HBDC Virtual Road Trip: 2009

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The HBDC Virtual Road Tour: 2009

In June, 2009, the bloggers at HBDC (Humor Blog Dot Com) decided to go on a virtual road trip. Every two days, another blogger would post about his or her home town, including links to the both the previous and the next blog. The idea was that in this way we could learn about each other and broaden our knowledge of the world — without having to stand in line at an airport carrying our shoes and shampoo bottles. Our route took us from Toronto, down the eastern seaboard, through the Midwest up to Oregon, east across Canada to Quebec, and from there to Maine. It’s not a particularly sensible route, but then we’re not particularly sensible people.

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Transportation To explore the city, we’ll take public transit, or as we call it, the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). The TTC is an impressive network of buses, subways, streetcars, and something called “light transit” (a subway built to HO scale).

Location: Toronto Host: Frank Lee MeiDere Welcome to Toronto. My hometown. The city which has taken my youth and hopes and dreams, chewed them up, and spit them out saying, “Needs more salt.”

A brief history The first European to set foot on the land which, in the fullness of time, would one day become the city of Toronto, was Etienne Brule. Brule was one of the many courier de bois, early French explorers who learned about the New World by living with the Indians, speaking their language, and becoming absorbed into their culture — although in Brule’s instance, the “absorption” part was perhaps taken too far when his hosts killed and ate him.

The tall object in the middle is the CN Tower, and the rounded object to the left is the Domed Stadium -- an arrangement that isn’t at all phallic

In the years since Brule’s appearance as the main course at a tribal feast, important historical events have occurred and a great many buildings been erected. The result is the Toronto we know today: a mighty city in which hardly anyone is both killed and eaten anymore.

When I first moved to Toronto in 1971, the TTC was using the popular Presidents’ Conference Committee streetcars, more commonly known as PCC or, during rush hour, “road blocks.” They were designed in the ’30s by a committee formed by the presidents of various American electric rail companies. During the ’70s, the PCC car became better known as the Red Rocket, a term now applied to TTC vehicles in general.

PCC Streecar - in operation from 1930s to the 1970s. The original “Red Rocket.”

In the late ’70s, the TTC replaced its fleet of streetcars with the CLRV, or Canadian A CLRV lies in wait as two unsuspecting victims climb aboard. Light Rail Vehicle, designed right here in Canada. When filled to capacity, one CLRV can carry 70 passengers: a number deemed illegal in a room of similar size, but apparently completely safe in a swaying piece of tin that doesn’t have a steering wheel. Although the subways are wisely shut down before last call in the pubs, thereby encouraging drinkers to use their cars to get home and save wear and tear on the transit system’s poorly-maintained fleet, many of Page 5

the major routes have 24-hour bus and streetcar service. In keeping with the outer space imagery suggested by the “rocket” terminology, these vehicles are referred to as Vomit Comets. The reason is left as an exercise for the class. Of course, while we enjoy complaining about the service, and despite the fact that it is one of the most under-funded transit systems in North America, it must be admitted that the TTC provides a convenient and affordable way for all Torontonians to be late for everything.

Landmarks Casa Loma: If you build it, he will come Canada is part of the British Commonwealth, and while we’re still proud of that fact, it doesn’t mean as much now as it did in the early part of the 20th century. Streets were named after kings, queens, princes and princesses, cornerstones bore the initials of whichever monarch was in power at the time, and a visit by members of the royal family was regarded as only slightly less important than the Second Coming. And while it was not customary for visiting royalty to stay at private residences, in 1911 a financier named Henry Pellatt came up with what he considered to be an infallible scheme to change that. To this end, he commissioned the famous architect, E. J. Lennox to build Casa Loma, Canada’s only functioning castle. Well, mostly functioning.

Casa Loma - Canada’s only castle, located behind the college where I teach.

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Work began in 1911 and continued for three years with over 300 workers. Unfortunately, the onset of WWI put a halt to construction, meaning that much of the interior work was never finished. Nevertheless, with 98 rooms, wellequipped horse stables, and an oven large enough to cook an ox, it was

still an impressive achievement. Sadly, Pellatt himself only lived in the castle for ten years before he was forced into bankruptcy. The building rattled around for a while like a faded dowager trying to recapture her glory days — serving as a hotel for a few years and later as a popular night spot — but in the end the Depression forced it to close down completely and in 1933 the city took it over for the back taxes. In 1937, however, it was leased to the Kiwanis Club on the provision that they would restore it to its original condition. Since then, Casa Loma has been one of Toronto’s most popular tourist attractions. The castle plays a strangely recurring role in my own life. While putting myself through George Brown College for a commercial art degree back in the ’70s, I worked as a night janitor at Casa Loma. And now, as an English and professional communications professor at the same college, I teach in the Casa Loma campus located at the foot of the castle. I find it oddly inspiring to look up at the turrets and balustrades at the end of each day and contemplate how much more my students would learn if only I could hold classes in a dungeon. Royal Ontario Museum Opened in 1914, the Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum, and continues to bring knowledge and education to those rich enough to pay the exorbitant entry fees. The building itself is as much loved as the exhibits it holds, so that while the peasants may not be able to actually go in, the neo-Romanesque facade can still make them feel proud as they pass by on their way to working in the fields. The original facade of the ROM .

While the original building is still there, it’s undergone a number of expansions, the first in 1933 when, to employ as many people

as possible during the Depression, much of the digging was done by hand. The new addition was so skillfully blended with the old that to the untrained eye there is no difference. In 1984 another expansion took place, this time adding glass terraces to the north side of the building. The original outside walls remained intact and because they were now inside, visitors could view them up-close all the way to the top. While the original building is still there, it’s undergone a number of expansions, the first in 1933 when, to employ as many people as possible during the Depression, much of the digging was done by hand. The new addition was so skillfully blended with the old that to the untrained eye there is no difference.

The rest of Toronto There’s much, much more to see in Toronto, and definitely much more to do. Our annual Caribana parade and Gay Pride March are attended by millions of people from all over the world. Of course, with this many people you get the occasional spot of violence. Most years see one or two people shot or knifed during Caribana, while the Gay Pride activities invariably result in a dozen or more bitch-slappings and sometimes hundreds of hissy-fits. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough time or space to go into it all. From sitting in a streetcar watching traffic inch by to dodging bullets as the steel-drum bands play, there is no excuse for being bored in this great city.

In 1984 another expansion took place, this time adding glass terraces to the north side of the building. The original outside walls remained intact and because they were now inside, visitors could view them up-close all the way to the top. The most recent expansion is now essentially complete. The new addition was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind and Bregman + Hamann Architects, all of whom were apparently rather badly frightened by large pieces of quartz as children. The result is a cross between classical architecture and steroidal rock Look out, Data -- the Crystalline candy. According to Libeskind, Entity is after you! he “designed the museum on the back of a napkin during a wedding,” which has led one critic to point out that “the building looks a bit like a starched napkin that’s been set aside while the diner goes to the bathroom.” On the other hand, Ryan McGreal notes that due to its materials, it should “age and weather like a heroin addict.”

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Watch a YouTube video of the song, I’m My Own Grandpa.

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Location: Pennsyltucky Host: Unfinished Rambler

As for taste, we’d probably taste a little gamy, to be honest, unlike Brûlé, because of our mostly heavy venison diet, which brings me to the first thing on

An Abbreviated List of Things To Do in Pennsyltucky: 1. Hunt: The prey of choice here is white-tailed deer**; the weapon of choice, a gun not surprisingly since we do cling to them along with our religion (as WASPy as you can get) although we have been known to use the Bowie knife, numchucks or the atlatl in times past (and possibly in the future too). Pennsyltucky also is home to the black bear, the ruffed grouse (the official state game bird) and the mountain lion (at least, some people believe it). This is the second stop on the Humor Bloggers Dot Com Virtual Road Trip, which will take you through Canada, the U.S., back into Canada and then off to London, England. Thanks to Frank Lee MeeDeire of the blog i probably don’t like you, you’ve already had a taste of Toronto, which probably tasted a little French, courtesy of Étienne Brûlé. Here, in Pennsyltucky (all of that area outside the red and blue on the map above, that white is on purpose) we’re mostly of English stock, thanks to this man (?):

2. Fish: The Susquehanna River cuts right through the heart of Pennsyltucky and has everything in it from trout to bass to walleye and recently the American eel has been reintroduced. In addition to the Susquehanna, Pennsyltucky has a plethora of lakes and ponds in which you can catch a wide variety of species from sunfish to piranha: (okay, not really, but I just thought I’d see if Page 9

you were paying attention). 3. Hike: Only a few miles from where I live is the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon or Pine Creek Gorge, which is just one of the highlights, at least, in my mind, in Pennsyltucky to hike and/or bike. Also certainly not to be overlooked is the Appalachian Trail which cuts through the southeast corner of Pennsyltucky. Only thing is while you might be able to hike through some of the areas, be aware that 35 to 40 state parks may be closed in the near future due to budgetary constraints so you may have to find leaves to use or bring your own stock of toilet paper.

You’ll learn all about them at your local Pennsyltucky farm museum. 2. The Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum: You’ll learn not only about Little League Baseball, but also Little League SOFTBALL (even if it was after 36 years since Title IX was passed that the first Little League World Softball Series was played, at least, it happened, dammit). If you come at the end of August this year, you even can catch the 2009 Little League World Baseball Series, culminating in the final game at Howard J. Lamade Stadium. For the 2009 Little League World Softball

4. Drink And Drive: This actually probably should have been No. 1. As a correspondent who covers local district courts, I know of what I speak. DUIs are the most prevalent crime here, next to pedophilia. If you are going to drink and drive in Pennsyltucky, here is

An Abbreviated List of Attractions in Pennsyltucky: to which you can drink and drive, if you make it alive: 1. Farm Museums: A list of which can be found here. You never seen one of these? Series, however, you’ll have to travel to Kalamazoo, Michigan earlier in August (see previous link for more information on dates). 3. Yep, that’s about it. For more on Pennsyltucky, visit here or there.

