All posts by Leaf

Leaf McGowan is an artist, writer, photographer, folklorist, and adventurer who suffers from wanderlust. He loves to investigate folklore, sacred sites, archaeological sites, and places of mystery - writing about them and taking photos of the sites. He is a ghost writer, content producer, blogger, artist, bodypainter, tarot reader, and web developer. You can contact him at 1-800-605-9705 or leafmcgowan@gmail.com or leaf@technogypsie.com.

State of Oregon

Oregon, United States of America
www.oregon.gov

Oregon is also known as the “Beaver State”. The earliest known use of the name “Oregon” was spelled as “Ouragon” by Major Robert Rogers in his 1765 petition to the Kingdom of Great Britain referring to the Columbia River which was seen as the mythical River of the West. It was in 1778 that the current spelling became “Oregon”. Oregon’s capital is Salem and its largest city is Portland. It has a population of approximately 3,831,074 (2010 Census). Its highest point is “Mount Hood” at 11,249 feet above sea level and its lowest point is sea level on the Pacific Ocean. Located at the southern end of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its West, State of Washington to its North, California to its south, and Nevada and Idaho on the East. The main waterways/rivers through the state are the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Oregon had an aboriginal inhabitation for almost 15,000 years, with European settlers arriving as traders, explorers, and settlers by 1843 when it was called “The Oregon Territory”. The first Europeans to come to Oregon were the Spanish in the late 17th Century. The British Captain James Cook explored the coast in 1778 while searching for the Northwest Passage. This was also a Quest of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who built their winter fort at Fort Clatsop on the mouth of the Columbia River. By the 16th century, Oregon was home to various tribes including the Bannock, Chasta, Chinook, Molalla, Nez Perce, Klamath, Kalapuya, Takelma, and the Umpqua. Oregon became the USA’s 33rd state being added to the Union on February 14, 1859. By 1811 the Northwest Company, captained by David Thompson, was the first to navigate the entire length of the Columbia River. Oregon’s Willamette River valley is its most densely populated area and home to 8 of the 10 most populated Oregon cities. Continue reading State of Oregon

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The Orient Land Trust, Villa Grove, Colorado

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs

The Orient Land Trust a.k.a. “Valley View Hot Springs”
info@olt.org, olt.org * PO Box 65, Villa Grove, CO 81155-0065 * 719.256.4315 * 9 am – 10 pm. Open to the public 7 days a week – closed December 1st – 28th.
This fantastic Land trust is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat, open space, historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The OLT protects a humongous bat colony, hot springs, alternative energy use, and is well known for its high altitude dark skies for astronomy, exposed active geological fault, limestone caves, numerous trails, historic buildings, town sites at an abandoned iron mine, and a working ranch. The OLT is a naturist community (clothing optional) with 24 hour access to the hotsprings when camping or renting their rustic lodging cabins. They limit the number of visitors based on space availability and environmental impact. For current pictures and views … visit their web site, linked above. The entire grounds are clothing optional – while the majority of the guests tend to swim and soak without swimsuits, there is no pressure either way. The OLT welcomes a diverse clientele of couples, singles, and families from all walks of life – children are always welcome, though require supervision. They offer camping and cabins, their indoor lodging have heat and electricity, though there are no telephones, clocks, radios, or tvs in any of the rooms. All of the ponds and pools are outdoors – there are no private pools or hot tubs – there are four natural ponds with temperatures ranging in the 90’s, an 80′ long spring-fed swimming pool (no chlorine) in the high 80’s, and a heated hot pool around 105 degrees. Our visit to this fantastic resort was over the weekend of 11/10-11/11. A must visit for any hot springs or naturalist enthusiast. Rating 5 stars out of 5.

Additional Visit: 1/24-1/25/09. 2/16/17-2/18/17. Excellent visit.

Orient Land Trust / Valley View Hot Springs (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=164); near Moffat, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes
* http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm *

One of my favorite parts of Colorado is its great diversity in the ranges of the Rocky Mountains. One of those hotspots of “oddity” is the vast Sahara-like desert of sand dunes in the San Luis Valley. Of course California, New Mexico, and Arizona has tons of sand dunes – but Colorado’s is very unique, especially at the foot of snow-covered mountain peaks and being the tallest dunes in the United States. This geologic feature extends 5 x 7 miles with a grand height of 700 feet above the valley floor (over 7,600 feet above sea level). As early as 440,000 years ago, the dunes were formed from the Rio Grande River’s and associated tributaries flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over a period of several thousand years, and continually growing today, the westerly winds blow the sand over the Rockies and down along the river flood plain, collecting sand, and depositing them on the east edge of the San Luis Valley before the winds rise up and over the Sangre de Cristo mountain range shaping these huge stable dunes. There are also some parts of the dunes where patches of black sand can be found made up of magnetite deposits as crystalline iron black oxide. Medano Creek winds through the dunes as it is fed by melting snow from the mountains. It extends roughly 10 miles, flowing from spring and early summer from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and disappears into the floor of the valley. An unusual feature of the creek is that it never finds a permanent and stable streambed causing small underwater sand dunes that act like dams are continuously formed and destroyed, causing what seems like “surges” with “waves of water” flowing downstream with intervals of a few seconds to a few minutes, and can appear as large as a foot in height with an appearance of an “ocean wave”. The geological area is known as a “High Desert” with summer temperatures not typical of normal high desert lands, varying from high and low temperatures of exceedly cold nights (even below zero). There are also alpine lakes and tundra in the park, with six peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation, ancient spruces, pine forests, aspens, cottonwoods, grasslands, and wetlands. The park is also notated as being the quietest park in the United States. The park, is managed by the National Park Service, and has been a place of enjoyment under their reigns since November 2000 with over 85,000 acres. In 2004 it became known as the “Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve”. It can be reached west from Mosca along country road 6 North, or from the south along CO road 150. The park hosts a great visitor center, a campground, four wheel drive trails, restrooms, and picnic areas. The park is great for hiking, wading, sand castles, sandbox play, sunbathing, sand sledding, rough play, skimboarding, photoshoots, and ATV sports. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 7/12/2008. 2/16/2017. Review by Thomas Baurley, Leaf McGowan, Leafworks and Technogypsie Research/Review Services.

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Great Sand Dunes National Park ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=2267); near Alamosa, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken February 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Leavenworth, Washington

Leavensworth, Washington

This remarkable little alpine tourist trap resides in the mountains of Chelan County Washington boasting a residential population of just over 2,000 residents. The architecture, flavor, and culture is reminescent of atypical Bavarian village. The town was incorporated on September 5, 1906 as a small timber community centered around the Great North Railroad that was completed here in 1893. It was founded by two brothers – Lafayette and Chauncery Lamb who moved hre from Iowa to build the second largest saw mill in Washington State in 1903. By the 1920’s the railway relocated to Wenatchee throwing Leavenworth into remission. In 1962, a committee called LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement for Everyone) was established and partnered with the University of Washington in hopes of breathing life back into this failing small town. Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, two businessmen from Seattle, bought a failing cafe off of Highway 2 in 1960 and came up with a plan with LIFE borrowing ideas from the Danish themed town of Solvang California for inspiration. Beginning with the Chikamin Hotel, they duo remodeled the town in Bavarian style. Leavenworth boasts a good tourist crowd from Seattle and outlying areas that come for the cultural portal it establishes. It is also popular for its Nutcracker Museum that opened in 1995 and the Oktoberfest celebration it hosts each year. The area also boasts a continental Mediterranean climate with hot, sunny summer days and cold, snowy winter nights. Rainfall is limited by the Cascade rain shadow as well as by the anticyclone.

Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit  http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Leavenworth, Washington (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18471). Northern Exposure: Chronicle 24 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf, Lady Etain, and Prince Cian. Adventures in Washington. Photos taken March 22, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=20007. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan, Eadaoin Bineid and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Junk Creatures of Mike Goggans (Fort Payne, Alabama)

Junk Creatures of Mike Goggans
DeSoto parkway, Fort Payne, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23065)

Artisan Mike Goggans has a odd hobby of turning junk into creatures, such as dinosaurs and kangaroos in his yard – he has built a 21 foot tall Tyranosaurus Rex called “Junkosaurus Wrecks” which took him 10 years to create weighing at 2 tons of trash. This is his masterpiece that most tourists come to see as well as the junk robot known as “Lirpa Anad Nitsud” which is out by the road. Unfortunately most rubberneckers only see the robot and don’t realize there is a yard full of creations. He built the robot in 1999. Its hands are made from mailboxes and jumper cables, its spine is an old TV antennae, ribs are made from metal bed frames, and its exterior consisting of license plates, phones, bicycles, toilet seat, hair curlers and spark plugs. He has another robot called Zerk Zing Gugbloot, a kangaroo named Junakaroo, and a monkey.

Directions: From Fort Payne take US Highway 11 and turn east onto Highway 35/5th avenue Southeast, following up the mountain for 2.5 miles. At the flashing light turn left and head north onto Highway 89/De Soto parkway. Take the parkway 2.5 miles until you hit another flashing light with a Shell station on the right, the robot can be seen on the left. The rest of the art is behind it hidden by the tree. Call ahead at 256-845-9162 to be granted access into the yard.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/23717

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:

  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Bamahenge, Elberta, Alabama

Bamahenge
Barber parkway, Barber Marina, 26988 Fish Trap Road, Elberta, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23065)

Just down the road from the Dinosaurs in the woods, the Lady in the Lake, and the Knights in the Woods is Bamahenge. Billionaire George Barber approached artist Mark Cline for yet another creation (after the Dinosaurs and Lady in the Lake) while he was repairing the dinosaurs from hurricane damage in 2006 outside of Barber’s gulf coast marina. Since there was already another “foamhenge” they called it “Bamahenge”. It is placed in the piney woods with Barber’s other amusements, un-advertised as oddities in the woods, just 200 yards outside of the Marina entrance road. Cline created the henges at 21 feet tall and 104 feet across to be identical to the original, correctly aligned with the summer solstice with four different stone shapes and this time storm-proofed anchoring the megaliths with interior concrete and half buried telephone poles.

Directions: Take County Road 95 from Highway 98 south, 5 miles, turn right on Fish Trap Road at the Barber Marina sign, approximately 1/2 mile follow to next Marina sign, take left heading south 2.5 miles to the Marina. You’ll see the dinosaurs, knights, lady in the lake, and Bamahenge along this road.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/36349

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:

  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Lady in the Lake, Elberta, Alabama

lady in the Lake
Barber Marina, 26988 Fish Trap Road, Elberta, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23057)

Just down the road from the Dinosaurs in the woods in the Barber Marina is a giant fiberglass sculpture of a 50′ woman bathing in the lake. Billionaire George Barber wanted another commission of Mark Cline’s artwork just like the Dinosaurs in the Woods and Bamahenge. The trick to this one is that its floating. Theyhid giant styrofoam blocks within the 50′ fiberglass woman to make her float. She has been nicknamed “Country Girl Skinny Dipping” but officially called “Lady in the Lake”.

Directions: Take County Road 95 from Highway 98 south, 5 miles, turn right on Fish Trap Road at the Barber Marina sign, approximately 1/2 mile follow to next Marina sign, take left heading south 2.5 miles to the Marina. Drive halfway around the round-a-bout then park in the lot as close to the water as you can and the Lady in the Lake can bee seen floating out by the end of the dock. Call ahead to make sure the Lady is out in the water 251-987-2628.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/36350

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:

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Roman Columns and Statues, Elberta, Alabama

Roman Statues and Columns
Barber Parkway, Elberta, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23053)

Just down the road from the Dinosaurs in the woods on the right side before Bamahenge and southbound side entrance road to Barber Marina is a farm field with the ruins of Roman looking columns and classical statues. There are eight columns and several statues.

Directions: Take County Road 95 from Highway 98 south, turn right on Fish Trap Road at the Barber Marina sign, follow to next Marina sign, take left heading south. In a few miles you will spy the dinosaurs if you look hard enough, go around the round-a-bout, take second exit for the marina and if you look hard enough you’ll see the columns and statues at a distance. Southbound side entrance road to the Marina.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/40690

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:

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Knights in the Woods (Elberta, Alabama)

Knights in the Woods
Letterman Road, Elberta, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23049)

Just down the street from the Dinosaurs in the woods are four knights lurking in the woods just as the dinosaurs are just before you get to the Barber Marina. Like the dinosaurs, they are difficult to spot, and consist of three sets of knights, guarding the woods. They are life-sized and are not advertised as an attraction just a little oddity in the woods, like the dinosaurs, and the stone henge replica called “Bamahenge”.

Directions: Take County Road 95 from Highway 98 south, turn right on Fish Trap Road at the Barber Marina sign, follow to next Marina sign, take left heading south. In a few miles you will spy the dinosaurs if you look hard enough, go around the round-a-bout, take second exit for the marina and if you look hard enough will see the knights on the right side of the road. Behind the knights is a small parking lot with trails. Admission is free.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/31546

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • AL.COM 2013 “Fannie Flagg’s Quirky Alabama”. Website http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/11/fannie_flaggs_quirky_alabama_7.html referenced on 8/28/15.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Dinosaurs in the Woods (Elberta, Alabama)

Dinosaurs in the Woods
Elberta, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23043)

“There be Monsters in those woods” a local legend will proclaim …. none other than the truth, these dinosaurs are not living nor breathing, but were some master creations of Mark Cline who has been building dinosaurs outside his Enchanted Castle Studios in Natural Bridge Virginia who was once approached one day by some guys from Alabama who wanted to buy them for lawn ornaments. Mark thought they were crazy and gave them a high price tag and it turned out that billionaire George Barber had the money and truly wanted them for his lawn, seven of them in fact. Mark came to Alabama with the dinosaurs and supervised the installation on a 10,000 acre lawn. This led to him being hired also to create the Lady in the Lake and Bamahenge for the billionaire. A Brontosaurus, T. Rex, Stegosaurus and Triceratops can be found in the woods outside the marina entrance road, hidden from plain sight.

Directions: From Foley, Alabama drive eight miles east along US Highway 98, or 21 miles west of downtown Pensacola, Florida; turn south on County Road 95 for five miles, right onto Fish Trap road, go a half-mile, turn left at the sign for Barber Marina, go one mile, until you see Bamahenge on the right, then go another 1/4 mile, the dinosaurs are spaced out along the road.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/29732

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • AL.COM 2013 “Fannie Flagg’s Quirky Alabama”. Website http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/11/fannie_flaggs_quirky_alabama_7.html referenced on 8/28/15.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Spooky Lights of Cloverdale, Alabama

Spooky Lights of Cloverdale
Cloverdale, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23035)

“Cloverdale” always strikes images of UFO’s in most American’s minds when mentioning the name just as does Roswell and Area 51. Mainly due to Hollywood films of the same name. Cloverdale, Alabama has since the 1970’s received numerous claims and reports of large bright yellow/orange spook lights being encountered over County Road 272 every night from sunset to midnight travelling east-west or west-east parallel to the country road.
The lights are reportedly very large approximately 8′ in diameter floating 2-3 feet from the ground in grassy fields while others reported hundreds of feet in the area – suddenly appearing and disappearing from a few seconds to several minutes. No one has an explanation for the phenomena.

Directions: Near Cloverdale, Alabama along county road 272 – From Cloverdale drive southeast on Highway 157/Cloverdale Road for a mile, turn left on Route 272, continue east 1 mile to an area where lights are reported to be seen travelling east-west or west-east parallel to the road between sunset to midnight.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/16429

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • AL.COM 2013 “Fannie Flagg’s Quirky Alabama”. Website http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/11/fannie_flaggs_quirky_alabama_7.html referenced on 8/28/15.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Blaze the Dragon (Birmingham, Alabama)

Blaze the Dragon
617 13th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23023)

A Fiberglass big metallic green statue of a dragon with golden claws and razor sharp teeth is proudly displayed on the south side of the University of Alabama’s Bartow Arena as the official mascot of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. This mascot was adopted in 1995 and was commissioned in 2008 from T.J. Neil, a Florida artist, to sculpt this 3.5 ton concrete dragon named “Blaze”. It had problems so was recommissioned from an Alabama artist in 2014 out of fiberglass by local artist Ira Chaffin.

