Taking a Holiday Away From It All…

Taking a holiday is a much anticipated ritual for most families who look forward to a break from work and home for a while to indulge their senses in everything randomly entertaining. Whether you decide on a self-catering holiday or one that has a planned itinerary is very much a matter of personal choice and destination. Many people have a summer vacation resort to which they return every year, and some are lucky enough to have a summer home to which they retire with all of the comforts of home available.

I must say that I really think that a vacation should be an adventure into the unknown, and I have had some really fantastic experiences travelling across borders into unknown territory to explore the big wide world. A lot of travel begins with an air flight to your destination and that is where I learned my first valuable lessons in flying… be careful how you pack your suitcase that will be placed in the luggage hold of an aircraft, because a number of things happen to bottles and jars that don’t have screw-on caps, in an unpressurized atmosphere. You may end up at your destination with a mess of seismic proportions if you have not secured your cosmetics and bathing gels, shampoos and conditioners, body washes and lotions.

Imagine arriving at your hotel and getting ready to unpack and when you open your suitcase there has been a grand multiple evacuation of all of those products that you tucked into spaces to make your suitcase fit snugly… believe me when I had eventually closed my mouth which was hanging open in amazement, I realized there were two ways to view this catastrophe; laugh or cry! When I finally stopped laughing and wiped the last tear from my eye I vowed never to pack plastic bottles in a suitcase again without first popping them into a zip-lock plastic bag, or better still, using my carry-on bag for toiletries! I have never seen such a mess in my life before although everything did smell wonderfully fragrant and sweet!

No doubt, what I needed was a drink, a laundry service, and a bit of a break from it all; so I escaped to a favorite destination that goes with me whenever I travel…my trusty lap-top! I thoroughly enjoy a bit of time at the online casino as a recreational break from the craziness of what life throws at us without the fuss of dressing up and going out, and so I opened up my lap-top and lay back with it propped against my knees and went to my top online casino to play some games and unwind… there they were, my trusty slots waiting for me to play a while, which I duly did. I sipped on my drink, ordered up some room-service, sent the laundry to housekeeping and settled in for a whirl on the slots which are my passion. It wasn’t long and all of the cares and worries drifted away as I spun the reels of first one, then another game slowly letting the tranquil setting of the casino take me away. This portable entertainment is a god-send and I realized that it didn’t matter where in the world I ended up I could spend some time playing online Casino games and even win a bit of extra cash besides

Tips for packing a suitcase:

  • Roll up your clothing, you will have less wrinkles in material when you reach your destination.
  • Pack all of your make-up in a cosmetic bag and cushion with tissue paper to prevent breakages of eye shadows and pencils. Baggage handlers are a rough lot and they don’t know what is in the suitcase!
  • Place all lotions and shampoos in zip lock bags before popping them into the suitcase to prevent spillages and where possible use screw on caps.
  • You can purchase plastic containers before going on holiday and fill them up with the goodies you can’t live without at bath time.
  • Where possible use carry-on luggage for liquids and creams (packed in zip-lock bags of course).
  • Most hotels have a complimentary range of bathing essentials such as shampoos and lotions waiting for you to try out in your en-suite bathroom, so take advantage of the freebies!
  • Only take what is really essential on the outbound trip, even if your suitcase is not full… you will need the extra space when you return with a whole lot of extra goodies you have bought at your holiday destination
  • Above all, enjoy your holiday and don’t sweat the small stuff, relax and take time out to play and rejuvenate your body and mind, and don’t forget that you need to have some time to just while away playing some of your favorite games at your portable play destination on your lap-top… your online casino!


Back to your vacation! Visit all of the sites and enjoy all of the smells, sounds and activities that you would otherwise not partake of. Take boat rides or head off to the hills on horseback with a guide, find out what the destination has to offer and have a ball on your vacation… you’ve earned it!

This is a guest Blog post by Anne Lewis-Schneider. She is a mother of 3 and grandmother to 2 with another on the way. She is an avid creative and freelance writer, when she is not writing she enjoys knitting, spending time with her family, and is a keen animal activist.


Posted in Guest blog posts and tagged , , , , , , , by with no comments yet.

