Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg TN
I've been on a HUGE Gatlinburg area kick lately..... Here is a recent picture!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Random Thoughts On Friday

I hope everyone has something festive planned this weekend!

I know I usually babble on and on about strange things, especially considering the season. I like to talk about weird events, strange places, my sister, unsolved mysteries, etc. I would like to take a moment to discuss something else odd and exciting but still travel related- space travel!

If you lost interest in what NASA was up to after Apollo, now is a great time to jump back on the bandwagon.

STS-133 is right now scheduled to launch Tuesday. This should be the last mission of the Discovery shuttle EVER! A robot (Robonaut2) is going up on this flight!

Oh, and some of the proposed missions to Mars give me goosebumps! Several groups are talking about getting humans there by the 30s.

Back to the shuttles. After the three remaining shuttles are retired, they are going to find their way to museums. I know the Air Force Museum in Dayton is trying to secure one of them! Anyone in Kentucky could make short weekend or day trip to Dayton to see a shuttle!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Postcard: Coyotes Howling at the Moon

I don't know a lot about this postcard, and it obviously has nothing to do with Kentucky, but man is it cool!

This is why I love fishing through old boxes of postcards at antique stores. This is just a very attractive, old postcard.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random Thoughts On Friday

HEY! The 2010 Kentucky Book Fair site has just posted their list of authors attending the event this year. Check that out!

There are still a lot of seasonal events going on! Check them out too! Here in Lexington, Keeneland will be going on for the next couple of weeks, I am hoping to get down there soon. I have several friends that almost live there in April and October!

Do some Halloween related stuff too! Time is running out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hillbilly Hot Dogs- Huntington, WV

We love watching travel shows. I do enjoy catching "Man vs. Food" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" whenever I can. They are fun shows, and I like the traveling show concept.

We did see Hillbilly Hot Dogs one night on the tube. A few days later, while traveling through West Virginia, we saw the real deal on the road!

It was funny, the place truly stands out. I remember seeing it, and not realizing it was the same place that was on Guy Fieri's show a few nights earlier. I told my wife that we had to stop there for lunch. Being the more perceptive of the two of us, she immediately remembered seeing the show about it!

It is hard to get the whole place into one picture. Check out my photos though, the place look like an old run down shack. We really weren't sure where the front door was at first.

We went in and the place was crowded! There was a line and a wait, but we were fine with that. The line gave us time to check out the menu AND check out the decor.

Let me start with the decorations. I THINK we were standing inside of an old shack. There were tables for eating and a place to order. Hillbilly Hot Dogs has allowed visitors to sign walls, tables, and other stuff. Pretty much any place- wall or ceiling- that can be signed has been John Hancocked by various visitors.

Other toys, 8 track cassettes and trinkets are scattered about.

I think I am qualified, having grown up in a very rural Kentucky area, to say that Hillbilly Hot Dogs has done a very accurate job of decorating. Enough self disclosure for today.

They have incorporated a couple of old school buses into the restaurant too. Seriously. I had my hot dogs while setting on one of the buses.

On to the hot dogs. I want one now.

These guys have many different hot dogs. Mine had chili, onions, mustard and slaw. I wasn't a slaw on a hot dog person before, but I am now.

They have some meal deals where if you get 2 dogs, fries, and a canned drink for 6-7 bucks. We had a perfect shake too. They were generous with the fries and toppings. Their basic meal deal is more than enough. We couldn't finish all of our fries.

Owner/operator Sharie loudly and enthusiastically sings the "Weenie Song" often, and we got to hear it several times while we were there (it is still in my head now). I think she sings it whenever a buck or two is put in the tip jar. It is worth it!

We each had a 2 hot dog, fries, and drink lunch and we shared a shake. Even with a couple dollar tip we spent under $20, which, in my books, is a great value.

When we travel, we usually don't go too far out of the way for food. I like to see the parks, museums, etc. Dining places are a bit secondary. Hillbilly Hot Dogs is the exception- this place should be on every travelers "places to go" list.

Hillbilly Hot Dogs is the real deal. For value, food quality, and atmosphere, the place gets a 10 in all categories. Owner's Sonny and Sharie have put their hearts into putting a great, one of a kind place together. If you are near Huntington allow some time to drive just a little bit out and check out this place!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book: Lizzie Borden- A Case Book of Family and Crime in the 1890s.

Since I have touched on Lizzie Borden recently, I thought I should put up a mention of this thorough volume too.

For someone really wanting to read up on all of the facts from the case, especially during the time period of the murders and following events, this one pretty much covers everything.

The book is a very deceptive 272 page (if you read it from cover to cover, it will take you much longer to finish than a normal book of the same size).

Included are all of the important court transcripts, period news articles, and other accounts.

