I was first introduced to Salvador Dali in the early 90’s through a coffee table book and psilocybin. As the pages came alive, I knew I was being confronted with greatness and my love affair with his work has only grown since then. I even have some plans for a Dali inspired tattoo. So, when our house sitting adventure brought us to St. Petersburg, Fl. there was no doubt that I had to visit the Dali Museum.
Travel tip, on Thursdays the museum is half off from 5pm – 8pm, just $10. The museum is a collection of his work and only his work, spanning his entire career. It had been owned by friends of the Dali’s, the Morse’s and through their desire to keep the collection intact, the Dali Museum was established, after years of unsuccessfully unloading the collection in its entirety. The building is magnificent and looks straight out of one of his pieces. Make sure you visit the courtyard as well.
I walked through the door a little after 6pm and perused the gift shop, taking in all the crazy images. I was quickly reminded of what had drawn me to Dali in the first place, the color, the incredible perspectives and hidden gems. I made my way to the bar, yes they have a bar, and downed a glass of wine. I needed to loosen up to take this all in. The guided tour started at 6:30, and by 6:45, I had given up on the tour and walked the facility in amazement. The tour guide was super knowledgeable, but the tour was skipping large parts of the collection. They actually have an audio tour, I think I may try that next time.
I spent a couple of hours surrounded by greatness, having some flashbacks to the 90’s and dodged security to snap some pictures which I’m sharing here. If you’re ever in St. Petersburg, you got to check out the beaches and the Dali Museum, in no particular order. Here’s some pictures form my visit.
La Main (1930)
If you have any questions about anything we talked about, comment below or email us.
Do you believe in Mermaids? I believe in the Higher Primates ability to look and act like Mermaids in their true environment, under the water. Our daughter is a Mermaid believer and a huge fan of all things Mermaid, so when we asked her what she wanted to do for her 6th birthday, the answer was easy, “I want to see Mermaids.” Our Vagabond Family Adventure has us house sitting in St Petersburg, FL. and through the power of Google, we found her some Mermaids! Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is located in Spring Hill, FL just 45 minutes North of Tampa and about 2 hours West of Orlando. So, when Arial’s Grotto fast pass isn’t available, make the drive over to Weeki Wachee Springs, it’s worth the drive.
The facility is built on a natural spring that drops to a depth of 200 feet and maintains a constant year round temperature of 72 degrees, making it an excellent alternative to the bathtub like waters of the Florida Gulf Coast. The Mermaids Theater seats the audience in stadium seating, just under the waters surface, giving you the feeling of siting in an aquarium and providing you a fantastic view of the show. There are currently two Mermaid shows, The Little Mermaid and Mermaids of Summer, each performed twice daily. Make sure you get to the theater around 30 minutes prior to the shows start time, seating is on a first come, first serve basis. Once the theater fills up, you’ll have to wait for the next show and you’ll have some grumpy kids on your hands. These shows are well put together and our 6 year old loved them, the performers ability to use breathing tubes underwater was amazing and the costumes were dead on.
Once you get your fill of Mermaids, make your way over to Buccaneer Bay. You’ll find a nice beach area, swimming hole and water slides all built on the natural spring. Rent a tube and float the day away on the lazy river or belly up to the bar for a Pina Colada and watch your kids barrel down the water slides to the waiting fish below. For those with family members not quite ready to take the plunge, there is Lil’ Mates Caribbean Cove a kiddie pool for kids under 6. Buccaneer Bay includes two snack bars, responsibly priced, and a gift shop for all your Mermaid gear needs, though I will add that Mermaid tails are not allowed in the swimming hole, but If you want to put one on and lay on the beach, I don’t think they’ll have a problem with that. Our daughter is the owner of two tails like these Mermaid Tail Costumes
Here’s a link to the Traveling Chimps Mermaid Show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqBr0Wm5KM8
What do you believe in? Mermaids, Bigfoot, Aliens, Locness?
It was a brisk morning in February when my wife brought us the news, we had landed our first housesit in Happy Camp, CA! Happy Camp? I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell, comment below if you got that reference. I Google mapped it and I remember thinking, “God, I hope I don’t need to travel anywhere and is there even internet there?” It turned out that I had to take one business trip using the Medford, OR airport, a 2 hour drive and there was just enough internet to keep my work going, though we couldn’t post any Traveling Chimp videos to YouTube.