Bosque del Apache

This is a guest blog post by Barbara Ellen Sorensen

Several years ago, I traveled to Socorro, New Mexico, with my friends Scott and Mary Jean to watch the sandhill cranes and snow geese performing what I refer to as “inscribing the sky.” Located just off Interstate 25, Bosque del Apache is a National Wildlife Refuge halfway between Albuquerque and Las Cruces. We stayed in Socorro because it’s the town closest to the refuge. We also chose the least expensive place to sleep: the Econo Inn, for $50 a night. It was cheap, but clean and simple.

Mary Jean said that the birds form fine ribbons that thread the sky. I told her that using the word “ribbon” in conjunction with bird formations was overused. So for quite some time, we had a good-natured disagreement on the best way to describe the indescribable.

Scott, a wonderful photographer, had to be up at sunrise and present during sunset. This was fine by me. I had never seen a migration of thousands of birds, so during the three days we were there, I wasn’t even thinking about the chilly mornings and evenings. The first sunrise, I wrapped up quickly in wool sweaters and a down jacket and, coffee cup in hand, set out with Scott and Mary Jean to witness for myself this curiosity of nature.

At first, there was no sound, no movement in the briny marshes, but through the mist, barely visible, we could see all across the marshes and ponds, hundreds and hundreds of birds. They began to call out to one another and gradually the riotous clamor of their wings took hold of the morning air. First, the snow geese began to rise like tidal waves.

While a discernible had unsealed itself across the sky: shimmering of lapis blue mixed with incredible pink ceylon. The colors erupted through this dry desert landscape with such an chimerical force that I truly thought I was able to smell a saltiness somewhere — an allegiance of the brackish lagoon and briny tidal pools. There was only the dead and dying organic matter all around me, no sea at all.

Other wonders began to divulge themselves: rainbow cacti, tamarisk bulrushes, rust willows. The other winged creatures came too: roadrunners, coots, blue herons, blackbirds, pheasants. But none could compete with the configurations of snow geese and sandhill cranes; the emergency of their flight, and how they held one another up against a shift of wind, a flush of rain.

We stayed all day and far into the night. When the reservoir of sky suddenly grew dark, they still came, descending to the ponds. But not before they first crossed the white lantern moon, its stillness ravished by the black outline of bird bodies slashing downward in regimented formation. They were reckless in beauty. They were blind with instinct, nothing more. Bone followed bone; wing followed wing. They were always oblivious no matter what time of day we saw them. They were oblivious to changes of light and air as morning turned to afternoon, to evening, then to morning again. They were oblivious to the evening’s magnetism, its hidden constellations not yet birthed that we strained our necks in anticipation of seeing. This was truly, an experience I would never forget.

Posted in Unusual Places to Visit and tagged by with no comments yet.

Get Out Of The Car And Experience Soweto By Bike!

An African Experience

This is a guest blog post from Maria of Lebo’s Soweto Back Packers and Soweto Cycle Tour.

Get Out Of The Car And Experience Soweto By Bike!

Get Out Of The Car And Experience Soweto By Bike!

For something different and unusual a tour of Soweto and taste some African cultural life, truly this popular, eco-friendly and exciting township tour takes you around the streets of Soweto for an experience like you’ve never had before.

Our friendly local guides will spend half or full day with you as you cycle around the community, showing you the unique features of this interesting township, at the same time you get to experience the vibe of Soweto, eat that the local burger Kota, taste traditional beer at a shabeen sharing the experience with the local people. You will return home with a different perception of township life.

Some of the more interesting highlights that this interesting tour covers:

  • The Mzimhlope Men’s Hostel]
  • The Hector Pieterson Memorial
  • The famed Vilakazi Street
  • Nelson Mandela’s House
  • Arch Bishop Emirates Tutu house
  • A cycle trough the “Soweto Struggle route”

At the same time you will be able to experience some unusual tastes, such as you sample:

  • Cows head meat
  • Homemade ice lollies
  • Home brewed beer at the local shebeen (pub)
  • A burger “Kota” for your lunch

And to round off the tour a lovely cool drink at the Backpackers’ lodge.