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Even if your name is Benny, pay no attention to the Benny Go Home signs, Tee shirts, bumper stickers, billboards, chants, graffitti and the like. It’s hard to explain, this anti-Bennyistic activity, but it actually is a long story and well beyond the scope of this class in Jerseyana. New Jersey is well known for its universities. I grew up right near

Location: New Jersey Host: Crotchety Old Man If you are part of the Humorbloggers Summer Road Trip, then I hope you have enjoyed the short trip from Pennsyltucky to here, my home in Downtown, New Jersey. If you are just hopping aboard the bus, you can take a few minutes to go check out what you missed. I’ll wait.......

Queens College at Rutgers University

Ok, welcome back. As you may have heard, New Jersey is the center of the known universe, so we’ll spend a few days here, taking a couple of quick trips to such important landmarks like Yankee Stadium and the Rocky Statue in Philadelphia. See, I told you it was the center of the universe. For today, I’ll just give you a quick tour of the county and town where I live, and over the weekend, we’ll make a few visits to the greater Jerseypolitan area.

This part of the University was established in 1766. I failed out many years ago, and following in my footsteps, the Spawn failed out a few years ago, too. A number of very famous landmarks are in my town. For instance

First, a bit about New Jersey and its citizens. New Jerseyans are among the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. You may see some things like this:

This car has appeared in many magazines over the years. Every few years, the car rots out, and is replaced by a different blue car. The current Page 12

model is a Tercel, replacing the old one that was a Renault. Another kind of different thing here is this

Do you have any idea how lucky we are to find this picture? Talk about coincidences. See the car on the right that looks like a Plymouth Duster? The date on this picture is about the time I drove a Plymouth Duster, and visited the Linden plant. Weird, huh? But, no, it’s not my Plymouth, because I went on a school bus. Yes, this was a class trip. We do things differently in Jersey. You may have gone to a museum, or a park. We went to an oil refinery. It’s a Jersey thing. You wouldn’t understand.

An Art Deco style phallic tribute to Thomas Edison. It was built on the spot where the light bulb was invented.

Yesterday, we visited Rutgers University, but New Jersey has another more famous University, Princeton.

Stop by tomorrow, and we’ll visit the shore, take in a ball game, and if we have time, tour an oil refining plant here in the Garden State.

Tour D’Jersey Continues Glad you’re up early. Still lots to see while the tourbus is here in the Garden State. First, we’ll stop by the Exxon Refinery, in Linden, NJ

Ivy Covered Walls and Everything

Einstein used to hang out in Princeton. Page 13

No visit to New Jersey would be complete without hitting the beach and shore resort area.

Casinos, beaches, the fabulous boardwalk, cocktail waitresses world class dining, sub shops, top entertainment, and so much more. At various shows, I’ve seen, Sha na na, Patti Labelle, Diana Ross, Arsenio Hall (before he sucked) various groups from the 50’s and 60’s and so many more. That’s enough NJ for today.

Our Final Day in the Jerseypolitan Area After a quick NJ breakfast of pork roll, cheese, and egg sandwiches with extra ketchup, it’s time to get on the tour bus for our final day before I send you off to visit Etta And what could be better than a visit to Giants Stadium, home of the Giants and the Jets?

And my personal favorite place; Atlantic City, NJ.

The Meadowlands Sports Complex also features a horse race track and an indoor arena where the Devils play. The Nets used to play there, too, but they moved to Newark, and will probably go to Brooklyn soon. That’s ok, because they suck anyway. No one ever confused them with Page 14

the Lakers. But the best part about living in central New Jersey is we are about an hour away from the South Bronx. If National League baseball is more your style, Queens is about an

hour away also. That’s where the Mets play, and, of course, the current Champions, the Phillies, are about an hour away to the south. Well, our unofficial state motto is “Welcome to New Jersey, Now Go Home,” so I’ve packed you a sack lunch with some Jersey Mike’s Subs, and given the driver some cash for tolls on the Turnpike. Have a safe trip, and remember our other unofficial state motto, “I didn’t see nothing.”

Get outta here, ya buncha mooks

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Location: Stovall - North Carolina Hostess: Etta Rose If you are here from HBDC this is the fourth virtual town you are visiting. Be sure to check out Crotchety in New Jersey if you have not already. Welcome everyone, to my town, the town of Stovall population 387. Please don’t crowd each other you will step off the curb and be in the next town, which is Bullock where my address actually is and the population there is 1,732. We are not ready for that yet. A little history you say? Well, in the days of our forefathers this was once Indian land (feather, not dot) (Tuscarora not Apache) and then after the Tuscarora war the white man took over as they are wont to do. Did you know that if you look down the street you can see a sign, yep that black one. Can you read it?

This county used to be farmland rich in sand. I know, sand? Well that is what they had other than red clay so someone discovered that Bright Leaf tobacco grew real good in sandy soil and for a long time this and the town of Oxford, (15 miles up the road, population 8,552) was a tobacco growing mad house. Then they had about 10,000 slaves to farm that tobacco. Now there is a Governor, actually a slew of them that have taxed the tobacco farmer right out of a job. The textile industry is gone, Lennox China used to be right there in Oxford and Burlington Industries was here too. Now they are gone and there are a lot of old warehouses left standing empty. If you are looking for that special person to share your life with, please do not come to Bullock because the male population and the female population is damned near split right down the middle. I think when you put all the sexes together you have a full set of teeth so that is saying something. Sweet tea is the drink of the town and while you are here I suggest you at least try some. Is that not like drinking syrup? Now you know why they have to have all the sexes together to have a full set of teeth. From sucking sugar tits their whole life. Barbecue is next to sweet tea the only thing the southerners really love here. I for one am not used to pureed pork with vinegar on it, and that is the kind of barbecue you will find here. If that does not suit then how about some fried fatback? Fried chicken? Souse meat, brains and eggs? How about a mess of greens with fatback in it, or a big bowl of chitterlings? Well you are in the south here baby so get used to it. Before you go I have to take you by the orphanage. I am not from here so to me an orphanage is for a child with no parents and no next of kin. You too? Well guess what folks? Anyone who gets tired of the youngun’s or gets re-married and is weary of the old kids can just drop them off right here.

It says John Penn lived hearabouts and he was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Too bad I do not know where he actually lived, but they did put a sign up. Page 17

They of course had a separate one for the “colored” Hey! Don’t give me that look, I told you all I am not from around here.

This is my back yard

Hey when it gets dark you guys want to go cow tipping? Tomorrow I will show you all other the reasons North Carolina is special.

Part Two Good morning! You are not drinking that nasty coffee with chicory are you? Have some good coffee and a piece of hot butter pecan breakfast rolls. Fresh from the oven, hope you enjoy. Yesterday I told you I would tell you what was special about North Carolina yes? The one thing to remember is when you come to NC, come for VACATION, don’t move here for goodness sakes. Your teeth will fall out and you will start beating the wife and hunting with dogs from the side of the road! Let me first show you a couple of scenes from my place. I think it is pretty special. This is my front yard. Page 18

This is a picture of my creek, 3/4 of a mile borders my land.

Okay, so you can’t see the creek. It’s to the right, I just like this picture of the path. (ignore the dates) I want to share something I thought was interesting, and that is North Carolina is like third for movie production in the states. Isn’t that a hoot? Here is a partial list of movies that were either filmed in their entirety or partially filmed in N.C.:

They have a statue of Andy and Opie in the town. There are tons of little eateries called Aunt Bee’s this or Aunt Bee’s that. I wonder if her voice coach lived here too. That voice gahhww!

• Thunder Road • I know what you did last summer • Hellraiser II • The Clearing- Robert Redford • Hannibal- Anthony Hopkins • 28 days- Sandra Bullock • Patch Adams- Robin Williams • Forrest Gump- Tom Hanks • The Crow • One Tree Hill - Series

Let’s head up and over just a little. If you want to go on a scenic drive then the Blue Ridge Parkway is where you have to go. It is 469 miles of some of God’s country. It is truly awesome and has many trails to walk with waterfalls and overlooks for some breathtaking scenes. Fall is the most popular time to go because the colors are gorgeous!

• Dawson’s Creek- Series • Dirty Dancing- Patrick Swayze • Bull Durham • Talladega Nights • Days of Thunder • The Green Mile • American Gothic- Series • Firestarter That is quite the list for movies filmed here, there were more but we have to get going. Andy Griffith is famous here too as he was born in Mt Airy right next to Pilot Mountain ,which in the series was called Mount Pilot. Page 19

Near the border is Kerr lake. This lake spans two states as it is shared with Virginia and has many bass tournaments there. I am lucky to be but nine minutes from the lake and have spent many a day pulling largemouth bass out of it, not to mention more than one 15 pound catfish!

Grandfather Mountain is another place to visit. Once you have been here you will never forget it. Memorable to say the least.

The Biltmore House is the largest house in the United States and Christmas is the best time to go for a truly awe inspiring tour. You can tour the house and learn who built it and who now owns it and does the upkeep on it.

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This concludes the tour of my hometown and state. I truly hope you enjoyed yourselves and anytime you are hankering for some sweet tea and barbecue, keep going because you won’t find it at my house. Now get! Go to brookeamanda’s place and visit with her a spell.

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Location: Bloomington-Normal, Illinois Hostess: Brooke Amanda Welcome to Bloomington-Normal, the “Twin Cities” of Illinois! Let me take you through the life of the average townie. First, you’ll come to B-N to go to college. If your parents are wealthy, you’ll attend Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington. If your parents are middle-class, you’ll attend the far more affordable, yet not quite as nice Illinois State University in Normal. (Author’s note- I did NOT attend Illinois Wesleyan).

