Vacation

Atlanta to the Coast - Addendum by Mark

One place we didn’t make it to on the trip was Ashville, OH. We had planned to stop there, but the site would have been closed by the time we arrived.

I had read about the world’s oldest working traffic light several years ago, and our tour took us very close to it. It wasn’t until Mindy did some research that we determined it was only 25 minutes from our house!

So, we just completed a quick trip down to check it out, at Ohio’s Small Town Museum in Ashville. The manager took us on a guided tour of the place, and had a lot of interesting info. Here’s the traffic light in question. It was originally installed in 1932, and was taken down for maintenance in the 80’s. Unfortunately, the state wouldn’t let them put it back in operation, since the colorblind couldn’t use it.

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More interesting exhibits there…

A flag from around the time Ohio became the 17tth state.

A flag from around the time Ohio became the 17tth state.

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Roy Rogers worked in the town at the local cannery. He got fired for always singing on the job…

Roy Rogers worked in the town at the local cannery. He got fired for always singing on the job…

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A local theater (in the same spot as the museum), which died with the talkies.

A local theater (in the same spot as the museum), which died with the talkies.

All in all, a worthwhile jaunt to see the light and the other exhibits. That’s all, folks!

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 8 by Mark

Our last day began with a trip through the misty mountains (which took longer than planned due to a GPS set to “no tolls”)…

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…before making it to Charleston, WV and Mexican food at Plaza Maya.

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This was just down the street from our fourth state house of the trip, and by far the largest. It’s a U-shaped building with the senate and house of delegates at each end. So I’m guessing employees get their 10K steps in without a problem.

Next to the prerequisite veterans’ statues is one celebrating women vets. Mindy noted that the names of those responsible for getting it in place were all men…

Next to the prerequisite veterans’ statues is one celebrating women vets. Mindy noted that the names of those responsible for getting it in place were all men…

The rotunda is under reconstruction, so we couldn’t see a lot inside.

The rotunda is under reconstruction, so we couldn’t see a lot inside.

We did see a lot of hallways.

We did see a lot of hallways.

The AG REALLY doesn’t like visitors.

The AG REALLY doesn’t like visitors.

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Our final stop on the road trip was a strange mini-museum dedicated to Big Boy restaurants. Apparently, one of the original drive-ins was located here. Now it’s in a parking lot.

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Bye-bye, Big Boy.

Bye-bye, Big Boy.

Then we pointed the car toward home.

The whole trip ran just over 2000 miles over 8 days, and we are happy to be home. I’ll be posting a video covering the whole trip next week under the “From the Pop Culture Bunker” banner on SFPPN. Thanks for following us!

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 7 by Mark

Our penultimate tour day began with a cameo by RBG.

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Then we were off to our third state house of the trip, and by far our smallest one. The Raleigh capitol is roughly the size of many county courthouses.

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We did have a bit of excitement there—someone was filming a production onsite. we saw extras standing in place, waiting to walk through the background.

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Across the street was the North Carolina Museum of History—compact but well laid out (and free). It included 2 exhibits tailor-made for us: quilts and classic toys.

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“Completely safe and harmless”

“Completely safe and harmless”

On the road to Roanoke, we came upon Shangri-La, a tiny town built in the front yard of it’s creator (who passed away decades ago).

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A quick lunch at Gina’s Family Restaurant - a burger and a fish sammich.

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We made it to the Roanoke hotel, took a nap, then went down into town. We started with a NY slice.

A BIG slice.

A BIG slice.

Did you know Roanoke has a hipster district?

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We had read about a giant star up on a mountain, so we drove up a spooky road to find it.

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The view of Roanoke below.

The view of Roanoke below.

We finished things up with a post-star snack at Blue Cow Ice Cream.

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That will do it for today. I just spent 90 minutes getting these loaded up (thanks slow hotel internet!) Tomorrow, a final statehouse, and then home.

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 6 by Mark

An abbreviated post today, as we spent most of the day visiting with friends and family in NC.

After breakfast with an old college friend and his wife, we drove into Raleigh and hit a couple “big things”. First, we dropped by the Daily Planet…

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…and then “Big Acorn”, which is “dropped” every New Year’s Eve in Raleigh to celebrate ala Times Square.