For more information and to book a tour contact Maria at

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.
Tell: (011) 936-3444Cell: 074-3609085



Posted in Guest blog posts, Uncategorized, Unusual Places to Visit and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

Normandy Guide for Shoppers: Shopping Where Locals Shop


Local Shopping at it’s Best

by Cynthia Taylor

Normandy Guide for Shoppers: Shopping Where Locals Shop

Normandy Guide for Shoppers: Shopping Where Locals Shop

A Normandy guide is a good place to find out much of the region and what to look for. Travel in France is an experience of a life time to people who have never experienced such an interesting variety of interesting places to see, it is rich in history, culture and places of interest.

The ambiance and as you travel along gives one a feeling of stepping back in time in some places, almost as if time has stood still. With cobbled stone villages, Normandy still has much of the “olde worldy; feel about it. Many of the building are half timbered giving a feeling of walking in history.

The modern world has not intruded to the extent that the surrounding country side has been replaced by modern technology to the exclusion of the little man. When traveling through different towns that surround Normandy and around one find many cottage industries that continue as the have done through out the ages.

Normandy is famed for its Calvados an apple brandy; why not get a taste by visiting some of the wine cellars. Traveling to Deauville you have to stop and visit one of the Calvados/cider tasting places, there are quite a few that are marked along the route. Wine is made from Apples not grapes, and even pears are used. Cider made in this region contains one third of the alcohol content of wine, it’s beautifully fizzy and is the perfect accompaniment to moules-frites (fries with mussels and local specialty).

Normandy Guide for Shoppers: Shopping Where Locals Shop

Normandy Guide for Shoppers: Shopping Where Locals Shop

If cheese is your interest, you’ve come to the right place. A shop called Oliver’s in Dieppe boasts a Variety of cheeses although the shop is tiny they have on offer 130 different varieties of cheeses, definitely you will find some that will tempt your palette. Well known is Camembert, some other interesting Norman cheeses with some beautiful sounding names are Petit Suisse, Pont l’Évêque, Neufchatel, Livarot, and Boursin.

Neufchatel Cheese has been made in the region of the same name for more than 1000 years, the cheese is available at most supermarkets in a heart shape, but getting it directly from the farmers is a whole lot more fun, the cheese itself is soft and incredibly creamy, with a white rind shaped into a heart.

Using a Normandy guide, you will find so much, from old towns, incredible sandy beaches, and the famed Mont-Saint-Michel.
Self catering rentals and Normandy vacation rental go hand in hand, Most of the towns and the villages have daily markets to visit, these markets offer such a large variety of fresh produce, from cheeses, patisserie, fruit that has been hand picked, vegetables that taste out of this world, the variety local meats are mouth watering, If you wish to savor the feel of Normandy then the markets are an excellent place to start, practice your rusty French, Apart from the famous cheeses and cider, incredible tasting home made jams, and a type of shortbread called Stables d’Asnelles are taste sensations not to be missed.

Your Normandy guide will help you walk in history, savoir many interesting foods and relax in the ambiance of countryside, farms villages and beautiful landscapes that are easy on the eye.

Posted in Uncategorized, Unusual Places to Visit and tagged , by with no comments yet.

Hiking and Backpacking Survival Guide

Keeping Safe when trekking

By Cynthia Taylor

Photo credit: Steven Vance / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Steven Vance / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Packing for survival is important, you don’t want to be caught out in the bundu to find that you have forgotten stuff that is important for your survival. Here is a list of things that was created by The Mountaineers, this has been a guide line for many years and used by organisations like the boy scouts, and backpacking and hiking groups.

If you are a regular backpacker or just starting out, it’s always good to know that when you set out you have everything that is essential for your survival in places where there are no shops to be able to go and buy what is forgotten.

The items on this list are common sense things that any person who follows the trail should have with them, however, a list should not just be a list but a part of your action when packing for your next trip.
TIP: Pre-pack these items and have them stored next to your equipment so that you never leave your front door without them.

