Day 7: I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid. – TB

Get ready for so many great pictures! Day 7 had two of the most unique places I’ve been to in a while. One I knew would be great, the other was a big surprise! It’s been a busy couple of days but I hope to get two posts out today. At the very least, I will be caught up tomorrow night…maybe.

We started off strong by seeing the Giant Mecha Crab in Dover, NH. It was created by local artist Nate Walker and stands a stately 10 feet tall.  Turns out he made a giant ant, several giant jellyfish, and a ukulele playing spider. Who knew that creating so many big animals would leave you with no room for more. Fortunately he was able to donate it to the children’s museum and fortunate for us it was across the street from a candy store and toy store.

While in the toy store Jen was able to pick up a game for a wonderful family we were to visit the next day. While there something jumped out at me! I wanted to cry foul! My childhood had been stripped and rebranded! This was on a higher shelf as if hiding its plagiarizing shame!

Timber Tots? In my basement it was called the Ewok Family Hut! That Wicket is currently on prominent display in my basement. How dare they?!

Sadly the Lickee’s and Chewy’s Candy Store was closed. We certainly have enough sweets in the car, but you can always have more.

Our next stop was a giant easy chair! It was coated in ice like everything else in our life right now. Jen was thoughtful enough to give me a towel to sit on! Actually it was a sham-wow. You know, the product known for it’s absorption. It did nothing to protect my posterior from the cold. You know that scene with Flick in A Christmas Story? Yeah…

On the other side of the parking lot was this monstrosity. Dr. J and I both figured it was a modern art depiction of a vampire hunter…? Tell me different in the comments section.

First EPIC stop of the day: The Museum of Dumb Guy Stuff. Let me know how you feel – is it dumb stuff guys like or stuff dumb guys like? Either way I liked it all. But so did Jen and she’s a doctor so it can’t be too dumb. The museum is actually one of the creator’s basement. There is no cost and as long as the open flag is out, you can walk right in. They ask for you to wear a mask (which we always do anyway) but beyond that they encourage you to look around, ask questions, and take pictures. Take pictures I did!

Rod and Clay are two retired gentlemen that met at a dog park. Their friendship blossomed and they ended up starting this museum together. The guys put together models, dioramas, custom figures, and scenery. I really want to know how that conversation went. “So Rod…I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while…seeing as we’re getting along so well, would you like to come over and make toys in my basement with me?” “You had me at basement…”

Below is the piece Rod is most proud of and definitely my  favorite. Not only am a lover of all things scary, it was just so easy to get lost in the details. The main figures jump out at you with their perfect paint jobs but looking around brings out so much more.

The shelves running along the one side of the diorama had miniature bottles, a skull, a tarantula in one specimen jar and a lizard in another.

There was another specimen jar behind Igor that can’t be seen unless you’re looking at the work from all angles. The cobwebs were cotton and took on a real feel. The attention to detail was amazing. I wish I could be half that focused at anything…especially blog writing.

As a self proclaimed adventurer, this next piece spoke to me. I’ve long wanted to find and capture cryptids, like living fossils, while hunting in the jungle. I would probably end up like that poor little skull on a stick though. There was also a scene of Johnny Quest, his dad, and Bandit. Dag, I would love to be that kid!

There was a 6-8ft diorama of a WWII Pacific Theater battle. It wasn’t from the Bridge over the River Kwai, but I wouldn’t doubt if it were inspired by it. Again the attention to detail was crazy. The poses acted out a whole story. These two were up on a observation tower.

Here the two forces were trying to take/hold a bridge.

This photo reminds me of the scene in Apocalypse Now when Coppola, playing a journalist, is walking by the fighting soldiers.

They also did a whole western scene along one wall. They had Eastwood’s Man with No Name, a great replica of Billy the Kid, and Kurt Russel as Earp.

On top of the saloon were these “soiled doves.”

There were plenty of models that were either inspired by or directly copied from Ray Harryhausen. This whole scene was made with real sticks covered in twine, fake fur added to a plastic gorilla, and hand painted background.

I can’t believe how good the trees looked.

There were plenty of pop culture icons, like this looney pair from the short “Hyde and Go Tweet.”

These Stooges were a custom job. Part of the models were manufactured off old molds and customized to look lifelike. This one was so good!

Who doesn’t have a day where the whole world feels like a kite-eating tree? Good grief.

These were custom versions of Clay and his wife! Her dress is made of a mixture of coffee filters and Elmer’s glue. I love that he’s holding a little version of his littler version. Very meta.

Rod also built a railroad scene that he describes as a typical New England town in the 1950s. He showed us how he uses a small brush to dust the tracks and uses a microchip cleaning vacuum to clean around the town. I’m not going to comment on each picture, but just walk through these images and tell me you don’t start creating a story in your head. Click to enlarge.

