Cool Places in America~ Where Ducks Walk On Carp?

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

This was an interesting stop we had traveling in Pennsylvania. Near this spillway in Linesville is a horde of carp who are fed bread all day. Their school is so thick it has been rumored that ducks walk over them to steal the bread. This place was creepy, but amazing. I could only imagine if they were barracudas down there. If I had a little brother, I might of been tempted to see what happens if he fell in. Good thing I do not…

We threw in this Salvador Dali loaf of bread in. It took five of us to walk it to the water. All standing behind each other. We got it from Seaside Heights, NJ. That is another strange place I will never mention in this blog. When we threw it in the fish were jumping out of the water on top of the group and started squirming their way to get their lion share of it. It is amazing how when there is a huge surplus of food to see all of these fish still fight for it.

It is said the only thing in Pennsylvania that gets more visitors is the Liberty Bell. There was so many fish I wondered if this is how Jesus walked on water?

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. It is now available in paperback at most bookstores. Ask for it by name.Keep checking back for great cheap vacation ideas that might become your best vacation ever!

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Cool Places in America: Mystery Spot; Santa Cruz, California

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Remember when Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny would walk off a cliff and not fall…until. Until Bugs Bunny loaned Elmer his book on the laws of gravity. After a short read Elmer takes a long fall. Well I read the same book, but I forgot it all when I went to the shed at Mystery Spot. It reminded me of that hallway in Willie Wonka where he walked to the back of the hall and the room shrunk. In this place you do not shrink, but lean.

During a drive through the redwood forests of Santa Cruz, California, can stop to witness firsthand the effects of Bugs Bunny gravity. The Mystery Spot is 150 ft. in diameter and features a slanted shed that visitors walk through and witness strange variations of gravity, like an object rolling up a plank rather than down it.  When you walk in the house you fall sideways! The Spot’s web site speculates that aliens planted metal cones in the ground, scrambling the area’s terrestrial physics. After taking a guided tour, visitors can puzzle over whether this is truly paranormal or an optical illusion, and then trek on through the Redwoods.

Here is the spoiler:
http://www.sandlotscience.com/MysterySpots/Mystery_Spots_1.htm

Now I always thought my parents jobs were always a little slanted which explained why we kept falling out of one town into the next….

~Tyler
To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

Cool Trips to Bucks County PA

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Welcome back to my blog about all of the cool places in America I have lived. My parents the software engineers, they live contract by contract so I never know where I am going to live from month to month. One month it is the deserts of Arizona and the next it is the freezing cold of Montana?

Today I am going to tell you about this cool county in PA. Buck’s County is where Washington had Marblehead MA fishermen row him across the Delaware. They have this cool town called New Hope where Salvidor Dali used to sign blank scrolls asking you to forge paintings on them. Also in Bucks County there are two castles filled with cool tile and the strangest and largest stuff I ever have seen hanging from a ceiling. Then there is the cool steam engine we would ride on every weekend! We kept trying to get a frequent flyer pass, but we failed desperately….

In the winter we would go cross country skiing at the Washington Crossing Park in NJ. Also people in the area would reenact Washington crossing the Delaware every Christmas Eve. That was real cool to watch. Then on the PA side we would climb Bowman Hill. This was a cool tower built on the site in which scouts for Washington was posted on. You could see the whole valley and the Delaware River for miles. At the bottom of the hill the tower stood on what was this real cool garden.

Then on summer weekends we would go to New Hope. I loved going into this one shop where they sold real swords from the 1500’s.  During Christmas they had carolers and people dressed up like characters from Dicken novels walk around. In their shops you could find anything in this old Victorian town which got a face lift from the arts and craft movement! I also loved going to the Night Owl which rested above the canal and I would get some real cool Led Zeppelin albums there. They had Native American shops, shops for Star Wars geeks like myself and my father, and head shops with cool posters. Plus we would sit in this tavern called John & Peter’s and I would see posters of people I just bought albums of who played there. The last time we went there was a poster that members of the Parliament Band was playing that night, way after my bed time….