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The rest of the day was spent with our niece and her family—a lot of fun! Thanks, guys.

Back to the regular schedule tomorrow—another statehouse, then onto Virginia.

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 5 by Mark

After a night in a very comfortable room (thanks hotel points!), we kicked things off at the Edgar Allen Poe branch library at Sullivan's Island. Built originally as a military bunker with 2 feet thick walls and iron doors. Poe was stationed there, hence the name. Inside, a regular library.

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This goes under the category of—what the???

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One of many bridges we crossed today—there’s a lot of islands here.

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Our first major stop—the Charleston Tea Company. It’s the only place in the US where tea is grown and processed (they make tea for Bigelow and Sam’s Club, among others). Here’s shots of the processing center. It takes less than 24 hours from field to tea bags.

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More from the plantation…

Hey, Mindy found a friend for tea!

Hey, Mindy found a friend for tea!

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This is a field of tea plants. Half the year, 5-8 inches are trimmed are trimmed off the top every 21 days. The rest of the year they go dormant. These are ALL based on cuttings from China in the 1800’s. The plants stay in place going forward—there are plants in Asia that are 600+ years old.

This is a field of tea plants. Half the year, 5-8 inches are trimmed are trimmed off the top every 21 days. The rest of the year they go dormant. These are ALL based on cuttings from China in the 1800’s. The plants stay in place going forward—there are plants in Asia that are 600+ years old.

As no insecticides (or pesticides) are used here, this pond is stocked with fish and an alligator to eat up all the mosquito larva. Most other bugs (apart from butterflies) stay away due to the caffeine in the plants.

As no insecticides (or pesticides) are used here, this pond is stocked with fish and an alligator to eat up all the mosquito larva. Most other bugs (apart from butterflies) stay away due to the caffeine in the plants.

This custom built harvester goes over each of the rows—it takes only 4 guys to work the fields. One to run the harvester, two to walk ahead and weed, and one to drive a pickup to transfer the resulting loads to the plant.

This custom built harvester goes over each of the rows—it takes only 4 guys to work the fields. One to run the harvester, two to walk ahead and weed, and one to drive a pickup to transfer the resulting loads to the plant.

A way up the road is the Angel Oak—a 450 year tree that wasn’t quite as impressive than we thought. Much of the tree is held up with cables and other supports. They hope to keep it going for another 450 years. I’m doubtful.

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Moving on to the World’s Largest Sweet Tea (2500 gallons) in Summerville, where it was reportedly invented. It’s sandwiched between two municipal buildings.

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Here’s a mural displaying the life of the “Swamp Fox”, a local historical hero from the 1700’s. Older people might remember a Disney show about him. This is one of 28(?!?) murals in the area.

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As we passed from South to North Carolina, we reached a cheesy oasis known as…

It’s like every tourist trap ever. Fireworks, souvenirs, restaurants, rides, a big tower, minigolf…

It’s like every tourist trap ever. Fireworks, souvenirs, restaurants, rides, a big tower, minigolf…

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We reached Smithfield tonight, and tried the White Swan—a hole in the wall, which means great BBQ and chicken.

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Enough for now. Tomorrow, we visit with old friends and our second niece of the trip.

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 4 by Mark

After a surprisingly comfortable night (if you walk out of your room and you’re outside, its a MOTEL, not a HOTEL)…

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…we went down the street to fulfill one of our road trip rules. We visited an obscure museum—in this case, the Vidalia Onion Museum.

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On the way to Savannah, we stopped to pick up our mail.

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Savannah. Home to Spanish Moss and a LOT of bars. If you’ve ever gone on a cruise, you would recognize a port of call—five stores endlessly repeated. Despite that, it was pretty.

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Lunch was held at the British Tea Company—meat pies! A Cornish pasty and chicken curry, plus a very thick shortbread.

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The afternoon had a Gothic theme. First, the Bonaventure Cemetery, which was the site of the book and film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. It’s very creepy.

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Second, the ruins of the Sheldon Church, which was burned down in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.

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Finally, we made it to Charleston. We’re still on the outskirts (it took a couple attempts to find the hotel—Charleston must have an issue with signage). While waiting for a Baptist convention to check in, we went across the street for dinner—shrimp po-boy and an omelette.