We drove over the pass, an hour drive on a switch back that closes often do to snow, luckily, they hadn’t gotten much snow this year, though there was quit a bit of snow at the highest altitude. Our ears popped as we descended on Happy Camp, not sure what we would find. On recommendation we stayed at The Forest Lodge http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32472-d271299-Reviews-Forest_Lodge_Motel-Happy_Camp_California.html for the night, where the warm smell of Bermuda raised up through the air, our housesit wouldn’t start till the next morning. We strolled over to the house we would be watching and had pizza with the owners. They were incredibly nice people and told us all we needed to know about the surrounding area, even leaving us maps to find the local spots. They were incredibly hospitable baking chocolate chip cookies for the kids, leaving us recipes for easter, and finding out about an easter egg hunt in the area for the kids!
Happy Camp, CA US Post Office
Happy Camp is located about 20 miles south of the Oregon boarder along route 96, in the Klamath River Valley. It is the Bigfoot capital of the world. There have been more sightings here than anywhere else and the town welcome this fact with open arms. There’s not a lot of business in Happy Camp, but the ones that are here are using Bigfoot in their name, like the Bigfoot RV Camp. The post office even has a Bigfoot statue outside. Every Labor Day the town throws their annual Bigfoot Jamboree http://bigfootjamboree.com/, I’d love to make it back there someday to participate. If it’s anything like their Easter Egg Hunt, it will be awesome. We were super impressed with how good their Easter Egg Hunt was, especially for such a small town. It was probably the best one we’ve had been to.
The center of town has a giant Bigfoot made out of donated materials and assembled by a local artist. Chilear and I wasted no time in taking a selfie in front of it.The town also has a large Native American population (Karuk Tribe) that is very welcoming and have their own museum http://karuk.us/, a must see. There are beautiful hiking trails, hot springs, swimming holes and some of the best white water rafting in the world. Even if you can’t land a house sit here, there is plenty of lodging and camp grounds to fit your needs. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. The people are extremely welcoming and everyone I asked had a Bigfoot story, reference the warm smell of Bermuda above. You probably have never heard of Happy Camp, but if you ever get a chance to check it out, it’s worth the snowy pass.
Did we ever find Bigfoot? You’ll have to catch that episode of Traveling Chimps to find out. Next up Southern California with a stop at Disneyland! What’s the most magical place you have ever visited?
As we drove into Jedediah Smith State Park, the first in a chain of 4 parks making up the Redwood Forest on the Northern coast of California, I couldn’t help but look for Ewoks. That’s right, Ewoks, the lovable furry Star Wars characters from the Return of The Jedi. It was clear right away that we had driven into the forest moon of Endor, the Ewok’s home, or were we now being stocked my a T-Rex in Jurassic Park? Either way these film makers couldn’t have picked a better place to shoot these iconic movies!
The Traveling Chimps were so excited and in awe at the size of these trees, that they laid down their tablets and started to rattle off all the facts they had learn in the week building up to our visit to the Redwood Forest. This was Road Schooling at it’s best. The 5 year old immediately spotted a fairy ring, created when a Redwood is cut down, additional trees grow out of the stump, created a ring around the stump.
Like most of our adventures, we had no clear plan other than to get to the parks and find an information center to guide us through the adventure, sort of our own personal Dungeon Master. We drove through Jedediah and into the Pacific coast town of Crescent City, a town with it’s own history of being leveled by a tsunami in March of 1964. We entered the Redwood information center with giant smiles, as this was the first time the Traveling Chimps had seen the Pacific Ocean. We were greeted by a bearded park ranger who immediately engaged us in conversation. We told him our vagabond family story and he broke out his maps to customize an adventure suitable for a family as crazy as us. “You’re not afraid of dirt roads, are you?”
Pacific Coast Line
We hit the Safeway to stock up on fresh food and jumped on the 101 South for the mouth of the Klamath River. Scaling the side of the mountain on a switch back, we started to get glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. With our excitement building, we hit the overlook perched 800 feet above the mouth of the Klamath River. We found a photographer with a professional set up and engaged him in conversation. He was a wealth of knowledge. We stood next to him as he pointed out to us 6 Gray Whales, their gasps for breath clear in the surf just on the break, ~60 Harbor Seal, 12 Sea Lions and 1 Red Tailed Hawk, we had just missed 2 Eagles. Not what we were expecting to see on a visit to the Redwood Forest! We had teased ourselves driving through Jedediah, but the real giants were just ahead of us.
We followed the ink pen on our Park Ranger produced adventure map and drove over the Klamath River looking for the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. We found it with little trouble and started into the Prairie Creek State Park looking for the green signs reading 750 ft. to trail head. There are 4 trail heads along the parkway. We were told there is no bad trail. We picked the 3rd trail and left the Hybrid along the road to rest it’s tires along gentle giant trees with prehistoric roots.
