Expedition Bigfoot

So I didn’t hear about this place until a few days ago and since I was going that direction going to my neurologist, I figured I would take a slight detour and visit the museum.

I was not disappointed.

I went to the The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine a few years back and I think Expedition Bigfoot if not physically bigger, certainly had more information and better exhibits. (And the other museum covered more than Bigfoot, you would have thought they would have had more stuff!)

I think there was barely a space that was not covered with SOMETHING. They even had a room they claim was a real research lab. Is it? Maybe. My labs I am used to are normally a little bigger, but it could probably do the job. They also have a small movie theater which completely slayed me with the old fashion intermission advertisements. They have newspapers, bigfoot casts, maps (why there were two sightings in Augusta, I will never know), recordings of a hand full of stories (and yes some of those calls did sound like a primate), and a small Tibetan exhibit as the Yeti is probably a close cousin of Bigfoot.

While I know one of the more famous videos did turn out to be a fake, I know most of the things on there are still definitely mysteries. I am neither a believer or non-believer, but I am definitely open to the possibility of some type of Gigantopithecus somehow hiding.

My only question is why was this not open when I was living in Blairsville for 9 months and was bored out of my mind? Especially since I used to work as a primatology intern and have a BS in Anthropology and Human Biology? Why did nobody tell me I could have gone to look for Bigfoot? That would have killed my boredom.

Would you go looking for Bigfoot?

Completed : 2018

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Roadside America – International Cryptozoology Museum

When I was visiting my partner up in Nashua, NH, we decided I needed to go collect some of the states where I had not previously been. This was part of my quest to collect all 50 states. So I hate just going to a state with no purpose so I had to find a reason to go.

I was originally going to go to the Jewish museum but it was hard to get in (huge lock even though it was during appropriate hours), but my partner loves Bigfoot and cryptozoology so we went to the International Cryptozoology Museum instead. It’s not big and it’s a little expensive, but it’s a cool collection of weird stuff and the employees are funny or maybe I like them because they laughed at my comparing Bigfoot to my father. I don’t know… hard to tell. 😉

As I recall, it was pretty hard to find so you might want to call for directions before you go.

So what is your favourite Cryptozoology creature?

Completed : 2014

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La Brea Tar Pits

Another one of my most ancient things on my bucket list was a journey to the La Brea Tar Pits. This has been on my list since I was a huge fan of the Gary Owens/Eric Boardman team who did the dinosaur children documentaries. One of them was “Prehistoric World” which was ice age and they went to the La Brea Tar Pits. It was one of the shows I watched the most as a child, probably drove my grandmother insane.

The tar pits were quite expensive to park $12 which is the same cost as to get *into* the museum. The museum is I think somewhat bigger than I was expecting having only seen it on TV, but yet not nearly as big as most natural history or science museums I am used to seeing. The grounds were huge though which included an active dig and several things to walk around and watch.

My visit wasn’t as good as it could have been as there was a huge field trip that day and the kids pretty much hogged all the exhibits and destroyed the additional show that I paid for as they kept screaming and shouting. Really kids, your chaperones were all yelling at you and you still misbehaved? Apparently it was a charter school who also just started their school year. I never saw any school start on field trips that early especially to such an expensive place!

Anyway it was interesting to see some of the things that were on the TV up close although it had been so long since I saw the show that everything was mostly new again. The atrium type area was really really pretty and would be a nice place to propose marriage. I wish there was even more to do at the tar pits and would have really liked to have more money to spend at the gift shop which was also very expensive but had so many neat things in it.

Is there any place you wanted to go as a kid and later visited you as an adult?

Completed : 2017

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Sit on Einstein’s lap

One of the crazier things that I wanted to do when I was in DC (the same visit I did the spy museum was go visit Einstein’s monument. I originally wanted to do this in between my house/senate visits, but the M3s who were around wanted us to stick together, which was fine. So we ended up together going to the Washington Monument. If we had not stopped for lunch, we might have been able to hit Einstein which was not that much further.

