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Tennessee

#24 Be Part of a Stage Illusion [podcast]

Hey Team,

No more waiting! It’s Wednesday again and after almost a month long wait between objectives here it is…#24!

Thanks again to Terry Evanswood and Jay of Magic Beyond Belief and to Pat and Helen for getting in touch with them.

I had a blast! I hope the rest of you enjoy this week’s video half as much as I enjoyed being there.

(OH! Also this is the first week of a new compression setting to compliment the Apple TV and HOPEFULLY give a much clearer picture. Sadly, it also means longer download times. Let me know if it doesn’t work on any of your players. And just in case, I used the old settings for the youtube version. If I don’t hear any complaints that wont happen next week though.)

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT1_1 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D21", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT1", name : "WT1"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT1_1", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params More >

Quarry On

Hey Team,

I’m headed south now but I ended up staying in Knoxville for an extra day when it looked like some members of a Bluegrass band I was mysteriously hanging around with might know some moonshiners.

Sadly, things didn’t quite work out but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun times hanging out with a bluegrass playing guitarist from New Jersey, a banjo player fresh off the Appalachian Trail, a fiddle player/former Zen monastery resident, and an upright bassist with a propensity for turning Metallic into bluegrass.

And of course, my too (and two) cool couch surfing hosts, Rachel and Abbey, who not only showed me around the city but took me out to an old abandoned rock quarry complete with an old abandoned factory.

The Ijams Quarry was up there with the coolest sights I’ve seen on this trip. (But then again I’m a sucker for climbing around on things I probably shouldn’t.) Each portion of the Quarry was like a completely different world and it was all so shut off from the city despite its proximity.

A large portion of it had filled up with water and created a pretty clear (and sizable) pond, complete with fresh water jellyfish, that I was assured More >

Magically Ambitious

Hey Team,

I’m sure I’ve said this a hundred times by now but I am continually blown away by how often people surpass my expectations of kindness. I spent most of yesterday in Pigeon Forge, TN thanks to Helen and her mom Pat’s connections to the Magic Beyond Belief show and Terry Evanswood. (Also…no such thing as the internet there, sorry for the delay on this post.)

But if I’m going to be honest (and that’s kind of what I strive for) when I spoke on the phone with Jay, one of the Magic Beyond Belief honchos, earlier in the week I started to get concerned that this was going to be yet another dead-end. Over the phone the situation didn’t sound super promising. I didn’t get the feeling that they were very excited to help out (not that I could fault anyone for a lack of excitement, like I said, it’s a complete surprise every time anyone offers to help out) over at the show and worse it didn’t look like I was going to have the opportunity to film ANY of it.

(Well, worse for you anyway…I still would have had the chance to do something I’ve always wanted to do More >

Magic is About to Happen

Hey Team,

I made it to Pigeon Forge, TN today thanks Tommy, my Couch Surfing Host, Jessica’s, friend. Why would I come to a place called Pigeon Forge if I’ve already been to a place called Bald Knob? Sadly, I don’t just visit places based on how ridiculous their names sound. I’m actually here to cross a little something called #24 off the list today!

Despite the small town name it turns out Pigeon Forge is actually…well, a really small town. But at least it has delusions of grandeur. This may be one of the strangest “cities” I’ve ever been in.

It’s mostly just one street (but it’s a long street…so there’s that) but instead of the general store, the post office and the gas station they have thirteen miniature golf courses, twenty-eight pancake houses, eight comedy shows, shops and hotels galore, a building filled with singing mechanical bears and the Magic Beyond Belief Theater!

Which is why I’m here. They have my seat saved and the illusion all picked out all I have to do is show up at 8:15 and convince someone to be my cameraman!

I’m going to go wander down to the Fudge, Knives, Swimwear and Leather Shop (no joke, this More >

Anti-Excitement

Hey Team,

“The Plan” was delayed by a day, which I suppose, just goes to show how useful plans are in my hands. (i.e. not very) BUT besides that, things are progressing nicely. At 3:30 am my bus leaves Nashville for Atlanta where I’ll meet up with a guy that lives about an hour south of there to learn the family fun past time of moonshinery (I’m going to call that one a word too.)

There’s SO much stuff going on behind the scenes right now that it’s been tough to stay on top of everything (I am but one man) but I can assure you it’s all very exciting.

AND it looks like I’m not going to have to be frantically editing to get the new podcast up tomorrow. I know. What the heck is that all about?!

So here’s the little teaser. Tomorrow by 6pm PST there will be a new TASTHIB podcast featuring City Museum in St. Louis. No joke, one of the coolest places I’ve been so far on this epic journey. Right up there with Fort Gorges on the list of Awesome Stuff That Happens In Between. More on that tomorrow.

Other than that, not a lot of news today. More >

The Plan

Hey Team,

Just a very quick update. I’ve been trying out this new “planning” thing. I don’t know how well it’s going (…and it seems to take a lot of time) but I think it’s just as much of a new experience as hang gliding or milking a cow and so it deserves it’s time in the sun too.

I’ve got to say though. So far…not a fan.

Here are my thoughts:

1. I’m going to be in southern Utah the second week in March to see what fly-fishing is like.

2. If I head west now I’ll end up there WAY too early.

3. There’s still plenty I need to cross off in the southeast.

4. So it makes sense to cross off as much as I can in the south over the next three weeks.

5. I THINK I can do #s 2, 14, 24, 28, 29, 34, 45 and maybe 12. But NONE of those are sure things so if you have any leads let me know.

6. I’m going to start this whirlwind tour of the south by heading to Atlanta tomorrow and hoping for some moonshine action.

Wish me luck.

See that was kind of like planning, right? At least I know which direction I’m More >

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#15 Hitchhiking! [podcast (finally!)]

Hey Team,

Here it is! No more waiting! No more angry emails! No more middle of nowhere! Just 10 minutes and 37 seconds of entertainment!

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And the obligatory you tube link is right here.

That’s it. No more words! I’m done.

Brett.

Okay a couple more words…

Quitters Never Prosper

Hey Team,

Anyone know of a hitchhiking 101 course I could crash at a local JC or anything? What is it about hitchhiking and colossal failures in the world of Amtrekker? I JUST got picked up 19 miles outside of Nashville by Chase, one of the guys I’ve been staying with for the last few days, after spending the last SEVEN hours “hitchhiking.”

Yeah, you read that right, NINETEEN miles in SEVEN hours. That’s 2.71 miles per hour…I might as well have started walking to Little Rock.

Bottom line: I’m a quitter. Once it was clear I wasn’t going to be picked up in the dark I called Chase, who earned a gold star by coming to my rescue, and then promptly caved and bought a bus ticket for the 12:40 am bus.

I hate that.

I’m done.

Brett.

Anyone want to help pay for a bus ticket?

You never know, you might get a good pedophile story out of it.


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