This is also the perfect reference book for those researching the case.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Random Thoughts On Friday

Man, in my area, we are still getting our heads on straight after the Equestrian Games!

I personally am not a horse person, so I never made it out to the actual events. Traffic around town was fine, I think a lot of people expected total chaos, but that was not the case. My favorite morning coffee shop was a bit crazier than usual. I did hear some different languages, that was nice!

I stopped by the downtown Starbucks a few times during the games and it looked rough! The staff there did a great job keeping things under control, but there was constant traffic in and out of there.

I did go with my mom and dad to the London "Welcome Home" parade for Vietnam vets. This was a very cool and classy event. I will get some photos and details of it up soon, but we had a great time.

LOTS of great seasonal events going on right now! Take advantage of them. There are "ghost walks" all over the state that will only occur a few weekends during this month. I know Carter Caves has a haunted trail event. Lexington has a GREAT ghost walk too. I have the links to the right, check them out! I have done the Lexington one, which is jam packed with great, strange historical stories.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book: The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary

For any reader of true crime books, or anyone else familiar with the Lizzie Borden case, this is the book you want.

Rick Geary's artwork never lets you down. The black and white comic style is perfect for the Borden story. Geary uses maps of Fall River, and he diagrams the Borden house nicely. He has done a very real job of placing the reader in Falls River 1892.

In addition to putting together an easy and fascinating read, Rick includes some great articles from the time period of the case.

I am very fascinated with the facts, legends and mysteries involved in the Borden case. "The Borden Tragedy" is a great, comprehensive telling of the story for those just finding out out it. It would be entertaining for those familiar with it too. Oh, and it is simply a fun book to read during the Halloween Season!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book: Death Ride At Euclid Beach

Since we are in October, I thought now would be a great time to mention the very thorough and creepy series of books put out by John Stark Bellamy II concerning crime and disaster in Cleveland Ohio.

Cleveland has a very long history of strange tales. LOTS of Twilight Zone type occurrences have gone down there. Bellamy has done a great job of tracking down the stories, and letting the reader know about the areas past.

I really appreciate the fact that Bellamy avoids dealing with recent crimes, and sticks to the older ones. There is something a bit more acceptable in dealing with older crimes. I believe that the most recent situation covered in Bellamy's books involves the Sam Sheppard case from from the 50s and 60s. He also covers the Torso Murderer in one of his books, drawing a conclusion about the person(s) involved in those crimes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Random Thoughts On Friday

Don't forget that there is a Vietnam Veterans parade and event going on in London this weekend! Get down there if you can!

The weather is getting better here, though it seems to have gone from hot to cold quickly. For the past couple of years, my seasons have been a bit off. Looks like this year will be the same.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mothman Festival- Point Pleasant, WV

Each year in September, the town of Point Pleasant West Virginia holds their "Mothman Festival." We made it down for the event this year and had a great time!

For those unfamiliar with the Mothman, let me explain a little. Between 1966 and 1967, people in Point Pleasant reported seeing the Mothman- a man sized creature with glowing red eyes, and big bat type wings. Also around this time there were many UFO sightings in the area, and also reports of the Men In Black showing up and acting weird. Odd beeping noises were noticed, along with mysterious phone calls received by locals.

The strange events ended after the collapse of the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio resulting in 46 deaths.

There are a ton of sites out there about the Mothman, and plenty of info, including recent sightings in other areas.

Author John Keel wrote the very strange but entertaining book about Point Pleasant at this time called, "The Mothman Prophecies."

In Keels book, Keel talks about his own personal research in the town, including his own observations of unexplainable events, and his receiving some prophetic messages- some of the prophecies seem to come true according to Keel, while some did not.

Keel's book is a fun read for anyone who enjoys reading a good strange tale. In fact, the book really reminds me of one of the better X-Files episodes. This is another book recommended for a good October late night reading.

Keel wrote this book as a work of non-fiction, adding to the books spookiness. On the flip side of that, you do have to ask about Keel's credibility.

He was writing about... well, the unknown. He does mention some iffy characters, and some of his statements are a bit questionable. He does, at one time, state that psychic ability is a scientific fact. Again, I would not want my blog to be a place for debate, but ask any scientist what they think about "psychic ability."

This might sound like a strange statement, but, the book is a bit more believable than other similar books. Keel interviews witnesses and talks to people in the area about their stories. Even if you don't fully buy what Keel is selling, you might buy some of it.

Point Pleasant is a very nice little town, with a cool small town feel. There was a nice crowd at the event, but it was still easy to park and get around.

The town does have the "Mothman Museum." For 3 bucks, you can look around at their various Mothman related items. Early versions and notes from "The Mothman Prophecies" are here, along with props from the movie. The museum has pretty much everything relating to the legend of the Mothman. It is easily worth the $3 admission price.

