Cool Places in America~ Badlands Guardian, Eh!

This was our first trip north to the land of the friendly. The people were great there outside Alberta. My father once said that the role of the Canadians is to keep the us American’s safe. He believes no one would nuke us because they would be afraid to hurt the Canadians. So on Wikipedia I was looking for the strange and wonderful in the area when I found this cool rock formation.

The Badlands Guardian which is also known as Indian Head is considered to be a geomorphological feature which is situated near Medicine Hat, south east of Alberta, Canada. It is a  rock formation when viewed from the air looks like a Native American wearing a headdress.

Supergranny, Lynn Hickox, found it in 2006 while  surfing Google Earth. She found it while navigating for directions to a dinosaur museum.

It even seems to be wearing earphones where a road and an oil well were recently installed. It is  larger than Mount Rushmore. The image can be traced on 50° 0’38.20”N 110° 6’48.32”W with the use of Google Earth. We typed in the coordinates and I took a helicopter ride with my parents and their boss for that month, Red from Fargo. Red, surprised us though when he jumped out of the helicopter with his phone in his hand. He snapped pictures every 10 seconds to create a study on scale. Red proved throughout the years to be full of surprises…

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…

John Tenniel: Illustrator of the Week

 Off With Their Heads…

Jon Tenniel

Jon Tenniel was the lead illustrator of Punch, creating over 3,000 caricatures. Then on top of that he is the original and still the most respected illustrator of Alice in Wonderland. Others illustrating it is like someone trying to out do Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka… Take a look!

Find Out More:
Cheers,
Chris

Illustrator of the Week: Bob Peak

To Boldly Go…

Bob Peak

Sometimes artists are in the background when you are growing up. Bob Peak was one of them. The classic movie poster was created by him. The first movie I watched on VCR was Excalibur. Sitting their nursing a broken arm I watched it on a recorded version of the original that my mother’s friend copied from the Video Store she helped run. So I only seen the movie poster years later, but I remember seeing the posters to other films I grew up with like the Star Trek films, Clint Eastwood films like Pale Rider and Every Which Way but Loose, and Superman. Bob Peak created the art for some of the most epic and remember-able films of my childhood, but I only put it all together a few years ago. So sit back and enjoy the works of Bob Peak!

To see more of his work, visit this link:
https://bobpeak.com/about/

Cool Places in America~ Salem MA and the Westford Knight

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

My parents get lots of contracts on the Informational Highway outside of Boston on Rt. 128. One of our favorite places to reside while on the North Shore is Salem. We learned years ago to avoid the witches, they fight among themselves too much. The true magic in the town is the cool Harry Potter Shop and Wynot’s Wandsthe smuggling tunnelsMr. Zac, and the story about the Vikings who landed there in 1398!

In 1784, Prince Henry Sinclair was identified by Johann Reinhold Forster[7] as possibly being the Prince Zichmni described in letters allegedly written around the year 1400 by the Zeno brothers of Venice, in which they describe a voyage throughout the North Atlantic under the command of Zichmni.

Zichmni had sailed to America after meeting a sailor who got lost in a storm and ended up in a land far to the west of the Orkney. In this land he told about the various kingdoms of natives, the book written in Latin they had from a previous adventurer, and how the tribes fought over his knowledge of the fishing net. These tails from the sailor inspired Sinclair to sail west with some Vikings and the two Venetian brothers who wrote about the journey.

Prince Henry Sinclair had numerous titles including Roslyn in Scotland. His son William built the fabled Roslyn chapel from the Da’Vinci Code. His family were the hereditary masters of the Templars in Scotland. Haakon V, King of Norway, had bestowed the Earldom of Orkney to Sinclair. By 1401 he disappears from Scottish History. There is no history of his death. Stories of him can be found in Arkham:Tales from the Flipside in the Sinclair Narratives. In the tales he is described as an immortal who has brought the Holy Grail to Salem which later gets stolen by the mysterious Salem East India Museum who has built tunnels throughout the town. Now the true story does not seem any less mysterious…

In 1398 Henry Sinclair sails a fleet of Knarrs and Longships with a crew of Norse and Norse Scottish Vikings. They are sailing with the two Zeno brothers who write down their tale as they search for the fabled Vinland. Vinland was described to have two rivers and two islands in the harbor. First they drop anchor on Oak Island in Nova Scotia and then sail further south to Salem, creating the myths of the great treasure in the Money Pit. Salem also fits the description with the two Misery Island and the North and South Rivers entering into to the hinterland. This was their second venture through the continent. From here they will travel further west to Westford. This is where the knight Sir James Gunn dies, the details lost to history. Today you can still see the stone inscription dedicated to him on Depot Street. His effigy lies on a granite slab.

Just one of many tales of Vikings within New England. Provincetown and Boston also have tales. These tales have inspired the Salem Normal School (Salem State University) to have a Viking as their mascot. I bet you always wondered why they chose that mascot…

Westford Knight:

Address:

17 Depot St., Westford, MA

Directions:I-495 exit 32. Drive west on Boston Rd. When you reach the Westford Common, turn right onto Lincoln St. and continue straight onto Main St. Just past the Roudenbush Community Center bear left onto Depot St. The knight is about a quarter-mile up the street, on the right as the road bends right. It’s right on the road, so drive a little further, turn right, and park at the high school.