  1. Maps for your trip: being list in a wilderness can be scary and very dangerous, the last thing you need is to find yourself in a remote area far from help without a map. It’s also important that you are able to read and understand your maps. When choosing maps make sure they have topographical details that show terrain, trails and elevations. With todays technology an addition of a GPS would be a good addition so make sure your maps also have GPS coordinates, another factor having a map with GPS coordinates means that should you be lost and need to give rescue personnel information of your whereabouts you can give the GPS coordinates and they will be able to find you.
  2. Compass : having a map without a compass makes it more difficult – a map together with a compass makes things safer. You could add the GPS but its not always a good idea to rely on a GPS, the batteries may malfunction or stop working. A compass and knowledge of how to use it could help save your life.
  3. Sunscreen and Sunglasses: if you are not prepared the sun can become your enemy, being ill prepared could mean dehydration, sunburns and even possible sunstroke, and sunglasses to protect your eyes. Choosing a sunscreen chose one that is at least a 30SPF and is sweat resistant, also choose one that is unscented to protect you from wildlife.
  4. Food: in everyday life without water and food no one can survive, out on the trail its even more essential, especially if the hike or trail is more than a day. Choose freeze dried or dehydrated food, plenty of high energy trail mix. It’s important to be aware that that it’s essential to have sufficient food and water to prevent low blood sugar which could cause the body to shutdown. Skimping on food is not a good idea and could risk your life.
  5. Water: if you have a long trip planned, you will need to have at least a minimum of 4 liters of water, and if you plan on using some of the water for cooking then 7 liters would be needed for each person. In your planning make sure you know where there are water sources (a detailed map can help). Also consider water purification methods, you can’t always rely on good clean water when on the trail.
  6. Extra Clothing: packing sufficient clothing is important, you never know what the weather will be like, what type of terrain you will be walking through. Wet clothing apart from being unpleasant to be wearing when walking it can also pose a health risk. Another item that should be part of your wearing apparel, is a rain suit, this could save your clothing from getting wet if it rains but also adding extra warmth in cold weather – it could prevent hypothermia.
  7. Flashlight and/or Headlamp: Nighttime fumbling in the dark can be dangerous at the best of time, out in the wilderness its even more dangerous.everyone at some time or another needs to use the toilet at night, or just to be able to see what’s inside the tent. A good choice is headlamp that is capable of switching from a normal beam to a red beam, the red beam is less bothersome for the human eye at nighttime.
  8. Photo credit: Earthworm / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

    Photo credit: Earthworm / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

    First Aid Kit: A good first aid kit is essential on any trip whether there are just two of you or a group. There should be a minimum of one kit or in a group two or more, plus each person should carry a small personal kit as well. Untreated injuries could become serious or even dangerous.

  9. Fire-starters/matches/lighters: starting a fire quickly could ensure warmth as well as boost morale. Especially if you make camp late in the afternoon or at night when there is no time for gathering kindling. Pack matches, lighters, fire sticks, candles or even homemade starters. Keep these essentials dry. Have backups such as Bic lighters, they are lightweight and each member of the crew easily carry one. Always have backup fire starting equipment spread among the group.
  10. Knife/Multi-tool:  You should always have a knife to be able to cut things like ropes or tapes, or for many other needs. A multi-tool could also be helpful, however consider the weight of some multi-tools compared to the usefulness of it.

One of the best tips anyone can give a hiker or backpacker is to be prepared. Pre-planning and preparedness will make your trip more pleasant, and also contribute to your safety.

Posted in Hiking and Backpacking, Uncategorized and tagged , , by with no comments yet.

Hotel Group Offers Free Wi-Fi

Free Internet Access for Guests at Tsogo Sun

By Cynthia Taylor

Tsogo Sun has launched their latest initiative by offering free Hi-speed Wi-Fi for guests at all their hotels across Southern Africa.

The Group’s managing director, Graham Wood, has said that they were determined to get the Wi-Fi connectivity right for their guests and cater for their guests needs. Guests whether they are business or leisure travellers enjoy free connectivity and their cap is set to suit their most technophillic guests.

Mr. Wood said that the introduction of the service for Tsogo Sun Guests was decided after extensive investigations, with regard to the technical requirements, that were needed for the provision of free Wi-Fi, and they then installed an advanced system provided by AlwaysOn. The system uses the Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi Solutions.

Chief Executive of AlwaysOn, Nico Pretorius, said that the service provided at Tsogo Sun consists of over 4,000 high performance access points, of 802.11n dual band Wi-Fi access points that are smart and have adaptive antenna technology this will ensure optimal coverage and performance.

