Monday, July 27, 2015

Here's Some Stuff to See and Do...Weird Stuff

We've all seen and done some strange things in the name of entertainment and seeing the world.  Ever so often, like after I've written 200 posts for a travel blog, I like to mention some outstanding ones.  I've talked about my share of unusual things like seeing a crashed plane in Greenville, Maine, and we in the north east love our mountain parks with the mountain coasters and the Alpine slides.  I've traversed Trummelbach Falls in Switzerland and gone to James Bond World on the top of the Schilthorn.  I've sat on the Berlin Wall, hiked in Iceland, gone to visit the Native Americans at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and many others.  Today, I've made a list of some of the best and the most unusual things around.

One of the things that I love is surreal places, and America's southwest has a bunch of them.  Most of the surreal things involve rocks.  Goblin Valley State Park in central Utah is one of those overlooked places.  It doesn't get near the traffic that it's famous cousins Arches, Monument Valley and so on get.  Goblin Valley is listed as one of the most surreal landscapes in the world, and with good reason.  This is a great spot for photographers, hikers and anyone who just wants to see something really different.

Page, Arizona sits on Lake Powell and is close to the north rim of the Grand Canyon.  It's on the Navajo Nation Reservation and is home to one of the world's best known slot canyons, Antelope Canyon.  The Navajo have several tours that will take you for a tour of the canyon, and let you see some more surreal landscapes in the twisted, narrow, colorful rock formations that make up the canyon.  Erosion can make some beautiful things, and Antelope Canyon was definitely blessed by erosion.

Surreal landscapes abound with the rocky moon like landscape of Iceland, the giant sculptures of Easter Island, the ferrie chimneys of Cappadoccia, and the Door to Hell which is located in the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan.  This giant burning crater was the result of a Soviet gas exploration accident back in the 1970's and has fascinated people ever since.  The Darvaza Gas Crater however, is not just one crater, although the biggest one is the attraction.  There are other smaller craters in the area too.  It looks as though it will be burning for a long time, so take the time to come and see this one.

I love the idea of going to Gibraltar to play with the monkeys.  I've said that a million times, but in Yamanouchi's Jigokudani Valley the snow monkeys spend their time in the volcanic pools and the tourists love to stop by and take their pictures.  The valley is volcanic, as the name Jigokudani lets on, so there are many interesting sites, but the monkeys are the main attraction.

Surreal doesn't stop on the surface though.  You can spend your surreal time looking at ice caves in Iceland, glow worm caves in New Zealand, or at Mega Cavern in Louisville, Kentucky.  That's right, they used to have an enormous mine and now the have an active wonderland.  They have zip lines, tram tours, adventure quest courses, bike trails, and you can even take a lovely Christmas lighted drive through it in season.  The caverns are so large that you can easily drive a car or even run a train through it.  it's the first of it's kind and it's an amazing way to reuse an old mine.

It is summertime however, and it's time to get outdoors and try something a little crazy.  Sun City is probably the best known, and at times most infamous luxury resort in the world, and it's sitting in the center of South Africa.  It is also home to one of the largest waterslides in the world.  Valley of the Waves has a waterslide that drops 98 feet straight down with an area engulfing the size of an average park.  It only holds one ride though, and it's the biggest and the best.

If giant tall ones don't do it for you, Costa Rica has it all.  In America, we call this sucker an Alpine Slide.  In Costa Rica, they made it into a waterslide and you can try it at Buena Vista Lodge and Adventure.  This cement wonder goes 420 meters down a mountain, and it's so rough that you have to wear a rubber tube and rubber pants in order to ride it.  It does sit on the ground, unlike most waterslides and it goes through the rainforest.  It's one of a kind, folks, so you have to come to Costa Rica to try this.

Speaking of one of a kind experiences, here's one that I would love to try, but haven't yet.  I love the idea of Zero Gravity and Zero G will do it for you.  They operate in many locations around the United States and they have the specially equipped planes to take you up and run you up and down the heavens while you fly around inside like a real astronaut.  It will cost you about $5,000, but you'll love every minute of it.

But, when all is said and done, here's my pick.  I disagree with the experts on what would be the best adventure.  I loved playing with the heavy equipment in Las Vegas and all, but here's one that I'd never even thought of and it comes from Great Britain.  It's called Armourgeddon and it's in Leicester.  It's paintball with tanks.  It doesn't get cooler than that.  You can play for as low as 99 Pounds for 2 hours.  They let you drive tanks and shoot stuff out of them.  It may only be paintballs, but it's still an amazing experience.  I haven't done this, but I will.  I haven't heard of anything else like it.  It's my number one pick for amazing things to try this summer.

So, whether you take your first hike in the summer on snow or you go screaming down a mountain on a waterslide, do something different and fun this summer.  I've just given you a lot of ideas.  Go out, experience life.  I will be traveling next week, so I won't be writing.  It will be an amazing road trip, so I will have a lot to write about when we get back.  Enjoy!

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