Of course I had to include a picture of the plane above the table flying the Coke flag.

The femme fatales! I like the female spies and sniper hanging out with Frank and the wolfman fighting in the background like nothings happening. Women are so cool under pressure.

The true stars of the basement were Flora and Harley, two giant mastiffs! They were adorable and so sweet. They never barked when we came in and kind of just hung around waiting for us to pet them. But when we did, dang did they get into it. Harley is 160lbs and just leaned his whole body into my legs so I would continue to pet his big head!

As we were going to leave I gave the gentlemen their toothbrushes. Clay gave me a half-hearted thanks and just threw it down on the table like it was junk until I asked for their pictures. Rod was awesome though. He was a chatter, was interesting, and thought the toothbrush was cool! Thanks Rod!

As we progressed East towards the shore, Jen and I spotted a sign! When we got out to look, I had a realization that I knew the story of this sign! Jen thought I was making it up since I do tend to make stuff up, but this time  I was serious. It belonged to a restaurant in Portsmouth that was destroyed. It was taken down to make a grocery store but the deal fell through. The town missed the iconic sign, so they pitched together, restored it, and put it up in a small plaza. I’m not the only one who appreciates sea-themed neon signs!

Moving along I had one of the spiciest tacos ever in a building that was clearly a Friendly’s in it’s former life. Vida has been there a while and is great, but they aren’t fooling anyone with that architecture.

Along the shore an artist offered to paint my picture.

Remember Barney and Betty Hill, the couple who claim to have been abducted by aliens? I went to visit their grave! Dr. J wasn’t too happy about it. I had to off-road a bit into the cemetery since no one bothered to plow. Everything was really slushy and icy as well, so it was a bit slow going. Totally worth it though! Make sure to read their story, the hypnosis investigations into their account are weird.

People remember them for the investigations and the book they wrote on their abduction. But one thing that consistently gets overlooked is that they were a progressive couple and civil rights activists. Betty was a social worker and both were in the NAACP. They were an interracial couple when that wasn’t an acceptable thing.

I had heard of a furniture store called Deja Vu that held a penny machine. I wasn’t sure why a furniture store would have one but I figured that was a great reason to go! Damn, I am so glad I decided to check out that penny machine.

First of all, I only had to provide the pennies! The press was free! Free, friends! Amazing! But the rest of the place was an anarchy of pop-culture, junk, and weird, weird stuff. At the door a life-size Dexter welcomed us.

Other life size statues that roamed the place were a Shaq cut out and Mr. Armstrong.

We had the Hulkster, brother!

The entire band of KISS.

A larger than life Elvis! But wasn’t he always larger than life?

There were even several horror movie icons.

Shop lifters will be prosecuted and then sent to LV-426.

There were pieces of art only a Yuppie Hobo could love.

These old icons were great and each stood 5-6 ft tall.

Jen was envious of their Bob’s Big Boy.

I took so many pictures but I don’t want to show everything they have. Go see for yourselves. But here are a few more…I couldn’t resist this lamp since Betty and Barney featured a few times in this trip.

Most of their prices seemed a bit much but there were a few great deals out there. This huge Cracker Jack guy was only $500! That’s really not bad for the price. I also got a $10 Morton’s Salt belt buckle and large metal jack-o-lantern. I’ll show all my swag in a final post after the trip. But I’m calling out Jen. She talked me out of a great purchase saying we don’t need it for our basement. It was a Tommy Pickles head, at least the size of my head, for only $100! Seriously! A giant Tommy Pickles head. I’m having non-buyers remorse.

After checking into our small room in someone’s farm, we went for an hour and a half drive north, passing where we just stayed, to see an ice castle. Bad planning on my part, but the backtracking got me a few new pennies. Wins all around.

The place was made by artists out of 25,000lbs of ice. That’s more than the weight of 1,262 Brother FAX-2840 machines! There was lighting under the ice, over the ice, through the ice, basically anywhere you could put lighting, I suppose.

There were various tunnels and coves throughout the place and we explored each. We never stayed in one place for long so as to stay away from the teeming masses. Notice how well we social distanced for our pictures.

One older couple did ask if they could take our picture and if we would take theirs. They both had thick Eastern European accents so I asked where they were from. They told me New Hampshire. I call shenanigans on that.

Some of the artists did a few chainsaw sculptures. A group of people next to us whispered that they were going to steal this sculpture of New Hampshire, turn it upside down, and tell everyone it was Vermont. That’s funny stuff. Good job, Vermont guys.

The castle also had a slide inside it and snow tubing behind it. Both met with our approval. There was a “mystic” walk through the forest that was lit up with all sorts of moving LEDs.

Dr. J got a bit wild and started a backwoods rave!

And that’s all I’ve got for you tonight. Shares, comments, tarot readings, and money are always welcome.

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