Vacation and Travel Thread

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JAGzilla
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Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by JAGzilla »

I figured this is a fun subject to post about. Talk about any trips or vacations you take!

I'm in Oklahoma City with my mom and four siblings right now. This is the farthest west we've ever been, so it's a pretty interesting experience. Day 1 went really well. We checked out a little skatepark (two of my brothers are skaters) and Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial built beside Lake Hefner. I didn't know the lake existed, so that was a fun surprise; I'm a birdwatcher, and there were birds everywhere. I saw common and great-tailed grackles and some kind of night heron for the first time. My very modest bird goal for the trip is to find Oklahoma's state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, but I haven't positively ID'd one yet. There's still plenty of time.

Two of my siblings are extreme weather enthusiasts and massive fans of Twister, so we made the pilgrimage to the town of Guthrie, where the drive-in movie theater scene was filmed. There isn't a lot to see at this point, but some of the buildings in the scene are still standing, so that was cool to see. Two of them are also railfans, and got a chance to explore some aging or abandoned BNSF track and infrastructure, and unexpectedly saw a very rare (in the US) Mexican Ferromex engine.

The plan for tomorrow is a trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Can't wait for that.
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

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Tyrant_Lizard_King
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by Tyrant_Lizard_King »

I wanna get back out to the Pacific Northwest some day. My sister and I went in 2009 and 2012 and completely fell in love with the area. Especially around the Salem/Portland region. It's just so green particularly around the Oregon/Washington border.

That and I really really wanna get back up to Chicago. Last time I think was 2010. Went to the Field Museum and got to see Sue. Unfortunately I lost all my pictures when my hard drive crashed a few years back. Now that there's a full scale statue of Sue as well as the new Spinosaurus they acquired fairly recently. That and I wanna get back to the Shedd Aquarium. I haven't been there since my early teens. Of course Chicago is just a couple hours drive from here so I could easily just make a weekend out of that.
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Dyrakro
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by Dyrakro »

Currently thinking about doing a work and travel for some months, but not sure whether to do it in the US or in Japan. Been to Japan for the first time this year and loved it. Never been to the US but would really love to, especially considering I assume it would be easier to get to know people to hang out with during the time.
If it's Japan it will most probably be Osaka or close area.
in Case of Us I'm interested in California, Florida or Las Vegas. Does anybody of you guys mind giving me advice especially for US? How are Europeans, in my case Germans perceived?

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Destoroyah of Worlds
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by Destoroyah of Worlds »

I recently moved closer to work. I was a 160 minute commute and now I'm a 15 minute commute. I took two weeks off to move in June and was in a hotel for a lot of it waiting for my apartment to open up. I didn't really go anywhere, but it was still refreshing. Spent the time watching a lot of movies and playing Baldur's Gate 3. I'm all moved in my new apartment now.

I'm planning to go to Florida for a weekend in July or August. I'd also like to take a weekend fishing trip somewhere in my state (michigan) soon.
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JAGzilla
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

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We went to the OKC Zoo yesterday. We were strapped for time and it was hot as balls; the zoo has a problem with uneven shade distribution and poor navigational signage that leaves you wandering cluelessly in the sun a lot of the time. But it's mostly a pretty nice zoo with a solid animal lineup. We had great close-up views of the elephant herd, with some of them swimming and splashing around in their pool. The chimpanzee family was relaxing inches from the glass and the tiny toddler was hopping around, slapping the glass, and interacting with my sister and her phone. The walk-through native bird aviary was full of activity with bobwhites running around everywhere. Several other animals gave us similar performances, and the only serious disappointment was the grizzly bears being no-shows. We ran out of time and missed a few smaller mammals and the herpetarium; it's supposed to be an outdated piece of junk, but it would have been nice to see it before it's torn down and replaced. Oh well.

Overall, a good day was had and I'll definitely visit again if I'm ever back in town.
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by HedorahIsBestGirl »

I recently went on a week-long vacation to New York City and had a great time. I visited the city twice before while I was in college, but this is the first time I got to spend a full week there and really explore instead of just doing "tourist" things like Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty. I stayed with my best friend from college, who lives in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. As a NYC native, he knew about lots of cool parks, shops, and restaurants that don't get mobbed with tourists. We did a lot of walking and everything was in bloom so it was beautiful. I'd particularly recommend the High Line in the West Side of Manhattan. It's a former elevated railroad track that's been converted to a greenway with lots of gorgeous trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as some sculptures and great vistas of some very cool architecture. I enjoyed lots of amazing food during my stay as well, and I'd like to recommend two incredible Indian restaurants: Taco Mahal, an Indian taco place (!) in the West Village, and Masalawala and Sons, a more traditional Indian restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Since this is a Godzilla forum, it's also worth mentioning that I found a great Japanese store with lots of Godzilla merch. Can't recall the name but it was a couple blocks away from Central Park. I picked up the Super 7 Godzilla 1989 and Rose Biollante while I was there - free shipping nationwide! Anyway, I'd recommend NYC strongly to anyone who hasn't visited. While it's a bit too much city for me to want to live in, it's a great place to visit. I wish I lived closer so I could take a vacation here every year.
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HeiseiGodzilla117
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by HeiseiGodzilla117 »

I'm technically on vacation right now. But it's more like a staycation. I'm staying home, spending time outdoors, etc. I just needed to take some time to recharge.
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JAGzilla
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

Post by JAGzilla »

We spent today wandering around rural Oklahoma. We live in a hilly, forested area of northwest Georgia, so the prairie landscapes out here are really interesting and beautiful to us. Flat plains as far as the eye can see, crops and pastures and livestock with just a few scattered trees. Hundreds of massive wind turbines visible all the way out to the horizon. We've never seen anything like it.

We went to El Reno and visited the memorial for three storm chasers who were killed in 2013 by the largest tornado ever recorded. After that we drove through the town of Moore, which had an EF-5 tornado plow through it, also in 2013, killing 24 people and destroying several thousand buildings. The path is still visible because a large stretch of town is made up of newer buildings and has no large trees. Throughout the day we also drove around railroad infrastructure in various towns; my railfan brothers were able to find quite a few engines and cars of models and companies they'd never seen before. Their main goal is to find an old BNSF engine still in its '90s blue and yellow Santa Fe paint scheme; only a few dozen of those are still around, and won't be for much longer. No luck on that front so far, but it was always long odds.

I've seen four Scissor-tailed Flycatchers at this point, so that goal is crossed off. It's been a fun and productive trip.

Added in 6 minutes 14 seconds:
HedorahIsBestGirl wrote: Fri Jun 14, 2024 9:47 am I'd particularly recommend the High Line in the West Side of Manhattan. It's a former elevated railroad track that's been converted to a greenway with lots of gorgeous trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as some sculptures and great vistas of some very cool architecture.
I've seen that on TV! It's such a cool idea, a great way to semi-preserve old city infrastructure while totally repurposing it. And yeah, it makes for a beautiful park. It's high on my list of things to see if I ever make it to NYC.
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

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JAGzilla
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

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And the last day of the trip is wrapping up. We did more train stuff today, visiting a free model railroad museum/club which is going to have some incredible layouts when they're actually "finished" (not a thing that actually happens) in probably several years. After that, a miniscule little hobby shop staffed by a very knowledgeable old train collector who was only too happy to share hobby info and show off some of his custom 1940s-50s passenger train sets. My brother picked up three N-scale hopper cars for his layout.

I saw another seven scissor-tails today; the weather was cooler, so maybe that's why they're everywhere now. It's been a good trip for birds. I've also seen some meadowlarks and kingbirds on the roadsides. It's so cool finally seeing all these prairie species that I've only known as pictures in books.

Something that's stood out to me is how the Oklahoma government pushes tourism and leans into the western/prairie imagery and wildlife and such. Some people probably find it tacky, but I love it. :lol: There are bison and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers everywhere, decorating the walls alongside highways or carved into bridges and tunnels. Lots of statues and sculptures and murals around. Museums are very common, large and small. Every town has a highway sign listing all the local attractions to try and rope in some tourist dollars. It's a fairly charming place. There's some appeal to the idea of living out here. Maybe not permanently, but at least for a little while.
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

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JAGzilla
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Re: Vacation and Travel Thread

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And we're home. We ended up taking the long way home via Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama; it was our first time seeing the first three. Mostly we just drove through and only saw what was along the highway, of course. The roads around Dallas are fucking insane. So many gigantic spaghetti junctions, and more being built everywhere. Atlanta doesn't come close.

Our most notable stop was at a Mississippi welcome center along the Mississippi River. Such a scenic, beautiful location. It doubled as a memorial to the Civil War's Battle of Vicksburg, displaying some of the artillery pieces that tried to protect a crucial Confederate port from the US Navy. Also, there were mockingbirds everywhere. They're a super common sight across the Southeast, but it was still cool to see Mississippi's state bird at the welcome center. My sister got pictures of them sitting on the "welcome to Mississippi" sign, even. :lol:
"Stop wars and no more accidents. I guess that's all I can ask." -Akio

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