The Albany Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York piqued my curiosity with an article declaring that Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, was the second wackiest tourist attraction in the United States as determined by the website tripadvisor.com.
Carhenge, for the uninitiated, is a bunch of cars that a farmer erected in a formation similar to Stonehenge, except that Stonehenge is in Britain and made of big slabs of stone, while Carhenge is just outside Alliance, Nebraska, and made out of old American cars painted flat gray. Many of the cars are installed nose-down in the sand hills.
As an aside, if you were to search the Internet for Stonehenge replicas, you’d find a surprising number of people in the USA have lots of land, some big stuff, some heavy construction equipment to stack the stuff with and far too much time on their hands.
News judgment is my issue with the Albany Times Union. I’d buy a story with that lead in the Alliance, Nebraska, Times Herald (and I didn’t see it on their website tonight, I looked). I’d even buy that story in the Omaha World Herald. Nebraska is a big state. Unlike Rhode Island, you can be in Nebraska and be pretty damned far from something else in Nebraska. Omaha is pretty far from Alliance. Omaha is on the west bank of the Missouri River, which means it’s at the eastern edge of Nebraska. Alliance is about 30-45 minutes north of Sidney Nebraska. I’ve been to Sidney, twice, (don’t ask). I was surprised to learn that Alliance is considerably larger than Sidney, although “large” is a relative term when referring to cities in western Nebraska. Carhenge is on my bucket list, but when I was in Sidney, I forgot it was nearby.
News, herald, times, post, union, world, there seems to be a short list of words that you’re allowed to have in the name of a newspaper. I have no idea how picayune got on that official list, but I digress. So the story in the Albany Times Union seems odd to me because Sidney, Alliance, Carhenge and even Nebraska aren’t anywhere near Albany, NY.
If I was editor of the Albany Times Union (and I don’t want to be because most newspapers, including that one, are struggling financially) I would have wanted a story about the list of ten, or about the top one which is the toilet seat museum in San Antonio, TX. Oddly, I checked the website of the San Antonio News and the story about the second wackiest place to visit isn’t there and there’s no story about the wackiest place either. Or if there is, it’s hiding. In case you didn’t click the link near the beginning of this piece, the tenth wackiest tourist attraction is the world’s largest ball of twine. The Winchester house in California isn’t even on the top ten list. I wonder what’s #11.