Directions: Birmingham, South side of University of Alabama’s Bartow Arena between 13th and 14th street south along 7th Ave. South in a pedestrian mall.

More Information: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/43445

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • AL.COM 2013 “Fannie Flagg’s Quirky Alabama”. Website http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2013/11/fannie_flaggs_quirky_alabama_7.html referenced on 8/28/15.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Statue of Vulcan (Birmingham, Alabama)

Statue of Vulcan, God of fire
Birmingham, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23019)

Alabama’s “Iron Man” stands atop Red Mountain overlooking the heart of downtown Birmingham as a colossal 56′ foot statue of Vulcan, the Roman God of Fire standing bold with a spear in hand as a symbol of the “Magic City”. Built in 1904 as the world’s largest cast iron statue designed by Italian artist Giuseppe Moretti cast from local iron in 1904 overlooking the city since the 1930’s. By 1999 it was in dire need of repair with a 10 acre park surrounding it. The statue was removed from its pedestal, was restored by the city, and replaced in 2004 via the non-profit Vulcan Park Foundation with a master plan to create a educational park complex covering Alabama’s rich industrial history and is now called the Vulcan Park and Museum.

Directions: Atop Red Bountain in Birmingham at the corner of 20th street and Valley avenue.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky3.html, http://visitvulcan.com/

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Hitler’s Typewriter (Bessemer, Alabama)

Hitler’s Typewriter
Hall of History, 1905 Alabama Ave, Bessemer, Alabama 35020
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23013)

A German-Groma 1930s manual typewriter that once belonged to Adolf Hitler. It was captured by Allies from his mountain hideway called “The Eagle’s Nest” near Saltzburg Austria. One of the artifacts salvaged from the Eagle’s Nest where Adolph Hitler typed out the Bavarian love notes to Eva Braun while at war with the World. It very rarely survived, without replacement ribbon, when the Wolf’s lair was destroyed during the War. 2015: Open tuesdays through Saturday 10-12, 1-4. Phone:205-426-1633

Directions: I-20 Exit 112 – drive east two miles on 18th street, left on Alabama just before the tracks, down two blocks on the right. Located in the Hall of History in Bessemer, at 1905 Alabama Ave.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky3.html, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10067

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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The Giant Peach of Alabama

Giant Peach
7th street south, Clanton, Alabama 35055
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23009)

A giant peach with no fuzz along I-65 between Birmingham and Montgomery. The monument is actually a large water tower outside of Chilton, Alabama’s Peach central. It stands at 120 feet tall and holds 500,000 gallons of water and was constructed in 1992. The Peachoid in Gaffney, South Carolina is larger than this giant peach and double the volume. Both of these were constructed by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company.

Directions: Off I-65 between Birmingham and Montgomery, Exit 212 to the west.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky3.html, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2014

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Boll Weevil Monument (Enterprise, Alabama)

Boll Weevil Monument
Enterprise, Alabama 35055
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=23005)

Devastating to the economy of Alabama’s cotton history, no one would believe that Alabama would have a monument for the villain. Located in Enterprise, Alabama it is the only monument in the world dedicated to the insect and is a highlight of the State’s tourist attractions. The monument consists of a statue of a Goddess holding a platter above her head upon which rests a giant Boll Weevil insect. As the story tells this is the culprit to a downfall in Alabama’s economy and the loss of many cotton crops and farms. After a vandalism incident in 1989, the monument has been encased in glass. There is also a second monument to the Boll Weevil in town.

Directions: Downtown Enterprise

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky4.html

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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DeSoto Caverns (Childersburg, Alabama)

DeSoto Caverns
5181 Desoto Caverns Parkway, Hwy 76, Childersburg, Alabama 35055
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22993)

One of Alabama’s prime caverns, De Soto Caverns was not actually discovered by Hernando DeSoto although urban legend seems to suggest is the case as the caverns are named after him. The Caves are actually more or less a theme park once having been a saloon and dance hall. Today it is a laser light show attraction with activities for kid’s such as gemstone panning slough, bumper cars, cannon wars, gyroxtreme, bow and arrow shoot, and lost trail maze. Open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas. The cave hosts thousands of formations claiming fame as one of the most concentrated collections in America. The main room is twelve stories high and larger than a football field claims the caverns web site boasting a 50 degree fahrenheit temperature year round and 100% humidity. The cavern tour is approximately 1/3 of a mile long, wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Directions: Off Highway 76 approximately 5 miles east of Childersburg, Alabama.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky2.html,

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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“The Saturn Legacy” of Ardmore, Alabama

The Saturn Legacy
Ardmore Welcome Center, 26865 Interstate 65, Elkmont, Alabama 35055
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22993)

Crossing into Alabama from Tennessee along I-65 is a 224 foot tall Saturn 1B Rocket at the Welcome Center rest area. It was installed in 1979. According to Alabamania Alabama is full of rockets as Huntsville has one almost on every street corner. The Saturn 1B was the forerunner of the Saturn 5 launch vehicle for NASA missions.

Directions: I-65 southbound by Tennessee / Alabama border at the Ardmore Welcome Center. 256-423-3891

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky2.html, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10066

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Ave Marie Grotto (Cullman, Alabama)

Ave Marie Grotto
1600 Saint Bernard Drive SE, Cullman, Alabama 35055
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22989)

The “Jerusalem in Miniature” is a large four-acre park consisting of over 125 miniature reproductions of famous historic buildings and shrines around the world. This project was created by Brother Joseph Zoettle, a Benedictine monk living in Cullman over forty years as a miniature true-to-scale replica of the City of Jerusalem and other biblical sites such as the Hanging Garden of Babylon, St. Martin’s Church, and the Lourdes Basilica. As of 2015 postings, it is open year round 9 am until 5 pm with a admission fee. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. For more information call 205-734-4110.

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Directions: Located off U.S. Highway 278 at 1600 Saint Bernard Abby Drive.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky2.html, http://www.avemariagrotto.com/

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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The World’s Largest Office Chair (Anniston, Alabama)

The World’s Largest Office Chair
625 Noble Street, Anniston, Alabama
by Leaf McGowan (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22981)

This art exhibit is seen by many as the World’s Largest Chair, measuring approximately 33 feet tall with a 15′ square foot seat. Though Japan is apparently creating a larger, more efficient chair is the current rumor. Another rumor is that the World’s Largest wad of gum is stuck to its underside by the World’s Largest Third Grader according to Alabamania. This was built in 1981 from over 10 tons of steel and anchored in 15 tons of cement. Currently it is not the World’s largest chair, but lays claim to fame for being the World’s largest “Office” chair. It was built to attract attention to Miller’s Office Suppy by Owner Leonard Sonny Miller. It was designed by the president of the HON company and it was officially added to the Guinness World’s Records in 1982 as the World’s Largest Chair. Miller’s Office Supply had moved across town, the chair grew weathered, rusty, and became a roadside attraction. Numerous other large chairs appeared around the world since then. The Miller Office Supply moved back at a later date, repainting the chair, and made it more of a tourist attraction with intent to take good care of the chair.

Directions: Located next to Miller Furniture on 625 Noble Street, Downtown Anniston, Alabama.

