As I said in one of my previous posts, I’ve been getting itchy feet. The winter has been long and unrelenting. Every time we thought it was over, Mother Nature would decide to dump a bunch of snow on us.
Back around Christmas time a co-worker suggested a destination to me, an antique comic book and toys shop in a city about two hours away called ‘Hidden Treasures’.
I took the suggestion and filed it away, life and work at the time were a little too hectic.
Well, a few weeks ago the itch became too much for me and decided it was time to set out for Alexandria and Hidden Treasures.
I decided to make the trip on a weekend so the Friday beforehand I mentioned to someone what I was doing for the weekend, going to this cool little comic book shop about two hours away. They asked “Isn’t there a comic book shop here?”. I laughed but knew she was half-serious. I told her that the shop was unique and I definitely wanted to check it out, but that’s only half the reason.
It seems almost every trip I go on it’s not about the destination, it’s about the getting there. Sometimes it’s unexpected and sometimes I’m planning and hoping for it.
Without getting too off-topic, a few summers ago I took a road trip to Montreal, Quebec to see my brother and his newborn boy. I purposely took a route pretty much through the center of Canada because I wanted to see that wilderness. But nothing was so breathtaking to me as as turning off Trans Canada 17, on to 11, and seeing a lake curl off to the distance on my left and stony cliffs rising to my right.
So I finally hit the open road mid-Saturday morning, a smile plastered on my face as soon as my GPS went from ‘turn right in half a mile’ to ‘Exit right in 82 miles’.
Rolling fields and frozen ponds passed by, I couldn’t help but think what it would look like once spring and summer take hold and turn everything green.
The miles rolled by, I sang along (terribly) with the radio, and generally enjoyed the early spring sunshine.
When I finally got to Alexandria I had to smile, it had that small town feel with a single main road running through the ‘historic downtown’. The GPS pointed me to a parking lot the next road over and I was finally out and stretching my legs. In the wrong direction unfortunately. I couldn’t find the place for the life of me.
Finally I got turned the right way and through a little exploration I was able to find it on the side of the building, the doorway tucked in to a bit of an alcove, Hidden Treasures indeed.
When you open the door you immediately get the scent of incense that wafts out, and as you step in you’re greeted by a table full of knick knacks and shelves of old children’s books. I could have spent an hour or two just digging through this stuff seeing if I could reclaim some of my childhood but I wasn’t there for that.
Immediately to the left of the door you squeeze past the counter and are greeted by the sight of comics. Boxes and boxes of comics. I took a second to take it all in and thought about taking out my phone to grab a picture but heard a quiet “Excuse me.” as someone squeezed past. This place was absolutely tiny, and absolutely packed with comics and memorabilia. If you’re standing at a table looking through a box of comics you’ll routinely feel someone brush past you.
I didn’t really have a plan for what I wanted when I got here, I just had a request from my co-worker to keep an eye out for a particular comic. “Great Morons in History: Featuring Dan Quayle”. Unfortunately they didn’t have it!
I was just aimlessly digging around in the comic boxes when I saw something that reminded me of a friend. That gave me the idea to keep digging until I found a comic for each friend that just spoke of them to me.
I apologize now for not having gotten any pictures of these myself, I’m still a blog amateur and it just slips my mind to take pictures of cool things! Or, also quite often, I feel awkward about just taking out my phone and snapping pictures of things. Hopefully I’ll get over that for your sake.
Each of these comics had some aspect to it that reminded me of a friend and I just had to get it for them.
All told, I spent probably an hour and a half or so in the shop just digging through the comic boxes and looking at everything they had. They had a still-in-the-box Star Wars Imperial Scout Trooper and speeder bike that I was sorely tempted to pick up just because the nostalgia hit so hard. Finally, though, I escaped with my wallet mostly intact.
I decided to grab lunch before I got back on the road to head home and stopped in to a restaurant literally right around the corner, a little bar and grill called Raapers. I sat down and looked over the menu but, at this point, I really didn’t feel like making any decisions for myself so I asked the waitress what she would recommend.
That’s how I ended up with this delicious monstrosity.
I promise there is actually a burger in there somewhere. It was a bacon cheeseburger with fried onion rings stacked on top and then what they called sidewinder potatos. They were a spiral cut potato almost like a thick cut curly fry. I actually ended up taking off the majority of the onions just so I could fit the thing in my mouth.
After lunch I fought off the biological imperative for a food coma, rolled myself back in to my car, and got back on the road to head home.
I got in to work Monday morning with a comic for my co-worker in hand and let her know I thought the place was amazing. She says “Did you check out the used book store there too?”.
I guess I have an excuse to go back. As if I needed one.