Saturday, June 25, 2016

Summer Travel Guide 2016

Summer is here again, and for a lot of folks, summer means vacations. Vacations mean travel.
So, as is our custom and practice in this column, we once again bring you our annual compendium of weird, wacky and occasionally fascinating vacation destinations:
— If you’re a fan of bizarre incomprehensible gibberish, you could stay home and catch one of Sarah Palin’s stump speeches for Donald Trump on YouTube.
Or you could head down to northern Georgia and visit the Georgia Guidestones, the origin of which is something straight out of “The X-Files.”
Seems that a mysterious gentleman calling himself “R.C. Christian” showed up in the little town of Nuberg, Ga., with $50,000, a shoebox with a replica of Stonehenge in it, and a request: He wanted a monument of his own built.
And what a monument it is: four towering granite monoliths, inscribed in multiple languages including Egyptian hieroglyphics, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, Babylonian cuneiform, Chinese, Swahili and Hebrew, with the words “Let These Be Guidestones to an Age of Reason,” along with certain “commandments” supposed to bring about said age.

Those commandments include “Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with Nature” (I think that horse left the barn a while ago) and “Guide reproduction wisely, improving fitness and diversity.”
After arranging for the construction of the Guidestone, Mr. “Christian” (who admitted that that wasn’t his real name) disappeared without a trace. Ooo-EEEEeeeee-oooo …
— You wanna see something really scary? Then head out to the little desert outpost of Tonopah, Nev., midway between Las Vegas and Reno, and check yourself into what might be the world’s most terrifying place of accommodation: The Clown Motel.
The travel website tells us: “Not only is the lobby filled with hundreds of menacing clowns, but each and every room is clown-themed as well.
On each of the walls are hung portraits of famous clowns, from Bozo to Pagliacci, their soulless eyes intent on watching your every move from their faux-gold frames.”
But wait. It gets worse. Next door is a graveyard, filled with the corpses of miners who died of plague. To top it all off, according to online reviews, the Wi-Fi is terrible. Definitely not a place for the faint-of-heart.

— It’s entirely possible that someday you may be on the road, turn to your significant other, and go, “Honey Pie, I don’t think we know enough about hobos.”
Well, the cure for that particular brand of ignorance is in lovely Britt, Iowa, where you will find the Hobo Museum and Gift Shop, which says it “commemorates America’s first migratory work force.”
At the museum, you can see authentic hobo wear (old clothes) hobo gear (upturned buckets seem to be prominently featured), as well as “books written by hobos, music recorded by hobos, (and) crafts created by hobos,” according to the museum website. There’s even a Hobo Convention, where a Hobo King and Queen are elected.
Yes, it appears there are still hobos, even though the site does allow as how most of them drive these days rather than hop freight trains. I don’t know. That seems to kind of blur the classic definition a bit. But then, what do I know about hobos? Just shows how much we need the museum.
— Regular readers of this feature know that we often enjoy discussing freakishly large representations of everyday items: ketchup bottles, baseball bats and the like. Well, not this time.
It’s the creation of local artist Erika Nelson, who, like your Humble Columnist, seeks out the aforementioned large objects. Except she then creates tiny replicas of them and puts them in a vehicle, which she drives around as a traveling exhibit. Actually, now there are two vehicles, because the only thing cooler than one WLCoWSVoWLT is two of them.

Mysterious monoliths, scary clown hotels and small versions of big versions of ordinary sized things — it’s all part of the rich pageant that is the American road.
Happy traveling, and I hope you see something that makes you laugh and go, “Did we really just see that”?