Okay, so you can’t spend all your time in B-N eating nuts and drinking. At some point, the college students graduate and need real jobs. How convenient that we are the corporate headquarters to not one, but TWO, major insurance companies!!! State Farm Insurance and Country Insurance are the main employers of EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO LIVES HERE. Three out of four townies works at one of these places. I’m not making this statistic up. I, however, am NOT one of these folks and I’m pretty proud of that fact.

So, you’ve spent a long day selling insurance and need a bite to eat. You’re in luck! B-N has the highest ratio of restaurants per square mile of any city in the U.S. I’m not making that up, either. Once you are settled into your studies, you’ll definitely want to blow off some steam by grabbing drinks at a pub downtown. Be careful! The cops are always waiting to give someone a DUI, like they did a few months ago to actor Sam Shepard. Why in the hell he was here and drinking at Fat Jack’s in downtown Bloomington I have no idea, but it happened and we were featured on TMZ!

After dinner, if it’s summertime, you’ll definitely want to check out The Illinois Shakespeare Festival that we host every year from June to August. Okay, I have to admit, I’ve lived here for ten years, I was a theater major, I lived just blocks from the theater and I’ve NEVER been to Skake’s Fest. EVERY summer I plan to go and it never works out. This year I AM going!

While you’re at the bar, make sure to eat the nuts because they are made right here in B-N, too! Yes, we are home to the famous Beer Nuts factory!! Actually, you may not want to eat the nuts at the bar because studies show they are covered in urine and fecal matter. Yuck.

So that’s pretty much Bloomington-Normal in a nutshell. It’s a VERY nice place to live and I‘m happy to call it my adopted home…now go check into a hotel ‘cause I only have a two bedroom apartment and can’t put everyone up for the night. Page 22

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anything so I checked with the Fort Worth Stockyards and they are doing a special event today with the cattle. That’s right. They could use a few extra hands (pun intended) to shovel.....er....stuff. While we’re shoveling, we can enjoy the history behind the Fort Worth Stockyards (thank you Wiki):

Location: Fort Worth, Texas Hostess: Reforming Geek

The Fort Worth Stockyards now celebrates Fort Worth’s long tradition as a part of the cattle industry and was designated as a historical district in 1976. Many bars and nightclubs (including Billy Bob’s Texas) are located in the vicinity, and the area has a Western motif. There is also an opry and a rodeo. The Fort Worth Stockyards are the last standing stockyards in the United States. Some Fort Worth volunteers (Hey, that’s us, except I got them to pay us) still run the cattle drives today. They do it so that people can see what it was like in the 1800s.

Welcome! You’ve just stumbled upon the Humor Bloggers Dot Com Virtual Tour and its stop in Cowtown (Fort Worth), Texas. We just finished stalking brookeamanda up in Illinois and if you want to see where we’ve been and where we’re going, click here! I hope you had a nice, relaxing flight and are well rested. I know you’re probably ready to begin the tour but first, like the classy responsible tourists that we are, we must check our budget. That’s right. Times are tough down here in Cowtown. I’ve been saving up for a nice pair of roper boots (or maybe a nice pair of boobs will do) but I’m willing to use the money to entertain you. Let me grab Cat and we’ll see what we’ve got:

Photo: dchrisoh, flickr.com Creative Commons

Fast forward a few hours and we are incredibly ripe out here in this heat! After a quick shower with a garden hose, we are headed to lunch. That’s right. We will be eating at *Manny’s house near the stockyards. This is on the north side of town where many of the “hole in the wall” Tex-Mex restaurants are and the population is mostly Hispanic. Hubby’s great-grandmother (not Hispanic) owned a cafe in this area in the 1930’s and we have a family recipe for Spanish Spare Ribs that was one of the most popular dishes on the menu.

As you can probably guess, that money won’t get me nice pair of Page 24

Let’s get back to Manny. Manny is a friend of Hubby’s and his mama cooks up some mean **Tex-Mex (a hybrid of Spanish and native

Mexican foods): Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Refritos (Refried Beans), Tamales, and Sopapillas for dessert.

Just kidding. We’ve got real bathrooms...somewhere around here I’m sure. Aw, forget it. There’s a bush. I’ll cover you. You probably should take one of those pink antacid pills because we are headed to Six Flags over Texas this afternoon. It’s in Arlington about 20 minutes from downtown Cowtown. After a cool down on the log flume ride, we are in line for one of the main attractions: Titan. I hope you like roller coasters. This one’s a blast!

Photo: mulf, flickr.com Creative Commons

That’s enough gas to tank you up pretty dern good. Never fear. If you need to use the facilities, we’ve got plenty of these around town:

But wait. There’s more. After spilling the contents of our stomach from the roller coaster ride, we are going to sit down for awhile and catch a baseball game. In the picture, it’s that red stadium that can be seen from that seriously evil coaster. We will be watching the Texas Rangers play Crotchety’s New York Yankees. I think we’re going to need lots of beer. The Yankees usually kick our ass. Also, in the background of the picture is a work-in-progress shot of the new Cowboys stadium, the new home for the Dallas Cowboys professional football team (just in case you haven’t heard of them!) If you’ve got a spare thousand, you might be able to get a reasonably decent seat. Do you get the idea that sports are a big thing down here?

Photo: some email

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You would be right. OK, the baseball game’s over. We actually won! Let’s get on the road. You’re spending the night at my place tonight. Um, no, not with me. Sorry. There just isn’t enough room in the bed and Hubby won’t even let the cat sleep with us. I’ve got plenty of room in the backyard and you can fight over the little shed:

Virtual Tour Day 2: Cowtown Classics Posted by ReformingGeek at 6/16/2009 06:00:00 AM Welcome to Day 2 of our tour of Cowtown (Fort Worth), Texas, one of the stops on the Humor Bloggers Dot Com Virtual Road Trip. If you want to see where we’ve been and where we’re going, click here. Let’s get the show started. GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM! Oh wait. Wrong movie. Sorry about that. It’s time to RISE and SHINE. I’ve made breakfast:

Photo: ReformingGeek

Sorry about the mess in the yard. It’s been a stormy week. We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. Nighty night. Sleep tight. Tomorrow will be a busy day!

Oh, wait. That’s not right. Wrong meal. THIS is breakfast:

*Not his real name of course! **Tex-Mex - “Mexican” food with Texas influences such as a heavy chili con carne sauce (spicy beef gravy), lots of melted cheese, beef, and combination plates served with chips and salsa (“hot sauce”) Since you guys are special and this is a special occasion, I’ve made my famous breakfast burritos (bacon, egg, and cheese), with some salsa of course! This is usually a “weekends only” breakfast so you should feel Page 26

honored. Since I was kind enough to make you breakfast, here’s a rake. Remember that mess out back from yesterday? Please rake it up in nice neat piles and get it done quickly. We’ve got a busy day ahead. Fast forward 30 minutes. WOW! You guys did great. Thanks so much for helping out. Now, let’s get going. We are going to visit the Fort Worth Zoo this morning. Please be careful. I know you guys are funny but the animals might not think so. Keep your hands to yourself and don’t make silly faces, OK? Also, please DO NOT dispose of misbehaving children in the lion’s den.

Photo: zyada on flickr.com

Wasn’t that fun? I do apologize for that zebra. How rude. And those elephants must have thought you needed to cool off. You’re probably getting as hungry as some of those critters. I know I am. Lunch today will be some good ole southern cooking. We’re having chicken fried steak, white gravy, a couple of side dishes and some banana pudding for dessert. Hubby recommends Massey’s, a little hole-in-thewall place south of downtown, a couple of miles from the zoo. It’s been around forever. Believe it or not, I’ve NEVER been there and I’ve been around forever. Now that our arteries are clogged, let’s take a walk around the Fort Worth Botanical Garden.

Photo: Miss Shari on flickr.com

I’m so glad we’ve got a few minutes to walk round the various gardens with all the pretty spring blooms. It’s been way too long since I’ve been here. Next up is a little culture, quickly browsing one of several museums in the “museum district”. Let’s do a whirlwind tour of the Kimbell Art Museum. WHEW! That was tough and I like art. HEY! WAKE UP out there. Photo: zyada on flickr.com

We’re moving again. We don’t have Princeton, but we do have Texas Christian University (TCU). We’ve got time for a quick tour of TCU, Page 27

home of the purple horned frogs. Oh, wait. That can’t be right, can it? I know that they are really into purple and they are the Horned Frogs. Go figure.

Photo: some photo airline operating back in 2000

Yes, those buildings are damaged. After the tornado in March of 2000, they rebuilt the restaurant, Reata, here (notice the nice rooftop!): Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: members.virtualtours.com

Photo: ChrisMPowell, flickr.com

They are offering a wine-tasting event this afternoon. We are joining them and will probably be a little wobbly afterwards. We’ll need to catch the bus to dinner. I hope you’re hungry. For a nice send-off, I’m taking you to a fun place in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. It used to be on the top floor of the tall building in this photo: Page 28

The inside is tastefully (that may be debatable) furnished with western decor. We wouldn’t want you to forget where you are, right? Let’s start with an order of calf-fries. Don’t worry. I’ll also order some steaks and plenty of beer to help you eat the calf-fries. You DO know what they are, don’t you? Those two days went by fast. It’s time for me to drop you at the airport for your flight to Phoenix, AZ to visit MadMadMargo! Thank you for stopping in for a big Texas Howdy! **HUGS**

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surroundings of the 26,000 square feet spa, your massage will prepare you for our busy day ahead.

Location: Phoenix, Arizona Hostess: Mad Mad Margo

Virtual Road Trip: Phoenix Day 1 Welcome to Phoenix, Arizona!!! I am your host for this segment of The Virtual Road Trip. This trip across North America, and later across the big pond, is being brought to you by Humor Bloggers Dot Com. During our tour, please take the time to click the links for additional information and also click the photos for a closer look - I don’t want you to miss a thing.

