A few random views of our side trip to Toronto:
Tag Archives: tourist traps
Deer River, Minnesota
A Roadside Attraction Edition:
Not to be outdone by the town of Garrison, Deer River has its own aquatic idol: the lean, mean, northern pike. Although the general consensus of our little band of hunters was that the fish looked more Muskie-like.
Photos were taken of a thirteen year old caught in the jaws of this magnificent carnivore, but they are too gruesome to share here.
Completed in 1976, Toronto’s CN Tower stands at 1815 feet. Built on former railroad land, the CN stands for Canadian National. Don’t forget: the old round house at its base is now a brewery!
Currently it is the ninth tallest structure in the world, and it receives over 2 million visitors a year.
We joined the throng, and the lines, to get the view from the tower. It does offer some great visuals of the city of Toronto.
Jim Thorpe, PA
Jim Thorpe is considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern times. After winning gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, King Gustav V of Sweden said to Thorpe, “You sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”
Thorpe was a collegiate All-American, NFL All-Pro & charter member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame, and played baseball with three different MLB teams. He also played for a traveling professional basketball team.
When in Pennsylvania for hockey, we traveled through Jim Thorpe, PA. Originally founded as Mauch Chunk, the community made a deal with Jim Thorpe’s widow in 1953. After Thorpe’s funeral in Shawnee, OK, city officials of Mauch Chunk bought his remains from his third wife, and Thorpe’s body was shipped to Pennsylvania without the rest of the family’s knowledge.
I had mixed feelings about the monument to Thorpe in Penn. On one hand, the tribute, if a bit dated and weather-worn, was well done and seemed sincere. On the other hand, it was hard to get past the fact that Thorpe has become a road side attraction. Of all the turn-offs I’ve taken traveling, this one was as surreal as any.
Upon receiving Thorpe’s body, the communities of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk merged and were renamed Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. His tomb was built on a mound of dirt from his native Oklahoma and from the Stockholm Olympic Stadium, where he earned international fame.
In 2010, son Jack Thorpe sued in Federal Court to have his father’s remains returned to Oklahoma. After several court rulings favoring both sides, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 refused to hear the case, effectively ending the suit and leaving Thorpe’s remains in Pennsylvania. Jack Thorpe died in 2011.
The Toe has been stolen. The Sourdough Saloon, located in the Downtown Hotel of Dawson City, has been robbed of one of it’s famed toes. People travel from around the globe to partake in the saloon’s signature drink: The Sourtoe Cocktail. The cocktail consists of a shot of alcohol, garnished with a dehydrated human toe.
It’s the Yukon.
The cocktail, if not the toe, has a long history. A rum runner bringing booze into Alaska from the Yukon, amputated his big toe after it was frostbitten, preserving the toe in a jar of alcohol. The abandoned/lost toe was found in an old trapper’s cabin by a riverboat captain decades later, and the cocktail officially became a novelty at the Sourdough Saloon in 1973.
The rules are quite simple: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe.” Also, if you swallow the toe, there is a fine of $2500. The fine for swallowing was only $500, but a man intentionally swallowed the toe in 2013, laid $500 on the bar, and promptly walked out.
The toe has been intentionally swallowed twice. In the 1990’s, the toe was stolen twice, but was returned both times.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed Tuesday that officers were investigating the toe theft.
71,328 Sourtoe Cocktails have been served since 1973. Travelers in the Yukon can still order the Sourtoe, since the saloon has one backup toe. The cocktail will set you back $5.
In an attempt to get to know the “Mother Road” a little better, we drove over to Ogden Avenue in Berwyn to check out the Berwyn US 66 Museum. That turned out to be a lot like trying to hunt down Route 66 itself.
The museum was closed, and the folks seemed to leave without a forwarding address.
Next door was a hobby store, that sold Legos (“Get your Bricks on 66”) and all sorts of trains. They seemingly had all gauges, and a nice, running, 2-train setup in the middle of one room.
The folks in the hobby store had no idea what happened to the museum.
“What are you doing tonight”
Me: Going to a hockey game.
“But it’s Valentine’s Day!”
Me: Do you want to go to a hockey game?
Me: They do have a kissing cam during the second intermission.
Explain this to me:
Alaska covers over 590,000 square miles of the most beautiful and diverse country on the planet, has over 3.5 million lakes of at least 20 acres, almost 34,000 miles of tidal coastline, and over 100,000 glaciers.
Alaska is the home of: Denali, at 20,320′ it is the highest peak in North America; Wrangell-St Elias; several active volcanoes; over 12,000 rivers including the Mighty Yukon; five species of salmon; and 445 species of birds.
The state boasts populations of 13,000 trumpeter swans, 30,000 grizzlies, 35,000 bald eagles, 70,000 sea otters, 900,000 caribou and over 140 million sea birds, yet with a human population of just over 700,000.
Folks, that’s a lot of elbow room.
With all that said, the demand to “camp” in the local Wal-Mart parking lot has become so great, that the retail store has designated a good percentage of their lot to official pull-through RV parking.
What the hell is up with that? People come to Alaska to “camp” on asphalt? I’m beside myself with confusion.
Is it the bears that scare you?