhaps that’s one of the most beautiful aspects of the space. You receive from it whatever it is you’re looking for.

I thought it was absolutely beautiful.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens Photos

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Road Tripping: Pit Stop at the PEZ Visitors Center – Orange, CT

Road Tripping: Pit Stop at the PEZ Visitors Center – Orange, CT

Just across the Long Island Sound from where I live is the PEZ Visitors Center. Yes, PEZ as in the candy with the cool dispensers.

When I pulled in to the parking lot I was surprised to find a line of about 20 people waiting for the visitors center to open. Perhaps I was naive to the popularity of PEZ!

There is a $5 admission charge to enter the floor. But, you will receive $2 bucks back if you buy something in the gift shop. Frankly, buying something is hard to resist. I bought a pin for my hat, a My Melody dispenser (a throwback to my childhood) and some postcards.

Check out that John Quincy Adams, below. Pretty sure my life won’t be complete until I have one of those.

pez visitors center game card

With your admission, you are also given a game card. The object is to solve a word puzzle by finding hidden Presidential PEZ dispensers in the displays. Finishing the puzzle earns you a spin on a wheel to win a dispenser. I got a raccoon. Or maybe a wolf. I’m still not sure.

fuzzygalore pez dispensers

Though the production floor was closed for a few weeks when I stopped in, you could still peer inside the inner workings of the PEZ heart. But, the dispenser displays were most interesting to me. They really bring on feelings of nostalgia.

fuzzygalore occ pez motorcycle

Did you know that OCC built a PEZ Motorcycle?!

PEZ Visitors Center Photos

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