Woo hoo, it’s time to head ‘em up and move ‘em out little doggies. That’s cowboy talk for “get on the bus, damn it”. We’re expecting the temperature to reach 100 degrees today. So, please keep yourself hydrated and be sure to wear sunscreen. Oh, Frank, ummmm...I dunno, long black socks with sandals? Our first stop this morning is the Heard Museum. I never tire of visiting the Heard. This unique museum houses over 32,000 pieces of cultural and American Indian fine art. The Heard also hosts a number of events and festivals throughout the year such as the World Championship Hoop Dancing. This is a thrilling and colorful event; it’s definitely a don’t miss it if you find yourself back in this area next February.

I trust you are finding your accommodations suitable here at the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa. For those that would like to get in 9 holes this morning, I’m sure you’ll find one of the three championship courses to your liking. And, for those that would prefer to relax in the plush Page 30

Okay, for you sports enthusiasts, our next stop is the Chase Field ballpark, home of the 2001 World Series champions, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The retractable roof is an awesome feature unique to this ballpark and allows for comfort regardless of the weather. Unfortunately, the D’backs are playing in Kansas City tonight, but we can watch the game on the big screen later this evening if you like. We Arizonans love our baseball! Rambler, now THIS is the big league!

Anyone hungry? There’s a taco stand not too far from the ballpark that I know you’ll enjoy. You’ll find a variety of south of the border treats here. Carne asada (beef), carnitas (pork), fresh salsa and a refreshing rice water drink called “horchata”. These are some of the local favorites on the menu. And, of course, there’s plenty of ice cold Mexican beer. Grab a curbside table and take in the scenery.

leaving! I think a nice way to work off our lunch is with a leisurely stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden. Nestled in the red buttes of Papago Park, this 50-acre garden has one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. Don’t worry, this stop isn’t all about cacti, I’ve arranged to jazz things up a bit. There’s a small pavilion at the end of one the trails where a jazz trio and dessert is waiting our arrival. Ahhh, can it get much better than this?

Yes, Etta, there are more gift shops to come! Our next destination is for the thrill seekers. We are going to make a quick stop at one of Phoenix’s amusement parks, Castle N’ Coasters. There are a number of roller coasters, water rides, miniature golf and carnival type games. I suggest you brush up on your skills at the shooting range, this might come in handy later in the trip.

Now, where’s Da Old Man? C’mon, pick up the shuffle, the bus is Page 31

Brookeamanda, you’re looking a bit water-logged. Enjoyed yourself did ya? Can I get a show of hands? How many were aware that architect Frank Lloyd Wright had a project here in Arizona? It’s called Taliesin West which is located in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains and surrounded by the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This sprawling complex houses the FLW Foundation and the FLW School of Architecture. Our guide will give us all the fascinating facts of this living memorial to one of the greatest American icons.

Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes day one of our tour in Phoenix. When you arrive back at the resort, please take advantage of some of the amenities offered by this fine establishment. But, I do suggest you try to make it to bed early, we leave for some grand destinations very early in the morning. I bid you a good-night.

Virtual Road Trip: Phoenix Day 2 Good morning! I realize it’s a bit early, but I promise you a full day of beauty and adventure. For those of you joining us on for the first time on the Humor Bloggers Virtual Road Trip, click here to catch up with the tour. Oh, and be sure to click on the links and photos for an in-depth look. Everyone on the bus? We’ve got a lot of territory to cover!

Ready for our final stop of the day, Reforming Geek? We are heading out to Pinnacle Peak Patio for a cowboy cookout and fiesta. I’ve reserved us a private spot on the desert to enjoy one of the fine steaks at this world’s largest steakhouse. We will first be entertained by a Mariachi band and folklorico dancers. Then, for those that would like to strut your stuff on the dance floor, a cowboy band will finish tonight’s line-up of entertainment.

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Today we are leaving the city and heading to the beautiful high-country of Arizona. The bus can only take us so far, so we’re pulling over to switch our mode of travel, a Hummer caravan. This caravan will take us to our first few destinations. Let’s start the day by experiencing a real cowboy chuck wagon breakfast. Jeb and Zac have prepared us a wonderful meal here in the great outdoors: bacon, eggs, beans, biscuits and gravy and, of course, there’s plenty of coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice. Pull up a boulder, take in the canyon scenery and enjoy the feast.

Beano, anyone? Now, back to the Hummers for our off-road adventure. We’ll be climbing and winding our way through the canyons to an area that was once very important to Arizona gold mining, Crown King. A now-living ghost town, Crown King is situated in the Bradshaw Mountains and is surrounded by the Prescott National Forest which is 1.25 million acres of government land. The largest stand of Ponderosa pine on the planet starts here and for runs hundreds of miles. Hold on, everyone, this could be a treacherous ride!

Is everyone okay? The train is slowing this time because we’ve arrived at our destination, the Grand Canyon National Park. Everyone, please choose a buddy for this segment of the tour. This steep gorge was carved by the Colorado River. It is 277 miles long and ranges in width from four to 18 miles with a depth of a mile. Isn’t it beautiful? I’ve arranged for a guide to take us to a couple of the points of interest including the new Skywalk where you actually walk out over the canyon for a view 4,000 feet below. After we finish watching the IMAX film at the National Geographic center, we’ll hop back on the bus for the last destination of our tour. I hope you folks don’t mind taking the back roads this morning, but you’d miss this breath taking scenery from the freeway. Just an hour or so away we will be merging with the Mother Road, Route 66. This will take us to our next stop, Williams - the gateway to the Grand Canyon. Here we are at the Grand Canyon Railway station. We’ll be boarding the train real soon that will take us on a delightful 2-hour ride up to the Grand Canyon. Our champagne lunch will be severed in the dining car. There is an aspect of danger though! Remember how I suggested that you brush up on your skills at the shooting range yesterday? Well, the train we’re riding today is a bait train, there’s a likelihood that we may be robbed (watch it here). Hold on to your valuables and your virtue, these outlaws can be pretty rough! Page 33

Head count! Our tour will end with one more spectacular site, Hoover Dam which sits on the border of Arizona and Nevada. We’ll take a brief tour where we’ll learn a lot of dam facts. Plus there’s a dam gift shop where you’ll find dam keychains, dam coffee mugs, dam bumper stickers and just about any-dam-thing you’d want.

Thank you all for being a part of of the Humor Bloggers Virtual Road Trip, I do hope you enjoyed your time in Arizona. It’s been my pleasure to host this portion of the trip and do come back to visit anytime. VE will be your host for the next segment of the trip, I’m sure he has made many wonderful plans for you while in Oregon. Adios! MadMadMargo

Dam it! Just 30 miles away is Las Vegas, baby! I’m going to leave you here so you can make your connection for the next leg of the trip. For the time you are here you can freshen up, have dinner on the strip, take in a show or try your luck at the tables.

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Visit the Woodstock Mystery Hole online

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Location: Portland, Oregon Host: Ve

Portland is a mega-outdoor person’s destination.

Welcome to Portland, Oregon... dont’ stay! You are on the Humorbloggers Roadtrip today! I’ll navigate you forward or back at the end of your tour today and on Sunday (yes, you get a two part postset...just like those slicer-dicer things on the info commercial).

overpriced amounts.

Welcome to Portland, Oregon. Can I see proof that you will leave? No, seriously, for years Oregon had advertising and a big push to keep people from moving here. It didn’t work; all the damn Californians moved up here after selling their ridiculously overpriced homes and raising our homes to ridiculously

But I gotten ahead of myself, haven’t I? I’m actually a Portland native so I’m obviously in the best position to share my city with you. In reality you are lucky because I do know my city whereas most people rarely visit anything in their own city…they tend to overlook things because they live there and they get caught up in their own mundane programming. Like reality TV... Page 36

In Portland, it either rains or is cloudy for practically 8 months of the year. But most of the time it is a light rain or even a mist. The weather people here are nearly always wrong; weather comes in off the Pacific ocean which is a mere 80 miles away and they have no indicators floating around out there in the ocean so it’s pretty much a crap shoot. However, the summer weather here is the best in the country. Low humidity, clear blue skies, 70s to 90s, no smog, and lots of green! This is when people move here. They get horrified by the drizzle later…we locals laugh at them then... - We have skiing on Mt. Hood less than two hours away; the only year round skiing in the entire United States. That gives you many opportunities to break bones! - We have beaches and surfing less than two hours away too. The water is cold. It’s nice to look at because we have beautiful beaches; just bring the ski parka….you’ll need it! - We have a world class rock climbing location (Smith Rocks) about 3 hours away. Don’t go there. I don’t need you hogging my damn climbing routes! - We have world class whitewater destinations within a reasonable drive. Just don’t drown; it raises our guide rates because of their liability insurance... - We have the Columbia river right next to us; it’s one of the largest and longest rivers on the continent and is perfect for wind surfing, sailing, and fishing. If you’re not into actually getting into the water you can watch beginner wind surfers get sucked under the barges that go by. Always a guesome and fun afternoon... - We have hiking right in the city with a 33 mile trail in an undeveloped forest that is accessible within minutes of most people. Feel free to come hike with the homeless and the survivalists. - We have more bike lanes than Lois Lane...

On Sunday I’ll give you a visual tour of just how weird things are around here. Until that time, feel free to navigate the other stops on the tour. We just got done visiting here (you might have to search back a little bit...time flies when you’re a blog and you actually post)

Portland is pretty liberal and the rest of Oregon other than Eugene and Ashland are pretty conservative. How liberal are we? Well...how many cities can say they’ve converted a grade school into a brewpub? I’d say that’s the test for liberal... We have only one national sports team to clog up traffic: Portland Trailblazers (basketball). Yes, we’re the ones that chose Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in the NBA draft. Yes, our team once had so many bad boys that we were calling them the Jailblazers. Yes, we recruited a number one draft choice two years ago and he immediately broke a bone and was out the entire season. SO WHAT! It’s the only team we have… There are a lot of great things about the city. We don’t have to pump our own gas (and we laugh thinking that you do). We don’t have a sales tax here. We don’t have anything important around that would make us a good bombing target. We have a cool plaza downtown where they hold free concerts and other events.