However, since we didn’t, I went out the following day. I walked from the Washington Court hotel to the monument and walked back. That is an hour walk each way for the record. I left right after our great presentation on branding/media relations, and came back just in time (about 10 minutes early) for clinical skills where I sutured for almost 2 hours.

It was a few miles walking, each way and it seems he is a popular place to visit. Everyone was taking photos with Einstein which was just outside the National Academy of Sciences. There is a copy of the celestial sphere at his feet which is pretty detailed although a slightly easier one to cope with is on the plaque in front of him. I would love to be in the NAS but that might be because I am very weird and I have a strong love for the sciences.

I know I tend to have a bit of an ego in this matter, but I wonder what proportion of the tourists know what he did besides E=MC^2? Or can even state what that means? Would you do this?

Completed : 2016

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Children’s Holocaust Memorial

Another on the Roadside America, I drove several hours out of my way to come here. I’ve wanted to come since I learned the memorial was not terribly far from where I lived. I nearly had a nervous breakdown when entering the car and listening to the audio. (My only complaint is that the audio tour needs to be redone with a professional and de-Christianized.) I am a gay identified, disabled, observant Jew whose partner is of Romani descent, there is no way that I would have survived the Holocaust.

As is Jewish custom, I placed a small stone near the one side of the car. There were other people present and I am not sure if they noticed a few tears when I was standing off to the side looking at all of the paperclips and the apology to the Frank family.

The disrespect the other visitors had was astounding. One of the other visitors knocked down my stone, but did replace it and I was being stared at by younger visitors because of the kippah. It was a good thing I was not wearing my tzitzit. I looked through some of the holes in the car wondering what my people saw when they were being transported like cattle. Was the car being stared at like how the young girl was staring at me?

Although there was no minyan present, once the audio tour was over, I felt saying Kaddish was the right thing to do. When I left the car, I went around it, and rhetorically asked the car how many of my people did it transport to their deaths? 80-150 people per transport, how many transports did that particular car make? The car, of course, remained silent.

May all of their memories be a blessing.

Completed : 2014

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International Spy Museum

A few days ago, I just got back from Washington DC where I was participating in the Medical Student Advocacy and Region Conference 2016, where I was to learn how to be an advocate and even got to speak to the staffers for Senators and House members. While I was there, I tried to knock things off my bucket list.

I was able to run to Arlington to pay my respects to my grandfather. Pop Pop, a WWII vet, is buried in court 5 and his 13 year yahrzeit just passed not long ago. No one had visited him yet so I was the first.

When I arrived in DC, I still had some time to do something and since I like interactive museums and I was recommended some time ago to visit the International Spy Museum in Washington DC which was already on my radar because it was listed as a thing on Roadside America’s website, that is what I did. I thought this was a really interesting offbeat museum dedicated to real and fictional (James Bond mostly) spies.

They also have a few additional interactive things, but the fact is you are unlikely to get to play with any of the interactive things because they are so popular and people like hogging the exhibits. What you do with this is you go in, wait for the elevator (only holds 25 people at a time) and they send you to a room where you pick a new identity. Then in the next rooms, you can look at movie props or real spy equipment or you can play with the exhibits if you are lucky.

This place is expensive though and for me, it was like $23 or something and I just took the museum. There was another thing you could do where you had some mission that you could also do. This is probably not the best for a solo person, but might be much more interesting for families. I had to work alone and this place was so crowded. The only thing I established is that I would make a great spy although I am sure that surprises anyone who knew me as a child.

What about you? Would you make a good spy? Would you even want to do it?

Completed : 2016

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Blizzards, Evacuations, and Ghosts… Oh My!