Following the well groomed trail, we were immersed in some of the most beautiful scenery any of us had ever seen. The size of these trees is hard to explain or even give justice in words. It’s something you have to witness yourself. There are two types of giant trees in the parks, coast redwoods, the tallest of the two trees, capping out at 379ft. It is also the tallest living thing on earth! These are huge trees and looking up towards the canopy it’s hard to even see the tops. Their base can grow to 22ft diameter! The second type are Giant Sequoias. These beasts cap out at 311ft., but their girth is well beyond the coast redwood and can grow as wide as 3 school buses! These old timers thrived during the Jurassic Period and you can almost feel the dinosaurs presence as you hike through the moist, fern riddled environment. Make sure you bring your hiking boots and dress in layers as the constant shade can keep the temperatures on the forest floor fairly low.
After hiking a few miles with the giant trees we headed back to the Hybrid and started for the south end of the park. We stopped at another information center and couldn’t help taking another quick hike among the giants and ever present creeks and streams. Here we witnessed the effects of forest fires on the giant trees. The redwoods have thick, water rich bark that protects it from fire. In fact fire isn’t entirely a bad thing for these giants and can actually help clear out the vegetation that grows around the trees competing for valuable nutrients.
In front of the Prairie Creek Visitor Center is a field cleared by fire years ago by the Yurok tribe and grazing in it were 12 Elk. The Chimps were amazed at how close we were able to get to them. Remember to never approach a wild animal on feet, it could be the last thing you ever approach. We were in the hybrid, viewing at a safe distance.
We left the visitor center looking for the dirt road, Bald Hills Road, that would take us through the freshly blooming fields of wild flowers and take us full circle on route 96 back to Happy Camp, CA where we have been doing a house sit. We traversed the dirt road, the hybrid eating up the dirt, the openness making us feel like we were the only people on earth. We hit the switch back and rounded a corner right into the path of a giant black bear. She was as surprised as we were. She ran for the cover of the forest and we crept up on her trying to get a final glance of her through the trees. You couldn’t have finished an adventure any better, we drove up 96 with nothing but admiration for the Ranger who’s map and ink had gave us a day we will never forget. The chimps ears popped from the altitude and they were soon fast asleep with dreams of bears, whales and prehistoric forests.
Wow we’ve been to 7 states since the last blog, spending the most time in South Dakota…yup South Dakota…hard to believe I know! It started as a necessity but turned into a blessing in disguise. We ran into an April blizzard so we decided to camp out in Sioux Falls for a few days to wait it out. The Sioux Falls were absolutely magnificent!
We arrived on a beautiful 70 degree day enjoying the falls beauty..while the kids ran around climbing rocks like little maniacs. What transpired was the biggest plummet in weather we have ever witnessed. Our beautiful 70 degree day turned into a knock you over windy 27 degree day in what felt like 2.5 seconds!! Next came the snow!! Wow Mother Nature is full of surprises!
After a couple of days we raced the next storm towards the Badlands National Park, a must see!!!! We were in complete awe of the beauty of the Badlands..the kids were so impressed they actually put their tablets down :)!
Badlands National Park
The pictures don’t even come close to doing it justice. We stopped by the visitors center, which was impressive in and of itself..great museum!! The staff was beyond helpful and even encouraged the kids to become Junior Rangers. The Junior Ranger program is at every national park and is so much fun for the kids. They learn a lot, by completing challenges, and all sorts of other fun stuff. After completing the program the kids were awarded Junior Ranger badges and can stamp their passport at each national park!!
Next we headed for Rapid City, SD to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse! Mount Rushmore was very cool to see and they had a cool movie, narrated by Brokaw, that was just the right length of time for the kids and fantastic facilities, however we were so much more impressed with Crazy Horse! The museum was gorgeous, the staff welcomes you and escorts you right into a quick movie to get some background knowledge before walking into the bigger than you would expect museum. The whole place, floor, ceiling, and walls are covered in wood to give an earthy feel..and you can just feel the passion of Crazy Horse and Korczak Ziolkowski, the sculptor…his quote
“When the legends die the dreams end. When the dreams end there is no more greatness” permeates throughout.
So off to Yellowstone…we decide it would be a better idea to go through Wyoming rather than up into Montana and back down into Wyoming through the North gate . I must say the drive was the most beautiful and unexpected I’ve ever been on. We ended up climbing Big Horn which was beautiful, exhilarating, and terrifying all at the same time. Late at night we finally found a place to stay in Cody, WY, another great place! We were greeted by T Bone who is so enthusiastic and welcoming…and informative. After chatting us up, he discovers we are headed to Yellowstone…apparently a rookie mistake in April! The roads to Yellowstone are all closed till May because they are impassable with 15 feet of snow!!! Oops guess sometimes you do need to plan things out and not wing it…lesson learned!
