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CIRCA
A Journey to Parts Unknown
June 16, 2005

by Denny Burkholder
Courtesy of WrestleLine.com

 

I love summertime. The sunshine, the outdoor activities, the concerts by bands you never thought you'd see again. Extended daylight hours. The beach. As someone who grew up in the Northeast, where snow plows and dreary days are the norm, summer is a welcome aversion.
 
Road trips are the perfect way to punctuate your summer with a lasting memory. Actually, I USED to call them "road trips" when I was single and living recklessly. Now that I'm married and have a kid, we call them "vacations." Same thing, really, but with far less alcohol poisoning and much more diaper changing.

So where does the avid wrestling fan go on summer vacation?

Well, there's the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in Schenectady, N.Y., for those who appreciate history. One could do worse than a trip to Georgia for a sloppy, gut-busting meal at Abdullah the Butcher's BBQ restaurant. There are always plenty of live wrestling events happening across the nation, too.

Me, I prefer the more exotic locales. I'll never forget our summer jaunt to Dudleyville, where all the residents wear tie-dyed T-shirts with the sleeves cut off. A nice, down-to-earth bunch, those Dudleyville residents... although I suspect a little inbreeding. Luckily, they seem to have avoided birth defects, save for a stunningly common problem with vision that has left virtually the entire town wearing thick-rimmed glasses. One of the locals is a bit of a mute as well. He only communicates through a series of hastily-drawn-up signs. Like I said, though - Dudleyville's good people. A little reckless with furniture, but good people all the same.

I've never been to Badstreet, Atlanta G.A. But from what I hear, it's the baddest street in the whole USA. The locals walk around in groups of three, sometimes with the Union Jack flag painted onto their faces. The beverage of choice is reportedly Jack Daniels, but they keep a small supply of milk on hand in case they get a surprise visit from a Von Erich. Hair gel is also in ample supply, but caution: that stuff will blind you if it gets in your eyes.

Of all the wrestling trips I've been on, probably the most frustrating was our attempt to visit Hack Myers. Good ol' Hack Myers hails from the "Last House on the Left." Sounds easy enough, right? I thought so, too. After knocking on doors for three days, I reached the conclusion that knowing which STREET Hack lived on would be highly useful. No matter, I figured if I kept knocking on doors, sooner or later, I would find the former "Extreme Shah," as long as I kept bearing left. But wait a minute... MY left, or HIS left? GAH!!! I never did find the bastard.

Deepest, Darkest Africa was a time I'll never forget. Akeem wasn't talkin' no jive when he said this place rocked, Bru-thuuuuh! Still not sure which African nation we were actually visiting, but deep? Absolutely. Dark? You bet!

Not all summer trips are so successful. One year, I joined a good friend of mine and attempted to make a weekend trip to Damien Demento's hometown, "The Outer Reaches of Your Mind." What can I say? We were young and stupid. Suffice it to say, Map Quest does **NOT** provide accurate directions to this place. After several U-turns and precious days lost to unplanned sidetracks, we simply gave up and went home. Years later, I learned that my friend eventually did succeed in finding "The Outer Reaches of Your Mind" on a subsequent jaunt, and he thanked psychedelic mushrooms for showing him the way there. He's in rehab now. Get well, Corky!

This year, I visited the Mecca of all wrestling vacation hot spots: Parts Unknown.

We packed up the family for what promised to be a VERY long drive. To our surprise, it turns out Parts Unknown is remarkably close to Trenton, New Jersey. When we got there, we were taken aback by how secretive everything was. All the signs on the interstate read "??? - Next Right" and other such vague information. Once in the town, we went to various unmarked buildings hunting for whatever sights there were to see, and we eventually located the tourist district.

As tourists from out of town, we stuck out like a taped thumb. We were among the only people in town that weren't wearing some sort of diguise or war paint, or shirtless. Ethnically speaking, Parts Unknown is pretty diverse, with Pacific Islanders the second largest segment of population, just behind "Masked." Speaking of those mysterious hoods, we spent some of our souvenir money on some very nice His-N-Hers masks. The wife wanted Thunderfoots I & II, but I talked her into the more traditional Dr. X design.

We didn't forget the little one, either. A Missing Link coloring book and a T-shirt that read "I WENT TO PARTS UNKNOWN AND ALL I GOT WAS... UNKNOWN" helped keep the boy in great spirits for the long trip home.

Personally, I got a kick out of the truck weigh station. I pulled the family car in just for kicks. As you might guess, our vehicle was classified as "Weight Unknown." Given the girth on most of the masked men in this town, that's probably a good thing.

I'll never forget my trip to Parts Unknown. It might not have the ambience of Deepest, Darkest Africa or the cozy-if-creepy rural comfort of Dudleyville. But to a lifelong wrestling fan? It's home.

 
E-MAIL DENNY
BROWSE THE CIRCA ARCHIVES


  
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