Friday, October 14, 2005

Road Trip III: Hunterrific!

Let me tell you, Pennsylvania is a loooong state. We (much to my chagrin) didn't have time to visit the Hershey Chocolate factory this time, but we passed the Nestle Factory. Those Pennsylvanians sure must live the good life with all those chocolate factories everywhere.

Then I saw this:
It's for an Army surplus store, but they talk about something I'd never heard of- a gun library. Is this a real thing?

We stopped in the middle of nowhere to get our chariot worked on (the truck needed an oil change) and had just enough time to visit this:
Huntin' mart
A huge "outdoor supply" store called Cabela's. Those of you who know what this is maybe chuckling already, but for those who don't, I'll give you a little tour.

First things first, a close up on the enormous statue in front of the enormous store:
He does the work, lazy whitey up front gets the glory
As you can see here, outdoorsy types of yore worked in harmony and split the work evenly. The Native Americans did the rowing, and the white guy has to sit up front and point the way with a huge gun. That's exhausting work. Notice how the white fellow here is paying close attention to how the Native American man is rowing, clearly he is keen on learning. And the Native American man is obviously happy to help.

The statue begins to give you an idea of what may be going on inside, but I still didn't know what to expect. It looks way bigger than even the extra huge behemoth super Wal-Mart stores that dot the country, and yet I'd never heard of this place. I rushed inside for a closer look.

Huntin' Heaven
It. Goes. On. Forever. In this photo if you squint your eyes and peer toward the upper right corner above that white part, you can see small lights dotting the ceiling. That mezzanine area up there alone is the size of a grocery store. The whole thing: 250,000 square feet. About dead center you can see some kind of huge fake mountain thing with animals on it.

It only takes a moment inside the doorway to realize that "outdoor" means hunting. And lots of it.

Rack after rack of camo, for summer:
Blendin' in

Fall line

And winter:
Hunting fashion
Just like all the other high fashion department stores.

And there's something for the whole family!
Daddy, I wanna hold the shotgun!
Why yes, that's a camo jumpsuit for a tiny little girl. Complete with tiny ribbons and bits of lace for the pocket. Awww... how cute. And the brand name: Daddy's Little Deer. Isn't that sweet.

So there are probably times when the woods are full of families in full camo, blending so well that they might be mistaken for a leaf, and armed with these:
Camo Gun!

If you find that thought at all scary, you may want to bring a set of these along for when you need a pit stop:

There are all kinds of weird equipment in the store, including laundry detergent to get the persony smell off of your person:

Also available in mouth spray, deodorant, and general all-over spray:
Everyone needs this sometimes
I have to say, I think these people are missing a large market here. That breath spray is probably a good thing to keep in the glove box for interviews and dates and stuff.

But Cabela's isn't just out to make a buck. The company claims that this is "an educational and entertainment attractions (sic), featuring a décor of museum-quality animal displays, huge aquariums and trophy animals interacting in realistic re-creations of their natural habitats."

Lemme show you some of that décor:
Whoops, looks like I got my date's forehead in the shot. He looks kind of worried, doesn't he? I know I was. But I guess it's pretty cool that I kept with the theme of decorative heads by getting his head in the shot.

More lovely décor:
Talking Deer Heads
This one has to be my favorite. This is the way back of the store, upstairs on the mezzanine level. It's the entrance to the Shooting Gallery, where you can pretend shoot things in the comfort of the store. Anytime someone walks by, motion sensors trigger this charming display: the mounted deer heads on either side of the sign come to animatronic life and talk in wacky voices about how scared they are of the big bad hunters who are going to come into the gallery and shoot them. Charming.

And how about those trophy animals interacting in the realistic recreations of their natural habitats?
It's just so real! Just like the handrails in the Serengeti!

I don't know how many of you have had the chance to see big game in Africa, but I know at least one of my readers was with me, and... hey Jamie, remember when we were in that wildlife reserve in Tanzania and we saw the zebras? Those are the exact same handrails and floodlights and painted background, am I right? And remember how all the animals clumped together like that? Yeah! It brings it all rushing right back.

Rawr! Realistic nature scene!
What happened? Am I outside? It's just so real!

Polar lair
Scary! But what's that little plaque there?

Moment of glory
Each animal has it's own little sign telling you what it is, who shot it, when they shot it, and where they shot it. All of the pertinent info. That must be the "educational" part.

