Have a Funky Fun Staycation

Some of my best memories of childhood were summer vacations. Once school let out on Memorial Day it was only a matter of time when my parents, my sister and I would load up in the car for a road trip. No fancy trains or airplanes, just a car and an open road.
Of course this was in the time before the Internet (how did we ever live without Internet). I remember my father would go to the library and check out a copy of the Mobil Travel Guide, lay out a map on the kitchen table and plot the trip. You see, the family vacation was not about the destination but the journey.
I would pore over the travel guide for hours, looking for exciting places to visit- obscure museums, Billy The Kid’s gravesite-- tourists traps as they became known.
Then there was the drive. Remember, this was pre “wi-fi” there was no electronic devices, no YouTube or Minecraft. We entertained ourselves with car games like I-Spy, 20 Questions, The License Plate Game and the ever-popular Slug Bug. If my parents were in a particularly generous mood they would get us those puzzle books where you had to color in the boxes with a special “invisible ink” pen to reveal the answer. Anyone remember those?
As we rode in the car we were always on the lookout for rest stops where we could stretch our legs, or even better a Stuckeys. A Dr. Pepper, some pecan divinity and if I was really lucky a pouch of genuine fools gold or a snow globe and I was happy.
Of course, this was back when gas was less than a dollar a gallon and family road trips seemed more common. Recently, “staycations” have become more popular. Avoid the hotel costs by staying closer to home and take day trips. This also cuts down on the “are we there yet syndrome”—not that I was every guilty of that.
Even if I am only going a day trip I like to plan it out, not act spontaneously. That is where the Internet is great, replacing the old paper travel guides.
My favorite travel website is “roadsideamerica.com.” The operators of the site call it “Your Online Guide To Offbeat Tourist Attractions.” After all, where else can you find information about The Possum Monument in Wausau, Fla., the World’s Largest Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Al. or the World’s Third Largest Fire Hydrant, which is located in Beaumont, Tx.
A quick search on this site finds a number of listings within about an hour’s drive of Linden, not too far for a day trip.
The closest attractions are a pair listed in Jefferson. There is the Scarlett O’Hardy’s Gone With The Wind Museum. According to Roadside America, the museum features “a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia from the book and movie. Includes theater seats from the movie premiere, a reproduction of Scarlett's famous green drapery dress, and a Gone with the Wind-themed Christmas tree.” While in town, don’t forget to stop by The Grove, a haunted home where tours become half-history and half ghost stories. Where else can you visit a site that has been featured on such TV shows as William Shatner's Weird or What, HGTV's Home, Strange Home, and BIO's My Ghost Story?
Texas’ most famous post office, which straddles the Texas/ Arkansas state line In Texarkana also made Roadside America’s list. FYI, the clerks’ windows are on the Arkansas side.
Pittsburg is not only famous for its hotlinks. Located at 4845 Hwy. 271 N. is a giant Bo Pilgrim head statue, 37 feet tall. In town, at the Depot Museum is a Full-size Replica Ezekiel Airship. The Rev. Burrell Cannon, a local Baptist minister, read in the Book of Ezekiel of "living creatures" rising from the earth and a "wheel within a wheel." He believed that these Bible passages contained the secret to powered flight. So he created an airship that looked much like a paddlewheel boat. According to stories, one of the foundry workers was able to get the engine-powered craft airborne for about 50 feet. This was in 1902, a full year before the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk.
On Dec. 31, 1985, 50’s rocker Ricky Nelson (the father of Nelson band members Matthew and Gunner) died in airplane crash in a pasture near DeKalb. A section of the World War II vintage DC 3 is now housed at the DeKalb Museum, located on the northeast corner of NE Front St. (US Hwy 82) and NE Houston St., just east of the Family Dollar store.
Looking a not-so-private, private place? Sulphur Springs is the location of America’s Only Public Restroom with See-through Walls. Yes, located near the courthouse is a restroom with one-way mirrored walls. Users claim that once inside you can see out, but people on the outside can’t see in (I hope)!
These are just some of the places, in Texas alone, that can provide some side entertainment to break up the monotony of a long road trip, or as a destination for a day trip.
So do a little research in advance and may your staycation be freaky and fun.

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