TOAST!

TOAST!

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OK, that’ll do it for today. Onto Charleston and NC!

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 3 by Mark

LAT 32.1 LON 82.2
Vidalia, GA

A shorter day, so we’re still in Georgia. We started in Atlanta and our second state capitol of the trip. It’s quite a beautiful building, although less grand than Kentucky. It’s also more of a hassle to visit, even after waiting until later in the morning to attack the freeways.

Get well soon, Jimmy.

Get well soon, Jimmy.

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Legally, every state capitol must come with a two-headed calf.

Legally, every state capitol must come with a two-headed calf.

Then, we headed across town to Ponce City Market, a massive facility with a hipster uber-food court, apartments, and shops.

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Mindy read about this chicken place, so we tried it—a long wait but fantastic food!

Mindy read about this chicken place, so we tried it—a long wait but fantastic food!

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This is a Chicken Pot Hand Pie (and biscuits).

This is a Chicken Pot Hand Pie (and biscuits).

After a stop at Pearson’s Farms for pecans, we made it to the onion capital of Georgia. We’ll check out the museum tomorrow. Meanwhile, just a few minutes away is Santa Claus, a (very) small town built in 1941 to get people to come to a pecan farm in the area.

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That’s plenty for one day. Off to Savannah and Charleston tomorrow.

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 2 by Mark

LAT 33.5 LON 84.29
Marietta, GA

A little later than planned as we were out carousing with our niece Maggie (aka walking around a town square then eating tacos).

Today started out at the Museum of Appalachia, a combination old-timey town, petting zoo, and museum of oddities. The latter, involving 250K objects, was collected by one guy.

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They had sheep…

They had sheep…

…pigs and peacocks (that natural combination).

…pigs and peacocks (that natural combination).

Some of the oddities were very odd indeed.

Some of the oddities were very odd indeed.

Loved these quotes about Cordell Hull.

Loved these quotes about Cordell Hull.

Here’s a WWI German machine gun.

Here’s a WWI German machine gun.

Some expert basketwork.

Some expert basketwork.

An example of “found object” art.

An example of “found object” art.

I thought my friend Cat would appreciate this.

I thought my friend Cat would appreciate this.

This is a perpetual motion machine, built in the 1800’s. The inventor insisted on removing a few parts so others couldn’t steal his idea. Unfortunately, he left it that way, and no one can figure out how to fix it.

This is a perpetual motion machine, built in the 1800’s. The inventor insisted on removing a few parts so others couldn’t steal his idea. Unfortunately, he left it that way, and no one can figure out how to fix it.

Here’s a creepy metal coffin—the plate above goes over the face hole.

Here’s a creepy metal coffin—the plate above goes over the face hole.

Munster, go home!

Munster, go home!

Here’s a lovely piece of early 20th century racism.

Here’s a lovely piece of early 20th century racism.

This guy’s history is far more interesting than the mini-mill he built.

This guy’s history is far more interesting than the mini-mill he built.

If you’ve ever seen those concrete crosses, here’s where they came from.

If you’ve ever seen those concrete crosses, here’s where they came from.

They moved this cabin from the spot where Mark Twain was apparently conceived (but never lived).

They moved this cabin from the spot where Mark Twain was apparently conceived (but never lived).

“Cures man and beast…”

“Cures man and beast…”

This is the cabin used in the old Daniel Boone TV series (Daniel Boone was a maaan…yes, a biiiig maaan…)

This is the cabin used in the old Daniel Boone TV series (Daniel Boone was a maaan…yes, a biiiig maaan…)

Here’s an old moonshine still.

Here’s an old moonshine still.

Then, we moved through Knoxville, and the fabulous Sunsphere. This was home to a World’s Fair, and made famous on The Simpsons for storing wigs.

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Moving on to lunch at City Cafe Diner—a really good sammich, and a piece of cake that got devoured before we took a pic (so here it is in the dessert case).

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I believe the cake is dense enough that light cannot escape it.

I believe the cake is dense enough that light cannot escape it.

We later came upon an atomic-powered mouse that was terrorizing an exterminating company.