And our next stop after Portland will be here (and don’t expect a post right away; that’s why they are the NEXT stop. You can’t visit it before it is done...sheesh. You’re probably one of those people that set your clocks 10 minutes ahead, aren’t you?

Portland is weird...and we like that! Welcome back to the second part of our Humorblogger Roadtrip. If you missed the first part; just scroll on down, it is right before this one. At the end of the tour, I’ll guide you either to an earlier part of the tour or where to go next if you want to follow the tour. Ok...Portland is weird. You saw the bumper sticker. Sure, there are other cities that do the same and I’m sure most of the big cities across the USA have plenty of their fair share of weirdness too. But Portland isn’t a real big city either and it is regularly in the top 10 most desirable places to live. That’s if you read Weirder Homes and Gardens Magazine, of course. Here are a few examples of our weirdness...

But we do have (or did have) many unusual places. Portland likes unusual places and weirdness. They even have bumper stickers to encourage weirdness. Page 37

Voodoo Donuts is now famous worldwide for having extremely weird donuts. Examples include the cock and balls cream filled donut, the voodoo donut, the maple bacon bar and more.

This was the infamous 24 hour Church of Elvis. It was an odd and magical place here in Portland. Sadly, it’s no longer here but typifies some of the irreverence and oddity of Portland.

“The Clown House” is one of the main centers for the Last Thursday event. It’s simply a house where a lot of unusual people live and many of them dress up as clowns and perform on these weird bikes. One of their main events is the bike jousting. Much of the time it is naked bike jousting just to take it up a notch on the weird meter.

On the last Thursday of every month the Alberta neighborhood comes alive with a very folky-artsy street fair. You’ll find strange people and bicycles like this during the festivities.

This is an example of what you might find in front of a house should you drive by. Now I’m not saying every house is this weird, but it isn’t hard to find this sort of oddity here.

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And what can I really say after that embarrassment. Here’s a postcard I once did for Oregon:

Many of the streets in the city still have the metal horse rings to tie your horse too. People have gone around and added these little horse statues to them. I have no idea why…it’s just interesting to see them there. Finally, there are also many famous people that call or called Portland home.

And on that note, I take you to your next step (or prior step) of your road trip journey.

Sam Elliot (oh come on…he was the cowboy in The Big Lebowski!) Clark Gable (what?…get real…Gone with the Wind ring a bell?) The inventor of the mouse is from Portland (no, not the rodent kind) The guy that changed high jumping forever is from here (he flopped backwards) And then of course we have her:

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So anyhoos -- Welcome to Friendly Manitoba! It says ‘friendly’ right there on our license plates; it’s like a law or something. If you get caught being unfriendly, I hear the government sends out a rep to cut off your eyelids and stake you out in the blazing sun over an anthill. So either be friendly while you’re here, or don’t say I didn’t warn you. This stop on the HBDC virtual tour we’ll be poking around the Manitoba Interlake region a little bit -- ooh, I can see you’re almost vibrating with excitement! You really don’t get out much, do you? But let’s just chat a bit first, shall we? Location: Manitoba Host: Venom

HBDC Virtual Roadtrip - The Interlake Well, hallo there friends! I do hope your trip up from Oregon was a pleasant one. Did I hear a rumour that the bus toilet is out of order, along with the air conditioning? Honestly, I can’t hardly believe VE would sabatoge the AC with a can of rotten sardines. Nor can I imagine him shoving those two whole double rolls of TP down the bus loo and then practically dying laughing at the thought of your discomfort... Nope. No-siree-bob, I just can’t see it. I can see that you’ve been waiting here for me a spell today -- my apologies to you all but, here on the farm, downed fencelines won’t wait for company. I see you’ve also helped yourself to lunch & beverages and chosen your rooms for the night. That’s good actually because I don’t need any beer anyways and DOH & I can always sleep in the garage as I see someone has already unpacked their dainties on our bed.

The Interlake is a place of inland oceans and infinite possibilities; there is actually a sign on the east side of highway #9 that says just that, so you know it’s the truth. Though I only moved to this province last year, I can vouch that the amount of rain that fell on this region over the rainy season (known elsewhere in Canada as ‘summer’) was easily enough to create new lakes out of many spaces that had formerly been called ‘crop & pasture land’, or ‘front yards & driveways’, or ‘bridges & approaches’. Lake Winnipeg, about 15 miles east of the homestead here, is more than 400 miles long from top to bottom and supports a roaring commercial fishing trade. Dang it all! I had a slide show all planned out, but wouldn’t you know my luck, the damn projector’s on the fritz. Don’t worry though, DOH is working on it and promises we’ll have plenty to see later on. If nothing else, my buddy Crabby Steve from down #7 is always good for a laugh. I can see you are all somewhat road weary - waddaya say to a little nap before supper? I thought so. Well, when you wake up I’ll have your lunch dishes done up & DOH’ll have a whack of black angus steaks slathered in Red Bull BBQ on the grill. On the table will be big bowls of both tossed green & potato salads, plenty of more beer & coolers, plus veggie dogs for any non-meatitarians among you. Page 41

HBDC Roadtrip - Unscheduled Stop 4:35 A.M., Teulon Hospital Emergency Room Holy Jay-zus, my head hurts and my mouth tastes like Narcan & charcoal... again. Why does this keep happening to me? Oh yeah... I remember, but maybe now I wish I hadn’t. As dusk falls, one of the lovliest moments of a Manitoba day, we’ll toss a match on that enormous pile of dry wood out back there and have us one hell of a bonfire.

“Excuse me, Nurse? Do you know how much longer my buddy Crabby Steve’ll be?”

Maybe we can convince Crabby Steve to play his guitar and we’ll all sing ‘Koombayah’ or some such thing. Oh, who am I kidding? We’ll probably all be so gotdang drunk by 9:30 tonight that no one will remember the words to ‘Koombayah’. Hell, we’ll be lucky if Crabby Steve doesn’t fall into the fire, roll back out, and not even notice the smell of his own burnt hair. Yep, everyday’s a party with Crabby Steve around. But it’s just not so easy as you might figure it’d be, giving rural directions to the first responder dispatch, I mean. I’ll be pounding on your doors first thing tomorrow; we’ve got a big day of Interlake sight-seeing ahead of us! Shower time will be strictly limited to 10 minutes per person -- some of you might want to clean up before you hit the sack so we’re sure to have enough hot water. Please, whoever has all those scented candles, chocolate strawberries, & bubble bath lined up beside my jet tub? Just... keep the door locked. Please. Waffles and white sauce (MB mennonite breakfast delite), bacon & eggs will be served from 7 until 8:15 am. There’ll be plenty of hot coffee to go around, and a big old jug of Carolan’s Irish Whickey for those that need a little hair of the dog. Or you can just lick the MightyHunterShepherdBitch if you’d rather. Page 42

“Hmmm? Oh yes, I do agree that the vomitting child trumps Crabby Steve’s splinter. No rush with him, of course. I was just wondering because there’s a busload of tourists waiting for me to get back to the farm, is all.” “Pardon me? How did he get the splinter? Hmmm? Oh, yes I suppose that ‘splinter’ might be understating it somewhat. Well, Crabby Steve had a little too much joy juice last night...” “Hmmm? Well, yes - last night and this morning, technically, you’re right. Anyway, he had too much of that homemade shit he makes in his horse trough when Dirty Wanda’s off at one of her rodeos... hmmm? Oh yes ma’am, I know there’s a distinct chance of going blind drinking his hooch (nodding sagely); that’s why I stick to prescription medication and Silent Sam, myself.”

“So Crabby Steve was fairly well into the bag when he started getting all moody as he is wont to do on occasion, you know Steve? Yes, I think he’s a pretty frequent patron here.” “What upset him? I suppose it was the grinding.”

“No. Way.” “Dammitall, we were supposed to be going on a little tour today!” “...(sigh) North on 7, then 2 miles west on the market road, then 1 mile north until you see the flames.” No doubt this is going to throw off the bus schedule... (sigh) “Umm, Nurse? Could I possibly get something for this migraine please?”

“No, no, nobody’s teeth. We had the pick-up pulled up next to the bonfire so’s we could all listen to the 8-track you see, and The Trogs come over the speakers playing ‘Wild Thing’. One of the guests, who kept yapping on about these little blue pills he bums off of Bob Barker, grabbed Dirty Wanda and started grinding on her. At first Crabby Steve didn’t notice, but once Dirty Wanda started doing the ‘butterfly’ NO ONE could look away - it was like a train wreck in slow motion.” “Say again? Oh, yeah, Dirty Wanda has no business doing the ‘butterfly’ at all, granted, but these tourists know how to have a good time and they just got a refresher course in ‘weird’ while they were down in Portland, but that’s a little off the track I guess.” “Oh yes, the splinter. Hmm? The shard, I stand corrected Nurse, of course that’s a better word for a 2” x 9” flake of wood protruding from a guy’s taint. It’s called a what, now? Okay then.” “Well, when Crabby Steve saw what his girl Dirty Wanda was up to with that fellow from New York, NY he threw down his guitar and lunged at the guy. Of course, it wasn’t so much a lunge as it was a lurch... and well, that’s when he tripped over his own feet and fell into the woodpile there.” “What’s that? Why do you need directions to the farm now, we’re already here ??” “Dirty Wanda and New York have had an incident involving scented candles, chocolate strawberries, a paper towel tube and a gopher, you say?”