More Information: http://www.al.com/alabamiana/index.ssf?wacky2.html, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/2443, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2443

Bibliography/References/Recommended Reading:


  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alabama”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “Alternative America Travel Guide”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Baurley, Thomas 2015 “United States”. Technogypsie Travels and Reviews. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22187.
  • Chambers, Jesse 2014 “Birmington Oddities” Websie referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/living/index.ssf/2015/04/post_238.html
  • End to End 2015 “Wacky Alabama End to End” website referenced 8/17/15 at http://www.al.com/wacky/wacky.html
  • Fuhlhage, Michael 2014 “How Hippie Hitchhikers Saw Alabama in 1973”. Website referenced on 8/17/15 at http://mjfuhlhage.net/category/alternative-culture/
  • Hubpages 2011 “10 Weird and Unusual Things to See and Do in Alabama” Website referenced 8/17/15 http://hubpages.com/hub/10-Weird-and-Unusual-Things-to-Do-in-Alabama
  • McGowan, Leaf 2015 “Magical America”. Technogypsie Productions, Riverside, CA.
  • Museumtoo 2015 “Six Alternative US Cultural Venues to Visit”. Website referenced 8/17/15 at http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2010/07/six-alternative-us-cultural-venues-to.html
    Wikipedia undated “United States”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Website referenced 8/17/15 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States.

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Ashland, Oregon

051414-010

Ashland, Oregon
http://www.ashland.or.us/ (review: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=18533

Just north of the California border, to the west of I-5 along Oregon Route 99 which runs parallel to I-5, is the ever so façade of a charming little village of Shakespeare called Ashland. With its placement inside the southwestern interior climate zone of Oregon, this town benefits from being in the fringe of Oregon coastal range’s rain shadow benefiting it substantially less rain than the mountain zones and the rest of western Oregon that normally experiences a tremendous amount of rain. In Ashland’s locale, on average approximately 114 days out of the year involve rain and a max of about 20 inches annually – making Ashland an ideal location naturally to settle. But realistically, “rain” these days is a non-existent phenomenon as from June 2014-April 2015, we only remember less than a dozen days of rain and one day of snow not sticking to the ground when we were living in town. As an update in November 2015, we’ve been told it has continued to be dry as a bone. Our recent escapade through the region during a heavy snow storm found Ashland to remain dry with snow not sticking (at least while we were there). Ashland is also a great area for agriculture, especially hay, grain, fruit, and other crops. The area is also known for its poultry and beef reportedly, though we never noticed during our life there. Snowfall rarely exceeds 1.4 inches annually as an average according to online sources. Average temperatures in December is normally a high of 47 degrees Fahrenheit and the warmest months usually being July and August with a high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit.

Historically the ground upon which Ashland rests was purportedly a sacred area to the Native Americans such as the Shasta and Siskiyou who became attracted to its mineral springs and gentle climate enticing them to settle in the valley. This was caught on by Euro-American homesteaders and pioneers who also came to the area. Unfortunately a lot of Ashland’s history seems to be pushed under the rug, not preserved, nor displayed for visitors, tourists, and explorers to experience or learn from. Ashland has no historic museums, kiosks, interpretive signs nor public display of their history outside of National Register buildings normal brandishing of their plaques outside building entrances. If you are seeking history, visit Jacksonville, not Ashland. So the tidbits of information obtained from online sources for this article lack validation and are theoretically hearsay.

Contrary to urban lore that Ashland was named after the ancient ash of the volcanoes in the region settling in the valley or being named ater is the ash from all the wildfires typically hitting the area – the town’s name’s history in reality is quite boring. “Ashland” was coined after the “Ashland Mills off of Ashland County Ohio” where Abel Helman, the founder of the town originated. It has also been said that the name comes from the town of Ashland Kentucky where other founders had family.

The first Westerners were early Hudson’s Bay Company hunters and trappers who followed the Siskiyou Trail passing through here in the 1820s. Settlers following the Applegate Trail passed through in the 1840s. The Donation Land Act brought settlers to the area beginning in the 1850s and as usual in American history, pushing out the Native Americans with a great number of conflicts taking place. These violent clashes lasted upwards to 1856. The 1850s saw the Gold Rush with gold being discovered in Rich Gulch off the Jackson Creek that led to the establishment of a tent city eventually being developed into the modern day city of Jacksonville. Settlers came to the area where Ashland is in 1852 – especially by the Helman and Hargadine families who filed the first land claims in the area. They built a saw mill along Mill Creek turning timber into lumber for the settlers in the valley. By 1854 M.B. Morris moved in building another mill – the Ashland Flouring Mills, establishing agriculture in the area. The community building itself up around these mills became known as “Ashland Mills” and eventually shortened to “Ashland” (by the Post office for simplicity). The first college built was Ashland Academy in 1872 by Reverend J.H. Skidmore. This later gave birth to the settling grounds of Southern Oregon University Ashland. The railway was short lived in the area as was the mills. The only remnant of history left of the railroad is the southern wing of the Depot Hotel as one of the few National Register properties in town as well as the tracks. The rails were once a prosperous hub between San Francisco and Portland, but were moved to Klamath Falls for safety. It wasn’t until 1908 that the Women’s Civic Improvement Club created “Lithia Park” along Ashland Creek based on the discovery of the Lithia water near Emigrant Lake and the desire to create a mineral spa here. The water was piped in from its source to the heart of the city and the creation of Lithia Springs Park was established. The spa plans were dumped in 1916, water was bottled and sold as mineral spring’s water. The 1935 Fourth of July celebrations gave birth to the first Shakespeare performance in the area which established the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and establishing the internationally-renown theater company that runs the operation today. While Ashland has 48 historic structures and 2 historical districts, they are not well marked, well preserved, nor presented as such to town visitors. Ashland lacks any historical museums or displays making the town appear historically void except via modern architectural design giving a pseudo-historic character charm to downtown. (Summer 2015)

This little town I possess a love/hate relationship with. From 2000-2014 I had visited the area often passing through on the I-5, storing my van for almost a year atop Dead Indian Memorial Road at a friend’s place, visiting extended family, and stopping over weeks at a time. These visits were good memorable times that attracted me to the area as a potential place to live. It was our moving to the town to setup a business and trying to find a house for a period of 10 months of living there that revealed the cold hard truth about Ashland. There is a hidden not so pretty of a reality that this “scenic by-way off the Interstate” portrays … oddly leading me to simply recommend most tourists to pass on by unless they need a glorified rest stop or want to catch a play. I know that’s a bit harsh, but it’s the true feeling I have about this ‘village’ based on my experiences there. Our fall 2015 re-visit verifies this as we have observed Ashland decay in compliance, rules, regulations, and tasteless architecture has taken hold of the area. Take the “scenic” by way, drop in for a walk in Lithia park to stretch your legs, gander about the shops down town, catch some drinks at Oberon’s or the Black Sheep, but move on – and not to fast or the police speed traps will get you for even a mile or two over the ridiculous 15-30 mph zones scattered alternating through the town. There really isn’t anything to see. You could take a swig of the foul-tasting Lithia waters to say you did it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some good times in Ashland, and a good percentage of the people are friendly, nice, and authentic. It is the fake people who want something from you, the transients, and those seeking handouts regardless if they are dressed as a hippie or in a business suit pushing some service that you’ll need to avoid. The majority of today’s “Ashlandians” (the general population, not the cool people that are trying to survive there) are a mix of Californian wealthy escapees who are spiraling down Ashland as they did to California. These “California” based elements are the ones that need to go, not the struggling artists who originally made the town what is was once reputedly a haven for. The good people, we made friends with and have deep in our hearts as extended family – those friends and family will be dearly missed and know who they are. But overall, Ashland has been one of the worst towns I’ve spent any reasonable time in.

Centered in Jackson County of Oregon, just off-set from the I-5 corridor connecting California with Oregon, Ashland lies at the border of the two states of Oregon and California just below Mount Ashland. Its population is just over 20,000. It is an expensive and hard city to live in as opposed to most small towns where “small” usually equals “affordability”. The town wouldn’t even be worth an exit if it wasn’t for it being home to SOU – Southern Oregon University and the OSF – Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I would add in Wellsprings, but that gem of a mineral springs spa is technically “out of town” placed north of town with a handy close interstate exit that will allow you to visit the springs without having to drive through Ashland. The mineral springs are very nice, and great spiritual, healing, and cleansing activities take place there – much needed after dredging through Ashland. I see the springs more reflectant of its bordering community north known as Talent than Ashland in all practicality (even though there is nothing really to see in Talent at all yet, though I’ve been told that’s soon to change). Most of the artists of the area seem to live in Talent, Phoenix, or on the outskirts of Ashland.

