Wonderful Weirdos Day: 10 travel weirdos who deserve thanks

Today’s date is weird. 9-9-09. I noticed it first when writing today’s Photo of the Day post. Then someone sent me an e-mail from Westerville, Ohio proclaiming this Wonderful Weirdos Day. The missive stated that the purpose of such a day is to thank people who have taught you think outside the box–the people who have nurtured your creativity.

With that in mind, here are 10 travelers who have been a subject of Gadling posts over the years. In some way each represent a creative, adventurous drive, and each have pushed travel into the realm of outside the box.

What most of these stories also illustrate is that the kindness and interest of strangers has a lot to do with the success of an unusual idea. It’s hard to make it to outside the box on your own.

  • David de Rothchild who is building a boat out of thousands of plastic bottles to sail between California and Australia.
  • Roy Locock who is currently driving himself around the world in his car. After 14 months of travel he’s still going strong.
  • Robert McDonald, who with the help of his son and 5,000 kids, built a ship made of 15 million popsicle sticks in order to sail across the Atlantic by way of Greenland and Iceland just like the Vikings did..
  • The late Steve Fossett who made the longest nonstop flight in history in his Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.
  • Kent Couch who attached helium balloons to a lawn chair so he could fly from Oregon to Boise, Idaho.
  • Matt Harding whose weird dance brought the world together with a video that makes everyone who sees it feel good.
  • Ryan Jeanes and Philip Hullquist who set off on a hitchhiking trip from New York City to Berkeley, California with no money and the aim to make it in one week.
  • Grandma Gatewood who, as a lark, set out to be the first woman to hike the Appalachian Trail. At the time, she was 57 years old and the mother of 11 children and 23 grandchildren
  • Marcia and Ken Powers who gained distinction as being the first couple to hike the 4,900 miles across the United States.
  • Scotty and Fiddy who hitchiked across 50 states, including a visit to each state’s capital, in 50 days.
  • Joshua Keeler and his two buddies who set out in a van to cover the 48 states in the continental U.S. in five days.
These 10 are the ones I came up with, but there are certainly more. Do you have any travel weirdos you’d like to thank? Parents who drag their pack of offspring on summer vacations can be included.

Viking Ship Of Popsicle Sticks Sets Sail

On Monday night I heard a story on CNN about the Viking ship made of popsicle sticks that recently set sail across IJesslmeer lake in the Netherlands. One of our sister sites, Engadget covered this story when the ship was first completed. The hope for this ship is that it will be seaworthy enough to follow the Viking route to North America. An accounting of the project was also covered in last Saturday’s The Gazette, a Montreal paper. There is a photo of the ship as well. (This photo is a popsicle raft featured in garretsbridges.com. Maybe a post idea for our newest sister site DIYLife?)

The story behind the popscicle Viking ship story is intriguing. Robert McDonald, the man in charge of this project, was badly burned as a child and his family killed in an explosion. Afterwards, because of his injuries, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to do what other kids can do. Ever since he has gone on to prove the naysayers wrong. He writes about his life and projects on his Web site, OB Viking Ship. Come to think of it, it does seem that McDonald, an American, is unable to do what most people do which is to buy a normal ship instead of building a replica of a Viking ship out of 15 million recycled popscicle sticks with the help of 5,000 school kids. His aim is to show that what people think is impossible is possible and intrigue kids to manifest their dreams. Here’s a TV report from the Netherlands on this latest undertaking to cross the Atlantic. There are English subtitles. I love this story.