In Feb 2015, we had a bit of a blizzard in North Georgia on the top of a mountain. I am not sure how many of you are from up north, but here in the South, we don’t have insulation since we spend the fast majority of our time trying to get RID of the excess heat if possible not trying to keep it in. We don’t have salt or anything of the sort. At one point, I was in a temperature of 1 degree F and a wind chill of -15 degrees. It’s a bit cold and colder if you don’t have something like a heater or anything.

And by blizzard, I mean no one could leave their house so it was a southern blizzard not a Northern blizzard where there was 10 feet of snow. I myself was stuck in my grandmother’s cabin in Blairsville Georgia for and could not do much of anything really. I spent one entire week iced in, then the next week snowed it. For a place where it doesn’t snow (per my grandmother) we sure got a lot of it. In fact, a state of emergency was called for the area and residents were urged to not leave their homes for any reason. Given the cabin is on an unpaved mountain road where no one can get up it or down it safely under the best of times, in the snow one couldn’t even try.

But I thought all of that was ok because I had nowhere else to be for a few days, I had to run down to Savannah eventually but I was planning on leaving on Wednesday. When I found out Monday morning that snow was gone but that it would be coming back in a few hours and that we would be snowed in again making my Wednesday travel plan impossible, I opted to leave almost immediately.

I brought the trash down to the dump, grabbed a few more medications, threw my only half packed suitcase in the car and headed out. I was still in my pajamas which I had thrown clothing over in order to go to the dump. (Don’t judge me I was going to go back to bed). I was not expecting at all to be on the road Monday. I was going to stay in Atlanta on Monday night but it turned out that the snow was going to hit Atlanta as well that night (and it in fact shut down the city) so I tried to sleep in my car in a rest area near Macon (I was a bit late as I was having dinner with a friend), but that turned out to be way too noisy so I checked into an Econolodge.

The next day I arrived in Savannah and spent a few days there exploring the historic district, went on the trolly tour, visited the Jewish cemetery, and the Reform synagogue (third oldest shul in the US). I decided I wanted to go on a ghost tour, but with how the weather was, we had to keep rescheduling my Hearse Tour which was cute. Could have been scarier but then it would have killed the old passengers with me. I enjoyed my time in Savannah. I would have liked to actually go hunt for ghosts though! I could definitely consider living there if the Jewish community had more kosher food.

Have you ever had to evacuate? What did you do and where did you go?

Completed : 2015

Categories: Nature, Travel | Tags: , , ,

Scopes Monkey Trial site

For the past few years, I’ve been wanting to pay my respects to John Scopes by visiting the site where the famous “Monkey Trial” was conducted especially since I learned there was a museum at the Rhea County Courthouse where the trial was held. Today is the 90th anniversary of the decision date.

When I was at Oxford College, in history class we had a group project and as I was declaring myself an Anthropology major, I swayed the group to do Scopes. This was the first time I ever heard of the trial despite going to a science magnet high school. In short, the Scopes Monkey trial occurred in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, when a high school teacher John Scopes was charged with teaching evolution then forbidden by a Tennessee law called the Butler Act. He did teach evolution and was fined $100. He later became a geologist.

The details of the trial really don’t matter very much however this was one of the first times this issue came up and it is an issue that to this day is STILL being fought. While we (the evolutionists) did technically lose the trial, we did have a partial win. The prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan, lost a lot of evangelical support when he admitted that the 6 days of the Bible could have been longer than 24 hours. He also died not terribly long after the trial probably of exhaustion from all the traveling he was doing.

The amusing thing to see is how times have changed (or you could say “evolved”). Bryan was a Democrat courting the evangelicals.

But back to the museum. It took me much longer to drive there than to walk through it. Heck it took me longer to walk to the building and get through the joke-of-security to get in. The entrance at the basement is not where they want you to enter and you have to go all the way to the back of the building, walk through an unmanned metal detector, then go down a flight of stairs to the basement. The museum handling Scopes is about half of the basement. It was cute, but only a few small rooms. Then you can go upstairs to see what the courtroom was like, really though, I wonder how accurate that was since it looked pretty modern plus even had a modern sign saying that circuit court was at 9 am. Apparently every year, the town does a play called “Front Page News” in July which reenacts part of the trial. I was actually going to consider doing that however, since I needed to move to a location further away, I figured I might as well do it when I was closer to it.