Mr. Pretorius continued that the major advantage of the technology offers better performance, excellent signal quality, and quality coverage, thus, ensuring that Tsogo Sun’s guests obtain high quality. All guests at Tsogo Sun hotels will be able to enjoy internet access of superior quality using their laptops, smart phones or tablets at all the Tsogo Sun’s hotels withing Southern Africa.

At all the Tsogo Sun’s deluxe hotels, guests are offered 750MB daily per room. In the Southern Hotel Group the cap is 500MB and in the Garden Court hotels the cap is 350MB, and the StayEasy hotels its 250MB daily.

Posted in Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

Hiking and Backpacking It’s Essential to Have the Right Equipment

Planning is important

by Cynthia Taylor

Hiking and Backpacking Its Essential to Have the Right Equipment

Hiking and Backpacking Its Essential to Have the Right Equipment

If you plan to do some backpacking or hiking its essential you plan ahead, backpacking requires more meticulous planning then for a camping trip where you have a vehicle to stow your needs.  When backpacking, you will be required to pack everything on your back in a backpack.  One rule of thumb is to not exceed one third of a person’s body weight.
To do a hiking tour you need to be fit and healthy, so some sensible exercising prior to your planed hike is essential. A healthy diet and a fitness routine will help a lot to prepare for the rigors of a daily hike.
Two essentials before you add anything else are comfortable walking boots/shoes and a comfortable backpack. Added to this and first priority of requirement is a good water bottle. The rest of the items you need to carry should be as light weight as possible so check out and test the weight of items bought for your trip.  You don’t want to have to leave anything that is essential due to weight restrictions.

How you pack your backpack is essential to ensure your hike is a comfortable as possible, two things to consider are weight distribution and be able to reach items you need most often easily.
The choice of backpack is also a personal preference and it’s a good idea to take advice from experienced backpackers, not just the stores representative’s recommendations. It needs to be balanced, comfortable on the shoulders and suited to the type of hike you intend doing. Length of hike and requirements needed for the length of time you will be away.  A Short on day hike it won’t be necessary to take a lot of stuff but a 5 day hike you requirements are much different. Your backpack must be suited to the type of hiking trip you intend to take.

Hiking and Backpacking Its Essential to Have the Right Equipment

Hiking and Backpacking Its Essential to Have the Right Equipment

An incorrectly packed backpack can cause undue stress and possible injury to your body you might think that placing the heaviest items at the bottom is the best idea, but that not a good idea, you need to centre the weight over the hip area, to do that you should place the heavier items next to your back and approximately above 1/3 of the pack. Many backpacks have a separate compartment at the bottom of the bag to accommodate your sleeping back and possibly a pillow.

Men and women have different need in regards to weight distribution and backpacks are designed with this aspect in mind. So your choice of backpack is crucial to your well being on your hiking trip.

Posted in Hiking and Backpacking, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by with 1 comment.

The Golden Gate National Park offers Golden Memories

A Vacation of to Stir The Soul

by Cynthia Taylor

Golden Gate National Park

Golden Gate National Park – getaway.co.za

The Golden Gate National Park is a beautiful place to visit; it is situated at the foot hills of the Maluti Mountains. The park itself is to be found in the Northern Free State, it has 11,600 hectares of a very unique environment.  It has some of the most beautiful sandstone cliffs, and when the sun shines on them it gives a golden glow, hence why it was named Golden Gate. The timeless beauty of these sandstone cliffs will leave you in awe as you watch them majestically keep a visual watch over the parks rest camp.

The Ribbikkop is the highest peak in the park and you really need to see it at its best when it presents a beautiful tapestry of a variety of colours towards the evening hours.  It’s quite an amazing sight to see the colours change from reds to golds and purples, the sight will leave a lasting memory long after you have left the park. There are many unusual rock formations in different colours some russet, purple and ochre.  Wind and rain have sculptured them over thousands of years.

Below the cliffs and rock formations are some lovely indigenous trees, with green vegetation and wild flowers to add to the contrast of the background. There are some wonderful hiking trails for the backpacker. Be sure to go in twos or a group for safety.