What’s the dumbest thing you ever did on a trip? Comment below.
One of the first things you see on the tour. I played here a few times with eye wish eye. Once opening for NYC favorites Lotion.
A guy I’ve grown to love over the resent year. I always knew he was good, but now when I hear it, I really get it. Great guitarist, great style, and great music. One of the best of all time for sure.
Music has been such a huge influence on my life, so I guess it’s only natural that our vagabond lifestyle brought us to the mecca of modern day music. Coupling the 70’s with a brother 12 years older than me with great musical taste, was a recipe for an infatuation with Rock and Roll. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and the biggest influence of them all, KISS, a 2014 Hall of Fame inductee. I still have Destroyer on 8 track to this day, though I don’t have an 8 track player to listen to it on. I started playing musical instruments at a very young age. My cousin Jay gave me an acoustic guitar when I was 5, though I have to admit I smashed it on the driveway, just like Paul Stanley. I started playing the cello in the school orchestra in the 4th grade and by the time I was 13, I had switched from guitar to bass and was playing in some 80’s hair bands. By 15 I was the bass player for alt rock band eye wish eye, a band from Lancaster, Pa with some mild success. I still play to this day with A Black Eye Affair and Kris Margiotta Band, as well as some solo efforts under the name The Smacken Pappy’s. So, with all of that said, I really don’t know how to go about documenting the Hall of Fame experience with any real justice? I was moved by so much of it, blown away even a few times. Bands that I never thought I would actually see in there, I was seeing. Memorabilia that I actually had seen used, I was seeing again. I think the best way of approaching this blog is to post all my pictures and write comments.
Feel free to keep the conversation going in the comments below and or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps I’d love to hear what you all think of these bands. So here we go!
Outside of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH
New York Dolls. Loved this band. they set the path for so many of the influential bands to follow. What a cool guitar?
Alex Van Halen’s drum kit from 1984. Panama! Hot For Teacher, Jump!
John Paul Jones! Such style, 8 string bass! I got to try one of these out.
Ramones! They should move the CBGB’s awning over this case.
Circle Jerks! Circle Jerks are represented in the Hall! So cool!
Sex Pistols! I figured the Hall would get these bands, but still super cool to see all this stuff. I liked the Sex Pistols a lot, but actually liked a lot of the covers people did over the years, like Megadeath, Anarchy in the UK!
So much cool shit in this case. The Bruce Dickinson’s leather jacket with the lights! I saw him wear this in the 80’s on the Somewhere in Time Tour. My mother took me to see them. I think I was 12. Vinny Vincents Invasion opened. Cliff Burton’s Bass! Michael Anthony’s Jack Daniels Bass! Angus Young’s school boy outfit!
I like Pearl Jam a lot, but they can’t top the bands that led to Pearl Jam. Mother Love Bone! So glad the Hall got this one right. Andrew Woods was the shit! What if he never died? I’m sure Vedder would have still found an outlet for his musical talents.
Straight up game changer! Music will never be the same and how about Dave Grohl, playing in 2 of the biggest bands of all time? How is that possible?
My favorite band of all time, hands down! I was so moved by the fact that this band was represented in the Hall. I kept thinking of all the shows I’ve seen Greg do over the past 15 years, most of which were in tiny clubs, some with as little as 100 people, but here he was, an amp that clearly had been on the receiving side of a Dulli thrown guitar. Fucking Awesome!
I was actually shocked to see all of these bands in the Hall. Soul Asylum! Replacements! Jay Hawks! All of these bands influenced me so much, even to this day! I remember seeing Soul Asylum with the Goo Goo Dolls opening in 93′ at Hammerjacks in Baltimore. The old Hammerjacks!
Awesome sticker on one of the Rolling Stones road cases.
Greatest songwriter to ever live. Love the t-shirt too. You Are Here. Dead on!
Wish I would have been able to see these guys live. Jim Morrison was an absolute rock God. So much mystery around his death too. Maybe he’s still out there among us?
U2 -Still love this band and always will. I saw Adam use this bass on the Pop Mart tour in Prauge Czech Republic. The jacket Bono wore at the 2001 Super Bowl with the American flag inside is in here too. By the way Patriots won their first super bowl after this performance.
I saw Pink Floyd 2 nights in a row at the old Veteran’s Stadium in Philly on the Division Bell tour. Second night was on a special fungus! Incredible way to top off the Hall.