Cool Places in America~ Prada Store

 

My parents were once again traveling from one job location to another, across the country. If you know me by know; you know this is nothing new. My parents are software engineers and have been moving me back and forth the country since I was a toddler. Strange as it may be, the sound of tires rumbling in the wheel well below the backseat always lulls me to sleep. Anyway, once we were driving through Texas and my mother had my father slam on the brakes. They had just been paid from the last job; some of it was burning a hole in my mother’s pocket when she seen this Prada shop. She ran out and tried the door; it was locked.

The strange thing I noticed right away was, we were driving for miles without a sign of any neighborhood or lone house, but this Prada store appears… It felt like some portal to hell out of some Terry Gilliam movie. I wanted to yell at my mother not to touch the door because ‘It is evil.’ Just like in the movie she would of touched it anyway and have said, “…but it is Prada!”

This small building sits all alone on US 90 in the middle of the desert under the immense Texas sky. After we got to the next town, an hour away, we found out it’s an art installation created by Michael Emlgreen and Ingar Dragset called Prada Marfa.It cost the team $80,000 to install it.

It’s the only Prada ‘store’ in Texas! I guess they don’t sell ten gallon hats, Stetson, or giant serving platter belt buckles…

The intention of the project is letting it go to ruin; letting nature reclaim it in whatever way she damned wanted to. Prada (who gave approval to use their logo and even donated the shoes and handbags that went inside the store) went along with it to poke fun at themselves on the fleeting nature of fashion. When I visit the Mad Scientist of the Pines, he always brings me to Docspond in Whiting, NJ.

 

Docspond is part of an old nudist colony named Nature’s Rest that burned down in the late 1960’s. The nudist colony was built by two masseuses from the Brooklyn who bought the property from their friend Joseph Parisi. Parisi was a member of Murder Inc., NYC mafia, controlled the garbage union after a few murders, and was an anarchist. The nudists and Parisi owned the old Manchester Iron Forge property which they bought and converted it into a aggregate business in which they would dispose of the bodies within for the NYC mafia. One road leading into the property was aptly named Bone Hill Road.

 

Now Docspond and the adjacent property where the hotel once stood is abandoned and nature has reclaimed it. The buildings and nature have this dance going on with vandals butting in from time to time into the dance. The Scientist explained to me that is what he loved about the place, how man and nature agreed to shape the property through time. So after I got over the fact it was a girl’s store; I learned to like the installation in Texas.

~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~ Dixie Square Mall and the Blues Brothers

Here is a tale from a few years ago before this building got torn down. I always loved the Blues Brothers. It was my father’s favorite too. So I was overjoyed when my parents got a contract to work in Harvey, Illinois. Well not at first…then they told me the mall in which the famous chase scene in the mall which started with a Kermit the Frog was in that town. It became cooler. Then my father asked if I wanted to go urban exploring into this dead mall, Harvey got way cooler!!!

 

Dixie Square Shopping Center was an enclosed shopping mall located in Harvey, IllinoisUnited States, at the junction of 151st Street and the Dixie Highway. It stood vacant for over 30 years, more than twice as long as it was in business. It was famous for having been used, both inside and out, for the mall chase scene in the movie The Blues Brothers. More recently, it achieved notoriety because of a growing Internet cult following (including local urban exploration groups) dedicated to covering the mall’s deteriorating condition. Like other “dead malls“, it had been characterized by high vacancy rates and low patronage, which led to its closure. However, while other dead malls were redeveloped or demolished, Dixie Square stood out due to its extensive neglect, vandalism damage, and sordid history.

~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 Musical Road

Hello again. I know you probably think I have lived everywhere in America by now, but the truth is that there is still a good 14% I have not been in yet… Thanks to my contract working software engineer parents.