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Moving on to an impressive rock garden behind a church, with lilliputian buildings made out of pebbles, shells, and cement.

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Finally, we made it to Marietta, GA. Home our niece and Big Chicken (she’s not a big chicken, it’s just an attraction at a KFC—forget it).

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She also took us to the Marietta Square, and a huge food market. We had some yummy tacos, and they had margaritas (I was the designated driver).

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After some playtime with Maggie’s dog Ripley, it was time to return to the hotel and collapse.

Tomorrow, Atlanta, pecans, onions, and St. Nick’s southern HQ.

Atlanta to the Coast - Day 1 by Mark

LAT 36.9 LON 84.5
Clinton, TN

It’s time for another road trip—down to the Southeast to see relatives, friends, and more wacky attractions. We’re driving a loop to Atlanta, Charleston, Raleigh, Williamsburg, Roanoke, and back home.

Today, we toured the first of several state capitals in Frankfort, KY. It was quite ornate both inside and out. However, it rather overshadowed the small town (population 27,000) it inhabits.

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He’s the hip state rep.

He’s the hip state rep.

Oh, those wacky law librarians!

Oh, those wacky law librarians!

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Then, we stopped at the Parkette Drive-In for lunch, consisting of a “shrimp box”, a pork tenderloin sammich, and chili cheese fries.

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Suddenly, there was a monster attack!

Actually, a mascot for a fireworks store (that burned down).

Actually, a mascot for a fireworks store (that burned down).

After checking in at the hotel, we drove over to Norris Dam, the first of the Tennessee Valley Authority projects.

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Tomorrow, more attractions, Atlanta, and our recently married niece.

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 12 (Finale) by Mark

Reporting from home…

The final day of most trips is uneventful, and this one was no exception. We went over familiar roads we’ve traveled dozens of times—so there’s little to report.

We were home for several hours before I remembered I needed to dash off a blog entry. Here’s the final picture…

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So, just over 3,000 miles and 62 hours of driving this trip, covering 12 states. It was a lot of fun, but we’re glad we’re back home.

Hopefully, there will be a little less of a delay before my next blog entry.

#BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 11 by Mark

Reporting from Indianapolis, IN. We’re only a few hours from home, but we have found that if we make a final long dash we end up exhausted. So, here we are.

Today was Big Things Day, featuring the world’s largest <fill in the blank>.

Here’s the world’s SECOND largest rocking chair—why second? More in a minute.

Here’s the world’s SECOND largest rocking chair—why second? More in a minute.

Here’s a giant ice cream cone at an elementary school in Affton, MO for some reason.

Here’s a giant ice cream cone at an elementary school in Affton, MO for some reason.

Here’s the world’s largest chess piece, outside the Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

Here’s the world’s largest chess piece, outside the Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis.

But the main event was Carey, IL—the world’s headquarters for the world’s largest objects.

Here’s a #2 (million).

Here’s a #2 (million).

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So here’s the world’s largest rocking chair. It eclipsed the previous #1, so that’s considered the largest chair on Route 66.

So here’s the world’s largest rocking chair. It eclipsed the previous #1, so that’s considered the largest chair on Route 66.

Here’s the world’s largest see-saw (under construction).

Here’s the world’s largest see-saw (under construction).

The world’s largest FUNCTIONING wind chime.

The world’s largest FUNCTIONING wind chime.

The world’s largest mail box. You can even drop off actual mail inside.

The world’s largest mail box. You can even drop off actual mail inside.

The world’s largest (non-wearable) wooden shoes.

The world’s largest (non-wearable) wooden shoes.

Mindy had some legal problems in town.

Mindy had some legal problems in town.

We hit a few balls at the links…

We hit a few balls at the links…

…and dropped by the Bunyan farm.

…and dropped by the Bunyan farm.

Why is this all in one small Illinois town? Because there’s a workshop that churns out massive working versions of various objects. I assume Batman villains frequent this place.

Meanwhile, at the closed giant objects factory, the Penguin is completing a purchase!

Meanwhile, at the closed giant objects factory, the Penguin is completing a purchase!

Well, we crashed early at the hotel. It’s been a long trip (but a lot of fun), and the final day is tomorrow.