Virtual Roadtrip - MB Interlake, part 1 So, you’re back today & wondering what went down on the virtual tour Friday after I got home from the emergency room. Glad to have you back, for sure. Well, Crabby Steve & Dirty Wanda are both fine -- I knew you’d be wondering. My head still hurts, thanks for asking. But New York? Not so much fine. After having his *ahem* gopher problem worked out by the ER staff, he paid up his hospital bill and caught a ride to the airport with the Canadian Linens truck. He was all huffy because nobody would go over to the bank for him and exchange his american dollars for real money. So, whilst complaining loudly, he paid his bill, plus a pain in the ass surcharge the finance office levied against him (for their inconvenience of having to make a separate deposit of foreign currency). I suppose he made life miserable for some poor flight attendant on that trip. Ah well, he’d run out of his magic blue pills anyways. Fat lot of good they did him. *Dark Laughter* To the left there is a picture of a fighter plane donated to Gimli by the Canadian DND in appreciation of the many years of co-operation between the town of Gimli and the (now defunct) CFB Gimli. Of course, in true MB spirit, the plane is mounted up on permanent display. I just Page 43

thought I’d throw that picture in, seeing as explaining the whereabouts of Mr. New York brought up the thought of airplanes and such. Dirty Wanda declined to tell the whole story of how New York got into his little pickle, er, actually... turned out besides the gopher, he had a little pickle in him too, but like I said, Dirty Wanda has been uncharacteristically silent. I’m betting the story will come out eventually, so be sure to stay tuned to Venom, Secrets, & Lies for that, ‘cause you just never know when she’ll end up spilling those beans. Crabby Steve had the finance office add the cost of his inflatable donut to Mr. New York’s bill - said it was the cost of his pride. Seeing as there’s not a thing wrong with Crabby Steve’s fists, and seeing as New York did accost the honour of Crabby Steve’s woman... well, it was cheap at twice the price, as the saying goes. Plus, on the ambulance ride Dirty Wanda pointed out Crabby Steve’s place to NY - apparently, he was slightly unsettled by the sight of their fence.

I don’t know what kind of skulls he thought he was seeing, though it seems more than likely that he’d never seen a cow without it’s long eyelashes attached anymore. Plus, I did see Crabby Steve whispering into NY’s ear - let’s just say I don’t put it past him to have been spinning a little yarn to put the fear of Steve into that city boy. I dropped my friends off home on the way back to the farm, they weren’t in the mood for waffles. Good thing too, because the only breakfast leftover was the smell of waffles in the air by the time I pulled up into the yard. DOH & Piglet had fed everyone right on schedule; those tourists cleaned up on all the coffee & Carolans too. I could’ve used a cuppa. Or maybe a nap. But there was a right clamour going up about sight-seeing so, no rest for the wicked as they say. There was still the problem of the bus though - not hardly fit to ride Page 44

in, what with no AC or WC either, and so many hangovers all around. Plus, the bus driver had been pretty much completely off keel since Thursday night when he made the poor decision to join Crabby Steve in a pail or two of that skreech he concocts out in his horse trough on hot days. I think maybe the driver got some of the stuff that hadn’t yet aged properly. Though he was temporarily unwell, his sight had returned and he insisted that all he needed was a few more hours of sleep and he’d be ready to drive the bus to Ottawa. I put a puke bucket beside his bunk though, and Piglet volunteered to keep a watch on him just in case the convulsions come back. Piglet is applying to nursing school so this is just another good opportunity for practice, to her way of thinking. Such a sensible child, that one. DOH & his chum, Ernhardt, were in the midst of working on the bus and assured all that it would arrive in Ottawa on time for the scheduled visit with Nomamedufus on Monday. Ernhardt is a little strange, but he’s a good man with a wrench. He claims to be Dale Jr.’s second cousin by marriage, and he wears his autographed Nascar coat ALL the time -- rain or shine, inside or out, for all seasons. Once, when I asked Ernhardt how come the autograph on his jacket reads “To Auntie Rose, Keep yer pedal to the floorboards! Love Dale Jr.” he got all huffy and left DOH to work on the lawn tractor by himself. DOH says I’m not allowed to talk to Ernhardt anymore unless I’m asking him if he’s ready for another beer. The decision was made to head out & see rural Manitoba as it should be seen - from between the ears of a good horse. I called up Dirty Wanda and, between her string of rodeo ponies and my small herd we mounted up all those who cared to ride. Crabby Steve, being in no condition to straddle a horse, hitched his team of heavy horses to the big parade wagon, threw his donut up onto the bench, and played chauffer to the less adventurous among our guests. As a group, myself in the lead and Dirty Wanda bringing up the rear (*heh hehhehheh, bringing up the rear, heh heh*), we headed down the ditch on horseback as Crabby Steve drove right up the middle of the road with the parade wagon; he and the other wagon riders were travelling in high style. Crabby Steve’d packed a jug, but Piglet had countered with numerous thermos’ of coffee; Piglet is one smart cookie. But, tough nuggies little Piglet, I had a bottle of Carolans stashed in my saddlebag!

You can’t outsmart the original Liquor Piglet my dear - Dirty Wanda & I, along with several of our guests, needed a little pick-me-up after all we’d been through the last few days. Of course, we made the logical first stop - at Lake Winnipeg. Lake Winnipeg is Canada’s 6th largest fresh water lake, and the 10th largest on the planet. It measures more than 14,400 square miles - hence the term, inland ocean. The annual landed value of fishing from this lake approaches $25,000,000. Lake Winnipeg is the 3rd largest reservoir in the world, and enables Manitoba Hydro to generate between $350 - 580,000,000. per year in export power sales. We also rode past Fishlips, my favourite Gimli store; Mike the proprietor is the most knowledgeable person on the subject of hemp products that I’ve ever come across. Hemp is a big crop in Manitoba; I’ll bet you had no idea!! Okay, so Mr. & Ms. Hawaii insisted on tying their horses to a tree and going inside the store to ‘browse’; afterwards they also ducked across the road to Tergeson’s to grab a big bag of sweets from the selection of old timey penny candy sticks & such goodies that the store brags (in addition to forward fashions for young people, a good stock of books, quirky kitchen gadgets, and assorted joke items.) Next we made a quick stop over to the SuperA, specially for Mrs. Minnesota, who is a big Elvis fan. You all remember my Elvis show review, right? So Adam T. Elvis, crowd pleaser that he is, was more than happy to step out from behind his

meat counter and pose for a few photos kissing the gals. I got the distinct feeling that Mr. Minnesota was less than impressed when The King goosed Mrs. M, but she giggled & blushed like a school girl; her old man couldn’t have slapped the grin off of her mug had he the cojones to try (which he did not, perhaps in part because Dirty Wanda is just itching to teach more of her ‘lessons’ to any men behaving badly). Then we all ponied past one of Gimli’s painted polar bear statues; this one is my favourite because of what he holds in his right paw. It’s the littlest details that count the most, my friends. Yes - it is weird that there are not one, but two polar bear statues in Gimli. Because, no, there are no polar bears this far south. If you wanted to see the real thing you’d have to head to Churchill where there are a number of eco-tourist excursions around the big white teddy’s. However, if you’re not fussy on colour, stick around the farm here and you’ll see a bear sooner or later. The neighbour across the road from our place shot a black bear that was going after new calves in his pasture a couple of weeks ago; this is the same neighbour who shot the 100lb timeberwolf in my back field earlier this year, by the way. I should tell you that, for whatever reason, small town Manitoba is abnormally fond of large statues. It’s like, if any old wide spot in the road (wait’ll we get to Komarno!) can’t come up with a giant statue of some kind or another, then they’re just the poor cousins when it comes time to handing out that government $$. Anyway, back to the trial ride... On the right there you’ll see the Gimli Viking - a stoic nod to the norsemen who originally settled the shores of Lake Winnipeg. Fierce looking, isn’t he? The tall blonde people in these parts are pretty fierce looking too, and they don’t take any guff from anybody - they’re as likely to pull you outta your car and roll you for your wallet as look at you. There are a lot of liquor vendors in this part Page 45

of the country, but they’re all pretty well-fortified against siege, so the locals know it’s a lot easier to just bring cash than to have to prepare for ‘storming the fortress’ every time they need another 2-4. Not everyone has a still in their barn like Crabby Steve; Crabby Steve laughs at the little norsemen. He also bottles & sells to them - Money’s money, says Crabby Steve. Plus, he carries a 30/30 shotgun; not to kill mind you, just to keep that warrior spirit in check. We swung past Siglavik, which boasts two giant boat statues. Unlike Miklavik, which has only one - the poor bastards. Both Sig & Mik are small settlements that are built with a series of canals so that each house has direct access to the canals, and the lake, from their own docks in their backyards. Great, if you’re a boater or a fisherman. If you’re just a farmer though, who gives a shit? I’ll give you that their statues are pretty cool though. Closer back to home we stopped off at Komarno, which was named so by it’s ukranian settlers. ‘Komarno’ is ukespeak for mosquito (you may have guessed) and a more fitting name for the place I cannot imagine. This whole gotdang province could be named Komarno for all that. Or horsefly. The thousands of horseflies trailing us on our sight-seeing ride made a buzzing din; one rider commented that he felt like Britney or LiLo being followed around by the papparozzi hoping for another greasy cooch shot. Dirty Wanda told him to shut his freakin’ pie hole ‘cuz he was making her queasy. He did; no surprise there considering what everyone now knows about Wanda’s temper. Last stop on the long ride Friday was the Narcisse Snake Dens, famous subject of a TV documentary. The 4 dens at Narcisse house tens of thousands of red sided garter snakes as they rest together below ground over the winter months; snakes are not true ‘hibernators’. In the spring Page 46

the snakes emerge from the dens to warm themselves in the sun and to breed. Females exude a pheremone that draws the males to her en masse, forming ‘snake knots’, such as in the photo to the right. It is interesting to note that some males will exude a pseudo-female pheremone in a bid to attract other males to form knots around them, thereby warming them faster. I could crack wise here about gay snake behaviour, but even Venom can pull a punch once in a while. We arrived back at the farm late, but to the delectable aroma of succulent roast pork in the air - our friend Danny from Danny’s Whole Hog had heard about our guests and stopped by to join in the fun. Danny’d brought one of his huge cookers and had spent the entire afternoon sweating over the hot coals while watching DOH & Ernhardt finish up work on the tour bus by adding an undisclosed # of nitrous canisters to the undercarriage (Ottawa, ON TIME, or bust!). At some point during the day, Ernhardt had also made a quick run in to the vendors to re-supply (Every trip with Ernhardt is a quick one. Just ask his wife. *Heh hehheh*), and DOH had gathered up another big mess of firewood for the night’s hootenany. As it turned out, the bus driver was feeling much better. He dug out a fiddle he had stashed in his duffle bag and he, along with Crabby Steve on guitar, Dirty Wanda on the jug (what else is new?), Danny on his mouth harp, and Mr. Hawaii on a ukelele, played the kind of music no

drunk can resist (especially once Ms. Hawaii put on her grass skirt and started getting insistant about everybody dancing!) Well sir, we logged a perfectly respectable Manitoba Friday night bush party with several of our guests passing out right there on the lawn. Come on back tomorrow (after the bus has left for the next stop) and I’ll have time to fill you in on what happened to us all on the HBDC virtual roadtrip Interlake leg Saturday!!

