I taught nights, this past summer, and had only one week completely off. I decided I wanted to drive down to St. Petersburg, Florida, where my friend Erin lives, taking my four kids and Cade's friend Sam with me.
As soon as it started to look like it was going to work out, I began planning. I can't tell you how many hours I spent planning this trip, but many. I wanted to find the coolest things between here and there; I wanted the trip to be fun for everyone; and I wanted low-cost adventures.
Our first stop was Wilson, North Carolina, where for a little less than thirty years (from retirement until death), a man named Vollis Simpson made outsider art from metal scraps. The city is in the process of moving all the art from the Simpson farm, restoring it, and building a park in which to display it.
The children and I started at the Wilson Visitor Center. A kind woman called ahead of us to the warehouse where much of the Simpson art is currently housed. Mel was ready for us when we arrived.
After leaving Mel and the warehouse, we drove to the site of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. Wilson has big plans for these two acres, and I hope to return after the project has been completed. It's a high-dollar endeavor, but the cost of our tours? Not a thing, and if you know me at all, you know outsider art is very much up my alley.