Then nearby was Mercer Castle. The Mercer Museum was built to house Henry Mercer’s extensive collection of objects representing everyday life in the pre-industrial age. The Museum’s permanent exhibits remain dedicated to this purpose, displaying more than 40,000 tools and artifacts in the Museum’s original core. Over 60 early American trades are represented, including woodworking, metalworking, agriculture, and advertising; plus furnishings and folk art. Never are two visits the same to this unique “preserved” museum that includes a fire engine suspended from the balcony, a complete gallows, and much more. I loved this place, but I kept waiting for something to fall on someone….It never did. Plus we would go to Mercer’s house too. Fonthill Castle is Henry Mercer’s concrete castle house with 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces and over 200 windows of varying size and shape. The interior walls, floors and ceilings are elaborately adorned with Mercer’s handcrafted tiles. Tiles and prints from around the world also show the collecting interests of this Bucks County native. The majority of Mercer’s furnishings and personal effects remain where he placed them, and guided tours explore the various aspects of his remarkably creative life. A tour of Fonthill truly offers a window into Henry Mercer’s unique architectural and artistic vision. My mother loved all of the tile.

But my all time favorite was the steam train ride from New Hope to  Lahaska on the New Hope and Ivy Land Railroad. Once I got to ride up in the caboose! My father used to tell me when he was little he would ride the train in Flemington NJ and then get this fresh baked chocolate chip cookie before going into this cool model train store which had trains running on the walls and in the front window. I love riding old trains. I have been on that one in Flemington and another in Durango CO.

Well we stayed there almost a year before we moved again…. Check back later and I will tell you about some more cool places in America, because I have lived in them all!!!

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy his latest book:
Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida which is available on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might just surprise you by becoming the best vacation you ever had!

Pasadena Terracotta Factory and Piney Graffiti

This is Not New York…

This is one of my favorite trips into the woods north of Whiting NJ into Pasadena. A gorgeous stretch of woods filled with solitary Pine roads with rivers and ponds. This factory burned down early in the last century, but it was the first place I climbed through any tunnels.

Gallery:

 

Cool Places in America~ Jerimoth Hill and an Angry Old Man

Well they moved me again. This time they got a contract with Brown University to email students when they were late returning books to the library. Good thing was there was someone else on campus who irritated students even more than the software they were paid to write.

You know from my previous posts how much I love the stars and places that can afford gorgeous views of them. So I was excited to hear about Jerimoth Hill and its observatory. But…

For many years, hikers could not access the hill because the only path to the summit crossed the driveway of a private property owner, Henry Richardson, who prohibited entry the state’s highest point. Richardson posted “no trespassing” signs and installed a security system that alerted him whenever people entered his property. Richardson’s belligerence toward hikers made him something of a legend in the community. Eventually, Richardson’s son worked out a plan to allow access to the path four times a year. After Richardson’s death, his property was purchased in 2005 by the Mosby family, who opened up access and eventually ceded the land to the state. In 2011, the state began the process of acquiring the summit itself from Brown University; this was completed in 2014. It is open every day, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time.

So on our second trip back, I got to go on up! There were some cool professors up there that showed me all the cool stuff. One guy even had an asteroid he showed me named after him.

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…

Cool Places in America~ Smithville, NJ and the Bicycle Railroad!

Its your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Now I have a Christmas tale to tell you. Every boy wishes to wake up on Christmas to find a new shinny bike under the tree. Imagine a bike railroad! This guy Smith in the Pines made some amazing bikes including the railroad…

The first time my parents worked for the “Mad Inventor” deep in the heart of the Pine Barrens of NJ I was 8 years old. As you know my parents are software engineers who are always on the move. Contract to contract. Their biggest client is the “Mad Inventor”. I think he has some Military contracts since he lives equitable distanced to Lakehurst Naval Engineering and a section of Fort Dix in Whiting, NJ. Who knows what he is up to and my parents will never tell me…

Near his guest house we stay in is a town called Smithville. Today it has a bunch of shops and restaurants my mother loves and my father puts up with. We have visited there several times throughout the years. So much so I looked up its history and it had this cool bike train! Well I thought it did..

