Dan Wood, Tour Guide.

After the Federal Government Shutdown sent thousands of employees home without pay, Dan realised a career with the US National Park Service may not offer the job security he’s looking for. So he’s turned to the private sector and set his sights on running American history tours from the unique Australian perspective. He hopes to ride off the commercial success of Outback Steakhouse and Hugh Jackman.

He realises some people may be skeptical of an Australian giving US history tours, so he’s taken to exploiting the “Aussie charm” by always starting an answer to tourists’ questions with “G’day”. He thinks it will be endearing and disarm any skeptics. I’m not so sure.

In the first scene, Dan is standing in a campground at Pokagon State Park, Indiana, it really was beautiful. If you go for a visit, just make sure you arrive “probably three weeks” earlier than Dan did and stay for “eight days”.

The second location was just outside of Vicksburg, Mississippi on old highway 61. It is the remains of what Reverend H.D. Dennis promised to make his wife and is littered with Christian scripture. It’s known as the Grocery Store.

Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in ‘Nawlins is indeed where parts of Interview with the Vampire were filmed. But that’s not where Jon Stewart is buried. He’s not dead, yet.

Emerald Mound is just off Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi. It is the second largest Native American ceremonial mound in the United States. It is 35 feet high.

TSFW part 1

Mammoth Lakes Thrift Store, CA

Mammoth Lakes is a sleepy mountain town of 9,000 people with a daily weather forecast that ranges from 30°C at 1pm, hail and 8°C at 4pm and overnight lows of -1°C. Needless to say their only local thirft store reflected the practical need for layering their weather called for. Whenever show boots and snow gloves make a comeback, this is the place to raid for vintage and retro pieces.

Guaranteed finds: Thermals, maternity denim dresses and enough snow wear to build an army of professionally decked out ice queens.

Looks to scavenge for: On-trend denim on denim and trench coats for W13/14 and lots of grungy flower power dresses.

Prices: Cheap dresses, t-shirts and bottom, exxy manchester and outerwear.

Emma found:

Hat: $2 Dress: $4 Trench coat: $8

Bucket hat: $2
Denim dress: $4
Denim trench coat: $12

Dan found:

Trench coat ($20)

Trench coat: $20

Needles Thrift Store, CA

Needles had it all…once: Route 66, bustling diners and a pumping main-strip. Since the “Main Street of America” was usurped by America’s freeways, the town has gone quiet, but its loud murals will never forget it’s former glory. Their only thrift store is hugely reminiscent of that time. Discarded (and somewhat inappropriately merchandised) Route 66 shot glasses line the walls, cassette audio books outnumber CDs and everything is packed in tight on the rack, as though it’s asking you to make it relevant again.

Guaranteed finds: Needles High School sportswear for a grungy sports luxe look, t-shirts emblazoned with studs reminiscent of American Indians and Cowboys and enormous 80s shirts and jackets with the loudest prints.

Looks to scavenge for: Glistening turquoise bomber jackets and lumberjack jackets.

Prices: Cheap. Real cheap. We got a men’s collared shirt, a Dandy Warhols’ Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia , Divinyls’ What a Life! and a Coca-Cola sweater for $3. Roughly $AUD3.18. Savers could never compete.

Dan found:

Flannel shirt: $1 Lumberjack jacket: $3

Flannel shirt: $1
Lumberjack jacket: $3

Emma found:

Patterned jacket: $1 Denim skirt with elasticated waistband: $1

Patterned jacket: $1
Denim skirt with large, elasticated waistband: $1

Goodwill, Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s Vegas, baby, where everything that glitters ain’t gold and you will always have 20 cents left over from the gaming machines (reusable within 30 days). This particular Goodwill (a non-profit that offers job training and employment placements for people with disabilities and has supermarket sized thrift stores across the country) serves as a graveyard for Las Vegas’ leather, costume-esque clothing, strappy shimmery heels and golf clubs (presumably used at one of the city’s 45 courses). Amongst the tacky were a few gems.

Guaranteed finds: Diamante embellished jeans and leather skirts.

Looks to scavenge for: Rompers and overalls still hanging around from someone’s late 90s clear out.

Prices: Mostly standard, with leathers and ‘The Collection’ ramped up.

Emma found this shoulderpadded oddity:

Tribal jumper dress: $6

‘Tribal’ jumper dress: $6

Dan’s US Park Ranger audition video

Dan has become enamoured with the National Parks we’ve visited in America. So much so that he asked me to pose as a tourist and video his on-the-spot answers to some touristy FAQs about the Borax Works in Death Valley. Consider this his unsolicited audition to become an American Park Ranger (or tour guide, but he prefers being a man in uniform).*

*I didn’t have the heart to tell Dan that standing just five yards to his left was a pretty comprehensive sign detailing the people who built, owned and worked in the (now decrepit) building. While Dan’s description was technically correct, I’m sure historians would agree he missed some of the finer details.