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Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Europe’s First Underwater Museum

CNN Travel reported on the Europe’s first underwater museum Wednesday. Two years in the making, the museum is located in the deep waters off the shores of Spanish island Lanzarote. It is only accessible to snorkelers, divers and, of course, sea creatures.

The museum, named Museo Altlantico, features the sculptures of artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The 300 sculptures are submerged at depths between 12 and 15 meters on the sea floor of Coloradas Bay.

These sculptures will be more than just art, however. These sculptures are made from environmentally friendly concrete and are part of an artificial reef, which will serve as a breeding site for local aquatic wild life. The sculptures are meant to raise awareness about ocean-related environmental issues by portraying scenes from everyday life.

The Victor Crew

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas

Fabulous Las Vegas SignWhile many people world-wide would likely recognize her seminal design work – the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign in Las Vegas, Nevada – most probably have probably never heard of Betty Whitehead Willis, the designer of the iconic sign. She died this week at the age of 91.

The Neon Museum of Las Vegas also credits her with the creation of the Blue Angel Motel sign and the Moulin Rogue Hotel sign. Retiring from design at the age of 77, Willis never trademarked her most famous work saying it was “my gift to the city.”

These days it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to say that the recreation of this design on t-shirts and other tourist trap treasures has probably resulted in millions of dollars of profit.

Willis was a Las Vegas native who attended art school in L.A. She first work for Fox West Coast Theaters in L.A. designing advertisements. Later she returned to Las Vegas where she worked at the courthouse, but finally landed a job creating neon signs at Western Neon. It was at Western Neon she designed the famous sign.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

The Biggest Truck Stop in the World

Since 1964 the so-called “Biggest Truck Stop in the World” – Iowa 80 – has been serving truckers and other travelers before the interstate was even completely built. What started as a small, white enamel building has turned into a huge plaza off of exit 284.

Bill Moon ran the facility for Standard Oil (no Amoco) for twenty years, until the company decided to sell it. Moon and wife Carolyn did risked everything to buy the property. Years later the complex, now serving some five thousand truckers and travelers everyday, stands as a testament to Bill Moon’s love of the trucking and truck stop business.

The Iowa 80 is now run by a second generation of Moons. The complex contains a 300 seat restaurant; a gift store, a “Super Truck Showroom”, a barber, chiropractor and a dentist, a work out room, laundry, a 60 seat movie theater, trucker’s TV lounge, a Verizon Wireless kiosk, private showers, a food court that includes popular, modern fast food chains, a convenience store, a custom vinyl shop, 10 gas islands, 16 diesel lanes, a fuel center, a 7 bay tractor-trailer service center, 3 bay truck wash, a CAT scale and finally a pet wash. To top it off the posthumously realized dream of Bill Moon, the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.

The museum opened in 2008 and includes the Moon Family’s collection of antique trucks and other transportation antiques and memorabilia. Tours available by appointment.

Every year the Iowa 80 hosts the Walcott Trucker’s Jamboree which celebrates the hard work of those in the truck driving industry. Attendance of the Jamboree has reached 42,000.

So, next time you are traveling this great nation of ours, if fortune finds you out near Walcott, IA on I-80 stop by and visit this legendary piece of Americana.

Jody Victor

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

Three Outlaw Vacations

Americans love an outlaw, an anti-hero, a longer-rebel. This probably has something to do with the history of the founding of our country. Countless films have tried to capture and romanticize the lives and dirty deeds of our most notorious criminals.

The closest we might ever get to any kind “truth” about some of these infamous outlaws is visiting the places related to their histories.

Jesse James, Missouri

Jesse James is a well know Wild West outlaw who characterized by many films and actors. Credited for robbing dozens of banks and trains all over the West, he lived an died in the state of Missouri. However, the so-called James Gang committed heists in other states.

After being pursued by law enforcement for nearly 20 years, ironically James was shot and killed by one of his fellow gang members for a $10,000 reward.

In Liberty, Missouri there is a Jesse James Bank Museum. It is supposedly the site of the nation’s first successful daytime and “peaceful” bank robbery. The robbery occurred in 1866 and the robbers were never caught nor identified, but the robbery is usually attributed to the James Gang.

St. Joseph Missouri is the location of the site where James was killed. The Jesse James Home Museum includes many artifacts of James’ life and death. You can also visit the Jesse James Farm and Museum in Kearney, Missouri—this is James’ birthplace and childhood home. Visitors can tour the restored home and the town host a Jesse James festival annually in September.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Wyoming

Most famously played by Paul Newman and Robert Redford, if you want to re-live the adventures of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid you need to go to Cody, Wyoming. There you can find Cassidy’s home in Old Trail Town and Outlaw Cave. There is also a set of trails often traveled by his gang (and others) while seeking reprieve.

You can also visit Hole-in-the-Wall pass in the Big Horn Mountains. This was once the meeting place of the Wild Bunch gang. The Cabin is preserved at the Old Trail Town Museum. Finally, 20 miles outside of Kaycee is the Outlaw Cave Recreation Area. This is another area where the gang used to hang out.

The Crime Museum, Washington, D.C.

Don’t have time to wander the wild west like these famous outlaws? Look no further than the Washington, DC Crime Museum. It is home to one of the country’s biggest collections of outlaw artifacts! It includes items belonging and related to the country’s most famous outlaws. It even includes galleries depicting the history of crime dating as far back as the Middle Ages.

Jody Victor