Weekly Wire
Memphis Flyer Site-seeing

By Paul Gerald

JUNE 19, 2000:  Okay, so I haven't been anywhere lately. I've been working, all right? Well, those who know me are laughing now; they know perfectly well I've been surfing the Internet, dreaming of all the cool places I want to visit.

At www.roadsideamerica.com, I found an amazing guide to all the freaky stuff you can see on small roads, like shoe-shaped houses all over the place and two mummies at a county historical museum in West Virginia. They are the bodies of asylum inmates and are called "The Mummies of the Insane." At Road Trip USA (www.moon.com/road_trip), available in a wonderful book by the same title, you can get detailed guides to 11 cross-country driving routes, including the Great River Road that traces the Mississippi. It takes you through Memphis and to the world's largest six-pack in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Just so you'll know, I found some useful stuff, too. If, for example, you're leaving the country, you can learn phrases in other languages, sometimes with audio, at www.travlang.com/languages. You can also get the latest disease updates at www.cdc.gov/travel, or State Department advisories at travel.state.gov. And if you come across a Web site in some other language, type in its address at babelfish.altavista.digital.com/translate.dyn and you can get a translation.

Personally, I'm fond of domestic travel because, well, it's cheaper. Besides, our country rocks. We've got cool national parks (www.nps.gov), bed-and-breakfasts (www.bbonline.com), and lots of wineries (www.travelenvoy.com/wine.htm).

If you've got no idea where to go, try www.freetrip.com and use their tour planner with historic and scenic attractions, hotel and road preferences; if you don't know what to take or where to find the gear you need, go to www.magellans.com (Magellan's Travel Catalogue) and get packing tips, country info, and supplies from luggage to adaptors to clothing. They say they have more than 500 products, some discounted up to 60 percent. One real cool site is the Travel Channel at travel.discovery.com. They have the usual guides to, and info on, various countries, but they also have trips "by idea." For example, let's say you want to stay in a lighthouse or a forest-service fire lookout; they've got a "Unique Lodgings" area. Or maybe you want to do something adventuresome with the kids; they have "Eco-lodges for the Whole Family." They even have a "Places of Mystery" area that includes a travel guide to Burkittsville, Maryland, for all you Blair Witch fans.

Speaking of creepy, www.nycgoth.com says its purpose is "to provide a guide to the darker scenes of New York City, a Fodor's for nocturnal black-clad deviants." The Political Graveyard at www.potifos.com/tpg/ tells you where thousands of politicians are buried, who they were and how or where they died. One guy in the "by animal" department is said to have "lost a tussle with a cow." Another was killed "by wild beasts" -- meaning other politicians?

A Tennessee attraction, the Bell Witch Cave in Adams, was listed Number 1 among the "10 most haunted places in America" at www.prairieghosts.com/hauntmost.html. We rule! Okay, so I guess we're due for another useful one or two. The "supermarket of air travel needs" is at www.airtravelcenter.com and is somewhat intimidating at first. But it does include ticket consolidators, every e-saver fare on Earth, and "every possible way to get a cheaper airline ticket."

A straightforward state-by-state guide can be had at fermi.jhuapl.edu/states. So if you've got a wedding to go to in Iowa, you can find something else to do there.

This next one goes out to all the ladies: The site journeywoman.com calls itself "the premier travel resource for women." It includes gal-friendly cities, women's travel tales, love stories, and "what should I wear."

If you're into the vicarious thing, go to bikeitsolo.com and read about Manny who recently became the youngest and fastest person to complete the 15,300-mile bicycle trip from Barrow, Alaska, to Puenta Arenas, Argentina. He did that in 261 days. Or, if that doesn't humble you enough, go to www.parasail.com.au and read about a disabled man who is solo-sailing around the world.

Or you can do what I do when I'm not traveling: think about traveling. Go to www.gorp.com. It stands for Great Outdoor Recreation Pages. If you want to do something outside, you can find it on GORP. My latest favorite link from there is web3.foxinternet.net/xplatypusx, a guide to 120 waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest.

Think about that as the temperature gets up toward the mid-90s. Wouldn't you really rather be someplace else?

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