From the category archives:

Historic

Robin Hood Adventures: 4 Extraordinary Experiences Where Green Tights Are Optional

by Alan Rider
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While I’m not much for jaunty caps and green tights, I have to admit that I kinda dig the “another day, another adventure” spirit that runs through the whole Robin Hood legend.  And, if the crazy number of times Hollywood has retold the story of the world’s most famous outlaw hero is any indication, apparently I’m not alone in this.
Like a lot of the cool adventures portrayed in movies and television shows, however, watching the exploits of Robin Hood and his band of merry men on the big screen this past weekend got me to thinking about one of XTRORD.com’s most important guiding principles.  Namely the one about how reality [...]

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Lewis And Clark: 3 Extraordinary Expeditions Let You Walk A Mile In Their Moccasins

by Alan Rider
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Standing atop a steep sandstone bluff overlooking a broad expanse of central Montana’s still-wild Missouri River, it’s not hard to understand why the journals of Lewis and Clark’s Corps Of Discovery are filled with entries that convey a sense of wonder:

“This senery already rich, pleasing, and beatiful was still farther hightened by immence herds of buffaloe, deer, elk and antelopes which we saw in every direction.”
— Merriwether Lewis,  September 17, 1804

To put these wide-eyed moments into perspective, you have to remember that the vast swath of land known as the Louisiana Purchase was little more than a blank spot on the map when Merriwether Lewis and William Clark set off [...]

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Tanks For The Memories: 2 Unforgettable Tank-Driving Adventures

by Alan Rider
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Of all the extraordinary experiences I’ve had over the years, the chance to take the controls of a 55-ton British Chieftain battle tank has to be among the most memorable.
Unfortunately, the Dallas-based operation that gave me that opportunity is no longer in business. The good news, however, is that I’ve found a couple places that still allow ordinary civilians to have similar tank-driving adventures:
Lazer Tanks
This small mom-and-pop shop located just north of Reno, Nevada is now the only place in North America where individuals and small groups can spend time in the driver’s seat of Cold War classics including a Soviet-era T-55 battle tank and BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle.
Tanks-A-Lot
Think [...]

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Adventures In Aviation: Zeppelin Flights

by Alan Rider
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In a world where many people have come to view flying as an ordeal to be endured, there are still lots of us for whom the act of leaving terra firma behind remains an adventure to be savored. If you’re one of us, you owe it to yourself to book a seat on the first zeppelin to take to the skies above the U.S. in more than 70 years.
The company responsible for the zeppelin’s return to America, Airship Ventures, offers one- and two-hour flight-seeing tours around San Francisco Bay in the 246-foot helium-filled Eureka, as well as occasional cross-country flights as they reposition the zeppelin for tours in [...]

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Pony Express Redux: How You Can Saddle Up To Ride Horseback In The Hoofprints Of History

by Alan Rider
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Hoof-beats ring out in the night as the trail-hardened Pony Express rider approaches the lonely Nevada waystation. In one fluid movement he leaps off his tired mount, grabs the mail pouch stuffed with urgent letters from points east, vaults aboard his fresh horse and is off again at a gallop before the cloud of dust he’s stirred up even has a chance to settle.
In the 150 years since the first horse and rider left St. Joseph, Missouri on April 3, 1860, the Central Overland & Pike’s Peak Express Company—better known as the Pony Express—has become an undeniable legend of the Old West. What few people realize, however, is [...]

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Blues Travelers: Memphis’ American Dream Safaris Offers A Chance To Really FEEL The Blues

by Alan Rider

If you’re more than just a casual fan of the blues—someone who can trace the connection* between blues legends like Lead Belly and Muddy Waters, for example—sooner or later you have to make the pilgrimage to the land where this distinctly American art form was born.

While you could certainly explore the area on your own, I’ve discovered an alternative that will help you get a lot more out of your visit.  Namely a plugged-in local guide by the name of Tad Pierson, a one-man college of musical knowledge whose decades of experience can help you develop a much greater appreciation for the music and the landscape [...]

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Horsing Around: How You Can Ride Into History With Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show

by Alan Rider

When I read that today was William “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s birthday, it made me wonder whether anyone out there was still putting on the kind of Old West extravaganzas this larger-than-life showman made famous in the waning days of the American frontier.  What I discovered will surprise city slickers and delight all those folks for whom cowboy skills are much more than just quaint historical relics.
You see, it turns out that Buffalo Bill’s Wild West is currently gearing up for its 39th season full of trick riders, fancy ropers, stagecoach robberies, Native American dancers and much more.  Modern-day impresario Montie Montana Jr. says he likes to think of this blend [...]

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