explored the yet-to-be-OSHA-approved amalgamation of stone and wrought iron. He isn’t really mad at the tourists. But he’s mad enough at the government to make up for it. His tirades are so intense, he once unknowingly stepped into his campfire and caught one of his boots on fire – which would have been much much worse if he were the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man.
According to one of many hand-lettered signs at the castle, no drunks are allowed, although in some ways that could make the visit immensely more amusing. Admission is free, but climb at your own risk. Spouses, make sure the life insurance is paid up. And take ear plugs. If you don’t, the minute you arrive, you will wonder, “Who is that guy yelling at?” He’s standing at his smoking fire, looking up at someone and letting go a rant, which back home we referred to as a “blue streak.” Sailors are running back to their cars. Then you realize, he’s yelling at everyone. And he’s not yelling, “Get out of my dangerous castle; you’ll hurt yourself up there!” No, he’s yelling about stuff you would rather not think about when you are out to have a relaxing afternoon touring one of the area’s most infamous attractions. All of this philosophy is too deep, when all you are really worried about is whether your kids are going to slip on the stone steps and plummet a hundred feet to their deaths on the rocks below. It hardly inspires one to drop cash into the donation box.
Bishop started his castle one day when his wife said, “For pity sakes, get outside and DO something!” After 42 years and a thousand tons of rock hauled in from national forest land, it has reached 160 feet tall, and he’s still working on it. A little bit here, a little bit there. There is a fire-breathing dragon at the peak of the roof, which also belches smoke. Although it may be more in tune with the rant atmosphere if it were to belch oatmeal.
At first, his plan was to work on the place until he turned 50. Of course, as most of us realize once we get there, 50 is not all that old, so he has altered his plan and now says he will work on it until he dies. In the war of attrition, he cannot be beat. Crazy or not, I can totally relate to that.