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earning your business everyday
New & used vehicles with a full line service & parts dept. Call 765-932-2447 or 866-576-7874 or visit us on the web for more info.

open 7 days! dine-in or carry-out
Open for breakfast at 6 a.m., Mon-Sat. Steak special Fri-Sat. Daily homemade meal specials. 711 N. Main Street in Carthage. 765-565-6078

the caring professionals
Two locations: 7355 S. State Road 109, Knightstown (765-345-7400) and 3406 S. Memorial Dr. in New Castle (765-529-7100)

Call 765-345-5171 for info/quote.

body repair experts
Call 765-345-5380 for info/quote or visit us at 221 W. Main Street

parts for mowers
Call 317-462-1323 or visit us on the web for more info

a family tradition since 1898
Funeral services, monument sales. 130 S. Main Street in Wilkinson. Call 765-781-2435.

Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
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 Vacation Destinations Disappearing

This is the season of the Great American Family Vacation, a tradition as old as the nation itself, going back to those pioneer days when Mom and Dad would round up the kids and set off to see the USA in their Chevrolet Conestoga Wagons (two horsepower).

Of course, seeing the USA was a much simpler proposition back then, seeing as how there were not nearly so many S’s to deal with, but the idea was the same then as it is now: Sometimes it’s good to get out of your home environs to check out some other kind of environs. Back then these other environs were called “the Wilderness.” Or “Ohio.”

Nowadays the closest we get to that is the Uncle Dizzy’s (nearly) Authentic Wilderness Adventure, with prefab trees and college kids wearing polyester pioneer costumes, but what the heck, it’s still a vacation.

The big destinations these days are the theme parks, of course, followed by the beaches. Unless, of course, you work at a theme park and live on a beach, in which case your idea of a must-see attraction is likely to be a public library in DeKalb County.

Theme parks are OK, in their concrete-and-fiberglass, five-eighths life-size, upgrade-to-the-gold ticket way, but that’s not the experience I seek. I’m a big fan of the places that are not on the Top Ten Vacation Destinations (as defined by the Vacation Destination Industry).

When I’m traveling around on what I jokingly refer to as “business,” I take a lot of detours to see the real, authentic American weirdness that lurks in every hamlet from coast to coast. I’ll drive miles to see big balls of string, giant advertising icons, and rocks that resemble the profiles of semi-famous people, if you squint and tilt your head. I, personally, have seen at least three different Buford Pusser death cars and two world’s largest concrete eggplants.

I love Worlds, Havens, Centers and Lands. I love the idea that somebody had such a passion for one weird thing – let’s say sugar bowls – that they just had to create a tourist attraction around it, certain that (a.) there were thousands of others who shared that passion, and (b.) the casual traveler, upon seeing a Visit Sugar Bowl Land billboard, would be so curious that he would gladly pull off the highway to learn more about sugar bowl and thus be a better person for the experience, if not a complete convert rededicating his life to this glorious piece of Americana.

Of course, you do take your on this tourist road. Charlatans, frauds and rip-off artists abound. The promise of seeing the world’s only giant stuffed Chihuahua turns to disappointment when it turns out to be a badly preserved terrier mutt in an old terrarium at a gas station. Even so, you have to give some grudging admiration to the owner’s faith in human gullibility. Including your own.

My worry is that these uniquely American destinations, the good and the bad, are disappearing at an alarming rate, thanks to the pervasive influence of the entertainment companies and the homogenization of the population. My advice? Load the family in the SUV and get out there now to see the dinolands, storybook centers, and milk bottle havens – or, as they are collectively known, Nut World.




© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.