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 10 by Mark

Reporting from Rolla, MO.

We’ve been in three states today, starting with Oklahoma, which offered us a cheery good morning.

There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…

There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…

After some driving and possible wrong terms (we couldn’t get two GPS’s to agree), we found ourselves at the border of three states.

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We then visited the Joplin Museum Complex, which is a strange assortment of random stuff that adds up to an interesting experience.

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Joplin was founded on mining, so there’s a large exhibit on that.

Joplin was founded on mining, so there’s a large exhibit on that.

Words to live by.

Words to live by.

Dennis Weaver was born here. Chief? (something for the MSTies out there)

Dennis Weaver was born here. Chief? (something for the MSTies out there)

There’s a miniature circus exhibit and the…

There’s a miniature circus exhibit and the…

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Plus cats wander around the museum freely. All for $2 a head (yours, not the cats).

Plus cats wander around the museum freely. All for $2 a head (yours, not the cats).

By then, it was time to eat. Open faced beef sammich, taco salad, and homemade pie from Granny Shaffer.

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We had already planned to stop in Carthage to see Marlin Perkins’ statue (he of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom) when I read 20 minutes earlier that Jim Fowler (the guy who wrestled the wildebeest while Marlin had Mai-Tai’s in his tent) died today at 87. RIP

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We then reached a second…well you know. This one was in a parking lot.

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There’s a rest stop on I-44 (aka Route 66) that has miniature versions of attractions on the way.

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When we saw the “World’s Largest Gift Store”, you know we had to stop. Bonus—Lucy’s old car. Where’s Fred and Ethel?

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Yet another attraction is the Uranus Fudge Factory. Let the puns begin!

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So we wound up in Rolla, which houses Stonehenge—at least a miniature version.

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No one knows who they were, or what they were doing.

No one knows who they were, or what they were doing.

OK, that’ll do it. Wi-fi is giving out. More tomorrow.

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 9 by Mark

Reporting from Claremore, OK.

We started in Pauls Valley, and saw the daily Amtrak come through the rainy station.

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But the real reason we were there was the Toy and Action Figure Museum. This guy has an ENORMOUS collection, organized by room and genre.

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Major Matt Mason!

Major Matt Mason!

The only exception to the organized collection is the massive amount of random figures in the “bedroom”.

The only exception to the organized collection is the massive amount of random figures in the “bedroom”.

Later, we stopped in Norman, OK to add to our collection of TV stars in bronze. This time it was the late James Garner of Maverick and Rockford Files fame.

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Then it was off to Oklahoma City for our third capitol building of the tour. We were very impressed with the Louisiana and Texas sites—Oklahoma, not so much. Parking was almost nonexistent, the building is under construction, and someone had the genius idea of inviting the local high school jazz orchestra to perform in a marbled rotunda. We were there for about 10 minutes.

Is this a state capital or a subway station?

Is this a state capital or a subway station?

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Yep—Oklahoma sold NAMING RIGHTS to their state capitol!!!

Yep—Oklahoma sold NAMING RIGHTS to their state capitol!!!

Mindy did a search for “fried pies in OKC” and found this place. Just a small lunch…

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We also tried to visit the OKC memorial, but again, parking not really an option. Oh, well—I didn’t want to be depressed anyway. We did see a giant toothbrush, though.

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Moving on to Route 66 (where you can apparently get your kicks) and “Pops”, a convenience store/soda emporium.

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Once we made it to Tulsa, we found the “East Meets West” tableau, showing old and new transportation in an impass.

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OK, it took quite a while to transfer this all over hotel wifi, so more tomorrow.

#BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 8 by Mark

Reporting from Pauls Valley, OK (where the waving wheat, can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain…)

The day began back in Waco, TX—hence the waffle.

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We drove into town, which boasts the the king and queen of cable home decoration, Chip and Joanna Gaines. It’s quite the empire.

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Then it was off to the Dr. Pepper museum. There’s quite a history here of the various sodas (or pops, if you prefer).

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We had lunch at an Asian food truck. Quite yummy. Our meal was only slightly impacted by a dive-bombing butterfly (don’t ask).

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Waco certainly keeps it weird.

