It’s been about fourteen months since I posted an installment of odd signs that I’d encountered during my travels. I like unusual things whether they’re geo-oddities or other mundane things that seem out of whack. Occasionally I feel compelled to share them even if nobody else can summon the same level of amusement. If they cause you to smile then feel free to examine the earlier posts, Bad Signs and More Strange Signs.
I’ve added a map link for each photograph, attempting to place it as close to the exact spot as I can remember.
Maine’s Rich Thai Heritage
I’ll bet this is the first time this sentence has ever been uttered: "Nothing represents Maine waterman culture like Thai food." Seriously though, I noticed this unusual juxtaposition at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland during the summer of 2009.
The festival centerpiece included a dining area covered by a huge tent. It featured a buffet line with lobsters pulled from local waters and dumped straight from trawlers into boiling kettles only moments earlier. Nonetheless the Thai food pavilion seemed to be doing a steady business. I suppose someone who happens to eat lobster every day might want to try something a bit different, something more exotic. I love Thai food and I find it it refreshing to witness the rich mosaic of cultures as it spreads throughout the nation but I still selected the lobster.
I took the elevator to the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory later that same summer. The observatory is a fairly small rectangular area. It has two doors. One opens onto an elevator and the other a stairwell. With that in mind, this has to be the most useless emergency exit sign ever. The elevator would shut down in a fire so what other option would possibly exist besides the stairwell? Jump?
I found myself at the Jack Daniel Distillery during that same southern trip. Distilling apparently creates the perfect environment for a dark mold that covers all exterior surfaces. Who knew? I suppose they felt compelled to explain the mold instead of looking like slobs. That wouldn’t do their image much good.
I loved this Alaska highway sign. It’s too bad the RV’s filled with clueless tourists ignored this and all similar signs. I would have loved to have seen one of them getting a ticket for going twenty miles below the speed limit leading a mile-long train of impatient drivers behind them in their wake.
I also saw this one in Alaska. It’s posted in Seward. The city was hit by a tsunami after the famous 1964 earthquake. Eleven people died. Believe me, if suddenly the water begins to recede it’s time to run for the hills. The sign is absolutely accurate and appropriate.
Stringing a New Wire Would Have Been Too Much Trouble
I’m allowed to post one photograph that isn’t a sign, right? I found this situation absolutely hilarious. A tree branch grew around a power line. The electric company removed the tree but left the chunk with the wire hanging in the air!
I made it back from my brief journey to the Deep South last night. We covered about 2,500 miles in ten days, seeing the sites and visiting with family. Things went about as well as one could hope. I’ll consider doing this again in the future although it definitely pushed the limit of what I’d want to cover by car. I collected lots of "stuff" during the journey, all memories but nothing physical. Let me share a last few items with you and then wrap it up.
I took many photographs that portraid various aspects of the diversity of Southern culture. Here are a few more. Let me not detract from their stories by bracketing them with lots of text. I’ll let them speak on their own with simple geographic notations.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery; Lynchburg, Tennessee
Alabama, Somewhere Between Montgomery and Mobile
Abita Springs, Louisiana
I’m a relentless counter and I’m defined by the lists I keep. I used this trip as an opportunity to make decent progress on several of them. As usual, I’ll update the lists when I get a chance and then develop permanent travel pages for all the places I visited.
26 New Counties
This is for the County Counters in the audience. These are the new counties I added in sequential order.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Lee; Kershaw; Richland; Lexington; Aiken
We continue to tour along the Gulf, including a couple of day trips into Louisiana from our base on the Mississippi Coast. I’ve developed from those odysseys what I think is a great itinerary for any beer-loving aficionados of geographic oddities who need to entertain the kids. I’ll admit that it’s a very small demographic so perhaps only the readers of the Twelve Mile Circle will be able to appreciate this in its proper context. Anyone choosing to replicate the circuit can, of course, add or subtract destinations to suit one’s tastes.
The day starts at the Global Wildlife Center near Folsom, Louisiana. Drill in on the map and you’ll notice that the closest named-place is actually "Cranky Corner" which amuses me to no end, but I suppose that wouldn’t look so good in their promotional material.
They loaded everyone onto modified wagons pulled by a tractor for an hour-and-a-half ride through a Louisiana version of the African plains, while herds of animals followed along in hopes of handouts and a quick meal. The kids loved it, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it as well.
From here it’s an easy jaunt to Abita Springs, home of the Abita Brewery. With proper timing, one can eat lunch at their brewpub in the quaint downtown area of Abita Springs, and then head over to the actual brewery a mile further along the road for a 2:00 tour.
I’ve been wanting to drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, supposedly the world’s longest continuous bridge over water, for ages. In fact I whined about it during my last visit to the area a couple of years ago. This time I drove it, all 24 miles (38 kilometres) straight across the lake from Mandeville on the north shore to Metarie on the outskirts of New Orleans. It’s surprisingly less boring than one would imagine. Sure, it’s incredibly straight, but there are a number of elevation changes that allow ships to pass beneath it. Those add some some hilly variety to the drive.
New Orleans is defined by the Mississippi River. I’ve been here many time so I didn’t stop to tour around the city. Certainly most "normal" tourists would want to include some time here during this itinerary. No, I had more important things to do. I wanted to take a ride on the Belle Chasse ferry.
The two portions of Plaquemines Parish split by the Mississippi River have no natural land route between them. The nearest bridge is all the way up in New Orleans, and that can become horribly inconvenient given the traffic of the city. The natural solution is a short ride across on a ferry lasting all of about five minutes. Loading and unloading actually took much longer than the ride itself. This was also my first visit to Plaquemines Parish so score one more on my County Counting list.
I’ll focus on some of the sites in Mississippi in my next post.