 

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…

Cool Places in America~ The Only State Highway in the Country that Bans Cars!

Yep, my parents moved me again.. This month we are on Lake Huron. On one of its island we found this peculiar road. It is the only state highway in the country that bans cars.

M-185 is a state trunkline highwayin the U.S. state of Michigan that circles Mackinac Island, a popular tourist destination on the Lake Huron side of the Straits of Mackinac, along the island’s shoreline.

The first city ordinances banning all motorized vehicles from the island were passed on July 6, 1898, with similar state park rules coming in 1901. The residents complained after a doctor’s car scared their horses and caused carriage accidents, and these complaints prompted the ban. They even have a horse drawn carriage ride the road to pick up all of the liter. I want to know who picks up after the horses?

One of the main attractions on the road is the Devil’ Kitchen.  Local stories allege that the Native Americans of the Straits of Mackinac considered the cave to be a numinous location inhabited by bad spirits. Allegedly, the spirits were cannibals who would capture and eat victims who ventured too close to the ill-omened location. The cave is blackened with soot to this day, allegedly from the evil spirits’ cooking fires; hence the name, ‘Devil’s Kitchen.’ Me and my parents snuck in at night and roasted marshmallows over a camp fire and made some smores. The governor was vacationing here at his mansion at the time and he even joined us. I will never know why he insisted on burning his marshmallows before he made his smores…

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…

Gustave Dore: Illustrator of the Week

To Hell with Him…

Gustave Dore

He is one of my favorites and also one of three artists who I enjoy immensely that would die on my birthday, 01/23. The other two being Dali, and Durer. Today he is most famous for his angels and his work illustrating Dante’s Inferno. He also was the inspiration for the look and feel of Terry Gilliam’s Baron Munchhausen.

 

 

 

So check him out and enjoy!

Cool Places in America~ Point Breeze N.J. and Napoleon’s Brother?

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Yep, another visit to N.J. The Mad Scientist of the Pines had hired my parents again to develop some software around 2002. On one of our voyages northwest we heard myths of Napoleon escaping to visit his brother in Bordentown.

First you ask, Joseph Bonaparte lived in N.J. The once and not so future king of Spain? Yes. He had a mansion called Point Breeze in Bordentown where the Crosswicks Creek and the Delaware River meet. After the defeat of his little brother, no pun intended, he abdicated the Spanish Throne and returned to France.Three years later a French decree banished all Bonapartes from France, so Joseph went from NYC to Philadelphia and then settled across the river in NJ. He had sailed incognito aboard the American brig “Commerce” to New York.In Philadelphia Henry Clay had put him up in a hotel suite. Joseph then bought 211 acres from a sale of some of the Spanish crown jewels he stole. In time his estate would enlarge to 1,800 acres. Good king Joseph would entertain locals and prominent Americans equally amidst his fine collection of books, artifacts, and art from Europe. Guests would be delivered to his estate by a 16 oar barge. An excellent estate with a man made lake with a bridge over it, trees, gardens, several bridal trails, and 12 miles of carriage ways. Plus several tunnels to escape through! John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster had visited him, these men used to walk the smuggler tunnels in Salem, MA also.

In 1820 a fire burned down the original mansion. Locals rushed in and saved most of his artifacts while he was away. Joseph arrived in time to see his roof fall in. It was rumored a Russian lady set it aflame. Then he built an even grander mansion. This one he decorated with paintings by Velasquez, Rubens, Canaletto, Murillo, Rembrandt and DaVinci. In addition, there was a ‘Statuary Room’ containing antique bronze castings from Pompeii. The library, the largest in the country, numbered some eight thousand volumes at a time when the Library of Congress contained only sixty-five hundred volumes.Above the entrance to the new mansion he had inscribed: “Non ignara mali, miseris succurere” (Not unaware of misfortune, I know to help the unfortunate).

Joseph took at least one mistress (whatever that means) named Annette Savage who bore him a daughter. In 1832, Joseph, now the Bonapartist pretender, moved to London to be closer to France. In 1844 Joseph died in Florence. Then Point Breeze was inherited by his grandson Joseph Lucien Charles Napoleon who held two spectacular auctions of the furnishings before selling the property in 1847. He sold it to who sold it in 1847 to a Thomas Richards. Afterwards Point Breeze was purchased by the son of a former British consul at Philadelphia who had the house razed and replaced by an Italianate villa. A son of a British consul endowed him to hate all things French. He was dubbed “Beckett the Destroyer” by local residents.There were several other houses on the estate, one that housed daughter Zenaide and her husband Prince Charles Lucien. (Daughter Charlotte also stayed on the estate at times, but there is no record of her having her own house). Another housed Bonaparte’s trusted secretary Maillard and served as a gatehouse. In 1958 Becket’s mansion burned down. In 1970, the property was bought by the Divine World Seminary who had built the current building on the site.

So that was another weird location I had found when once again my parents were working for the weird scientist of the Pines…

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…