Archive for March, 2009

Mancations?

March 28, 2009

Okay, I admit it: The first time I heard about the idea of a mancation, it struck me as somewhat odd.  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that some of my most extraordinary experiences have been in the company of good male friends like Mike, Todd, and Bob.

Which is one reason I was pleasantly surprised to discover Mantripping.com.  The website is full of ideas that would make great buddy trips, from attending air races to tromping through the backwoods in search of Bigfoot.

tomatina-headerMy favorite story on the Mantripping website though has to be this first-hand account of what it’s like to attend Spain’s annual La Tomatina Festival, a full-on food fight that’s held in the streets of Bunol each August. 

The festival has been on my list of cool things to do for a long time.  Now all I have to do is convince one of my buddies that being pelted with tomatoes for an hour straight might actually be fun!  

A Smashing Idea

March 20, 2009

image4537766gSo lets say you’re on vacation in San Diego and you’ve just plain had it with your traveling companion.  Well fortunately America’s Finest City now offers a highly entertaining way for you to vent your frustrations.

For around $30, the folks at Sarah’s Smash Shack will set you up with a selection of plates and glassware, then turn you loose in one of their “break rooms” where you can reduce it all to rubble in a safe, controlled environment.  They’ll even allow you to bring the object of your frustration—say, a framed photo of your ex-boyfriend or that annoying computer printer from work—and have at it until you’ve turned it into tiny little pieces.

Which, come to think of it, actually sounds like a heck of a lot of fun even if you’re in a good mood.

Tanks-R-Us

March 13, 2009

163_0501_07z55-ton_chieftan_tactical_tankdriver_viewAh yes, Spring is in the air and a young man’s thoughts turn to…driving the biggest honkin’ machines he can find! Okay, well, at least mine do.

If that sounds like a heck of a good time to you too, you’ll want to check out this XTRORD.com feature story on what it’s like to play with 20-ton bulldozers and 30-ton excavators at Dig This in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. So much fun it’s hard to believe some folks actually get paid for this!

As much of an extraordinary experience as that was, however, nothing I’ve ever done tops the geeky thrill of driving a full-on 55-ton military battle tank. I had the chance to do just that a few years ago at Tactical Tanks on the outskirts of Dallas (check out the story and pix here) and all I can say is, wow, every red-blooded American should do this at least once!tanks-vertical

Unfortunately that operation closed down less than a year after my visit due to the untimely death of owner David Estes (a truly nice man). But not to fear, as I’ve got a lead on another place here in the U.S. that’s planning to make similar tank-driving experiences available to the general public. Look for that story on our Xperiences page in the months to come.

In the meantime, here are a few places in Europe that offer tank driving outings for those who can’t wait:

Germany: Panzerkutscher

England: The Dinscott Tank & Military Collection

England: Tanks-A-Lot

‘Shine On!

March 5, 2009

virginia_lightningMy hard liquor-drinking days may be behind me, but that doesn’t make me any less interested in visiting the Belmont Farms Distillery in Culpeper Virginia.

You see, while distillery tours have become commonplace, this family-run operation about 90 minutes southwest of Washington DC offers something truly unique: The chance to experience America’s only legal moonshine distillery.

Unlike fancier brews, the old-fashioned clear corn whiskey they make here isn’t aged in oak barrels. In fact, the 100-proof liquor isn’t aged at all, as moonshine connoisseurs (is that an oxymoron?) apparently insist this classic American liquor is best enjoyed fresh (their Virginia Lightning brew is actually guaranteed to be no more than 30 days old).

For a behind the scenes look at this unusual operation, check out this video.  To sample this legal moonshine for yourself, go here.