Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Little Engine that Couldn't

A few days ago I posted about my visit to the Fugitive Crash Site.   During my visit I stumbled across this strange little train in the nearby abandoned rail yard.

At first I thought that she might be associated with the Thomas the Train Engine universe, but that it didn't seem quite right.  Today, I received an inside tip that this train was a specially created "Little Engine that Could" that could be used for special events on the railroad.  Here is some video of the train in action.  Fast forward to 2:39 to see the train in action.

I love the insanely annoying chant of "I thought I could".  Also, the conductor is a really creepy clown!

You have to admit though, there is something about find that after these years that the Little Engine really couldn't and is now rotting in the bushes somewhere is pretty depressing.

The Carpetbagger

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Fugitive Crash Site

In 1993 film "The Fugitive" has left a lasting impression on the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  Several key scenes were filmed in Western North Carolina, most notably is the famous scene where the train crashes into a prison bus.  No fancy CGI was used in the creation of this scene.  They did things the old fashion way by having a train smash into a bus and filming it.

Check it out....

 Over 20 years later the wreckage still sits in the small town of Dillsboro, NC.

I had scene the crash site before from a distant. as you can see it by pulling off to the side of the road.

However, after seeing Adam the Woo's adventure video. I wanted to try to get up close and personal with the bus.

Unfortunately, the bus sits next to a train track in a ravine.  I attempted to access the bus by climbing down the ravine, but this ended with me slipping and nearly rolling down the hill into a giant patch of Kudzu.  Briars tor up my arms, so I quickly realized I needed to come up with another plan.   I drove over a nearby bridge and crossed the river to a trailer park on the opposite side, where there was a very cleverly named road.

I decided that to attempt crossing the river to get to the crash site.  I removed my shoes and put my feet in.  I immediately sunk down into the much to my knees.  Apparently I was dealing with some sort of underwater quicksand.  I actually had a few seconds of God's honest panic as I struggled to pull my feet out of the much.  I walked away from the river defeated as I put my socks back on over my mucky toes.   As I was about to drive off and give up I noticed there was actually a small gravel road that actually led directly to the crash site.

There is actually two versions of the bus.  The unsmashed bus that is seen tumbling down the hill in the clip, still in the exact same spot that it lands in.

And of course there is the smashed version resting in front of the train that murdered it.

In a nearby rail yard there were several broken down trains.   As I was leaving I noticed something peeking at me through a train window.

There was an abandoned, strangely anthropomorphic train poking out of the Kudzu.

Oh yeah, and here's a video of me going on and on about some nonsense.

UPDATE: I have discovered the identity of the mysterious blue train.  Check it out HERE.

The Carpetbagger

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Pictures of Strangers Taking Pictures of Strangers

On my travels throughout the South I have been working on a sort of miniature photo project.  I like to steal other people's photo ops.  Basically when I see strangers taking pictures of their friends and families at photo spots, I steal a pictures.  Here is my small, but ever growing collection.

Here are some young kids getting their picture taken with a camel in the Southern wonderland of Pigeon Forge, TN.....

And here is a tattooed mother taking pictures of her kids with the famous Chicken Lady at Dollywood.......

And speaking of tourist traps, here is a family enjoying that tackiest place on earth:  South of the Border......

Here are some people taking a long distance shot at Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest in NC......

And a man taking a picture of his lovely girlfriend/wife at Wrightsville Beach on the NC coast.....

Here is another stolen moment on the Icy streets of Washington, DC......

Here is an Indian family taking a picture with a metal Giraffe in Natural Bridge, VA......

Here, a young child poses with a soldier at Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL......

And here a family poses with some cowboys, post gunfight at Guntown City in Cave City, KY......

Here a little girl poses with her favorite knight at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach, SC......

And finally these children pose with the mysterious apocalyptic monument:  The Georgia Guidestones.....

The Carpetbagger

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mountain State Fair 2014

It is a yearly tradition that me and my family attend the Mountain State Fair in Fletcher, NC.  I have talked about this wonderful little fair in the past.

It is the perfect place to ride some rides.......

Eat some healthy fair cuisine.....

Milk a cow......

See a cake shaped like a banjo........

This year I decided to try a little something different and me and Anna did a vlog from the fair.  I hope you enjoy.

The Carpetbagger

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

District 12

In the 2012 film "The Hunger Games" the protagonist Katniss Everdeen lives in "District 12", a futuristic version of Appalachian, that much like modern day Appalachia is defined by crippling poverty and a strong distrust of the government.

While most films set in the Appalachian Mountains are inexplicably filmed elsewhere, (The Appalachian Epic "Cold Mountain" was filmed in Romania for some reason) The Hunger Games was shot primarily in the hills of North Carolina.

District 12 can be found in the town of Hildebran, NC.  District 12 is known locally as "Henry River Mill Village", it is in reality a textile producing village dating back to the early 1900s.  It is largely still intact and easily accessible to the public.

