Video

Le Massif de Charlevoix Train

In this video, Kelley and I eat a gourmet French Canadian meal while enjoying the picturesque countryside of Quebec on the Le Massif de Charlevoix Train.  And the chef even stops by to chat!

27
Feb 2013
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION 1 Comment
Video

Marche du Vieux-Port Farmers Market, Quebec City

Recently, I took a little jaunt up to America’s Northern Neighbor and checked out Quebec City, which–don’t quote me on this–is most likely in the province of Quebec.  While I was up there, I shot some videos for the travel website Tripfilms with one of their hosts, Kelley.  This is the first of many videos to come about the quaint little town on the St. Lawrence.

18
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Articles

Does 5 Cent Coffee Still Exist?

Yes it does, Travel Bugger.  It exists at Wall Drug.  What is Wall Drug?  Take a tacky, roadside souvenir shop and then make it the size of a city block.  And then add some creepy animatronic robots singing cowboy songs and a place where you can pan for gold and a “train station water show.”  That’s kind of what it is.

It’s in South Dakota, mere miles outside of Badlands National Park, and very close to Mount Rushmore, so if you map it right, you can hit all three on your road trip.  What really compelled me to visit Wall Drug was their promise of five cent coffee.  All along the drive on Interstate 90, they have signs advertising for the place.

One sign (unfortunately one I was unable to take a picture of while driving) promised five cent coffee.  I like coffee, and I like a good deal, so they had me.

Sure enough, when I got there, there it was.  Five cent coffee.  Though buying it is more of an honor system than I would have liked.  I wanted a receipt that told me I spent five cents for coffee.  It would have been the complete opposite of this receipt.  Instead of paying at the cash register, though, you put a nickel in a little box.

Was it good coffee?  No.  It was pretty bad.  I may have overpaid.  But they didn’t promise good five cent coffee, so it wasn’t false advertising.  I will say, though, when driving through rural Washington, I got a cup of coffee at a gas station, and boy, was that not as good as a cup at a local coffeeshop.  It was a buck or so more expensive than Wall Drug’s, but still.  It was at a gas station.  They know how to brew a Cup o’ Joe in Washington, even next to an aisle of Slim Jim’s.

But it didn’t look like this.  For this, you have to drive into Seattle.

15
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Articles

Travel Tales: Solvang, or The Sassy Bartender

Have you ever seen the movie Sideways?  If you haven’t, you should.  And if you don’t believe me, Rotten Tomatoes has it at 96% fresh, so… yeah.  I forgive you if you thought I was lying.  On paper, I don’t think I would like the movie.  It follows two unlikeable, middle aged men on a road trip to Central California wine country as they celebrate the last week of bachelorhood before one of them gets married.  Despite the unrelatable subject matter to me given that I’m not middle aged or about to get married, I still loved the film.  First, it’s hilarious.  I still remember watching it in a packed theater and laughing along with all the middle-aged wine aficionados surrounding me (according to some, the movie even had an effect on wine sales).  But aside from the comedy, it’s shot beautifully and really showcases Central California in a golden-hued, magical light.  Like any good travelogue-y movie, it made me want to visit.

I’ve watched a lot of movies where I wanted to visit the locations.  The Sound of Music’s Austria, Lord of the Ring’s New Zealand, Vicky Cristina Barcelona’s Spain.  I have yet to visit any of these places, but as far as Sideways went, it was just two hours north from Los Angeles.  A little easier than a twelve hour flight.  And two of my good friends who also loved the movie also wanted to visit.  So we took our own Sideways road trip, minus the mid-life crises.

We thought we were so cool.  No one could possibly have done this before.  So what if there’s a map online listing all of the Sideways locations?  This was an original road trip idea.

We stayed in Solvang at Hotel Corque.  Went on a wine tour.  It was great.  We were the only people there younger than 35-years-old, but that’s what made us trailblazers.  Then we ate at the Hitching Post, a restaurant integral to the plot of the movie.

We get seated, and who should be sitting next to us but another friend of mine from Los Angeles!  He explains he goes up here pretty often, always making sure to hit the big Sideways locations.  Great.  We’re just another group doing the same thing as everyone else.  Our feeling of lameness continued when we visited a wine bar later that night.  The female bartender gave us one look and said, “Let me guess.  You’re all from LA and came up here because of Sideways?”  Of course we lied and said that wasn’t the reason, but she knew.

We still had a good time, though.  And really, how was our Sideways road trip any different than taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Opera House?  It’s what people do.  In some small way, doing the same thing as everyone else connects us together.  And what better way to feel closer to your fellow man than to get drunk in Wine Country?

01
Oct 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION No Comments
Articles

Enchanted World Doll Museum

(Mitchell, South Dakota)

Is that a doll museum or a fortress?  When I think of dolls, I don’t usually think “castle.”

Unless…

Oh no.  They’re enchanted dolls.  The museum curators are doing the best they can to prevent these tiny sorcerers from breaking free.  It all makes sense.   And “World” is right there in the name—they want to take over the world!  Who knows how many dolls are in there, just waiting for an uprising?  It’s near impossible to gauge the size of their army, what with those Russian nesting dolls.  Let’s just hope that castle can hold them.  As long as it stands firm, we should be safe.  Only humans can open doors.  Then again, if velociraptors can learn how to open doors, it’s only a matter of time before humanoid dolls will catch on.  We’re all doomed!

24
Sep 2012
POSTED BY travelbugrobert
DISCUSSION 1 Comment