Get Your Motor Runnin'--Head Out On A Road Trip
Posted 22 July 2016 by Stacey Papp
Summer road trips have been a fine American tradition since mass-produced automobiles made having a car affordable. The Mother Road, Route 66, is about to celebrate its 90th birthday, making this summer the perfect time to head out on the open road. Remember, a road trip is less about getting from Point A to Point B and more about what you can see and experience along the way.
Check out this list of 8 crazy roadside attractions – it’s by no means comprehensive, so if your journey doesn’t take you past anything on this list, Roadside America has plenty more weird and wonderful examples, all with their own unique story.
And before you start out – on any trip – don’t forget to use GPS for the most optimal route to help save on fuel costs and navigate you around congestion.
The World’s Largest Truck Stop: Off I-80 in Iowa is a place that has been likened to “Trucker’s Disneyland.” Fill up your tank and enjoy chic amenities like a chiropractor, showers, library, laundry facility, truck showroom, convenience store, restaurants and the Trucking Museum.
The Last Shell Oil Clamshell Station: Off Route 52 in Winston-Salem, N.C., is a symbol of a time when people thought it was a slick marketing trick to sell gas from a seashell. Built in the 1930s along with its seven siblings, this location was restored in the late 1990s by a state historic society and now serves as a memory of those halcyon days of cheap gasoline.
The World’s Largest Pistachio: Drivers on U.S. 54 between Alamogordo and Tularosa, N.M., may suddenly feel a craving for a salty snack, and the reason isn’t so hard to see: There is a 30-foot-tall electric-green-and white concrete pistachio along the road. Since 2014, this nutty sculpture has served as a larger-than-life tribute to the memory of a pistachio farmer’s dad.
The Big Blue Bug: Located directly alongside I-95 in Providence, R.I., is a sight that strikes fear in the hearts of entomophobics everywhere: the mascot for Big Blue Bug Solutions, a pest control company. Fondly known as Nibbles Woodaway, the bug has greeted highway drivers since 1980. Nibbles likes to dress up for holidays, including a reindeer nose and antlers for Christmas and a witch’s hat and broom for Halloween.
The Enchanted Highway: You might find your attention wandering as you drive through the long, flat stretches of prairie on either side of Highway 21 in North Dakota, but keep your eyes peeled for seven incredible examples of roadside sculpture, including a giant grasshopper and geese in mid-flight, courtesy of artist Gary Greff.
Field of Giant Corn Cobs: In Dublin, Ohio, about a mile off I-270, is a cornfield. Doesn’t sound too unusual, right? Well, this is a field growing people-sized ears of concrete corn. It’s a salute to Sam Frantz, inventor of hybrid corn, and these 109 giant cobs are quite an eye-catching tribute.
The Unclaimed Baggage Center: Touting itself as “one of Alabama’s top shopping and tourist attractions” (whatever that says about Alabama – sorry, Alabamans), the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro is where luggage left in airports goes to die. If a traveler doesn’t claim a bag for more than three months, it ends up here, and you can shop for other people’s cast-offs – including electronics, jewelry and clothing – at a steep discount.
The World’s Biggest Bat: No, not the winged mammal. This is a 120-foot exact-scale replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch home-run-hitter that leans against the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory in Louisville, Ky., off both I-64 and I-65. Bonus: You can also view a 17-ton sculpture of a ball glove crafted from 450-million-year-old Kentucky limestone and tour the museum when you’re done gaping at the bat.
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