Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Sunsphere

Behold the awesomeness that is the Sunsphere... Author Unknown

In March, 1996, I sat down to watch The Simpsons. Little did I know how that episode, entitled Bart on the Road, would change my life. This particular episode featured Bart obtaining a fake drivers license. Like all young men in this predicament, he rents a car and travels to Knoxville Tennessee to see the Sunsphere. Hilarity ensues.

Did you know:

The Sunsphere served as the symbol of the 1982 World's Fair

Recently we traveled to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The trip was intended as a birthday get-away for Kristin. To get to Pigeon Forge from Lexington we had to travel through Knoxville. This gave us a chance for a little side trip - a chance to see the Sunsphere. After all, if it was good enough for Bart, Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson it must be a truly spectacular site.

Did you know:

The Sunsphere weight 600 tons and features six double steel truss columns to support the seven-story sphere

We approached the exit, the Sunsphere gleaming in the distance. What an awe-inspiring sight, the golden globe gleaming in the mid-day sun. Our dreams nay, life ambitions were about to come true. We were to experience the grandeur of the orb. So excited were we, that we drove right past the exit. Luckily the gleaming aura of the sphere led us back to our destination

Did you know:

The tower has a volume on 203,689 cubic feet, and a surface area of 16,742 square feet

We parked the car and made our way to the towering sphere. We took in its' beauty, as its' nobleness overcame us. The impact it made upon us was felt by all about, evident by Knoxville Channel 8 News interviewing Kristin for the evening newscast.

We experienced the Sunsphere up close marveling at the masterpiece of engineering that stood before us. Taking the elevator to the observation deck we were amazed with the structure, the view, and the noticeable absence of bird guano on the structure. We also recognized the deficiency of restrooms in and around the superstructure.

Did you know:

The tower's window glass panels are layered in 24-karat gold dust and cut to 7 different shapes

As we departed the Sunsphere we did so aware that our lives were better off than they were prior to the encounter. What a life altering event, to experience the structure I had first heard of on that evening in March, 1996. With sadness we left the facility to head into the Smoky Mountains and nearby factory stores.

Did you know:

As a result of European Starlings depositing too much guano on the tower's frame, in 2003 the Knoxville Public Buildings Authority purchased a device that emits various noises to scare the birds away from the tower

As I close this entry, allow me to leave you with this quote from The Simpsons:

Bart: We got no car!
Martin: We got no money!
Milhouse: And no one knows we're here!
Everyone: We're stranded!
Nelson: But on the plus side, I knocked over the Sunsphere. HA-ha.