I am not ashamed to be an evolutionist, I do however fear for the rest of this country which doesn’t seem to understand what evolution is even about and how it does not conflict with faith. I posted a photo of the sign about the Scopes trial to a Photo-a-day challenge and an anti-evolutionist complained about how people are still trying to teach it. I had to ask if she was talking evolution or “creation science.” She said evolution because it’s not still happening. Then I had to explain what it was and give several examples of experiments which supported evolution. I am starting to fear for this world.

When will people learn that we should leave science to the people qualified to teach science?

Completed : 2014

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Georgia Guidestones

So one of the weirder things in the state of Georgia, as if we could get any weirder, is a thing called the Georgia Guidestones. No one is really sure who put up the money to construct them but they are in the middle of absolute nowhere Georgia. Now when someone says they can be seen from a highway, I expect it to not be in the middle of nowhere. (I personally strongly disagree about what the state of Georgia calls a “highway.”)

The partner wanted to eventually see this but he never got around to it. This is what I was heading towards when I was distracted by the Laurel and Hardy museum when I was coming back from Augusta. I did eventually get back on track and I was able to find them although trying to get a GPS address for them was a bit of a pain, but it is 1065 Guidestones Rd., Nuberg, GA.

The guidestones are about 19 foot and total there are the guidelines in 8 languages (English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian) and there are other things in 4 others. These are what the guidestones say:

1) Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2) Guide reproduction wisely — improving fitness and diversity.
3) Unite humanity with a living new language.
4) Rule passion — faith — tradition — and all things with tempered reason.
5) Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6) Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7) Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8) Balance personal rights with social duties.
9) Prize truth — beauty — love — seeking harmony with the infinite.
10) Be not a cancer on the earth — Leave room for nature — Leave room for nature.

Here is a youtube video about them as I cannot put up the good photo I took of them.

So are these rules good to live by? What do you think? Which one is going to be the hardest to do? Personally I vote 7!

Completed: 2015

Categories: Travel | Tags: , ,

Laurel and Hardy Museum

I’m becoming a big fan of Roadside America attractions and now will just stop whenever I see something that looks interesting and I have the time.

So I was coming back from Augusta getting a tour of the Equality Clinic where I am eventually going to be volunteering, and was going back home when I saw this little sign saying “Laurel and Hardy Museum”.

“Hmm…”, I thought to myself, “My grandmother might like that!” and turned off at the rapidly approaching next exit to go to it. After following the whole TWO signs, I was convinced I had to have passed it, so I asked both iVarney (my iphone which has both Siri and a voice activated search) and Moses (my voice-activated Garmin) to try to find the museum. Wouldn’t you know it, neither of them even came close, although I have to assume it is because “Laurel and Hardy” is not a common search, although they really wanted to take me to the closest Party City. Sigh.

So I was looking and looking for a place to pull over and there is nothing on that stretch of road. Luckily I knew if I continued, surely something would have to appear. Of course the first available parking lot happened to be their museum.

They are open most, but not all days of the week over in Harlem GA. As someone who is not a big fan I really had very little idea of what I was looking at. I am actually not sure which one is which if I can be honest. I mostly just know them from the references that are made to them in cartoons. I was more of an Abbott and Costello fan personally. They had tons of memorabilia in a decent sized room, maybe a little bigger than the average living room.

The cost is donation based so I gave them $5 as while I am not a fan of theirs, I want to make sure it stays open so that my grandmother can visit it one day. She would get a kick out of it!

Since I am not incredibly versed in Laurel and Hardy, what is your favourite movie of theirs?

Completed : 2015

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