I had never heard the phrase “the great American road trip” until I talked to Harley Covington and Brett Manzer of Travel Oddities, but I have been on several really awesome road trips. From national parks to large cities and everything in between, my family loves long drives to new places, but we’d never gotten in the car prepped for a hunt for the supernatural. Luckily, we don’t have to start anytime soon, because the Travel Oddities duo has it covered and is inviting all of us along for the ride.
“We’re basically doing a paranormal tourism show. We cover weird things we find along the highways from crashed UFO sights to cryptids to hauntings and your run-of-the-mill roadside oddities,” Harley told me. The show follows the duo as they drive all over the US recording their knowledge of and reactions to everything along the way. Brett added that “Of course, you’re going to get hungry along the way, so we try to dial in the best local dives, greasy spoons, and interesting places that have a story behind them.” Every week brings a new episode and a new destination for the two to explore.
When I asked about why the pair started their podcast, they split the story in half. See, Harley was the one with the idea; he had always been a fan of “the great American road trip” and was working on a side project making an atlas “to all things strange in the US.” In the meantime, Brett had gone to radio school and gotten a job at a station. The problem was he wasn’t getting any airtime. So he came to Harley and said: “we need to do something, I need to be behind a microphone.” That’s how knowledge of weird roadside attractions combined with a lot of radio experience and Travel Oddities was born.
You might not be like me, but my next question was how in the world Harley and Brett hadn’t run out of places to go and topics for the show. I mean, I just don’t know of a ton of fascinating and slightly creepy spots. But this duo hasn’t run into that problem: “we probably have 1200, 1500 places in our ‘to-do’ right now and it grows with every headline,” Brett told me. I was surprised, but Harley explained that “there’s a lot of small-town lore outside of your Area 51 and Sasquatch stories.” While there are more and more places to explore every time they finish an episode, podcasting hasn’t always been a breeze.
Brett was quick to point to maintaining audio quality as something the pair have had to work really hard on, but when Harley explained his biggest struggle, they were quickly agreeing. “One of the things that has always been a problem is, not necessarily confidence, but thinking things were outside of the realm of possibility,” Harley said. The two told me about being nominated for a People’s Choice Award in Society in Culture and the fact that, at the time, they just couldn’t believe they had made it as far as they did in the elimination process. From awards to interviews, the pair is still coming to terms with the success of the show.
They’ll need to get comfortable with it pretty soon though because nothing is keeping Travel Oddities from its upward trend. Harley told me “we are working on a new podcast called Only in OK,” which will keep Travel Oddities from focusing too much on a single state but also inform listeners on the beauty and history of the amazing state of Oklahoma. So, if you love road trips, stories, mysteries, or food, listen to Travel Oddities and leave a rating and review to let Harley and Brett know what you think!
Chasing Pods is a Podchaser blog series dedicated to letting our readers know about podcasts they may not have heard of or provide a sneak peek into the making of their favorite podcast. We talk to podcast creators about their journey into podcasting, the creation of their shows, the ups and downs of the work, and what they’re looking forward to for their podcast
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