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The Farewell Tour

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 19, 2010

August 11-15, 2010

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It’s a long ways away

The Long Drive Home

Since I’m going to Japan soon and Mark isn’t, we dropped him off in Flint and made our way south. Don’t worry, Mark is coming to Japan. He’ll come shortly after I get there.

It’s a long drive from Michigan to Homestead so my mom and I made several stops along the way. Mark found a great website and gave me the link. It’s called RoadsideAmerica.com. There are lot of interesting things to see out there!

Not everything was worth a blog entry. Some of our stop was just entertaining enough to break up the monotony of a 3 day car journey. I will just talk about the more interesting ones here.

One last game of soccer

One Last Goodbye

Our first Mark-less stop was in Columbus, Ohio. I have one more chance to see my brother again and to try to talk him into visiting me in Japan. His second son, Alex, and my mom will be spending Christmas with me.

I played a game of soccer with my brother and his boys. It reminded me of the year I lived in Columbus. This was where I learned to play basketball and where I started exercising. This game also reminded me of how out-of-shape I am. I do need to start exercising again.

JV #55

You play Basketball!? ha ha!

In high school I was far from what anyone would call athletic. I had never ran without cause to. I never lifted weights, unless I was trying to retrieve something. But I was, and still am, very tall.

I moved to a new city and a new school. I was going to spend one year with my brother and see what life in the states was like. My mom wanted me in a private christian school. After weeks of searching my brother picked Tree of Life High School for me.

One day a man approached me as I was walking in the hall. “You’re new aren’t you.” he said as he sized me up. “If you want to make some new friends and play basketball, come see me. My office is in the gym.”

At dinner that night I told my brother about my odd encounter. He rolled over laughing. “They think just because you’re tall you can play basketball. You play basketball!?” He fell on the floor holding his sides.

I thought it was funny that anyone would mistake me for a potential basketball player, but I didn’t think it was that funny. “You don’t think I could make the team?”

Malcolm: “No. Have you every played basketball before? Would you even know what to do with the ball?”

Me: “Wouldn’t they teach me?”

Malcolm: “They would if you could get on the team. But you have to get on the team first.”

Me: “Alright. I’ll get on the team. Then they’ll teach me to play. Then I’ll play!”

They misspelled my name… and I changed my major. Biochemistry!? What was I thinking?

The next day at lunch I went to the athletic office at school and signed up to be a Lady Trojan. I was put on the JV team and played my heart out. I never became a fantastic baller, but that was never my goal. I did however, manage to go on and earn a basketball scholarship for college.

Think of all the goodies it can hold.

The World’s Blankiest Blank!

The next stop was to see the world’s biggest basket. It’s actually a 7-story office building and headquarters of the Longaberger basket company. When you go inside it looks like you’re outdoors. There is a piano that plays itself and many cozy rooms with examples of how you can use your Longaberger basket.

in Ottis’ cell

Well I’lllllll Be!

The next day we went to Mayberry. This was my first visit to a fictional town. Well, it’s actually Mount Airy dressed up to look like Mayberry. Mount Airy is where Andy Griffith is from. So to capitalize on his fame, the town recreated Mayberry in it’s downtown area.

This is the actual boyhood home of Andy Griffith. There is a statue of Opie and Andy in the town. You can see the shops, stores and other characters in the town, but the most popular one is Barney Fife. He now has a cafe and his likeness is seen all over the town.

World’s biggest fire hydrant

If we were just driving without unnecessary stops we could have made it home with only one overnight along the way. But how boring is that? Besides when will I have the opportunity to see the world’s biggest fire hydrant again?

one log you say…

One of our stops was in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city to see a home built from one single redwood log. It was very hot inside since there are no windows. But it comes complete with a kitchen and fridge, a bed room, dining room and sitting area. But where was the bathroom? A sign near the house said that “business” was done outside…

All Pictures


The United States of America

How to get there:

You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.

I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.


  • Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
  • Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)






  • It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.

The World biggest Basket

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 40°03’49.1″N 82°20’46.7″W

By Car, from Columbus –

  • Take I70 East, exit 132,
  • then turn left onto State Route 13 north.
  • Follow State Route 13 north to State Route 16 East and turn right.
  • From State Route 16 East, turn right onto Dayton Road.
  • Turn left onto East Main Street.
  • The Home Office is located on the left.


One Market Square
1500 East Main Street
Newark, Ohio 43055


  • 740-322-5588



  • Free


  • Most M-F 8:00 – 17:00


  • This place is an office building. You are welcome to come in, ask questions, and take pictures in the visitor’s area only.

(Mount Airy)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 36°30’06.3″N 80°36’24.8″W

By Car from I77

  •  Take exit 100 to Hwy. 89 East.
  • Turn left onto Pine St./Hwy. 89.
  • Follow Pine to Renfro St., turn left.
  • Follow Renfro Street and take a left onto Independence Blvd.
  • You will see the Blue Signs that say Visitors Center.
  • Once you turn onto Independence take the next left onto Main Street.
  • Follow Main Street until you see the Big Granite Building located beside Barney’s Restaurant.
  • This is The Chamber of Commerce Building and the Visitors Center is located in the Chamber of Commerce Building at, 200 N. Main Street.


200 North Main Street
Mount Airy, North Carolina 27030


  • 1-800-948-0949




  • There is free parking behind the Old City Jail on the intersection of Moore Ave. and Renfro St.
  • You can go camping in this area.

The One Log House

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 29°53’58.5″N 81°18’48.8″W

Go to the old down town of St. Augustine in Florida.


19 San Marco Ave.
St. Augustine, FL


  • 904-824-1606




  • Always available


  • The log house is in the parking lot of the Ripley’s Believe it or Not. You don’t have to pay to see it.


Posted in Columbus, Florida, Mount Airy, Newark, North Carolina, Ohio, St. Augustine, United States, The | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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