Saturday, November 1, 2014

Profile Rock

Posted by Stu On March - 15 - 2014

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Photos from June 2013

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I was told of a rock not too far from me that resembled a Native American face, appropriately named Profile Rock.  The stone face is found on Route 42 between Catawissa and Bloomsburg.  Unfortunately, it’s also located right at a bend in the road, so if you go looking for it, be careful not to get hit by cars; they’re quite fast here.

When I first found the rock, I wasn’t that impressed.  This is because I was looking at it from the wrong side.  But that’s not enough; you also have to be looking at it from the correct point.  If you ever played Arkham Asylum or Arkham City, think of the Riddler’s question mark puzzles.  So after some experimenting and avoiding speeding cars, I figured it out.

From the pulloff (and the ‘wrong’ side):

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Now from the correct side, but wrong angle.  Kind of looks like a face, but not what I saw in other pictures:

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Annnnnd got it:

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So there.  A rock face.  But only if you look at it a certain way.

Popularity: 13% [?]

Walt’s Filling Station

Posted by Stu On August - 27 - 2013

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Photos taken October 2011

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Another discovery through geocaching.  We stopped here on the way home from our Quebec/New York trip.  This may look like a gas station from the 1950’s, but this is really the side yard of someone’s home in Hallstead.  Vintage soda machines, signs, and gas pumps… someone went to great lengths to collect and present all this.  I felt awkward walking up the driveway, but I read that many others had done it.  Whoever was home did slam the door while I was poking around, however.

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Popularity: 8% [?]

Mighty Joe

Posted by Stu On September - 26 - 2012

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Anyone driving on Route 206 in Shamong has surely seen the gorilla in the parking lot of Mighty Joe’s, a gas station and convenience store.  Formerly found along the Wildwood boardwalk and more recently serving as a decoration at a go-kart track, the gorilla, now known as Mighty Joe, has since been fixed up and moved to the side of Route 206 as an homage to the owner’s deceased son, also named Joe.

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The sign says it all.

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Popularity: 22% [?]

South of the Border

Posted by Stu On June - 28 - 2012

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Photos from June 2011

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For a few years during my childhood, my family would drive down to Florida every February, and my brother and I always anticipated the stop at South of the Border.  If you have never heard of South of the Border, then you haven’t done much driving on I-95.  This roadside oddity, literally just south of the NC/SC border, is a Mexican themed, well, tourist trap, complete with its own motel, multiple gift shops, arcade, and restaurant.  For decades, it was a must-see spot for folks driving to DC or Disney, though it seems we’re hard-pressed to figure out why.  At the time, signs for it would pop up hundreds of miles away; I believe when I was younger they began showing up in northern Virginia, heading southbound anyway.  To be honest, I don’t have much memory of just why I liked stopping at the place.  There were big statues of animals and Pedro, the place’s mascot.  Sure, there were fireworks, but even at that young age I knew cheaper fireworks could be found elsewhere.  I remember my parents saying even back then, “This place is stupid.”  I’m pretty sure they only stopped there to shut the kiddies up.

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Fast forward about 20 years.  Since my wife and I have been vacationing in coastal North Carolina for the past few years, I wanted to make a day trip out of SotB, since I hadn’t been there in nearly 2 decades.  At first she was hesitant, but then when I mentioned a bomb crater would be included in the day’s itinerary, she agreed.  So off we went, to see if my childhood memories were accurate, or if SotB was indeed “stupid.”  Was there more to this place than gift shops and kitsch statues?  Hearing many people say the place had gone downhill in recent years added to my curiosity.  The dwindling number of signs along I-95 and their ever-shrinking radius seemed to reflect this idea; I believe the first southbound SotB sign now appears somewhere in the middle or bottom of NC as opposed to northern Virginia 20 years ago.

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The 200′ Sombrero Tower is very noticeable from I-95.  Upon pulling in, however, we learned that this place needs a lot more than a 20-story hat to keep tourists’ attention; the place was a virtual ghost town, with maybe three other cars in the parking lot.  Much of the animal statuary from my childhood was gone, not that this should be a selling point to begin with.  The first building we entered was the arcade.  The sign promised “hundreds” of games; there were maybe twenty.  A few buildings were closed.  We entered a few different gift shops, all of which sold essentially the same stuff; we of course bought our obligatory fridge magnet and shot glass.  Some of the merchandise was quite off-the-wall, even for a place like this.

I’d also like to point out that even the signs have gone downhill.  Besides there being fewer of them, they are now much more boring.  I remember when I was a kid, they were over-the-top ridiculous, with terrible puns, gaudy colors, and often 3-D or used some other sort of prop.  In short, they were creative; they made you WANT to visit SotB.  The new signs just plain suck; they’re all black with ugly white lettering. I was going to do a side-by-side comparison, but I’m having trouble finding pictures of the older signs online.  I had a book of old SotB signs I bought as a kid; if I can find it, I will scan some pictures and post them.

There really wasn’t much to do, so we walked around for a bit and took some photos.

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Ethnic stereotypes have never been so happy to see you!

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I love that game!

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Popularity: 11% [?]

Flying Saucer Restaurant

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2011

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There was no way we weren’t stopping here.  This diner from another galaxy can be found along Lundy’s Lane, just minutes from Niagara Falls.  It’s a diner shaped like a UFO.  ‘Nuff said.

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There are 2 main rooms; each is its own “UFO” and is connected by a center hallway.  The insides of both rooms are obviously round.  The lighting and colors inside the place reminded me of most of the arcades I went to in the 80’s.

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Pretty good diner food, and at very reasonable prices, considering its proximity to the falls.  If you’re ever on the Canada side of the falls, look it up.

The restaurant’s official website is http://www.flyingsaucerrestaurant.com/

Popularity: 7% [?]

World’s Smallest Church (Cross Island Chapel)

Posted by Stu On July - 12 - 2011

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On our way to Niagara Falls, we make a fairly far-off side stop at a little place I’d been meaning to see for years – what is supposedly the smallest church in the world.  There are many tiny churches, but this one claims to be the tiniest of them all!  With room for only 2 people and less than 29 square feet, you’d be hard pressed to find one smaller. It is only accessible by boat, as it’s sitting in the middle of a pond.  A metal cross stands a few feet away.

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I tried for a week prior to our trip to get in touch with someone regarding getting inside the church, but nobody answered the posted phone number.  Shame.

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Popularity: 10% [?]

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Profile Rock

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