Finding cool stuff to track down while traveling
In my early years, traveling was rare and limited to only vacation or, if I was lucky, I got to go on a business trip or professional conference. In those days, I always brought home a bunch of souveniers, T-shirts, knick knacks, art, music, hoodies etc.. As I started traveling more and more, I realized that these momentos took up too much space in my luggage and are expensive. I also discovered that much of it was made in China which is fine if I was actually visiting China, but seeing as I have not managed to make that trip yet, I’d say it was disappointing.
National Parks Passport
Now that I travel more, I have discovered wonderful ways to find and visit special places and see interesting stuff and be able keep a small momento of an area through stamps. I am not referring to postage stamps, but stamp pad type of stamps. The National Park Service has a Passport book you can buy for $19.00 and when you visit a National Park or Monument you can go to the gift shop and stamp your book. The stamps have the date on them so you can keep track of where and when you’ve been there. There is also a similar type book you can buy when you visit any of the state capitols as well as a book for lighthouses. The lighthouse stamps are by far the prettiest and nicest of the bunch.
Letterboxing and Geo cacheing
I also like to Letterbox and geocache which is a treasure hunting endeavor where someone hides a box or cache and they post clues on the internet that you refer to find the cache. I have learned many things about history, science and plain fun stuff through these hobbies.
If you like playing video games there is a free app you can down load in your phone called ‘Ingress’. Ingress has portals that you find in points of interest and you capture them and you get weapons and stuff to help you as you move on. Then there are the roadside oddities that are tracked, like Lucy the Elephant in NJ and the TeePee motel in AZ.
Paul Bunyon man
Of course the Paul Bunyon man is tracked as well and I always love to acknowledge when I have spotted one.
Then there are mines to satisfy the RockHound in me.
Well just when I thought I had found everything I can track, I just found one more. The Whispering Giants.
The artist Peter ‘Wolf’ Toth is interestingly Hungarian and not native american. He decided to carve at least 1 Whispering Giant for each of the 50 states and a few in Canada as well as Europe. The one I ran into is in Desert Hot Springs at the Cabot Pueblo Museum. This statue was made from a fallen Sequoia and us 33 feet tall. A couple if the statues were destroyed, the one in Indiana got destroyed by termites. So I was thinking, “Where is the one in Ct? I think I would have remembered a 30-40 foot high Indian head hanging around my home state.” Well it is in storage someplace in Groton Ct. I think we should campaign to set him free. I can’t believe the Pequot museum or Mohegan sun would not want him on display. I’ll be on the look out for these guys from now on.
As an update I was excited to find one in Maine in 2016 while visiting Acadia National Park. Chief Glooscap at the Bar Harbor Campground Coordinates: N 44º 25.883 W 068º 16.231
Here is a link to the Wikipedia page on the where aborts of the Whispering Giants and the artist Peter Toth.
You could collect postcards and write a blurb on the back of each one about what you did the day you got it…or just collect funky postcards, of a diner in the shape of a sombrero, or the Paul Bunyon statue, etc…oddities from different places.