A quick peak into Henry Mill's village is just like stepping into the movie.

A few peeks inside showed the interiors to be oddly colorful.

Here is Katniss's home.....

And Peta's bakery......

And a big house that wasn't in the movie, but is still pretty cool....

The site is clearly very popular with fans of the movies, as during the 30 minutes we were there 3 other vehicles full of people pulling up to see the District.

Sadly, not all visitors are respectful of the old homes.

As me and my daughter were exploring the owner pulled up and talked with my wife.  Despite internet reports that he does not allow visitors, he was very friendly.  He just asked that we not walk on the grass as it is full of gopher holes. 

For anyone interested the whole village is for sale for 1.4 million dollars.

Me and my daughter shot another vlog while there.

The Carpetbagger

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Exclusive Interview with a Real Southerner

I have a true fascination with the South.  Alas, I am a Carpetbagger and not a true born Southern.  To expand the point of view here at the Carpetbagger I do an exclusive interview with a true Southern:  My daughter Anna.

The Carpetbagger

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Mothman Festival and Museum

For fans of the mysterious and unknown, Mothman has it all.  Some believe him to be a demon from hell, others believe him to be a inter-dimensional spirit, other think he is an alien, and still others believe he is an undiscovered cryptid like bigfoot.  Anyways you cut it, Mothman is the South's ultimate monster.

For those of you not familiar with the legend, Mothman is a mysterious winged creature that first appeared in 1966 in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  A group of teenagers going to make out at the abandoned TNT plant saw a horrifying winged-man with red glowing eyes.  A rash of these sightings continued around the TNT plant.  Then one day these sighting suddenly stopped. On the 15th of December 1967 when the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River suddenly and inexplicably collapsed killing 46 people in a horrifying manner, as people drowned in their own cars.

It is said that the Mothman sighting stopped cold on this date.  Mothman has forever been connected to the collapse of the bridge.  Some see Mothman as the nefarious cause of the bridge collapse, while others see him as warning the townsfolk about the upcoming disaster.  There has been on-going speculation regarding the origin of Mothman.

One theory postulates that Mothman is a manifestation of what is known as "Cornstalk's Curse".  Cornstalk was Native American Chief that acted at mediator between white settlers and the local Indians.  However, Cornstalk was betrayed and murdered by his white friends (as was the custom at the time).  With his dying breath Cornstalk placed a curse on Point Pleasant, stating "For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood."

Here is cornstalk in headless cutout form....

 Was Mothman the embodied wrath or cornstalk?  Or was he from Outer space? As was postulated in the most famous book on the subject "The Mothman Prophecies" by John Keel.  This book's non-fiction account connects the Mothman sightings with UFO activity in the area including cover ups by the notorious Men in Black, way before they enlisted the charming wise cracking Will Smith into their ranks.

A film adaption of Mothman Prophecies would come out in 2002 starring Richard Gere.

So how do the people of Point Pleasant deal with being associated with a horrible demonic, murderous alien beast monster?  Surprisingly, they fully embrace it with open arms.

It is not uncommon for towns to erect statues of their civic heroes.  However, most towns civic heroes are not horrifying monsters connected with mass devastation.

Yes, point Pleasant is home to the most remarkable statue of the American Roadside.

Just look at this thing.

But that's not all!  Every September the town throws a festival celebrating the Mothman.  

A few years back I had the pleasure of attending.  Like any other street festival they had family friend activities and games, such as Mothman Cornhole......

 Contests to see who can eat the most Mothman shaped pancakes......

For some reason they even decided to add to the ambiance by littering the streets with Mothballs.....

 Sadly, I did not get a chance to meet Miss Mothman......

Of course, one cannot simply celebrate Mothman one weekend a year.  Point Pleasant also hosts a year round Mothman Museum......

The museum is a good mix of Mothman art....

Note the twin towers

Historical footage and newspaper clippings............

Props from the movie......

Including this blanket that made contact with "World's Sexiest Man" Richard Gere......

But my favorite artifact has to be the "Creepy Lip Balm Prop".....

Which is featured in the most notorious scene of the movie....

 Also of note are the instruments used in the Mothman episode of "Monsterquest".

They also have a piece of driftwood shaped like a bird, for some reason.....

They have a cool collection of Mothman t-shirts....

Check out this awesome "Turtleman Meets Mothman" t-shirt, featuring Ernie "Turtleman" Brown, who was actually "discovered" at the Mothman festival......

Finally, they have this Mothman wheel that answers your questions.   I completely forgot what my question was, but apparently the answer is "evil".

And so we left Point Pleasant.  We enjoyed the festival, but alas, we did not have an encounter with the actual Mothman....or did we?  On our way out of town we stopped at a gas station for some sodas and candy bars.  The total came out to be $6.66.  Coincidence?  I believe the answer is "Evil".

The Carpetbagger

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