Expedition Team: Rosie Miller, Jacque Miller, Holly Miller, Matt Miller, Shane Miller
Date: October 1999
Uncle Jim & Aunt El took us all to this popular Orlando roadside attraction. Gators everywhere! Attractions included holding a baby alligator, a man wrestling a gator and exhibits of a tortoise, rattlesnake, Florida panther and – gators. The kids loved it.
After dropping Matt off in Arizona for preseason college football practice we continued our vacation in California. We visited Long Beach’s favorite roadside attraction. This famous ship icon is nicknamed “The Grey Ghost” and the ocean liner sailed the North Atlantic Ocean from the 1930’s to late 1967. Queen Mary’s last voyage was in October/November 1967, leaving England and arriving at Long Beach. Today, it serves as a tourist attraction featuring restaurants, a museum, and a hotel. The Queen Mary is over 1,000 feet long and has 12 decks. We explored the ship all day, then took the haunted encounters tour called “Ghosts & Legends of the Queen Mary” where we went down to the boiler room area and the old swimming pool. Later, we took the “Behind the Scenes Guided Tour” and then enjoyed an expensive dinner. That night as the family reclined in the cabin, I roamed the hallways conducting my own paranormal investigation.
This is Miamisburg’s number one roadside attraction. The mound is one of the two largest conical mounds in eastern North America and the largest prehistoric burial mound in Ohio. The mound is 65 feet tall and 800 feet in circumference. An empty chamber was found in 1869 about 28 feet deep in the mound. I climbed the 116 steps to the top of the mound enjoying the view. The mound sits atop a ridge above the Great Miami River next to a golf course.
Here is another of the famous fiberglass roadside attractions that are randomly scattered across our country, this one is dressed as a cowboy and is at the entrance to a popular flea market. He is muscular on top but needs to lift more weights with his legs.
This water tower is painted like a UFO spaceship with aliens looking out the windows. At night it is lit up with landing lights and is very impressive. I wish I could have gotten a closer photo. I also wish I had a fuel-efficient flying saucer because gas prices just west of here spiked to $5.26 per gallon.
Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Jacque Kelly, Holly Miller
Date: June 10 & 11, 2016
We enthusiastically tackled this popular Ohio roadside attraction which has 15 movie location sites from the popular 1993 Academy Award nominated movie, “The Shawshank Redemption”. Eleven of the sites are in Mansfield. We found several movie sites as we ran the Shawshank Hustle 7K Run such as the Brewer Hotel, the pawn shop window, and Brook’s bench. We found several more film sites visiting the Ohio State Reformatory Prison. The night before the race they showed the “Shawshank Redemption” movie at the prison central guard room and cafeteria where a scene from “Air Force One” movie starring Harrison Ford was filmed. The next day after the race we toured the prison and saw five rooms used – Brooks & Red’s Room, wardens office with the safe, parole board room, and posed with many cut-out figures of the characters. We saw several original props including the escape tunnel. We met actor Scott Mann, who is in the movie’s opening scene, and I bought a beautiful 20th anniversary poster of the movie that he created.
This roadside attraction is in memory of one of The Beatles, John Lennon, musician, and peace activist. The day after we ran the New York Marathon, we were walking around Central Park to work out our stiff and aching legs. We grabbed lunch at the famous Tavern on the Green Restaurant and walking just north of there we came upon Strawberry Fields. Strawberry Fields was across from the 72nd Street entrance and the Dakota building where John lived and was killed in 1980. The Fields is a five-acre landscape with donations of plants and stones from all over the world to create an international garden of peace. We sat on a bench across from the Imagine mosaic, based upon one of Lennon’s songs.
This famous deli is adjacent to the Ed Sullivan Theater on West 53rd Street in Manhattan and is operated by Rupert Jee. Rupert and his deli were a regular comedy segment on “The Late Show with David Letterman” from 1993 until 2014. The Deli specializes in hot & cold sandwiches, coffee, hot dishes, salads and more. He has almost 50 specialty sandwiches, many of them named after TV stars such as Letterman, Regis Philbin, Paul Shaffer etc. One time while in New York City, Rosie, Jacque, and Holly stopped by the deli, they telephoned me in Moraine and Rupert graciously talked to me. When I visited there in 2009, I got to meet Rupert and ordered the Letterman sandwich which was turkey, ham, cheese, lettuce, peppers, and tomato.
Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Jacque Miller, Matt Miller
Date: April 1994, March 1998
This top Chicago roadside attraction was renamed the Chicago Willis Tower in 2009. We visited the Skydeck on the 103rd floor back when it was named the Sears Tower. At 1,730 feet tall, the skyscraper was once the world’s tallest building but now is the 3rd tallest building in the USA and 12th tallest building in the world. The Skydeck gave us incredible panorama views of Chicago and on a clear day you could see four states.
When completed in 1973, it was the tallest building in the world, 110 stories high. The tower has 104 elevators moving 1,200 feet per second. We reached the top floor in 60 seconds. In strong winds the average width that it sways is six inches from true center. Each November, the skyscraper hosts the world’s tallest indoor stair climb competition where participants climb the towers 103rd floor staircase.