Trust me, this is only a very small portion of the educational and decorative content available in the store.I kept wandering around, stunned. Then I saw it:
Do they use the dewey decimal system?
A GUN LIBRARY! Just like the kind you can make at home with all your savings from the Army surplus store.
What happens in there? Obviously something more manly than what happens at my local library, you can tell by the big tusks. Do you think they have story hour in there?

Whatever goes on, I am sure that safety is their number one concern.
Soothing Name

So, big tough hunters are big and tough. This is what I have learned. But you know, people are more complex than that.
Tuff hunters with warm tuffets
Their bum-bums get cold, just like us.

So you know, you really shouldn't assume that they're all gruff and uncultured. They like to have marinated meat out in the field:
Flavoristas unite!
After skinning elk and tanning hide for days on end, it really helps to save a few minutes on the marination step. I get that. But "flavoristas"??? I think a line has been crossed here. It's hard to picture.

*****Opening day of hunting season******
Wife: "Where you goin', Earl?"
Earl: "Jest out. Be back in a few days."
Wife: "You goin' huntin' again?"
Earl: "Me an' the other flavoristas been waiting all year for this! Leave me be! Can't a flavorista marinate in the woods in peace anymore?"
Wife: "Fine!"

Other hunterly ways to save time on hunterly food:
Hi Maria!
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't s'mores kind of famous for being easy to make?

If all of that rigamarole is too complicated, Cabelas again has you covered:
It doesn't get much more straightforward than that. Except that it's a candy bar, not a dried chunk of caribou.

I guess I'd seen enough of Cabela's. On the way out I spotted these plaques:
There should be a plaque for most boring plaque
Why, it's Ye Olde Wall of Extremely Obscure Plaques! They must be proud. They are so unlimited.

Outside, there was a great little spot for the kiddies:
Scary animal treats
I can see that they're trying to get an early start on getting kids interested in the "outdoors" but not one of those flavors sounds delicious. Nor do they make any sense.

It was a very interesting and educational stop. Plus we got to take home these classy his-n-hers beer cozies as souvenirs, so we can remember our trip to Cabela's forever:
Klassy stuff


At 7:24 AM, Blogger Vendetta Jones said...

The horror.

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH MA GA! Is this place for real? hg

At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Hjiørst said...

Terrifying, and educational. It teaches us something....

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Erica said...

It's a paradise for my dad! He has Cabela's catalogues all over the place at home...if you ever get a chance to flip through one, look for the camo lingerie..the make you invisible if you have the matching set of camo bed sheets!

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Patia said...

"Grouper Grape?" Gaaaah!

Well, maybe it's better than "Dead Down Wind ESP Mouth Spray."

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow- that reminds me of the stuff I'd see in Montana. I think we have a gun library here in the house... Wierdly enough marc is collecting guns like, um, stuff you collect, er. I now have a .357 revolver so I can kick ass at the Hovel next year... You'll be back for that right?

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Sith Snoopy said...

I've heard of gun collections, but gun libraries?

I equate the big outdoors with fishing, camping, hiking, taking pictures, eating freeze-dried food, and hopefully eating fresh-caught fish. And kayaking/boating around a lake.

Can't get into the whole hunting thing, but I suppose it's just a step up from fishing, and I'm just being a bit too tree-huggish. ;)

I can shoot Bambie or Thumper if it's what I have to do to survive, but I just can't shoot Bambie or Thumper for the fun of it!

Catching and gutting Nemo, however... ;)

But wow.... gun library. Weird phrase.

At 3:50 AM, Blogger xine said...

Pennsylvania is super long, it just goes on forever and ever, when all you really want to do is get from the east coast to Ohio!

At 7:00 AM, Anonymous Wendy said...

I grew up in that part of the country. I was given a child-sized bow and arrow when I was eight years old and taken rabbit hunting by my stepfather. Boys usually got guns for their birthdays at an early age and it was like some kind of right of passage to kill their first buck. HUMANS MUST RULE OVER UND EAT EVERY OTHER BEAST ON THE EARTH!IT IS THEIR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT! UND WHY SHOULD THEY NOT LOOOOK FASHIONABLE DURING ZE KILL!

At 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the great Keanu Reeves would say, "whoa!" A gun library, WTF? By the way, I enjoy your blog. I've passed it on to a few friends too. You do a great job with your descriptions & photos. I'll keep reading. Take care,


At 9:36 AM, Anonymous elyse said...

crap. i'm still stuck on the statue out front.

erica's dad has been trying to get me the cabela's shotgun-shell shaped shotglasses (uh, say that ten times fast) but apparently they're discontinued. guess i'll have to steal your coozie next time i see you.

for real? making the indian guy paddle? what teamwork.


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