On my visit to the park a few years ago I was blessed to have seen a variety of wild animals, it a beautiful sight to see a group of Springbok springing into the air and down again, these graceful creatures always make you smile. Zebra, Eland, Blesbok, wildebeest and Oribi, the ugly yet loveable to look at warthog, are some of the other interesting inhabitants of the vast acreage.  There are a variety of birds for the bird watcher, look out for the rare bearded Vulture, and you might be lucky to spot a rare bald Ibis, Ostriches, Black Eagles, waterbirds and Jackal Buzzards will delight you on your visit.

The park offers some wonderful game viewing, you can use your own vehicle or go on guided excursions, there are some wonderful night drives, the park also offers video shows and lectures during the school holiday periods. If you are interested in the environment then there are Environmental courses that vary from one to five days, you have such a wonderful opportunity with the perfect environment to learn so much more.

For the more active Tennis and Table Tennis will keep those muscles flexed.  Snooker for the less active but equally enjoyable, there is an excellent bowling green for the bowler. Horse Riding is another way to see much of the park’s beauty.

The park offers many interesting viewing points such as Generaalskop viewpoint, the Zuluhoek lookout point, the Drakensburg view point and the Oribi basin.  Each have their own perspective and will enthrall you with their natural beauty.

A guided walk through the Cathedral Cave is another attraction not to be missed, then complete your visit to the Vulture Restaurant while you reminisce about your interesting day.

The Golden National Park is well worth the journey to visit. I have some truly wonderful memories of my visit there.

Golden Gate National Park

Golden Gate National Park

Posted in Uncategorized, Unusual Places to Visit and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by with 1 comment.

A Visit That Leaves an Incredible Footprint on the Mind


Owl House

by Cynthia Taylor



Nieu Bethesda and Owl House are one of my favourite places to visit and I have some truly wonderful memories, indeed three visits were not really enough, although the town is very small with a small population it has a way of drawing you back time after time.

The town is completely isolated and well off the beaten track you will have to drive approximately 60 km  from another interesting town called  Graaff Reinet,  Nieu Bethesda has only two roads leading in and out of it.  The town itself was established way back in 1875.  What has put it on the map is Helen Martins Owl House.  This place is incredible; I was truly fascinated with not only the marvellous art work but the whole history surrounding the creation of the art. Her medium was concrete and glass and she created some really intriguing figurines.  As you walk through the house it is ‘littered’ with her fascinating art.  The multi-hued panes of glass and wonderful bright coloured paints really capture the eye.

Nieu Bethesda is truly still untouched by modern life, visitors are reminded to make sure they have enough petrol to get there and out again, you will not be able to use your bank card as there are no facilities for them and over usage of cell (mobile) phones are discouraged.
Helen Martins grew up in this very strict Calvinistic village, she herself became quite a controversial figure, she had love affairs that really went against the thinking of the day, it is also said she had an abortion which was definitely considered extremely unconventional in her day.  As time went on she became more of a recluse in her home, using her art to express herself.

With the help of various assistants, she worked together with them to create and most extraordinary testament to her fertile imagination, the most well known assistant was Koos Malgas. The walls of the house have been encrusted with ground glass with mirrors strategically placed to capture the light; she also used candles and lanterns to encourage more light onto the mirrors creating different effects.



The yard is another revelation, is has been sectioned off to different aspects with her concrete and glass sculptures.

The camel yard itself is a testament to the East, with wise men and camels facing Mecca in permanent worship.  Many of the sculptures are unusual, maybe strange but very compelling; indeed I found them extremely fascinating.  Every visit I discovered something I missed the previous time, it truly is a most amazing place to visit.
Even in death Helen Martins at the age of 79 was unconventional, she committed suicide by drinking caustic soda. There are many rumours about her reasons for taking her own life.  But whatever reason drove her to do so in such a way it must have been an awful death. Although Helen Martins is no longer there, her legacy she has left to the world is a living testament to a mysterious and fascinating person. I truly would have liked to have known her.

Many artists use Nieu Bethseda as a retreat, it attracts crafters and creative people, the town continues in it slow pace of life, there are a few restaurants and guest houses, some art galleries and a pub.  Many of the local residents continue to watch the people and the world from their front porches drinking endless cups of coffee.  The town has other attractions and a walk around the town itself will give you an idea of a era long in the past of South Africa.

