Advertisements

Slices of Life After the Tennessee Fireworks Fire

Titan missile!

Thankfully this wasn’t a real missile or the incident would’ve made even bigger headlines.

We’ve seen missiles sitting next to interstate exits before, but we’re not yet jaded enough to pass them by without wondering what their story is.

Read more of this post

Advertisements

Scales of Danger!

Big Green Dragon!

Is there such a thing as “jazz talons”? If so: nailed it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last weekend my wife Anne and I drove down to Knoxville, TN, for an entertainment convention, but made a few stops on our way back for ordinary sightseeing. I nearly described it as “conventional” for the sake of wordplay, but we saw nothing conventional about this giant scaly monster looming over the interstate.

Read more of this post

Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 2: Signs of Georgia

Giant Peanut!

Behold the World’s Largest Peanut, according to the good people of Ashburn, Georgia. Also possibly the World’s Most Hypoallergenic Peanut.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, my son was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

When most people think “road trip” in the fanciful sense, they imagine a long drive through a scrolling sideshow of creative oddities, specialized museums and giant-sized objects and whatnot. Some American interstate landscapes are boring and not worth treasuring — the grassy plains, the heavily commercialized thoroughfares, the forests that look exactly like ours back home, those scenery-censoring noise-canceling barriers that have become the norm in cities whose residents have grown sick of hearing or looking at cars. In some unfortunate areas you can drive hundreds of miles between points of interest while your camera lies undisturbed and nestled in your pocket lint.

We still need to devote a vacation to Georgia itself someday rather than just passing through like we did in 2007. But even in passing, the way south didn’t lack for eye-catching displays.

Read more of this post

Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 1: When Dinosaurs Ruled the South

T-Rex Attack!

“CALM DOWN, KID! I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU HOW YOU CAN SAVE 15% ON YOUR CAR INSURANCE.”

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly. The next few vacations worked for all of us as a family to varying degrees, but for 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, he was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

Today we kick off yet another special MCC miniseries representing the original travelogue from our 2007 drive from Indianapolis to Orlando, Florida. Some hindsight editing will be included along the way as part of the “special edition” processing. Enjoy!

Read more of this post

Our 2011 Road Trip #28: Last Call for Roadside Attractions

Flight 93 Born Hero's!

They did it! Congratulations! World’s greatest 9/11 marker! Great job, everybody!

The highway and back roads leading to and from the Flight 93 National Memorial included a few token expressions of belief. This was the most eye-catching. As a Christian, I wanted to cry. And to drive over it. Several times.

Setting aside questions of topical relevance and basic composition (is Jesus trying to catch the plane? or is the plane buzzing disrespectfully by his scalp like Maverick in Top Gun?)…out of all the townspeople it took to assemble and erect this heartfelt expression of free speech, not one of them volunteered to proofread. Or do focus-group duty.

I just…no. No.

Right this way for the penultimate chapter in this special MCC maxiseries!

Road Trip Clip Show: a Salute to Vacation Days, Part 2 of 2

Continuing my stroll down Memory Lane to revisit the spirits of road trips past, while looking forward to the spirit of road trips yet to come.

2009: South Dakota and friends

Our longest drive to date, our first foray into the Mountain Daylight Time zone, and our introduction to South Dakota, land of a thousand casinos. There’s more to see than mere impressive Mount Rushmore.

The Badlands greet you on your way into Rapid City, major tourism hub.

Badlands of SD

Custer State Park, located in the Black Hills, is inhabited by animals accustomed to being spoiled rotten by tourists. They have no compunction about invading your personal space, and may be the secret masters in charge of the park. Notice how Intrusive Burro is very intrusive.

Custer's Bad Burro

When you’re done with Rushmore, you can visit the other massive stone monument in the area, the perpetually in-progress Crazy Horse statue. The ongoing project is taller than Rushmore and funded entirely with private donations. The nearest approach is even more distant than Rushmore’s observation area, but you can do what I did for an extreme closeup: max out the digital zoom on your camera, pop a quarter into the stationary viewers, jam your camera lens into the viewer eyepiece, and snap away.

Crazy Horse, zoom within a zoom

Since we were only a few dozen miles away anyway, we spent one day on a diversion into neighborly Wyoming, home of Devil’s Tower, the free-standing mesa As Seen On Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Bring your own mashed potatoes.

Wyoming's Devil's Tower

2008: Virginia

Our primary destination was Virginia Beach, but I spent the week under the weather and trying my best not to dampen our spirits. The three of us also discovered something unanimous about ourselves on this vacation: none of us actually enjoy beaches. Consequently, many of our stops on the way to and from Virginia Beach were more interesting to us.

Largest of those was the U.S.S. Wisconsin, decommissioned and moored in Norfolk. Tours are guided by retired veterans proud to be serving as tour guides even when the weather is in the triple digits.

The USS Wisconsin

One of the nicest looking places in the area was Natural Bridge, great for scenic photos and some of the most unusual roadside attractions nearby. One caution: if you love animals, you might want to skip their zoo.

Us at Natural Bridge

All photos are excerpted from lengthy travelogues that I wrote for each of our last several vacations for fun and posterity. If it weren’t for humility and concerns about copyright issues (will theme parks really throw a tantrum if their mascots appear in your published photos?), I’d consider compiling them into a genuine Book, also for fun and posterity.

%d bloggers like this: