Tag Archives: Random

Fargo’s Coolest Antique Store

Mid Modern, You Betcha!

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You might think of Fargo because of the 1996 movie, or NDSU’s famous Bison football team. But as you’re cruisin’ America’s roads this summer, should you find your way to North Dakota’s largest city, a little antiquing might be in order at The Madhaus. 

We found this place by accident as we strolled through downtown Fargo on a beautiful, crisp fall day last year. Not far from the main strip, The Madhaus is a snapshot of the golden era of Mid-Century Modern (also known as Mid Mod). What is Mid Mod? It’s all those cool 1950s and ’60s space age-looking things, from homes to furniture to appliances and more. Just think of Don Draper’s New York City penthouse. 

What really impressed us about The Madhaus was not only the amazing collection of Mid Mod treasures, but how it was actually built around the Mid Mod theme. It was more than just an antique shop; it was a step through time. There’s even a place to hang out and eat.

Did we expect to find a place like this in Fargo? Not at all. But we keep an open mind since we’re in the wandering business. We’re always pleasantly surprised to find hidden gems like The Madhaus in places we least expect. We sure are glad we stopped for a visit.

And special thanks to the folks who own The Madhaus and allowed us to photograph. See our photos below and learn more at their Facebook Page.

 

Aliens in the Desert

We Kind of Believe

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This week marks the 70th anniversary of the famous “Roswell Crash”. Regardless of what actually happened, July 1947 was when the aliens + desert = UFO phenomenon was born. And since we enjoy aliens so much, given our visit to Area 51 last year, we thought it a fitting tribute to post about our stop at Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker, California.

Only an hour and a half from Las Vegas, along I-15 in SoCal’s Mojave Desert, Alien Jerky is a cornerstone of Baker. Although the store is still from this world–complete with intergalactic space cruisers and plenty of alien buddies hanging around–it pretty much operates in its own universe. It’s the closest thing to an extraterrestrial space station that the average red-blooded American can visit….unless maybe you work for some cryptic government agency no one’s ever heard of…

Alien Jerky is the brain child of Luis Ramallo, who started the business with a table in the desert, where sat his homemade jerky. Sticking with the popular alien theme, his idea took off, and the rest is history.  There’s even a UFO-themed hotel in the works, set to be built right behind the store.

A nice break from reality on Planet Earth.

Alien Jerky Store Website

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Castle for the Road, Anyone?

At Bishop Castle, Your Start to Summer Awaits

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We’d like to thank one of our readers, Kim, for sending us these photos and sharing her story. Kim visited Bishop Castle a couple weeks ago–an interesting way to start the summer. Thank you, Kim. 

You read that right. It’s a castle. In Colorado. About an hour drive southwest of Pueblo. We thought we’d seen it all at Carhenge, but this place definitely gives Carhenge a run for its money. And what is it about Colorado, anyway? We always find weird stuff there, like that one time when we found a dinosaur in Golden. At least he was friendly.

Anyway, back to Bishop Castle…

60 years ago, Jim Bishop had a vision, and that vision was to build, build, build. Then he built some more, then more…and then some more for good measure. He just kept going. Today the sprawling castle that bears his name reaches high into the sky with unmatched views. There’s even a ballroom. We’re also told there’s a dragon on top of the building.

Bishop Castle is a bold and action-packed workout of a tourist attraction, given the spiral staircase and all, so we advise comfortable close-toed shoes. We definitely look forward to seeing this for ourselves someday. 


We always enjoy hearing from our readers and welcome you to send us your travel stories through our Share Your Travels page. Your contributions help make UndiscoveredWanderings possible.

 

Bishop Castle official website

What’s This Strange Thing?

Add This One to Your Oregon Trip

Special thanks to Oregon Department of Transportation for their cooperation on this article.

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Oregon’s a beautiful state. For those who’ve only been to the coast, we recommend driving through Eastern Oregon. The unrivaled views are amazing. And along the way, you’ll find some interesting curiosities, like this phone booth. We did a double take when we saw this one.

It’s one thing to occasionally find the ever-disappearing payphone these days, but it’s a completely different story to encounter an actual phone booth! Complete with windows, vintage phone sign, and, presumably, a working phone (although it was out of order when we visited). This was too good not to feature on UWanderings. These relics from the past are almost gone; we’re happy that ODOT preserved this one.

The crazy things we find on the road. Seriously.

This gem from the past is located at Boardman Rest Area in North Central Oregon, off of I-84. See map above for details. Happy travels!

Halfway to the Moon

Learn to Take Stunning Pictures of the Moon with a Smartphone and Backyard Telescope

This is a lot of fun. Here at UW, we enjoy playing around with technology without spending a lot of money. A couple years ago we figured out a cool and cheap way to take stunning pictures of the moon. Two things are needed: a smartphone and a telescope. The caveat? Well, it takes a lot of time, patience, and tries to get that one shot that’s just right. But on a warm summer night when there’s a bright moon and nothing better to do….why not?

Here’s our proven method

  1. Get a cheap backyard telescope. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy; we picked up ours for $20 at a garage sale. It may not be able to give you the planets, but any telescope should be able to give you a clear view of the moon. NOTE: for best results, use a telescope with an upright eyepiece (that forms a right angle with the telescope). This design allows easy access between phone and lens.
  2. Wait for a night when the moon is really bright and the skies are clear, then bring it outside, put in the best eyepiece available, and place your smartphone’s camera lens right up to the eyepiece, but there should be no contact between the two. If done right, the moon should come into focus on your screen, and look something like this…

    We actually took this. No joke, we promise! We enhanced it a little bit.
  3. Stabilize the shot if the autofocus doesn’t do it for you. This is the tricky part. It’s best if your phone’s camera has an autofocus feature, but you’ll probably need to manually adjust it anyway by tapping the screen periodically. It might sound easy, but depending on the phone and the telescope, you may have to take the time to carefully adjust the distance between the camera lens and the eyepiece. Also, as you’re doing that, don’t forget that the moon is constantly moving in the night sky. You’ll have to adjust the telescope periodically as the moon will move out of view every couple of minutes.
  4. Have fun! Take as many pictures as you can; you can weed out the bad and blurry ones later. Go crazy and run your best photos through filters to make it look sharper, brighter, or change the moon’s color like we did.

Have fun and good luck. Check out our gallery below!