Hold on to your hats! I now have TWO new ones… another baseball cap and a PITH helmet!!
Today, I crossed into the realm of awesomeness… I am now a card carrying member of THE WORLD EXPLORERS Club!
“If we’re driving through Chicago, and it’s in Illinois… I remember that there’s something else in that state that I want to see… what was it?” I thought to myself. Then, out loud I said, “Holy Cheese Whiz! Illinois is where Kempton is!”
Kempton is a very small town in the great state of Illinois. It also happens to be the world headquarters of the The World Explorers Club. A club that I have longed to visit ever since I started reading World Explorer Magazine!
Oh, what happy times… I used to rush to my local Borders Bookstore every month and eagerly search out the new magazine titles and breathlessly await the latest edition… what would they write about next? Would it be underwater archeology in the Pacific? Or would I learn more about the mysterious Crystal Skulls?
And here we were, hours away from the headquarters of the magazine that I’ve so enjoyed, one that made me thinks, laugh, wonder and wait. And so we made a pilgrimage.
It was a long drive through the corn fields… so much so, that we checked the GPS several times to make sure it hadn’t gotten into one of it’s fits. It happens, occasionally, that the GPS leads us astray. But this time, it was right on target.
Eventually, we found Kempton and then found the Bookstore.
The bookstore is really cool. It has a bunch of books… I mean a LOT of books that cover multiple subjects in serious depth… which, actually describes most bookstores… but this one was so much cooler!! It even had an Easter Island head in front of it!! And an incredible mural!
Joe, the helpful employee, showed us around and let us know what to expect. He made a phone call and said, “David is coming by to say ‘Hi”"
The incredible author, traveler, film maker and alternative history expert, David Hatcher Childress, walked in and said, “Hello!”
He then proceeded to show us around the bookstore and the warehouse and we talked about all the great books and various publishing houses and about the fall of Borders Bookstores… and then he said, “Hop in the car, I’ll take you to the Clubhouse…”
The famed, mythical “World Explorers Clubhouse”
Being driven around Kempton by Mr. Hatcher Childress was fantastic. But then to be invited into the Clubhouse was almost too much to bear!
It is exactly what you think it should be. It is an old house, that has a fascinating collection of travel artifacts, quirky posters, stickers, masks, lights… and so many other cool things that my brain couldn’t inventory it.
We hung out by the pool table and talked about Edgar Cayce, apocalyptic safe places, Peruvian treasure hunting laws, the difficulties of getting a visa to Ethiopia, pinball machines, traveling in India… and so many other things!
Then, he showed us around. Did you know that the World Explorers Clubhouse has rooms that are available to be rented by members? And the rooms are themed!! Themed!! You can stay in the Africa themed room, or the Oceania room or the Ancient American room… and you can shoot pool, play with fossils, or swap stories at the bar.
Eventually, we ended up at the bar, admiring the Polynesian masks and playing with the fossils. We talked about our recent adventures searching for the mysterious Viking ruins and runes and about Oak Island!
After getting a tour of the Clubhouse, we drove back to the Bookstore where Mr. Hatcher Childress talked to us about Oak Island, and the Viking presence on the East Coast. Then he pointed us to his book, “Lost Cities of North & Central America” and discussed the all sights we missed!
Then, after many years of buying the magazine at the bookstore, we actually signed up for a membership, got a bunch of fabulous swag and bought a pith helmet!!
And then we drove off through the corn fields, with new friends, new hats and new hopes!
And because I didn’t know that members can ACTUALLY stay at the World Explorer’s Clubhouse….Aaargh…. we stayed in Bourbanaisse and dreamt of getting back to the World Explorer Clubhouse one day.
It almost made me forget that I earlier, I was almost left at the Sanitorium….
Earlier, we woke up in Battle Creek, Michigan and drove to the Kellog’s Battle Creek Sanitorium. J was threatening to leave me there, as the high winds were making me cough like a tubercular patient. The history of Kellog, the Sanitorium and the history of cereal is so interesting! My hero, C.W.. Post (whose daughter built the “House of Fabulous” in Washington, D.C.) stayed at the Battle Creek Sanitarium and was inspired to create his “Post Postums.”
Later, we ended up at Warren Dunes State Park, where I got sandblasted by the high winds and sand. I even got sand in my chewing gum!
Finally, we finished the day at a place in Bourbannais, IL… which kept making me think of bourbon and mayonaisse and “Glitch Step music”… which Joe, the helpful guy at the bookstore introduced us to… and he explained how to pronounce “Bourbannais” which actually doesn’t sound like mayonaisse…
Yay – Day 29!!