QuirkyTravelGuy.com is officially one year old today! Feel free to send balloons. As long as they’re filled with helium so I can make funny voices.
Some people will tell you when they reach a blog anniversary that the time has flown by. Not me. It feels like I’ve been operating this site forever. That’s not a bad thing. I think it’s more of a reflection of all the time I’ve spent over the past year writing content, taking photos, traveling to new places, interacting on social media, and so forth.
It’s been a lot of work, but it’s so much fun.
It’s also a reflection of the online relationships I’ve built with many of you who read and comment here, as well as the other bloggers I’ve connected with. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been interacting with some of you for a few months – it really does feel like it’s been longer than that.
I brainstormed a bunch of crazy ideas for the requisite anniversary post but decided to go with a straightforward look back at some of the sights I’ve covered in the past year, with an emphasis on the quirky. Consider this a “greatest hits” post, with a few underappreciated B-sides tossed in. As always, thanks for reading, commenting and sharing!
A report on my visit to one of the few towns in the United States with an official population of 1. After I visited, the new census results were published and the population rose to 4, so it’s not quite as unique anymore.
Whenever people ask me about my favorite national parks, I always mention two: Yellowstone and Death Valley. DV surprised me, because I wasn’t expecting much, but I got to camp under the stars while listening to howling coyotes, observe brilliant-colored rock formations, and see snow at the top of a nearby mountain peak.
Visiting the world-famous wax museum was way more fun than I thought it would be. I got up close and personal with Will Smith, Marilyn Monroe, Jack Nicholson, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and dozens more.
I like moving out of my comfort zone whenever possible. Spending the 4th of July at a country music festival and rodeo is about as far out of my comfort zone as I can go! And it was a great time. The fried Snickers was good. I should’ve tried the fried bull testicles, though.
Cemeteries fascinate me, even if I don’t know anyone buried there. Granary Cemetery in Boston is cool because it’s downtown, right across the street from skyscrapers. And it contains the graves of all the Revolutionary War figures you studied in middle school, like Paul Revere, John Hancock and Sam Adams.
If you enjoy being viciously berated while you order food, check out the Wieners Circle, a Chicago hot dog stand where late at night on the weekends, drunken patrons show up to engage in a back and forth verbal assault with the employees.
If you’re gonna build a monument, you might as well go big. That’s what the creators of Crazy Horse decided to do. This giant South Dakota rock sculpture honoring a Native American hero has been in progress for 73 years, and it’s not even close to being finished.
This national monument contains dunes made of fine white sand. There’s absolutely no water and almost no trees. It’s the closest thing to the Sahara Desert that you’d find in America.
As I walked cautiously into Temple Square on the Mormon Church grounds in Salt Lake City, Utah, I began looking suspiciously at the other folks on the premises, wondering which ones were the “undercover” Mormon recruiters I’d heard so much about…
Every night in Austin, Texas, millions of bats emerge from underneath a bridge where they rest during the day, creating a spectacular scene as they fill the night sky, and lots of gawkers stop by to watch. Some even join “bat cruises” on the river. I stopped by one evening to witness the madness for myself.
I can’t wait to share more cool places with you during year #2!