In Lancaster, California in 2008, the Honda Motor Co. approached civic officials and asked them to turn one of their roads into a marketing campaign. They wanted to cut grooves into a road that would would play the William Tell Overture once driven over at 55 mph. They did and it drove the neighbors crazy with people coming from all over to hear it and hear it again. Then they moved it out by the airport in a remote section of town. Why did they not think about that in the first place…

I always like the William Tell  Overture. I have to admit I heard it first on Bugs Bunny, and then the Lone Ranger. Not the original, but he 1980’s Saturday afternoon cartoon and live action versions on YouTube. I still have not gotten to the original black and White. By the way Tonto means ignorant in Apache I think, and Kemosabe is more of a South American native word for ‘doesn’t know any better.’ One of my favorite collections of short stories is by Sherman Alexie called Tonto and the Lone Ranger Fist Fight in Heaven.

One of my other favorite things is the musical stairs in Boston at the Science Museum. I love playing on that!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCvpregdcC0?feature=player_embedded]

~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~ McDonald Observatory

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….

Near Fort Davis is this mountain which is 7,000 feet above sea level and 150 miles from any light pollution. My parents had a contract to create software to plot the movement of a certain galaxy back through time. How cool is that they were creating a software program that acted like a time machine!

Well, McDonald Observatory is on top of that mountain. We used to sit outside and have picnics under the stars. Stars, there were millions of them available to the naked eye. I never seen so many stars since Hog Wallow back in the Pine Barrens on that large Cranberry Bog. Then 3 times a week we could look through their largest telescope and the universe opened up to us. It was amazing.

People come up here to have evening talks to astronomers, have dinner under the stars, and well…look at them in all of their grandeur.  During their “Star Parties” they let you use their largest telescope. Here is their link for more info.

http://www.mcdonaldobservatory.org

~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~ Las Pozas

Well technically, this place is not in the United States, but it is still in North America. So I guess it still counts… Yep my parents once took a contract outside of the country. My friends on Snapchat thought we were nuts, but my Norwegian relatives go to Mexico all the time. Dumb Americans…

Edward James made his surreal vision of Paradise, right in the heart of Mexico. Located in the North of Mexico City, Las Pozas is a combination of nature and sculpture.  From natural pools to small waterfalls and a wide range of trees, flowers and plants decorate this fairy tale-like garden. It looks like if Dali’s Destino was animated in a jungle instead of a desert.

From 1949 to 1984, the art collector and his guide, Plutarco Gastelum, gradually designed the garden. Over 35 years and $5 million Plutarco Gastelum prepared the jungle for the sculptures, James created columns, spiral stairs leading nowhere, doors made of stone, concrete flowers and other unique sculptures.It was paid for by Edward James selling his art collection at a private auction. Even Dali though this guy was nuts, but then look at his museum in St. Petersburg FLA…

A man’s endless passion for surrealism, his imagination and over 150 employees created this wonder of the world.  You can find it at Camino Paseo Las Pozas s/n, Barrio La Conchita, 79902 Xilitla, S.L.P., Mexico.

 ~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~ Vollis Simpson’s Whirligig ‘s Wilson North Carolina

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….

I remember watching Vollis make one of his Whirligigs when my parents had a contract with this company in North Carolina. I got to hand him wrenches and even paint an old weather vane he stuck on one.

When Vollis retired at 65, he got bored and started erecting windmills that resembled wind toys on his neighbor’s houses and fences. For the next 30 years he kept building them until he died a few years ago at 94. Now they are moving them from his farm to a dedicated park. He sure was an old wise cracker.

Check them out:
http://www.wilsonwhirligigpark.org/

 

~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 Free Republic of Indian Stream

My parents had to write some software for a municipality in northern New Hampshire on the Canadian border. It is not that they had to wonder how to pay taxes to Canada, but if they had to pay them to the country of Indian Stream?

Republic of Indian Stream or Indian Stream Republic was an unrecognized constitutional republic in North America, along the section of the border that divides the Canadian province of Quebec from the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It existed from July 9, 1832, to August 5, 1835. Described as “Indian Stream Territory, so-called” by the United States census-taker in 1830, the area was named for Indian Stream, a small watercourse. It had an organized elected government and constitution and served about three hundred citizens.