Ashland likes to portray itself as a city of the arts, theater, alternative lifestyles, healthy diets, friendliness, open-ness, and politically correctness – but in all reality it lacks every part of those core elements in practice that it broadcasts as its own to the world. Due to the influx and takeover from wealthy California escapees – it is an expensive haven. Cost of living is amongst the highest cities in all of Oregon (minus maybe Portland). There was until recently an extremely high transient population that reflects this (November 2015 – news that the city has been attacking them and pushing them out) (those living out of their vehicles have increased). Most of your hard working folk who thrive to be in Ashland, actually live in Talent, Phoenix, or Medford or the outskirts towards Emigrant Lake where their low wages have a better chance of taking care of their rents. The city is constantly suppressing the arts that are not part of their “money making tourism” or is in competition of such – destroying fountains, historical character of buildings, plazas, or places for the alternatively styled to hang out or that which could side-track tourists away from the theater. In order to push out the transients and hippies, they often will make the usual hangouts of these folk cluttered, cement laden botanically void plazas, with lack of places to hang – not only making it difficult for their targeted transients, but the tourists as well. Public restrooms are hard to find (except at Lithia Park) and most shops won’t let you use theirs. From a marketing perspective, if the business doesn’t exist on Main Street, it’ll die off from lack of foot traffic. So if you’re planning on operating a business in the city, stick only to the main street if you want a chance to survive. It is a hard town. Quite a few main street businesses are short-lived.

Tourists generally park along main street and venture nowhere else. It is often just a beeline from their parked cars to the theaters and Shakespeare Festival. Students at SOU seldom bother going down town, and as a survey conducted by us revealed, most who live off campus – do so in Talent, Phoenix, Jacksonville, or Medford. They hop the bus back and forth home and many have never even stepped foot in downtown …. What does that say about affordability or embracing the limited-income citizens of the State?

The dining experience – Lots of colorful and attractive places to dine, and the food is good at many places. However, no surprise, it is very expensive. In addition, it is more expensive to eat out here than in any other Oregon city – because Ashland feels it is above the State of Oregon and implements a food service tax, barring the no sales tax attraction of the State. Also be weary that some restaurants have seasonal menus with seasonal prices as well as menus for tourists and those for locals. Often prices just increase during tourist season – so your typical $6.50 burger will become $9.50 to rape the tourist’s wallet. As a former shop owner, we had so many locals come into our establishment complaining our prices were too low and need to be increased up triple – perhaps which was another reason we failed in the area.

Where does this food tax money go? Rumor has it into the political hands of the ego-centric folk that run the town supposedly for city development. Certainly not into landscaping, the arts, monuments, or say “history” that this town should depict. One of reasons Ashland possesses no historical museum (unlike most towns) is lack of funding and city support … the historical society tried, but rents and expenses were too high. The chamber of commerce is slanted to businesses willing to pay top dollar for promotions. For a town that artistically broadcasts “history” – whatever history once began here is plastered over with asphalt and overlooked like a decrepit Band-Aid. Some local historians told me that the town ignored many archaeological and historical preservation laws in building the plaza, buildings, and roads … ignoring Native American village sites. The artifacts they dug up in those excavations? Who knows where they live – certainly not in the ease of view by the public. Of course that is only hearsay and town gossip, one would have to dig deeper to know the truth. However, from my first hand experience, they do not present this history to visitors like they should.

Entertainment – The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is phenomenal, and the free concerts on the green each Wednesday is lovely. I’ve heard the Armory has a lot of great shows and gigs – one of the few stages alternative entertainment can prevail. Lithia Park is a beautiful green space, but any theatrical, artistic, drumming, and other usual-activities you find in parks – is suppressed by the police. I’ve heard in the past there once were numerous drum circles – banned by the city in effort to get rid of transients. In fact they have very minimal set hours that one could drum there if at all. Street performers seem to be tolerated but not encouraged. The ice skating rink is nice, quaint, and charming. The duck pond is great for the kids. But it is seasonal, drained during certain seasons. Oberon’s Tavern and the Black Sheep are the only worthy places to go evenings hosting the only outlets left for the artistic to seek refuge and company. Good times have been had many times at those establishments. It’s a shame that most of the students don’t venture downtown to liven these places up more. There really is no dance clubs to speak of and the city seems too often shut them down. Apparently in the past there were a few, but closed down through time. The art walks are pathetic and again only centered down the main street. Businesses set off the main street are lucky to get a handful wandering in all night. Everyone brags about the parades – they are very crowded but simplistic and any off-zone entertainment stifled. Due to the passing of Medical and Recreational Marijuana use in the state, much to the dismay of Ashland city planners, several pot shops have opened their doors around town. (Fall 2015)

Flash mobs – essentially non-existent, though I hope this changes if someone is brave enough to take up the organizing. There is a zombie crawl, but it is a boring walk from the Library to the Plaza with not much more than that, stifled from threats of permits and concerns something could go wrong. Santa-con? Hasn’t been accomplished in this city yet from my observations (2014-2015). The parades in the city used to be phenomenal, or so I’ve heard – 4th of July and Halloween, but due to crowds and safety concerns, the city has suppressed them as best as they can get away with. The crowds do still come for the events expecting the wild party that they once had a reputation for. Ashland was once known for its wild and creative colors, most of which are being suppressed and pushed out these days. Wandering musicians and street performers – they are still there, but being pushed onwards (Fall 2015). Tarot readers? You’d think this city would be bonkers for the divinatory and gypsy arts as many portray themselves as new age, enlightened, or earth rooted in town – not quite, often ignored. There is a lot of “pretending” about being “enlightened” in this city. Much of it is a façade. It’s hard to find a reader within the city limits. There is one psychic just north of town (2015), outside the city limits, more towards Talent. Ashland once hosted a few psychic fairs – all of which are non-existent these days. The image of light weaving, crystal bearing, new agers and hippies has gone only as a yuppie styled facade rather than an actual practice. Again, though – true spirituality and alternative religious thought is very abundant in the area’s outskirts, especially just OUTSIDE the borders of town, to the north with great groups like the Goddess Temple, Rowan tree, etc. You won’t find much in Ashland. Even the infamous Metaphysical library recently shut down its doors (2015). Most of the metaphysical or Pagan shops have also shut down and moved on (2015). Ghost tours – non-existent, though there is always rumors someone is going to start this up. We thought about starting one up, but what little haunted history the town has, is pushed under the rug. The freedom with clothing optional activities that Oregon is often known for – very suppressed in this town, again altering State Law, the city forbids nudity in public. No Naked bike rides here.

Oregon Shakespeare fest now runs from February to October, almost year round in its three theaters. This is the base of entertainment for the city. The Oregon Cabaret Theater has musicals and comedies through the year. The Ashland Independent Film Festival showing domestic and international films is hosted annually in April with over 80 films screened within 5 days. Ashland New Plays Festival holds competitions annually during its October 5 day event. The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory is located in Ashland and is the world’s only laboratory dedicated to solving crimes against wildlife, though there is no visitor center. The Ashland Public Library is a wonderful library with great kid programs, a must visit location for parents living in the city and visiting. The Science Center is also a great space for kids.

Ashland has a fair share of parks and green space. Lithia Park, the most famous, is a 93 acre park with 42 of its acreage on the National Register of Historic Places. It hosts two ponds, a Japanese garden, tennis courts, two public greens, an outdoor band shell, and hiking trails. There are fountains in the town plaza pumping out the infamous LIthia waters – strongly mineral tasting for tourists to taste. The Bear Creek greenway runs from Ashland following Bear Creek 25 miles to Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and Central Point and is a great walking, hiking, and bicycling trail.

