Every time you enter a national or state park you see these geeks taking pictures in front of the adventure travel entry sign. Usually they are families with fathers with cameras slung around their necks wearing Hawaiian shirts, fanny packs, and wide brimmed hats. People familiar with the park drive by and shake their heads at these morons. I am one of the geeks.
Each time I enter a new park, and often times when I am visiting a park for a second or third time, I make a habit of stopping at the entry sign and taking a picture of it. Most of the time, I am by myself, so I do not have pictures of myself in front of the sign, although I may start making better use of the self timer.
When I stop, I can feel the gaze of other cars as they pass by. “What is he doing?” “Why is he stopped there?” “What kind of dork would take a picture of the entrance sign?” These are some of the thoughts and conversations I sense that people in their cars are having when they pass me by. I do not care though, and without shame I throw on the hazards of my car, get out, and take a picture of the entrance sign.
I take pictures of this sign for several reasons. First of all, I do it for my blog. It makes a good opening shot on my blog when doing a new piece on a new park. I try to bring my readers on the trip with me, and the excitement of passing the entrance sign is a major rite of passage to any destination.
I also take this picture, so I can organize my photos in my folders when I upload my digital pictures. Sometimes when I am on the road, I visit several different parks on a trip or even in the same day. It can get confusing remembering where each picture was taken; however, if my first picture is from the entrance sign, then I know all subsequent pictures will be from said park.
Even if I did not have a blog, I would still take the picture of the entrance sign. The Great Smoky Mountains was the first national park I visited as a child. I remember my Dad stopping at the entrance sign and getting the family out to take a picture there. I still feel this child like excitement each time I visit a new park or when revisiting old friends. When I am excited, I take pictures.
There is something almost Cartesian here. I take pictures of entrance signs, therefore, I am. Next time you stop in at a new park, pull over and take a picture of that entry sign. You know you want to. If you are too cool to pull over then instead of mocking the goofballs pulled over doing what you secretly want to do, honk and wave. If the geek has a wide brimmed hat, a fanny pack, and a pair of sun glasses, it just might be Traveling Ted.
The goal of Traveling Ted TV is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).
There’s nothing wrong with us travel entry sign geeks. We’re also human. And certainly loveable ones too. (And we have proof of where we’ve been.)
Michael recently posted..A Tale Of Two Piles
This is a traveling tradition going back to the stone ages or at least when I was little and before there were geeks. I only wish my voluminous stack of sign photos were digitized so I could terrorize the world wide internet with them (black helicopter guys, I use the term before it was hijacked, stay away) like my grandparents used to with their traveling slide projector and portable celluloid screen. This article brings back decades of memories and high hopes of future travel with a digital camera or even someday a stupid phone. Watch out world wide internets, park entry sign terrorist has the technology to bore you to death, right after I put away my slide projector.
Robb714 recently posted..Don’t Cry When Your PC Crashes
While I am still hiding from the Black helicopters under my bed, I am testing my(new)Gravatar that without your blog, I would never known about. Thanks, travelingted!
Robb714 recently posted..Don’t Cry When Your PC Crashes
Ted, I’m definitely one of those geeks 😛 I take too many photos as it is in general. How did you enjoy Khao Yai National Park? I was only there for a day but wished I had of arranged so that I would have stayed over several nights.
Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Scenic Views | Guilin to Yangshuo, China | Travel Photo
I’m a sign geek too! Isn’t it funny how having a blog changes the things you think about when you travel? I’m always looking for interesting shots 🙂
Leslie recently posted..How to become a responsible traveler: 5 tips from a local travel expert
Yes, I take a lot of signage photos as well – mainly because they contain excellent maps, copy, and other elements that aren’t included in the brochure (or in English, that is). Not too many get published, but they definitely help keep things organized and able to recall a place at a glance.
Chris in South Korea recently posted..Destination: Juknokwon bamboo forest (Damyang, Jeollanam-do)
Welcome…haha! Nice post Ted. We all have a quirky needs.
Marc Passion recently posted..On the Down Low: Photo Essay of Downtown Los Angeles (pub crawl included)
I love signs too, so no worries, there are other geeks out there right with y! =D
Maria Alexandra recently posted..Hurricane Katrina: A special travel tale
Better to take too many photos than too few. How often does the Bong sign get vandalised, would you guess? It wouldn’t last 30 minutes in the UK…
Theodora recently posted..Like Internet Dating, But Not
Unfortunately, I could see where if one stood in the right place this would be a very popular sign pic destination and some folks would want more than just a pic for a souvenir.
I’ve never really been that keen to take photos of the entrance sign… but I might just start. You’ve inspired me dude!
Dave recently posted..Taki Time – Wonderful Waterfalls of Shikoku, Japan
I always take pictures of signs. For my own records more than anything. I get the strange looks as well but hey who cares!
Natalie recently posted..Ramadan – An Outsiders Experience of the Islamic Month of Fasting
love the pictures… will surely remind you of your adventures :-)i have not been to any national parks before… walking/hiking for hours is not really my thing… but id probably try it once 😉
flipnomad recently posted..Don’t End Up as a Dead Tourist – 5 Tips to Stay Safe in ‘Dangerous’ Countries
I think it’s totally fine to be a travel entry sign geek. At least you take photos when you are excited – that’s cute!
Grace recently posted..San Diego Backyard Gem: Lake Hodges, Escondido CA