St. Francis Indian chief, called King Philip by his white neighbors, after the King Philip who had led many successful raids on New England settlements during the 1670s. I believe the first Dowgin came during that time to be killed in the King Phillip War.

United States and Canada as defined in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where “the northwestern most head of the Connecticut River” might be. As a result, the area (in and around the three tributaries that fed into the head of the Connecticut River) was not definitively under the jurisdiction of either the United States or Canada.

tax-collectors and debt-collecting sheriffs. The double taxation angered the population, and the Republic was formed to put an end to the issue until such time as the United States and Great Britain could reach a settlement on the boundary line. Some of the citizenry considered Indian Stream to be part of the U.S. but not a part of New Hampshire. The Indian Stream assembly declared independence on July 9, 1832, and produced a constitution. So you see why my parents were confused…

“The people inhabiting the Territory formerly called Indian Stream Territory do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a body politic by the name of Indian Stream and in that capacity to exercise all the powers of a free, sovereign and independent state, so far as it relates to our own internal Government till such time as we can ascertain to what government we properly belong.”

Coos County to cease his involvement in affairs, with later events leading to an impending invasion by New Hampshire. On July 30, 1835, this sheriff asked for the militia. Two companies of infantry from the towns around Colebrook met at Stewartstown, ready to march into the disputed territory. The sheriff preceded them and, on August 4, met with between 30 and 40 members of the assembly, to whom he issued an ultimatum. Threatened with forcible occupation, most of the gathered assembly capitulated and relented to being annexed by New Hampshire.  The Republic ceased to operate independently the next day when five leaders of Indian Stream wrote to a Canadian official in SherbrookeLower Canada, that, with a response to their petition for protection by the British not having occurred in time, Indian Stream had agreed to annexation by New Hampshire. One of the “Streamers”, Richard I. Blanchard, agreed to serve as a deputy sheriff of Coos County. The militia stayed in Stewartstown and dispersed to their homes on August 6.

Canaan, Vermont, with the bleeding magistrate as prisoner, where local leaders treated his wound and released him immediately. In the aftermath, a detachment of fifty New Hampshire militia, including troops and officers, occupied the territory from mid-November until February 18, 1836.

international incident caused a diplomatic crisis. The British ambassador to the United States protested to President Jackson and the Secretary of State. Both governments, appalled at the idea of war over a matter so trivial as a hardware-store debt, determined to take measures so that matters did not escalate, and an uneasy peace endured in the years preceding the conclusion of a treaty settling the border.

Lord Palmerston in London dismissed all charges in the British judiciary system arising from the incident and reiterated the British position that the territory was part of Canada.  The area was still described as Indian Stream at the time of the U.S. census taken on June 1, 1840; the local population totaled 315. Upon petition by the residents, the area was incorporated as the town of Pittsburg in 1840.

Webster–Ashburton Treaty, and the land was assigned to New Hampshire. However, the 1845 Lewis Robinson Map of New Hampshire based on the latest authorities, shows the boundary north of the town of Clarksvillebut just south of modern-day Pittsburg.

~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~ Jack Ass Flats and and Nuclear Rockets!

I thought my parents got a contract to develop some software for area 51. I was hoping to meet some aliens, not some idiot who would strap a rocket to his car and not keep it flush. Darwin Awards…

Area 25 is the site of the now decommissioned Nuclear Rocket Development Station (NRDS). It was built in support of Project Rover to test prototype nuclear rocket engines. Jackass Flats was proposed as a possible launch site for Project Orion, administered by General Atomics in the late 1950s.

Project Orion was a study of a spacecraft intended to be directly propelled by a series of explosions of atomic bombs behind the craft (nuclear pulse propulsion). Early versions of this vehicle were proposed to take off from the ground with significant associated nuclear fallout; later versions were presented for use only in space.

Well 4th of July was coming up when we visited. I figured if I rode by bike through the area I would not have to buy any glow sticks that year…

~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…