Politics – Ashland tries to advertise its alternative thoughts, clean living, and open-ness – it however is predominantly conservative, closed group, and consisting of a mayor-council government assisted by citizen committees. Its liberal politics always differ sharply with the rest of southwestern Oregon making its conservative-liberal clash and mix a strange phenomena to experience first hand. The city is run by a mayor-council government with a mayor and 6 council members serving 4 years. The current mayor, John Stromberg ends his term in 2016 and is seen as responsible for much of the downtrends of Ashland losing popularity as a tourist destination. In the past however, Ashland was known for being more liberal than the rest of Oregon and had the nickname as being the People’s Republic of Ashland and advocates to join the state of Jefferson. Many citizens in Oregon are for clean air (although Ashland air quality is low), anti-immunizations, anti-chem trails, and against brand-name commercial development. Although there seems to be a large amount of individuals claiming to eat and live healthy, the number of healthier alternative restaurants in town are minimal and there are no vegan only establishments (2015). Through a nasty monopoly grocery-chain war, Haggens was set up to fail by Albertsons/Safeway in 2015. The Health food co-op and Shop n’ Kart are the places to go.

Ashland is not very varied in diversity, according to the 2010 Census, calculating a population just over 20,000 placed Ashland as 90% white, 5% Hispanic, 1% African American, 1% Native American, 2% Asian, .3% Pacific Islander, and 4.4% Other. Ashland has a median age range of 42.9 years of age. The average Ashland income is about $41,334 and median family income is $58,409. The per capita income for the city is $28,941 with over 21% of the population below poverty.

Ashland depends on tourism and that is severely suffered these days due to the current political climate and control. Stores, restaurants, and businesses often come and go – seeing a flux that is ending independent business in the village moving to larger entities and away from the mom and pop shop. Again, Ashland would not have an economy without the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that sells more than 400,000 tickets a year. The largest employer in town is the University.

Ashland has been the film set for Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” and the 2014 Reese Witherspoon movie “Wild”.

* Note: This article/review is a work in progress. Please check back often for new content.

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Mystic Treats (Ashland, Oregon)

Mystic Treats
* 2345 Ashland St #205, Ashland, OR 97520 * Phone: (541) 897-0045 * Hours: Generally · 11:00 am – 11:00 pm *

A very intriguing restaurant from the outside, it reminded me promptly of the movie “Mystic Pizza”, but only in the copied namesake. We wanted to check it out just in that alone, thinking it would be an alternative hang-out we could do some cheap eats at. The reviews on Yelp! Gave it quite a bit of controversy, and normally what was written there would have thwarted the desires to experience it. But dead-set we were on going to try it. The layout from the outside is tendy, groovy, and intriguing – and a very big establishment with inviting layout. However, every time we drive by … its empty. There is a reputation that they have excellent music on the weekends, but we haven’t been in to check that out as we’re usually off travelling during the weekend. I’ve heard that their home-made sodas are very good. But there is a reason this establishment is like a empty saloon in a ghost town. This review is long overdue as we’ve tried to experience “Mystic Treats” since we moved to Ashland. Unfortunately it wasn’t that ‘mystical’ of an experience. Our first experience began in early June when staying at the Rodeway Inn next door and seeking late night eats nearby. We discovered online billing of a “Vegan and vegetarian restaurant – Mystic Treats” and were disappointed wandering within to see it was packed full of junk food – burgers, hot dogs, subs, and pizza. They did however have “gluten free” as well as “vegetarian” options. Certainly should not have been billed as “Vegan” in any account. We asked on their facebook page why did they advertise as being “Vegan” when offering a sunday comfort food menu day of fried chicken and other nasty treats for one’s stomach. They stated they were originally a vegan / vegetarian restaurant and moved on to offering meat and just never changed their old ads/images. Fair enough we thought. Apparently they started offering meat in January and they have since changed their facebook page to “a pizza place” and no longer bill themselves as vegan/vegetarian. Excellent. That evening, We just grabbed groceries from Albertsons for the night. Next attempt at Mystic Treats was early July 2014 while doing laundry since it was around the corner from the laundromat. We stood for 5 minutes in the foyer Continue reading Mystic Treats (Ashland, Oregon)

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Drainbows and Sparkle-ponies

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by Leaf McGowan

Ah the summer – the time for relaxation, vacationing, road trips, beach days and lounging in the sun. It is also the time for festivals and events extroadinaire. Alas it is also the prime season of Drainbows and Sparkle Ponies. These unique individuals don’t prescribe to just sunny weather, as they work their routines year-round – its just summer time is the season for festivals and that is their prime breeding ground. I’ve already had my share of experience with them this summer (and over 20 years of summers) at various festivals I annually attend. Drainbows and Sparkle Ponies share alot in common but they are extremely different personas, just sharing the mooching and lack of self-sustainability personality traits. So what exactly is a “Drainbow”? The term “Drainbow” evolved out of the Rainbow Family Gatherings as an individual who “drains” the resources from everyone they encounter and the events they attend. These individuals claim to be true “Rainbows” professing the “welcome home”, “love”, and “light” that is natural to Rainbow Gatherings but when the “free” handouts don’t exist they get very dark, grumpy, angry, selfish, and anti-love. They don’t contribute nor do they produce anything for others. They claim they don’t believe in money but need you to use yours to support them and their habits. They range from the grungy road-dog to the attractive sparkle pony. The more attractive and entitled type personality they host the closer they become to being a “sparkle pony”. They have no skills (or at least never demonstrates them) and don’t take steps to learn survival skills outside of panhandling and mooching. At Rainbow Gatherings they are the brothers and sisters who come to the gatherings, don’t contribute food to the kitchens, don’t put money in the magic hat, and sit around all day claiming to be experts of knowledge on all things esoteric, poetry, environmentalism, politics, or fumbling through playing a musical instrument they claim they are a star with. They do this while others are cooking food for others, tending the campfires, digging the latrine trenches (called “shitters”), setting up the water systems and building structures. As more and more drainbows come together in the camp, the hard-working contributors become discouraged and emotions fly throughout the camp with little to no change on the drainbows. This also happens with the sparkle ponies, except that the workers sometimes get distracted by them catering to the sparkle pony’s needs rather then achieving their productivity. Both Drainbows and Sparkle Ponies are primarily addicted to pleasure, drugs, alcohol, and eye candy. As they “drain” the event they often start up complaints about how crappy the event is and how certain things need to be in place although they do nothing to improve it. Outside of the festival, these are the types that if you invite them into your home they’ll eat all your food, smoke all your weed, seize claim to your couch, and never leave your tv. In fact you’ll usually have to call the Sheriff to evict them as they’ll set up residence without contributing. They don’t know what “family” nor “community” is truly about. Blended within their populace are also the scammers, rip-off artists, and tricksters. When attending gatherings or festivals they also invade the local town and steal from local businesses, panhandle, beg, and/or loiter. Sometimes they blend in with the street kids and the homeless population. In many ways “drainbow” is not necessarily a person but a mindset – one wherre the individual dismisses concerns or considerations of others that it is all about them and fit under the label “thief”, “parasite”, “freeloader”, “moocher”, “loser”, “leech”, “sponge”, deadbeat”, or “bloodsucker”. Sparkle Ponies on the other hand is a descriptive term that evolved out of self-reliant festivals like “Burning Man” and raves where attendees dress in fancy costumes, faux-fur, sparkly outfits, or dousing oneself in glitter. The term dates to at least 2008 when it was popularized by the “Sparkle Pony Corral”, a theme camp at Burning Man in 2009-2010 where frustrated event-goers could drop off their camp’s sparkle ponies at the corral where they could be watered, fed, and have their egos stroked by “certifiable experts” affording the camp mates a well-needed rest. At the Burning Man festival – a week long event held in a harsh environment of a dust-filled vegetation void extinct lake bed where everything has to be ported in – at least a gallon of water per individual, food, warm blankets for cold desert nights, shade, and shelter it is absolutely necessary for self-reliance and dependability even though it is centered in a gifting free-exchange community. Burning Man centers on many principles of action, one of which is “Radical Self-Reliance” whereas everyone at a Burner event is expected to bring everything they need to survive for the duration of the event – food, clothes, water, and shelter. It is combined with the “gift economy” concept where Burners share what they have with those that need or share their excess items or gifts they brought for others. It is never to be expected but appreciated when offered. This makes the event very easily targeted by Sparkle Ponies.

