Some Random Amount of Time in Awkwardness

A couple of weeks ago I said goodbye to Mackinac Island and made my way to Tampa, with visits to friends and family along the way.  I spent one night each in KOA cabins in Clinton, Tennessee and Calhoun, Georgia, both of which I would recommend to anyone traveling through the area.  The one in Calhoun gives out fresh baked cookies and has free-roaming peahens, a small petting zoo, and a pond – stop into the office for a dish of goat and/or duck food, both are 50¢.

I revisited an interesting spot in Tennessee – a crazy looking tree at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge.  It grows sort of outward instead of upward, and it’s easy to climb under the branches and have a cozy little fort in the middle.

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I haven’t done a whole lot since I got here – mostly I’m just trying to get all the stuff done that needs to be done before I start school in January.  I did find out that “dark tourism” is a thing this week.  Apparently it’s on the rise.  I don’t know why the sociologists are so surprised by this.  My own travel map is chock full of battlefields, prisons, and various other places that I guess could be considered “dark”.  Every single place in the additions section just on this post is some sort of abandoned ruin, and I tried to add a bunch more only to find out they were already on there.

Happy Halloween!


Added to the Travel Map:

Mallows Bay, Maryland – bunch of scuttled ships laying around.

Ungru Manor, Ridala Parish, Estonia – an abandoned ruin.

Train Cemetery, Thessaloniki, Greece – hundreds of rail cars left to rot.

Parc Montsouris, Paris, France – a park with an abandoned rail line.


Destination: Graceland (and a Little Bit of the Rest of Memphis)


I’m not a rabid Elvis fan (although I do appreciate some of his early work) but when in Memphis, visit Graceland.  It was smaller than I thought it would be but otherwise perfectly met my gaudy, ostentatious expectations.  What I didn’t expect was to find out that Elvis was such a nice, down to earth guy.  He apparently ran around paying off the hospital bills of strangers and driving golf carts on his front lawn.  He even bought the house partly to fulfill an early promise to his parents that he would get them a nice place to live.  The tour was a little different than my usual experience.  I bought my ticket ($36) across the street and got in line for a shuttle to take me to the house.  While I waited, someone handed me an iPad and a set of headphones, and John Stamos became my tour guide.  The iPad was interesting at first, each room had commentary, there were photos, videos, interviews, and 360° views of places that weren’t visible from the viewing areas.  The problems arose when they packed the house so full that it was impossible to stand in one place long enough to explore each section.  I ended up having to sit down in a random spot for awhile and just go through all the stuff I’d missed.  There’s a couple of outbuildings besides the house itself that hold a lot of his awards and more flamboyant costumes, plus horses on the grounds and of course the graves of Elvis, his parents, and his grandmother.  All in all it’s an interesting (if somewhat overpriced) place to visit.

While I was in town I wandered down Beale Street, with it’s bar-b-que restaurants and blues clubs, and made a quick stop to visit the famous ducks of the Peabody Hotel.  I drove by the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.  It’s now the National Civil Rights Museum and they keep a huge white wreath on the balcony where he stood.  It poured rain for a half hour or so and mist started rising off the Mississippi.


This Week (And Last Week) In Awkwardness

I saw two javelina on the side of the road.  I’d never seen any before so that was interesting.

I was all worried about what archaeological field schools would be available at USF, but the adviser said they allow students to transfer field school credits from other universities, so I guess I can pick just about anything.

I haven’t had a whole lot going on lately so I’ll just toss in these progression photos I created from sunset time lapse photos.  One from Mackinac Island in Michigan, one from Gatlinburg in Tennessee.




Added to the Travel Map:

Ascension Island, Saint Helena – tiny, remote island in the middle of the Atlantic, where some Brits built some stuff once upon a time.

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Baikonur, Kazakhstan – The largest & oldest space flight facility in the world, once a secret Soviet testing site.

Ishak Pasha Palace, Doğubeyazıt, Turkey – abandoned.

Fort Tilden, Breezy Point, New York – abandoned, now part of Gateway National Recreation Area.

Little Curaçao – abandoned island.