Virtual Road trip - MB Interlake, part 2 Good day, dear readers. I’m so glad to see you’re back to hear what we got up to on the virtual tour yesterday! All but one of you that is; don’t think I don’t notice my follower #s, because I do. I watch over you all like Michael Jackson watched over Prince #1’s playmates. (*I’ll bet you thought I’d be too preoccupied to notice that the King of Pop stroked out this week, much less make an MJ crack, didn’t you? Oh, Ye of little faith... 70’s poster child Farrah Fawcett, Sweepstakes presenter Ed McMahon, & Billy Mays all checked out this week too, as I understand it.*) But back to my point, a friendly WELCOME to Nonamedufus who made follower magic #70! And then YOU left, dropping me back down to 69. Well, the joke’s on you my pet, 69 is my favourite number. So nah nah nah boo boo to you. And quit sneaking back to read VSL -- if you want to leave then, please, do be gone. The rest of you - please excuse my pissiness. Evidently, I need more than 2.5 hours of sleep over 3 days to be my usual, sunshiney self. But, good news, Crabby Steve continues to perform at the top of his game over here! Before I get into the whole roadtrip Saturday thing, I just have to tell you some about Friday night’s hootenany. Danny, super chef extraordinaire, had spent all day Friday preparing a roast pig feast, and boy-o-boy was it worth the effort! Mmm-MMM, was it ever. That pork was so juicy and saucy that we needed paper plates to keep the mess off of our laps. Not DOH’s chum Ernhardt though, he just

leaned in over the bonfire a little bit, chatting up Ms. Hawaii as he sucked meat off the bones while she fingered the lapels of his NASCAR jacket and made a big show of tying a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue. (*sigh* Girlfriend, you really need to learn some new tricks.) Ernhardt was pretty sure he was gonna get him some strange. That is, until Mrs. E showed up with their son, Flip. I know some of the guests thought the kid’s nickname referred to his one small arm growing straight out of his shoulder like that (*never buy motion sickness remedy in Mexico during a pregnancy, word to the wise*), but actually the kid is just a relentless channel flipper. While the bus driver wisely stuck to drinking virgin Bloody Marys,he ate more than anyone else by far; good thing we had a whole hog there to pick at. BD explained that he needed the extra energy seeing as he’d soon be driving a bus so tricked out by Ernhardt & DOH that any momentary lapse in attention might send him & all the passengers to a gruesome, fiery death. Yeah, that comment almost slowed down the party... but then it didn’t. Mr. Hawaii had a little too much Molson Canadian and, being used to the waterier version of beer they make in the US, tried his damnedest to start up something with Danny. But Danny is a mennonite (therefore a pacifist) and Mr. H’s jibes “You call this a roast pig? Not where I come from boyo!” fell on deaf ears. I did think it might be getting harder to turn the other cheek when Mr. H started yelling out, “Poi is a required side dish, you Page 47

asshole. Where’s the frickin’ poi, huh BBQBoy? Where’s the frickin’ POI?”, but then I realized it’s no doubt Danny’s heard worse from your average drunk @ any Manitoba Social. In a desparate bid to win back the attention of his lady love, Mr. H had come to the party decked out in his own little grass skirt; in hindsight I can see how Danny had a problem taking him seriously. Meh, I was just glad to see Dirty Wanda hanging back from that action. Some other local characters who’d heard about Thursday’s hoedown showed up (*uninvited) for the free food & liquor. Among the funseekers in the crowd I was able to spot Budget Mare, Winchester Perry, Bride Seeker, Hold’em Tex, & the Weedman. Before things got too out of hand, Mama Krupneki from the corner a mile south came by to insist we shut it down. If Winchester Perry hadn’t been touching off a batch of his stupid homemade fireworks, the old bat would’ve had nothing to bitch about... but she probably saved us another ambulance call-out anyways. Bless her heart. So that was our Friday night; I didn’t do a bed check or anything, but I’m pretty sure everyone made out alright. (*heh hehheh) Saturday morning and, not surprisingly, all the partying was starting to catch up with the tourists -- it seems I’m not the only former liquor pig passing the sash after all. Collectively, we decided to pass on breakfast in favour of hitting Salty’s drive-in down at Winnipeg Beach. Some of our crew were satisfied with Salty’s

Our next stop was Petersfield, home of the Mallard. It must be so - after all, they have the giant duck to prove their claim. There’s not much more to Petersfield than the park surrounding the giant duck, another fast food drive-in, and a roadside tavern. That’s it, that’s all folks.

french fries and soft serve, but most of us held off in favour of delectable crepes @ the Whytewold Emporium, where the proprietor treated the whole whack of us to delicious specialty coffees (in yer eye, Starfucks!). The guests then toured the Whytewold Page 48

greenhouse as we listened to the acoustic guitar stylings of Peter Sinnott performing live @ the Whytewold. I did have to discourage Mrs. Rhode Island from purchasing live plants due to border crossing regulations, but then she & the others went on to buy up the entire supply on hand of distinctive antiques, jewellery, & folksy crafted items forsouveniers of their Manitoba ‘dream vacation’. From the Emporium we chose to walk off the meal by strolling over to the commemorative plaque by the lake; the plaque celebrates a Canadian Olympic rowing champion, Catherine something, I think. I gotta admit, lack of sleep has taken the edge off of me. I about fell asleep on the bench there by the plaque while I was pretending to just ‘enjoy the breeze from the water’.

Somewhere south of Mallard-land is this Anglican church, complete with an exact miniature replica of itself right there in front of the big building; surrounding the pristine little scene is a well-tended graveyard and a picturesque wrought iron fence. I am citing this lovely place of worship and eternal rest as an alternative to the Selkirk WALMART cemetary.

Don’t laugh, I have pictorial proof. I personally wouldn’t care to rot there in the sour shadows of corporate America; not even at their rollback prices. I do hope like hell the planner for that city IS interned there in that very place - ohhh, what delicious irony that would be! Speaking of irony - to the right you see Selkirk’s enormous catfish, poised playfully in the Smitty’s parking lot, just there in front of the McDonalds ‘restaurant’ (*and I use that term loosely). Where’s the irony in that, you may be asking yourself... the irony is that neither Smitty’s OR McD’s serve catfish of any kind. Oooo, scary, isn’t it? BD did an admirable job manouvering the bus through the Timmy’s drive thru and, after passing out the ice caps & lattes, we headed back towards the farm. I think I can safely say that I showed the guests a good time here in the Interlake, and not a few of them have even asked to be invited back again. I don’t know, they were quite the rowdy bunch... I have say that I wish Nonamedufus the best of luck in keeping up with their thirst for adventure on the next leg of the HBDC virtual roadtrip in Ottawa tomorrow. As for Venom, I’ll be taking the next few days off... recuperating time. p.s. Crabby Steve, Dirty Wanda -- call me Friday; I should be ready for action again by then.

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For more on the relationship between Mr. Harper and Jesus, please see: Canadian Prime Minister Puts Jesus in Pocket -- Escapes in Waiting Limo.

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nation, its capital.

Location: Ottawa, Canada Host: Nonamedufus

The HBDC Virtual Road Trip Stops In Ottawa

The National Capital Region includes Ottawa, Ontario - Canada’s capital - and neighbouring Gatineau on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. I live in western Gatineau in a community known as Aylmer, a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill, the seat of government. They call it the seat of government after the asses that run our country. And as for throwing stones, I’ve tried but the rocks I heave always fall short. But I digress. Aylmer is a microcosm of our nation where Francophones (60%) and Anglophones (40%) live in peace and harmony and in two languages. During the day Aylmer is a quiet, sleepy, bedroom community of the region best known for its network of bike paths, its many golf courses and its picturesque marina.