They don’t necessarily have to worry about Drainbows as Drainbows don’t have the “looks” nor “finances” to get into the event. Sparkle Ponies are high maintenance men or women who come to raves and Burning Man events unprepared for the harsh environment and completely expecting others to feed them, provide them water, give them shelter, warmth, and even clothing. They are a heavy burden on the community, event, friends, and camp mates. Some of them are normal people who lack any intelligence at all in taking care of themselves. Some have intent to contribute but they fail to think out their strategy as posted on the Burning Man web site someone stating “Can you believe that Sparkle Pony over there brought 60 costumes but only 2 gallons of water and some ramen noodles?” then they ask where the food court is located. Often they refer to those of the female persuasion who dress in cute dainty sexy outfits and wear glitter or sparkles to attract attention, they play vulnerable and helpless, act submissive, and pretend to spread “love and light” in exchange for “gifts” and “popularity points”. Sometimes they know exactly what they are doing and think they can live off their “looks” alone. They can be highly dramatic and have a “woe is me” complex. They don’t contribute or if they do, after breaking a nail, which happens almost instantaneously they get out of hard labor. They survive off of causing trouble, drama, and stirring up social tensions and easy to slip off once shit is stirred. In the faerie sense they are a “pooka”. They sometimes leech onto a single guy or girl and drain their resources promising sex, relationship, love, or affection. They don’t usually put out nor are committed to the relationship but just using that individual for their popularity, resources, or kindness until something or someone better comes along. Unfortunately these types contributed greatly to the demise of the Rainbow Gatherings (see article Rainbows, Road Dogs, Drainbows, Modern Hippies, and the decline of the Rainbow Gathering in the United States for more) and the decline in Burning Man.

    References:

  • Burning Man “Eplaya: topic What is a Sparkle Pony”. Website referenced on 8/3/2014. https://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=42029
  • Lehua Parker “Drainbows”. Website referenced on 8/3/2014. http://www.lehuaparker.com/tag/drainbows/
  • McGowan, Leaf 2009 “Rainbows, Road Dogs, Drainbows, Modern Hippies, and the decline of the Rainbow Gathering in the United States” at http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=614.
  • Quora “What is a Drainbow”. Website referenced on 8/3/2014. http://www.quora.com/Drainbows/What-is-a-Drainbow#
  • Urban Dictionary “Sparkle Pony”. Website referenced on 8/3/2014. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Sparkle+Pony

Read more at Rainbows, Road Dogs, Drainbows, Modern Hippies, and the decline of the Rainbow Gathering in the United States.

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2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress

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2014 Fairy Human Relations Congress
* June 27-29, 2014 * Skalitude Retreat * Twisp, Washington * www.fairycongress.com *

Every year around the Summer Solstice in June, Fairies and Humans gather together to network, communicate, co-create, and bridge relationships on Planet Earth. Specifically focusing more on Nature Spirits, Devas, and the Faery Realms rather than on the Sidhe, Fae, and Faerie, the more human-like races also attend this spiritual gathering. The Congress was first held in the early 1950’s by Daphne Charters in England, but migrated to the United States under directorship of Michael Pilarski at Skalitude near Twisp Washington. The first American gathering was held in 2001 and became an annual event ever since. It was the early ones that I first attended and then with my travels around the world and moving away from the Pacific Northwest, I haven’t had the chance to return until this year. Amazingly it has retained its same beautiful community natured cohesion, peacefulness, center of love and harmony I remembered from 2003-2004. It has grown a bit with more attendees, but never infected with the riff-raff you get at most other festivals. It still has the trustworthiness and balance I remembered loving about the first Pagan gatherings and festivals I went to. Not having to worry about theft, violence, disorderliness, nor people with ulterior motives. The Congress is like the very first spiritual Rainbow Gatherings (before Rainbow fell apart and decayed with riff-raff) meeting a Pagan academic conference. Peace, Love, Healing, and Community empowered the grounds the entire space of the event. I felt recharged and rejuvenated albeit it I was unable to attend many workshops or rites since I was chasing around our little one and watching our festival booth The Tree Leaves Oracle.

As the world has been seeing a full blossom of Fairy and Faerie festivals popping up around the globe, this is the only one that I’ve ever attended that is primarily knowledge and spirituality based unlike some of the others that are music festivals wrapped around the faerie cloak, commercial malls, fantasy dress-up balls, role-playing game conventions, and what-not on a different level than you experience here. This is a true community with more rituals than a normal human can handle and great workshops abound. The music scene is primarily drum circles, although some bands and entertainers will take the small stage in the evenings. The entertainment is drumming, dancing, meditating, yoga, frolick, and education. Of course all the fairy / faerie festivals I attend all have a spiritual nature and rites/rituals embedded in their fabric, but many you have to be “in the know” or hunt around for those aspects if you seek them. Not here, they will be an essential part of your experience. It was good to be back after a 10-12 year hiatus.

Every year, world renown authors and experts on faerie/fairy wisdom hold workshops and classes at the event. Next to the rites and rituals, this is the prime purpose of the Congress. This year, the congress secretly began on thursday and ended on monday as opposed to the flier posted dates – with a special immersion workshop thursday evening by Michael Dunning on “The Dragon Body”. Friday Morgan Brent did “songs from the Garden”, Kirsten Sogge did Eurythmy, Aimee Ringle a Meadow Walkabout, followed by a communal breakfast, opening ceremony and morning circle, Joanna Schmidt on “Opening and Nurturing Your Intuitive Gifts”, Diane Pepper “Meeting Your Multi-Dimensional Selves”, Maia Klevjer “Introduction to Shamanic Journeying for Young Adults”, Joseph Freeman on “Animal Communication”, Ellen van de Viss on “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Saphir Lewis on “Standing Up as a Human in the Co-Creaetive Relationship”, followed by a communal lunch, then David Spangler on “Understanding the Subtle Worlds: A Foundation for Partnership”, Orion Foxwood on “Growing the Tree of Enchantment: A Journey of Fairy/human Co-creation and Companions”, Laurence Cole: “Listening Deeply to the Emergent song of Now”, Michael Dunning: “Standing in the Power of the Spiritual Stream of Human Becoming”, Creeksong: The Taoist 5 Element(al)s: Using Ancient Sounds as Invocations”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “The Alchemy of Unity: When the Whole is more than the Sum of its Parts”, Evening Yoga with Kat Allen, Integration Hour, Circle, a communal dinner, Ecstatic Dance and Drumming with Burke Mulvaney and Friends.

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Saturday saw repeat performances and presentations of Friday morning, with added in the afternoon Jacqueline Freeman: “Shrines: Doors to the Fairy World”, Michael Dunning: “21st Century Grail Stream and its Guardians”, David Spangler: “Partnering with the Subtle Worlds: Rules of the Road”, Flora LaRayne and Fransisco: “Blossoming: A Soul’s Longing”, Deborah Koff-Chapin: “Bringing the Subtle Beings into Form Through Touch Drawing”, Shoshana Avree: “The Essence of Existence, Essence of your Soul”, followed by communal lunch, and then
Rj Stewart: “Elizabethan Fairy Magic”, Orion Foxwood: “Clearing the Soul Cage: Cultivating Presence, Clarity and Wonderment”, Saphir Lewis: “Attunement for Powerful Co-Creative Communication”. Ellen Vande Visse: “Gardening with the Joyful Devas and Nature Spirits”, Bridget Wolfe & John Curtis Crawford: “Being in the Other: A New Perspective o Co-Creation”, followed by repeat activities from friday night of yoga, integration, and communal dinner. After dinner was the main Ritual and Fairy/Human Parade, Acousitc Concert in the Lodge with RJ Stewart, Drumming/Dancing/ and Merriment all night long. Sunday had repeat activities from friday and saturday morning, but after Circle held the spectacular “Angel Wash” in the meadows, and the afternoon presentations of Anastacia Nutt on “Celtic Fairy Traditions: Herbs, Charms and the Wise Ones Who Made Them”, Creeksong “Cernunnos: Lord of the Forest, Lord of the Wild Things”, Orion Foxwood: “The Re-Sourcing Prayer: A Technique for Attunement and Alignment”. Jacqueline Freeman: “Honeybees: The Vibratory Voice of Transformation”, Dolores Nurss:”Dreaming with Fairies”, Closing Circle followed by Yoga, Integration Hour, and communal Dinner. Monday had a special Immersion workshop by RJ Stewart of “The Four Cities of the Tuatha de Danann: Beyond the Hidden Crossroads”. It was a most spectacular weekend with clear weather, good sun, fun nature, and a charming community. All meals were communal and included in the festival fees – good wholesome vegan, vegetarian, and free-range organic foods. The food alone was worth the 12 hour drive we had entering this realm.

