Monday, August 1, 2016

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 highway in 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...


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on 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~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...


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on 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~#1 Haunted Toys R Us

Once my parents moved me to Sunnydale California to work on a warehouse program for Toys R Us.  Well of course I went to work with them several times. In fact I went there so much I was on first name basis with the ghost in the aisles.

The story starts decades earlier when much of the area was farmlands, including the area where the store itself was built. On this location the Murphy's had an orchard. One of the farm hands, Johny Johnson, fell in love with the orchard's owner's daughter in vain. To get his mind off his sorrow, he took to chopping wood. While he was doing this he hit himself in the leg and bled to death.

He now roams the aisles of the Toys 'R Us and plays with the toys. He likes bouncing balls down the aisle looking for someone to play with him. I picked up the ball once and threw it back. That is how I met him. After that we used to play air hockey all of the time, sometimes he would cheat though...

He is a practical joker also, he likes running the faucet when customers walk into the bathroom. 


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Cool Places in America~Jerimoth Hill and an Angry Old Man

Well they moved me again. This time they got a contract with Brown University to email students when they were late returning books to the library. Good thing was there was someone else on campus who irritated students even more than the software they were paid to write.

You know from my previous posts how much I love the stars and places that can afford gorgeous views of them. So I was excited to hear about Jerimoth Hill and its observatory. But...

For many years, hikers could not access the hill because the only path to the summit crossed the driveway of a private property owner, Henry Richardson, who prohibited entry the state's highest point. Richardson posted "no trespassing" signs and installed a security system that alerted him whenever people entered his property. Richardson's belligerence toward hikers made him something of a legend in the community. Eventually, Richardson's son worked out a plan to allow access to the path four times a year. After Richardson's death, his property was purchased in 2005 by the Mosby family, who opened up access and eventually ceded the land to the state. In 2011, the state began the process of acquiring the summit itself from Brown University; this was completed in 2014. It is open every day, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time.

So on our second trip back, I got to go on up! There were some cool professors up there that showed me all the cool stuff. One guy even had an asteroid he showed me named after him.


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had!

Cool Places in America~Jackass Flats and Nuclear Rocket?

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...


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! 

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?

The 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.

The area was first settled by Europeans under a land grant, not from the King of Great Britain, but from the 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.

Also, the establishment of Indian Stream as an independent nation was, essentially, the result of the ambiguous boundary between the United States and Canada as defined in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where "the northwesternmost 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.

Both sides sent in 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 Constitution of Indian Stream states in "Part Second - Form of Government":
"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."
However, the independence declaration did not cause the sheriff of 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 Sherbrooke, Lower 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.

The annexation of Indian Stream by New Hampshire did not resolve the land dispute, however. Local British officials took a dim view of the annexation. An incident soon tested the situation. In October 1835, Blanchard led a small party to arrest John Tyler for an unpaid hardware-store debt. After the arrest, Tyler was freed on the road back to Coos County by a group of his neighbors. In reporting the incident to the British magistrate, Tyler falsely stated under oath that the location of his arrest was Drayton, Lower Canada. The magistrate then issued a warrant for Blanchard's arrest, which was carried out by a deputy and a few members of the Canadian faction of Streamers, who returned with Blanchard toward the magistrate's house in Lower Canada.

Along the way, a group of Streamers stopped them in the road, rescued Blanchard and returned with their freed comrade to Indian Stream. The deputy's party continued on to the magistrate's house. Several hours later, there was a commotion in the road nearby from a posse of armed Streamers, emboldened by liquor, bent on making an impression. The invading posse shot the deputy through the thigh and then captured the hobbled magistrate with a blow of a saber to his scalp during a struggle. They returned to 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.

This 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.

In July, 1837, 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.

In 1842, the land dispute was definitively resolved by the 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 Clarksville but just south of modern-day Pittsburg.

This reminds me of some Marx Brother movie. Geez...


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had!