Welcome to the latest stop on the Humor Bloggers Dot Com virtual road trip. It’s been a long haul getting here, beginning almost a month ago in the city we Canadians all love to hate – Toronto. Or, as the locals there say “Trawnta”. Check out the right-hand column over there to see where the tour has traveled thus far. and then, sit back, put your feet up. And for the next little while enjoy the sights associated with the jewel of our Page 51

But at night the Anglophone population triples as young Ontarians pour across the border to imbibe until the bars and strip clubs close at 3 am. Or at least they sure did when I was young and living in Ontario.

from Parliament Hill, the Market excels at local produce and trendy restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

HISTORY The region was first populated by the Algonquin First Nation. Indeed, they’ve recently submitted a land claim to the federal government for the rights to the Ottawa River watershed. Good luck with that! When the Europeans happened on the scene in the early 1800s they turned the Gatineau and Ottawa Rivers into a booming timber transportation network, so Ottawa was initially a lumber town. In the 1830s Colonel John By and thousands of French Canadians and Irish immigrants completed the Rideau Canal – a secure water network from Kingston, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec which avoided the St. Lawrence Seaway and proximity to the Americans. The city where he settled was first called Bytown. Now just the Byward Market bears his name. Steps Page 52

The Canal the Colonel built is now known as the World’s Largest Skating Rink. Winnipeg, Manitoba - not content to be known for Portage and

Main, the coldest intersection in the world - stole our title of “longest” skating rink last year, one we’d held since 1971. Now we call it the “largest” skating rink in the world ‘cause ours is wider than Winnipeg’s.

In 1857, Queen Victoria named Ottawa Canada’s capital after which Ottawa’s chief industry was forever changed to the manufacturing of red tape. In modern day, the federal bureaucracy has a run for its money with the hi-tech industry as the region’s largest employer. So much so, the region has been nicknamed “silicon valley north.” (Gee I didn’t realize Ottawa played a role in the development of breast implants.) And on that point (pun intended) we’ll take a break and resume our little tour of the Ottawa area tomorrow. Highlights include a tale of 2 Kings: a paranormal Prime Minister and the royalty of rock! Come on back, eh?

The HBDC Virtual Tour Stops in Ottawa (2)

Welcome back to the second day of our tour of the capital of Canada, Ottawa. I’ve lived here for well over 40 years, so I know many of the highlights (and lowlifes) of both Ottawa and Gatineau. For example, when I was much younger I would cross the border to haunt some of the late night bars with other lowlifes on the Quebec side of the border in what, prior to amalgamation, was once known as Hull. Then they razed the bars and built office towers in which I worked in as an adult! Such is progress. For both the landscape and me!

HIGHLIGHTS The Ottawa region is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. The canal, bike paths and greenbelt (a ring of undeveloped land around the city) add to the natural majesty of the region. Museums, art galleries, world-class restaurants, an NHL team, the National Arts Center and blues, jazz and folk festivals provide just some of the options for Page 53

entertainment. In the region, there’s something for every season. In the spring it’s a magnificent display of tulips along the parkway next to the canal. Our tulip tradition started when the Dutch government gave Ottawa 100,000 tulip bulbs after the Second World War as thanks for offering safe haven to their exiled royal family. The Dutch didn’t give us Canada geese but we have lots of those too!

eccentric and had another passion: communing with spirits, including those of Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Wilfred Laurier, his dead mother and several of his Irish Terrier dogs, all named Pat. Hard to imagine that this guy was Canada’s longest serving prime minister, not to mention the longest serving leader in the British Commonwealth. When they say he had a thing for spirits one wonders if they came from another world or a another bottle.

And in the fall, there’s the turning leaves in Gatineau Park, or a picturesque covered bridge in nearby Wakefield, Quebec.

In the summer, there are the ruins and gardens at Mackenzie King estates near Chelsea, Quebec. William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s 10th prime minister, had a passion for architecture and gathered a collection of picturesque ruins from across Canada and abroad. He bequeathed his estate to the nation when he died. Mackenzie King was also highly Page 54

opportunity in not naming his restaurant “A Hunka Hunka Burning Stove”!

OUT OF THE ORDINARY There’s something else that Canada’s capital is famous for. Something that isn’t widely known. It’s the home of the Elvis Sighting Society. It’s members apparently believe Elvis is still alive and lives in the cottage community of Tweed about 90 miles west of Ottawa. The Society resides at Moe Atallah’s Newport Restaurant in the city’s west end. The Society is actually a charitable organization helping the less fortunate across the city. But the Newport is filled with Elvis photos and memorabilia and if you want a great “greasy spoon” breakfast - and for under $5 the Newport is the place to go. In recognition of the Society and the Newport, the small lane behind the restaurant has been officially dubbed “Elvis Lives Lane” by Ottawa City Council. I think Moe missed a perfect Page 55

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the sites of Maine. Black fly swatters are complimentary, my little gift to you. Some basic info for you: Maine is larger than all the New England states put together. No other state leads the nation in percentage of vacation homes. There are 1.2 million people living on 33,215 square miles with 3,500 miles of coastline and 4,613 islands.

Location: Maine

We have 22 different styles of license plates.

Hostess: Debbie

We’ll start our journey with a drive-by of Baxter State Park and Mt. Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine (elev. 5,267 ft). This is where the Appalachian trail begins/ends and continues for 281 miles with the most difficult portions of the APT right here in Maine. There are few roads in Baxter State park, all primitive, so try to get some shots of Katahdin while our drivers avoid the moose and the ruts in the road ‘cause I’m not hiking up that thing.

HBDC ROAD TRIP: MAINE Welcome to Maine, the last US stop on the Humor Bloggers Road Trip! Maine is known as the state where “Yah can’t get theyah from heyah”. You’re stay here is only for two days because Debbie’s Maine Law mandates “after two days fish and company go bad”, so you flatlanders are outa here Friday at 12:01 a.m. Now that we got all that out of the way, grab your cameras, comfy shoes, a parka and let’s board the caravan of 1987 Ford pickup trucks with brand new rope holding the bumpers on, gun racks in the back, and fancy Adirondack chairs tied together in the beds for your comfort as you view

Done? It’s about time. This ain’[t no stroll through the park you know. We’ve got lots to cover so pick up the pace, will ya? We’ll now head south to Mt. Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, one of the most unique of all the National Parks, as it’s where the mountains meet the sea. There are towns interspersed within the park, all unique in character. Northeast Harbor is home to the wealthy (including that witch Martha Stewart who has a summer home there), Southwest Harbor is a quaint lobstering town, and the quintessential New England Page 57

tourist town of Bar Harbor (pronounced Bah Habah). We’ll stop here for part of the day in the park and you can all go your own way via any of the 8 free Island Explorer propane-powered buses. Here are just some of the ways you can chose to spend time: Ride up to the top of Cadillac Mountain (elev. 1,532 feet), the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view sunrise in the US from October 7 to March 6. After March 7, Kansas is the first state to see the sun. Walk around Bar Harbor (pronounced “BahHabah”) where you can shop, eat and even take a 2-hour sail on the four-masted schooner Margaret Todd with it’s eye-catching red sails. Go out with Diver Ed and experience the Dive-In Theater just off shore. If it’s low tide, take a short walk out to Bar Island via the sandbar and explore. But one thing you MUST do here is head over to the Jordan Pond House for popovers on the lawn overlooking the pond and the North and South Bubbles. After the popovers you can explore the some more by riding in a horse-drawn carriage along the many carriage roads passing by waterfalls, forests and stone bridges. Glad to see you all made it back in time. Climb back in your respective truck beds and let’s move on. Next stop is Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack show in Ellsworth where you’ll see the lumberjacks and lumberjills do their thing. Scary huh? More proof of that age-old saying, “Maine: Where the men are men and so are the women”. We’re now heading down the coast to Belfast where we’ll visit Perry’s Nut House, a mini South of the Border type tourist stop with a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing, but one heck of a view of Belfast Harbor. That was quick. Get back in your trucks and hold on to your nuts Page 58

‘cause the roads aren’t the best in Maine. We’re heading further south to the picturesque town of Camden where Peyton Place, In the Bedroom, Thinner, and many other movies have been filmed. We are now at Camden Hills State Park, divided by US Route 1. Most of the park including Mt. Megunticook and Mt. Battie is on one one side of the road, the smaller part and Penobscot Bay are on the other. Both sides have very well maintained trails and hiking paths, but today we’ll drive to the top of Mt. Battie where there is a World War 1 monument and a breathtaking view of Camden village, my house, the harbor, and the islands of Penobscot Bay. Hurry up and finish taking those photos ‘cause we’re off to the town landing where your kayaks await. God, you flatlandah’s are slow. Now put on your PFDs (landlubber translation: life jacket), pick up your paddles and get in your kayaks. For heaven’s sake though, never lean over the side of a kayak. You’ll only do it once because the water rarely gets much higher than 62 degrees out here. We’re paddling on out to Curtis Island to see the bald eagles and then off to Rockport Harbor where Andre the seal lived and you can all photograph the statue of Andre’s likeness once we go ashore. There’s always one. Damn you Tattoo Jim! I figured of all people you would have sense enough not to lean over that far. Stinkin’ flatlandah thinks he can shoot a striped bass with his rifle. Now we have to wait for him to dry out and get his act together so you might as well all grab your sleeping bags and call it a night. I’m going back home for a nice hot shower and a gin and tonic. I’ll meet you in the morning and we’ll begin and end day 2 of the Humor Bloggers Road Trip in Maine. Note: If you are truly interested in more Maine stuff, click the Why I Love ME tab at the top of this blog. Freakin’ Maine Chamber of Commerce owes me big time.

And that’s it for our HBDC 2009 Virtual Tour. We hope you enjoyed yourself, and if you didn’t...,I guess we really don’t care that much — just like any other commercial travel agency. Be sure to stop at the HBDC souvenir shop where you can buy such items as Joel Klebanoff’s book, BYTE-ing Satire and...well — actually that’s all. Just his book. No mugs. No t-shirts. Just Joel’s book. Which isn’t to say that his book isn’t a good buy, but it might be nice to see a few other items on the shelf. In fact, it would be nice to see a shelf. In any event, thank you for joining us on our journey. Will we do it again next year? Haven’t got a clue. But if we do, you’ll be the first to know. Actually, since we don’t know who you are, you’re going to have to check for yourself. So take a moment and join HBDC now. That way you’ll get all the information on our many events and on our...you know — thingies. Events. Take care now, and don’t forget to take return the tray to its upright position and take your personal belongings with you as you leave.

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