In previous years, the notable speakers and workshops were done by Peter Tompkins (Secret Life of Plants), Findhorn co-founders Dorothy Maclean and David Spangler, and teachers in the Celtic Faery tradition RJ Stewart, Caitlín Matthews and Orion Foxwood. Other presenters also included flower essence specialists, animal and plant communicators, shamanic practitioners and herbalists, wildcrafters, fairy seers, intuitives, geomancers, Bards and Druids, and Native American storytellers.

The founders and organizers feel this event is very important as the Congress affects the planet by joining with the nature, devic, and other higher realms to bring more peace, love, and understanding into the world with a goal of not escaping the outer world but to positively affect it. It is a time on the globe wheras multiple crises are affecting humanity and they feel it is very important to seek alliances with as many light forces as possible in other realms. Although many deny their existence, the fairy realms and Mother Earth are big players in what is happening on the planet and this vanguard event bring these people together with an intent for communication and cooperation for ourselves and humanity. They feel that the event has more fairies, devas, and light being in attendance both seen and unseen, albeit registration for 2014 was over 250 in attendance, with a feel of close to 300+ frolicking in the meadows. It was a perfect sized event and one I hope to return to again and again for years to come. It has been a long time since I’ve had a good recharge like I did at this event which makes it worth all the more.

~ Leaf McGowan, Druid, Ovate, Faeid, & Healer
founder of the Faeid Fellowship, Tree Leaves Folk Fellowship & Pirate Relief
www.technogypsie.com/chronicles

Photos from the Event:

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Icelandic Fishermen’s Huts

Stekkjarkot - Keflavik, Iceland
Stekkjarkot – Keflavik, Iceland

Stekkjarkot
* Fitjar, Njarđvík, Reykjanesbćr, Keflavik, Iceland * Phone: 00354 8942874 * vikingship@simnet.is *

In Keflavik is an example of the type of architecture that was common around 17th-19th centuries as a household dwelling. These were turf roof houses called the Stekkjarkot and seen dotted around the landscape. This house was a roughly built turf, timber, and stone fisherman’s cottage. They were inhabited by fishermen and their families. This particular house was the last inhabited turf house in Njarđvík from 1857 to 1924 and believed to have had 15 inhabitants at one time. This one was reconstructed and opened to the public in 1993. Part of the cotage has an open hearth dating to the 19th century.

Stekkjarkot - Keflavik, Iceland
Stekkjarkot – Keflavik, Iceland

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Galleon’s Lost (Charleston, SC)

Galleon's Lost
Galleon's Lost

Galleon’s Lost
* 165 King Street * Charleston, SC 29401 * galleonslost.com * (843) 577-3875 *

Down the city center along King Street, in the historic pirate town of Charleston, South Carolina, you can find a treasure shoppe of timeless maritime collectibles, treasures, rare objects, antiques, and an authentic pirate treasure gallery. Being a big fan of “all things Pirate” I definitely had a fun browse through the store and brief chat with one of the staff. I found friendly and hospitable service, good conversations, and a great collection of fascinating finds. The shop is a subsidiary of Voyager International that brings treasures of the Island Kings collection to Charleston. The focus of the era of these antiquities covers items collected from the spice routes to China dating from the 16th-17th centuries. In addition, one can find fabulous jewelry, black pearls, pieces of 8, gold doubloons, Keris knives, salvaged treasures, and Spanish/Portugese bronze armaments. Voyager International is a world acquisition and trade service organization led by Rich Mutschler specializing in the importation and sale of maritime treasure related goods, ethnographic art, and investment quality stringed musical instruments. They also organize trade and cultural expeditions to Indonesia featuring trade and cultural experiences through business activity and social interaction. Any history buff, adventurer, pirate, gypsy, and/or hobby would enjoy this shop. Definitely a great shop to visit while in Charleston. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Galleon's Lost
Galleon's Lost

Galleon's Lost
Galleon's Lost
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Hadley’s Fish and Chips (Whitby, England)

Hadley's Fish n' Chips
Hadley's Fish n' Chips, Whitby, England

Hadley’s Fish and Chips
* 11 Bridge Street Whitby, North Yorkshire YO22 4BG, United Kingdom
01947 604 153 *

In the heart of the Yorkshire coast, in the little historic fishing village of Whitby, I couldn’t think of a better place where I’d crave fish n’ chips than this location. There were many places to choose from for such a scrumptuous meal … and i settled for Hadley’s Fish and Chips. I’m glad I did, as I was quite pleased. Fast service, quick turnaround, friendly staff, clean restaurant, and a delicious meal. Even came with a cup of tea and a slice of toast? Nonetheless, I was happy. Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Hadley's Fish and Chips[/caption]>

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1780 Bar and Restaurant, Edinburgh, Scotland


1780 Bar and Restaurant
1780 Bar and Restaurant

1780 Bar and Restaurant
* 167 Rose Street, Edinburgh EH2 4LS, Scotland * 0131 255 1446 *

The five of us – one American, four Germans … on day 1 of exploring Scotland together were already at a quick start to disagree where to eat. Thai, Japanese, Irish, Mongolian, Indian … many choices, but no mutual agreement. So as we were wandering down Rose street at a time while most restaurants were already closed for lunch, we settled in on the 1780 Bar and Restaurant. Much to the advice of a patron at the restaurant across the street that closed the kitchen and went to only serving brews … recommended it for good eats. It was an interesting experience. I dined on the fish n’ chips with mushy peas … and thought it was mediocre. Bulmers cider was served up to us nice and cold, beers and ales for the others seemed to satisfy. Me, a silly American, expecting the Scottish to be as crazy about Pimms as the English, since it was my first trip to Scotland coming directly from England, I got a glare from one of the bartenders off-duty as I was ordering it with him mumbling “you couldn’t pay me to go through making that” but was countered by a lovely lady who knew how to make them, and damn good one at that. I quickly learned through that experience here, it wasn’t a Scottish choice. We sat out on the patio, and service was slow. Not sure I’d eat here again. I might pop in to taunt ordering a Pimms … Rating: 2 stars out of 5. Visited 8/2/2011

1780 Bar and Restaurant
1780 Bar and Restaurant

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Cork Butter Museum

Cork Butter Museum
Cork Butter Museum

Cork Butter Museum
O’ Connell Square, Shandon, Cork, Ireland
+353 (0) 21 4300600 * www.corkbutter.museum

One of the most intriguing and interesting museums in Cork is the Butter Museum. My fiancee was quick to take me up the hill to this unsual museum that covers the history of Ireland’s most important food export and the world’s largest butter market. It’s definitely worth a gander and is enriching with the history of farming, commerce, and finance in Ireland. It doesn’t just focus on the food culture of early Ireland, but also covers the growth of Cork as a food trade center. The history of butter making is covered with a feature audio-visual presentation on Irish Butter, as well as a plethera of artifacts throughout history used in butter and food production. It can be done in about an hour, and only will cost you about 4 Euros to wander about. Rating: 3 stars out of 5.

Butter Churn
Butter Churn

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