Visitors to Owl house will find that it is open to the public every day both summer and winter.  For a very modest fee you will be hugely entertained.



Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , by with no comments yet.

Forevertron an unusual experience

Photo by : Brian D'Ambrosio

Photo by : Brian D’Ambrosio

This is a guest blog post by Brian D’Ambrosio, I hope you enjoy the visit



Sauk County, Wisconsin

Destination: The Mythic Obsession of Dr. Evermore’s Kinetic Architecture


Photos: Brian D’Ambrosio


Commentary? Why bother? Is it part of a categorical genre or label? No such classification exists. Materials? How about carburetors, generators, brass copper, steel, early x-ray machines, scrapped vehicles, saw blades, oxidized pipe, theater speakers, river barges and rusty hamburger signs; to name just a few components. Is it a time travel machine or a rigorously sane ecological statement? Magnum opus or scatterbrained afterthought? On a reasoned level, it is the stockpiling of all the shapes, forms and mechanisms of the industrial age, with parts gathered from all over world. Capped by a copper-clad glass ball, the top section is a constructed space capsule.

Look hard and see it all:

Junk heaps of industry, contaminated plastics, reused industry surplus, rejected A-frame houses, historical artifacts, agricultural detritus, and utilitarian mechanical remnants, the brilliant discoveries that have altered the way that man influences the world. Peer out into sublime vastness of the solar system, imagine a tumble through the abyss of geological time, and one can not help but think, too, of how infinitesimal the moment of our own existence now appears.

To the fantastical soul, how futile seems the span of an individual life!Beauty is indeed in the metaphysical. And there are plenty both – marvelous beauty and freedom of interpretation – here at the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world. All you have to do is accept the scenic and historical integrity of the site, resist definition, let your thoughts synthesize, smile, and you will be just fine. After all, it is only a complex, futuristic assemblage to be used as a means to transport to the heavens that you are looking at. Nothing more, nothing less.

“Instead of imposing your interpretation, it’s best to leave it alone,” says Tom Every, aka Dr. Evermore, the progenitor of this artistic innovation. “I don’t impose my interpretation here, but I let others find their own interpretations. People that are stymied come here and pick up the brushes of energy. It’s a place to get the imagination and inspiration going, and what more can you really do for people than that?”

photo by : Brian D’Ambrosio

photo by : Brian D’Ambrosio

This is the good doctor’s world at Forevertron, a fascinating salvage of bits and pieces of machineries, bridging the industrial revolution to today’s computer-driven, de-industrialized dimensions; between fifty to one hundred years old, parts stand welded and bolted together for stability. Historical components include a pair of bipolar electrical dynamos constructed by Thomas Edison, in the late nineteenth century, and a decontamination chamber from the Apollo Space Mission. “These Edison bipolar dynamos have Tesla’s thought patterns on it, constructed around 1882. They came from the Ford Museum. With all designing and engineering, people stand on others’ shoulders to progress things.”

In a world seemingly without very much order, priority or focus, it is surprising perhaps, that Every can recall the true origins and exact functions of each piece of metal. He knows each bearing, grinder, shifter, cannibalized car, rusty winch, and block of iron; he claims there is a story behind each, a tale of hauling, a memory of turbulence, and a remembrance of what was. It seems that the eschatologist in Every revels in the doctrines concerning the final matters of steel, industry, and, ultimately, human existence and fate.

“You can’t reverse our impact or what we made things for,”says Every. “I don’t believe junking iron and steel. I am for showing what the consequence of humans on the planet has been, not expunging it. I see trouble in what we are building nowadays. Because there is no real integrity, just short-term patterns. I did three hundred and fifty major wrecking jobs, and I sure can tell the difference in construction materials used then and now. “

If all goes accordingly, the centerpiece component called the Gravitron – a monumental sculpture weighing roughly three hundred tons and standing one-hundred twenty feet wide, sixty feet deep, fifty feet high – will contract the doctor down in preparation for space travel, and the ‘Celestial Listening Ear’ should permit him to broadcast extraterrestrial observations to those on earth.