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I noticed a billboard for “The American Domino Company”, so we stopped in. We left with a Number Domino 15 set.

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Then it was off to Ft. Worth and the Water Gardens. They shot scenes for the film Logan’s Run here.

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I think I’m late for Carousel.

I think I’m late for Carousel.

The next stop involved no photography—the US Mint. My mother will be happy to know I got in without a problem (she’ll know what that means).

A strange spot in suburban Denton, between two normal homes, is “The Chairy Orchard”. Is it an art installation? A neighborhood meeting spot? In any case, there’s a lot of places to sit.

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Another un-photograph-able attraction was Magnetic Hill, in the middle of nowhere, Oklahoma. It’s one of those places where gravity supposedly goes haywire. It’s just an optical illusion—it seems like your car rolls uphill—but it’s fun.

Well, that’s plenty for now—I’m worn out. More tomorrow.

#BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 7 by Mark

Reporting from Waco, TX—

We had originally planned to stay two nights in Austin, but our experiences there seemed to run 50/50.

Our breakfast was fantastic. The Magnolia Cafe served us “the Love Miga”, a breakfast taco and a LARGE pancake. Yummy! Mindy is already trying to figure out how to replicate it at home.

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However, lunch was a different story. Black's is based in Lockhart, reportedly the Nirvana of Texas 'Que. We were unimpressed. The meat was decent, but the baked beans were a little soupy--kind of like refried beans with liquid smoke added. Pecan cobbler (the review said you could eat a pan of it) was basically pecan pie broken up. Overall, #citybarbeque does a better job.

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We found a lot of interesting stuff, from hipster locations to historic ones, outside of downtown.

Hey, it’s Chthulu!

Hey, it’s Chthulu!

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…but Downtown was another matter. There was an event going on which basically took traffic down to a standstill. (I had no idea Austin was so big!) We ended up dropping a couple of places.

We did manage to see our second state capital building of the tour.

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After a trip to the top of Mt. Bonnell for a peek…

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We made the judgment call to move on.

There were a few sites we wanted to see on the way to Waco, but they all seemed to be on these strange elongated “service roads” next to the highway. If you didn’t catch them, you had to go miles out of your way and backtrack. So we moved on.

Mindy did find an interesting snack—rolled ice cream. It’s quite the performance as they put liquid on a super-chilled surface…

mix it up…

mix it up…

…flatten it out…

…flatten it out…

…and roll it up.

…and roll it up.

Excellent!

Excellent!

Time to wrap it up—more tomorrow. #BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 6 by Mark

We’re back on the road post-wedding and all the accompanying parties. A lot of fun, and the ceremony/reception was great. But now, we’ve made it to Austin, TX.

Since Lake Charles, we have hit no less than three Buc-ee’s. What’s a Buc-ee, you ask? Imagine a convenience store hopped up on steroids and Red Bull. It’s EN-OR-MOUS! They are well spaced to sell you a a large drink and then have another store an hour and a half later when you need the facilities.

There’s a whole beaver theme.

There’s a whole beaver theme.

You could spend a week shopping here. The also have infinite gas pumps.

You could spend a week shopping here. The also have infinite gas pumps.

One of the Buc-ee’s even had the “world’s longest car wash”.

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In addition to convenience stores, we also stopped in Houston to see an art installation celebrating John Glenn and Yuri Gagarin, the first two men to orbit the earth. It’s near an old NASA site. The display has a huge set of tiny holes that, when seen at a distance, shows Glenn’s photo from the capsule.

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Yuri!

Yuri!

In addition, Houston reportedly had the “Big Bubble”—an art installation with a red button next to a bridge, which was supposed to generate a, well, big bubble in the river. It must have been down today—no bubble.

Push the button, Frank.

Push the button, Frank.

That stop did let us discover a George Bush (41) monument. <political comment> He’s the dictionary definition of “grading on a curve”—a President who looks a lot better than what we have today.

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Another stop was the Igloo cooler plant, which has an interesting security shack.

Brrrr.

Brrrr.

In Austin, we tried out Mighty Fine Burgers, and they met that definition.

Onion rings were good too.

Onion rings were good too.

OK, I’m getting tired. Touring Austin tomorrow.
#BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 4.5 by Mark

A mini-entry from Lake Charles.