Cool Places in America~Clinton Road New Jersey

That Strange Doctor of the Pines hired my parents again. I think he has them trying to write code so he could "Rule the World!" Who knows. This time I ventured a little further and came across this classic that has appeared several times in Weird NJ. Weird NJ is what started Myth Busters fortune.

So many strange things have happened on this long desolate road. One is the tale of the Iceman. I always wondered why they called him that. I thought it was because he 'iced you' when he shot you. No it meant he threw you in a freezer to confuse people.

In May 1983, a human body was found in the woods close to the road. According to Weird NJ, legend dictates that a cyclist going down the road discovered the body after investigating a vulture feasting at a spot in the nearby trees.

An autopsy found that the man had died of foul play, remarking something initially puzzling: ice crystals in blood vessels near his heart. His interior organs also had decayed at a rate far slower than his skin. Pathologists concluded that someone had frozen his body after death in an attempt to mislead investigators into believing he died at a later time than he actually did. The man was identified as someone on the periphery of mafia activities in nearby Rockland County, New York. The investigation ultimately led to the 1986 arrest of "The Iceman" Richard Kuklinski, a New Jersey native involved in Rockland organized crime, who confessed to being the killer.

Then there was Cross Castle, or what is left of it...

In 1905, a man named Richard Cross built a castle on high land near the reservoir for his wife and three children. Later in the 20th century, it fell into ruin after a fire had destroyed part of it and thus became a popular destination for hikers and local teenagers looking for secluded locations to camp out and have parties.[13]
According to Weird NJ, "visitors have written telling of strange occurrences in or near the castle site, such as people going into seizures and having bruises appearing on their bodies afterwards, or having strange, disturbing visions. Writings that suggest Satanic symbols have been reported as appearing on the castle's interior walls, particularly in areas that were supposedly inaccessible."[13]
Newark's water department razed the castle as an attractive nuisance in 1988, but the foundations remain and several hiking trails still lead to the site.

Then here are the weird legends:
  • The ghost boy at the bridge: At one of the bridges over Clinton Brook (Dead Man's Curve) near the reservoir, if you put a quarter in the middle of the road where the yellow line is, at midnight it will supposedly be promptly returned by the ghost of a boy who drowned while swimming below or had fallen in while sitting on the edge of the bridge. In some tellings an apparition is seen; in others the ghost pushes the teller into the water if he or she looks over the side of the bridge in order to save him from being run over as he was in life.
  • Besides the ghost boy, there have been other ghosts described by Weird NJ readers. One claims to have seen a ghost Camaro driven by a girl who supposedly died when she crashed it in 1988 (any mention while driving the road at night is supposed to trigger a manifestation).[8] Another claims to have encountered two park rangers one night while camping with friends near Terrace Pond, a glacial tarn on a ridge accessible from the road by hiking trails, who in the morning turned out to have been the ghosts of two rangers who had died on the job in 1939.[8] Other Weird NJ readers claim to have seen people dressed weirdly at odd hours who simply stare at those who see them and do not speak, who either disappear or are not seen by others present.[9]
  • The Druidic temple: A conical stone structure just east of the road south of the reservoir was said to be a site where local Druids practiced their rituals, and horrible things might come to pass for any intruder who looked too closely or came at the wrong time. The building is actually an iron smelter left over from the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 when the United States was forced into creating an economic independence to complement its political freedom. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Clinton Furnace in 1976.[10] It is currently fenced off by the Newark water department to prevent any entrance and the liability for injury that might result.
  • Ghost truck: There are accounts of phantom vehicles: pickup trucks or even floating headlights not attached to any vehicle that supposedly appear from nowhere in the middle of the night and chase drivers to the end of the road, then disappear.[11]
  • Strange creatures, from hellhounds to monkeys and unidentifiable hybrids, have allegedly been seen at night. If not of supernatural origin, they are said to have been survivors of Jungle Habitat, a nearby attraction that has been closed since 1976, which have managed to survive and crossbreed.
Well I did not see anything. In fact I was hoping this was the road where your car gets pulled uphill when its in neutral. Everything else happened on this road but that...


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! 

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, Illinois, United 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.


To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler's latest book "Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida" on Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had!