“All the elements and thoughts patterns of electricity and time travel are involved here,” says Every. “There is a reality, progression, and integrity of touching electricity and time, and this is the product of that. I am most into energy flowing, and I have nothing but respect for it.”

The Gravitron, which took three years to put together, consists predominately of circular metal components – wrought iron, copper, brass and stainless steel are the most evident. Its principal central section is a kinetic bank of generators, thrusters and other electromagnetic power sources.

Dispersed in proximity to the Forevertron are fanciful pieces that reveal themselves perfectly suited to the good-bye bonanza of Dr. Evermore’s separation from earth. The most lovable group of peripheral figures is the Bird Band, a coterie of figures pieced together from brass bedposts, old tools and other hardware, pipe fittings, bike brakes, survey markers, gasoline nozzles, facsimile laser guns, and a full complement of working musical instruments. One is comprised of Haitian steel drums and another has chimes that form an old church hanging on its back. Just where it is that the doctor will end up once he is blasted off is anyone’s guess, but at least some facts exist as to where and how this man came to be.

Being Doctor Evermore

An outspoken man of Cockney descent, Every appears intimidating, but in actuality he is a warmhearted, friendly eccentric who could gab for hours about his work – and energy force. Born in 1938, country kid Tom O. Every was enthralled by scrap, steel and junk. Traveling by bicycle through the quiet streets of Brooklyn, Wisconsin, he sought out unusual objects to turn into useful gadgetry. This childhood fascination with such materials led to a career in industrial wreckage.

As a salvage man, Every traveled to factories and industrial sites dismantling obsolete machinery, and he soon shifted from wrecker of shambles to preserver of clutter, hoarding odd shapes and forms that he felt would soon somehow disappear from the landscape, such as tank ends with interesting rivets or brewery furnaces.

He sorted and saved as many unusual components as space and energy allowed, by his estimate about a thousand tons. About this time, he renounced his old ideas and business plans, becoming reborn as Dr. Evermore, and through this new identity, he built Forevertron.

“I had to become Dr. Evermore back in 1983,” says Every. “I was bothered by all that I saw in the world; I wanted to perpetuate myself back into the heavens on this magnetic lightning force field.”

The mission of Forevertron, its mantra, the title of Doctor Evermore and the alter ego’s artistic credence – they are part of the entertaining language and educational life force of what has become the world’s biggest, most visually balanced kinetic sculpture – twenty-five years rooted in the invaluable spirit of restless exploration and perceptive gathering.

Ultimately, pushed against this steely reserve of earthly time and its transience, Every, 71, like many of us, dreams of posterity. His weathered face shows the many years of toiling outdoors and his raspy voice leads one to assume that he used to chain-smoke the cigars that he now only chews on. Strands of gray and white hair stick out behind his full-brim hat. Despite this gruff exterior, Every’s passion for art is fresh and innocuous. He does not hunger for fame or for utility, but hopes for a lasting monument, and, in the interim, a secure place on earth to illustrate his energies, and to muse over the question of extinction, the march of time, and man’s place in the universe. And to, well, just live like a young boy enthralled by metal.

“This is the place for playing around and to have fun without the bullshit of life interfering,” smiles Every. “It’s like a disease here because all I see are positive things. I have a set amount of time here to do the best that I can, and I am happy with each new load of stuff I can use. “

Choice Chitchat: Tom Every’s sculpture garden is located on Highway 12, five miles south of Baraboo, Wisconsin. No admission fee is charged, and most days from late spring to late fall you may find Dr. Evermore in the center of Forevertron, reading, writing, drawing, or just thinking, hours varying. The garden sits behind Delaney’s Salvage, the perfect compliment for artistic eccentricity.

Brian D’Ambrosio – Courtesy Brian D’Ambrosio

Brian D’Ambrosio – Courtesy Brian D’Ambrosio

Brian D’Ambrosio is a writer/editor living in Missoula, MT and Madison, WI. His profiles of art, humanity, and nature, as well as his travel and destination road trip pieces have been published in local, regional, and national publications.
Visit his website : http://www.suite101.com/profile.cfm/briand13

Posted in Uncategorized, Unusual Places to Visit and tagged , , by with no comments yet.