Mindy and her sisters went to the shore to see alligators and stick her toes in the Gulf.

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Baby gators.

Baby gators.

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We later attended the wedding rehearsal dinner at the party house. It’s quite the facility. Since we’re in the Bayou, they had a crawfish boil, so we gave it a shot. If you like lobster, you’ll probably like it—but get ready for some work to get it out.

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Oh, the carnage!

Oh, the carnage!

The wedding is later today. They had the nerve to hold it on Free Comic Book Day, so we’re sneaking out this morning to go to a local shop.

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 3.5 by Mark

Writing this entry late—we were out into the wee hours (which for me is about 10:30p).

We headed off to Baton Rouge and the state capitol. It’s a very impressive building, especially considering it was built during the Great Depression. Governor Huey Long didn’t take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, at the Daily Planet…

Meanwhile, at the Daily Planet…

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Google just went ahead and made this panoramic view for me.

Google just went ahead and made this panoramic view for me.

We went up the tower and took a look outside.

That would be the mighty Mississippi.

That would be the mighty Mississippi.

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Then it was off to the old Governor’s mansion (Governors’ ? Governors ?). Docent Frank talked our ears off with some great stories about the place.

Gov. Long had it built like the White House so that “he could find the light switches when he got there”.

Gov. Long had it built like the White House so that “he could find the light switches when he got there”.

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On the way over to Lake Charles, we drove around Rayne, LA. It’s touted as the “Frog Capitol of the World” because they caught and sold frogs to restaurants throughout the South. It’s teeming with statues.

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Rayne also boasts the only “wrong way cemetery”. They are traditional laid out east to west, but when this one was started north to south, they just left it that way. Add to that the above ground crypts standard in the Bayou, and you get a creepy sight.

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Finally we made it to Lake Charles, where we’re attending our niece’s wedding.

Entries may be sparse for the next couple of days, but we’ll see. If not, we’ll continue on the second leg of the trip. #BayouWeddingTOur

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 2 by Mark

Reporting from Slidell, Louisiana.

We made our way through Alabama and Mississippi today, winding up about an hour or so from Baton Rouge. We’re big fans of giant statues, and Birmingham has them all over. Here’s “Miss Electra”, presiding over downtown and the local power company. Per Roadside America, "She appears to be ready to either 1) hurl benevolent electricity into downtown, or 2) fry Birmingham evil-doers with a bolt from the blue."

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On top of Red Mountain we find Vulcan, originally created for the 1904 World’s Fair, finally getting his own park after years of neglect. There’s a museum covering local history, an elevator that takes you up to Vulcan and incredible views.

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Vulcan’s posterior.

Vulcan’s posterior.

We had lunch in Tuscaloosa, at Avenue Pub. I had their famed Bacon Burger, while Mindy had a HUMONGOUS chicken sammich.

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Needless to say, we just had a snack for dinner.

Enough for day 2—tomorrow is Baton Rouge and our main destination, Lake Charles.

#BayouWeddingTour

Bayou Wedding Tour - Day 1 by Mark

Well, it’s time for another travelogue. This time, it’s a trip to our niece’s wedding in Louisiana. We’re taking a fairly straight shot down from Ohio, and then a leisurely loop through Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri on the way back to Columbus.

We tried out Chaney’s Dairy Barn in Kentucky, which reportedly has great ice cream (it did). Sandwiches, not so much.

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Our GPS took us on a long trip through the country on the way back to the interstate. We even ran into…well, you know.

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There’s a “car vending machine” in Nashville—you can supposedly get one with a coin. Couldn’t find the slot, though.

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We saw a rocket ship at a rest stop going into Alabama, so we had a take a look. It was an actual Saturn 1B launch vehicle.

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We wound up in Decatur—the local barbecue place (Big Bob Gibson’s) has a great white sauce and won a lot of awards.

That’s a two meat platter on top(brisket and chopped pork), and a potato with chicken, cheese, bacon, and white sauce below.

That’s a two meat platter on top(brisket and chopped pork), and a potato with chicken, cheese, bacon, and white sauce below.

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That’s plenty for one day. More tomorrow.
#BayouWeddingTour