The town obviously takes some pride in its association with the mysterious creature. A gorgeous statue has been build and placed downtown.

I was fascinated to see a Miss Mothman Festival competition, Mothman pancakes, and a costumed Mothman making the rounds. The local theater hosted presentations by authors and witnesses.

Point Pleasant is a very fun town, in a nice, rural area. It is less than an hour from Huntington, and the drive there was very scenic. This area is really growing on me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book: Torso- a true crime graphic novel

Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyke did a great job adapting one of Clevelands oddest crimes into a graphic novel.

For those unfamiliar with the case, the Torso Murderer took the lives of probably 10-15 victims during the 1930s. There is much debate over who the killer could be (and even if it was one single person or not). The crimes were notable for the very specific way he treated the victims. Also, most of the victims were never identified.

The legendary Eliot Ness tried to solve the entire case, but he never did (though he said openly that he actually did know the identity of the killer).

The case is a very scary and strange one in many ways. It was never solved. The crimes have been linked to others (including some in Pennsylvania and the Black Daliah murder). The at times Super-Man like Ness could not resolve the case. Also, about every author who has written about the case has a different opinion.

Bendis and Andreyko have done an amazing job crafting a graphic novel about the case. The black and white photo/drawing type style forces the reader back to the streets of Cleveland in the 30s. Their classic hero (Ness) vs. Villain (the Torso Murderer) is just as exciting as reading a comic about Bat-Man battling the Joker.

Actually, this story is more exciting. Eliot Ness was a real person. He did have a really battle, of sorts, with the Torso Murderer. Also, unlike Gotham City, Cleveland Ohio is a real place.

The writers do have their theory about the identity of the murderer, by the way.

Let me add that this book is begging for a big screen adaptation. I do know that the writers were negotiating a movie deal at one point, and I hope this still happens. The book has been out for a decade. A movie should have come out about 9 years ago.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Postcard: Kentucky Dam and Lake, Western Kentucky

"TVA's Great Kentucky Dam located in Western Kentucky is 8,412 ft. long and 206 ft. high, and was completed in 1944 at a cost of $115,000,000. Built across the Tennessee River this dam created Kentucky Lake which is 184 miles long and has a shoreline of 2,400 miles- the largest man-made lake in the world."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book: Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon

OK, here is a really scary book. Over the Edge is a very thorough documentation of every documented death that has occurred at the Grand Canyon. Written by people very closely associated with the Canyon, it seems that everything is covered. The book is categorized by types of deaths.

This is a big book, with MANY odd stories about tragedy at the Grand Canyon. One fact pointed out by the authors is that many deaths occur from horsing around. Loved ones have been lost when someone acted like they were jumping near a drop off, only to slip and actually go over.

Also, many hikers are not as prepared as they should be. Some remember hiking parts of the Canyon in comfortable Fall temperatures, and go back to hike during the summer, assuming it will be as easy as it was before.

I personally have a friend (I am talking to you Andy!) who became very sick while hiking the Canyon, and he had to be transported by helicopter out. I gave this book to him recently as a gift- and a warning!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Murder In Old Kentucky by Keven McQueen

For those of you who enjoy a good, creepy read during the Halloween season here is a book for you!

I can't say enough how proud I am of the fact that I am seeing Keven McQueen's books popping up at museums and other locations I frequent. He is a fellow Berea alumni and he has done a great job covering some of the weirder happenings in the area's past.

This book is a fun but dark one covering murders that occurred mostly a century or more ago. Lynchings, poisonings, and other odd cases are covered thoroughly. McQueen covers the cases from start to finish, mentioning what may have prompted the act, how it was carried out, the trials, and the punishments.

If you are interested in true crime in Kentucky, Kevin's bibliography is helpful. He obviously did his research, as many aged papers are credited.

I found the specific case of George Elmo Wells of particular interest, being very familiar with where the crime occurred. I did not know that the perpetrator of the crime was never found!

Anyway, check out this book on a cool, breezy night with some hot apple cider. This book might be my top recommendation for the season.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Random Thoughts On Friday

October is here, and the weather is nice and cool finally.

The World Equestrian Games are going on here in Lexington. I haven't been out to the Horse Park yet, but I plan on getting downtown to check things out probably tonight. I have heard very positive reports though. A buddy went down to catch the band, "Here Come the Mummies" downtown the other night and now he won't shut up about them! It is good to get some unusual acts in Lexington. he said there was a good crowd.

Also, traffic hasn't been the nightmare around town some were predicting. I have noticed more people at my favorite morning coffee shop, and I have heard multiple languages which is cool.