The town with the Bike Train was closer to Mount Holly NJ.In 1892, Arthur Hotchkiss received a patent for a bicycle railroad and contracted with the H. B. Smith Machine Company to manufacture it. The initial track ran 1.8 miles from Smithville, in a nearly straight line, crossing the Rancocas Creek 10 times, and arrived at Pine Street, Mount Holly. It was completed in time for the Mount Holly Fair in September, 1892, and the purpose of the railway was supposed to have been enabling employees to commute quickly from Mount Holly to the factory at Smithville. Monthly commuter tickets cost $2.00. The record speed on the railway was 4.5 minutes, and the average trip took 6–7 minutes. The railway was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. It only had one track so that it was impossible to pass another rider, and if riders traveling in opposite directions met, one had to pull off onto a siding. By 1897 ridership had declined, and the railway fell into disrepair.

Now Smithville started as a village in Eastampton Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. It was originally established as Shreveville in 1831 by Jonathan and Samuel Shreve as a textile village on the Rancocas Creek. It was purchased by Hezekiah Bradley Smith in 1865 and renamed to Smithville. The H. B. Smith Machine Company, which produced the American Star Bicycle beginning in 1880, was located there.

The American Star Bicycle had a small front wheel, 18–23 inches in diameter, steered, and the large rear wheel, 42–60 inches in diameter, provided the forward driving force and bore most of the rider’s weight. The light load on the front wheel was reported to have made it skittish on loose surfaces such as sand and gravel. American Stars incorporated pneumatic tires very soon after they were developed, and braking was provided by a spoon brake acting on the rear wheel and actuated by a lever on the right handlebar.

A pair of independent treadle mechanisms collected power from the rider’s legs instead of a crank. Power from each treadle was transferred to the rear wheel by a leather strap over a ratchet mechanism. (See image in gallery below.) The attachment point of the leather strap could be moved to provide multiple gear ratios, and both treadles could be pressed simultaneously for a brief increase in torque. A spring attached to the ratchet rewound the strap when the foot was raised. This treadle arrangement also allowed riders of different sizes to ride the same bike comfortably without modification, as the pedals were not constrained to trace a circle about an axle. An undated advertisement lists prices from $75 to $120, depending on wheel size and finish, which varied from “plainly finished machine; painted and striped” to “all nickled and polished, except the rim, which is painted and striped in gold.” They also made a tricycle.

Smith started making the tricycles in 1887 and 1888 and patented a steam tricycle in 1889. At the first Maricopa County Fair in 1884, Lucius Copeland demonstrated his steam bicycle, one of the first motorcycles, a steam-powered Star high-wheeler. It was claimed to have traveled 1 mile (1.6 km) in 4 minutes, at a steam pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (5.5 bar), and carried enough water and fuel to run for an hour.

Smithville is still a great place to visit. While Mom loved the shopping and my father dragged his face around handing her his charge card, I got to ride the paddle boats. I wish I was not too old, I could of rode on the toy train too…but I like the Smithville by Mount Holly better with the walk on the pond. So did my father, it cost him much less…

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…

Cool Places in America~ Haunted Toys ‘R’ Us

Once my parents moved me to Sunnydale California to work on a warehouse program for Toys R Us.  Well of course I went to work with them several times. In fact I went there so much I was on first name basis with the ghost in the aisles.

The story starts decades earlier when much of the area was farmlands, including the area where the store itself was built. On this location the Murphy’s had an orchard. One of the farm hands, Johnny Johnson, fell in love with the orchard’s owner’s daughter in vain. To get his mind off his sorrow, he took to chopping wood. While he was doing this he hit himself in the leg and bled to death.

He now roams the aisles of the Toys ‘R Us and plays with the toys. He likes bouncing balls down the aisle looking for someone to play with him. I picked up the ball once and threw it back. That is how I met him. After that we used to play air hockey all of the time, sometimes he would cheat though…He is a practical joker also, he likes running the faucet when customers walk into the bathroom.

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com. Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might end up surprising you and becoming the best vacation you ever had! Red proved to be always full of surprises…