Tag: Roadside America

Dragons, Elephants, and Lobster Cowboys

Dragons, Elephants, and Lobster Cowboys

These photographs are an assortment of art and animal-things I’ve spotted in my travels over the last few weeks. They have no real connection to each other except that they are not connected. Now, in that un-connected connection, they’re connected. Damn it!

A very exciting-looking gas station, indeed. It almost makes you forget that you paid $3+/gallon at the pump. Or that you might be mugged by a clown on your way to make a pee-pee.

It’s a man.  A man named Dan, who just happens to be saddled up on a lobster because of course, he is. When I showed this to my daughter Chloe, she asked if it was “that dude from Jurassic Park.” Now I can’t unsee it.

Also, I wish he was holding a banana in that empty hand. Something about that seems so right to me.

In art, and in life we see and hear what we want to. Or perhaps what we need to, at a given time. Some of us are tuned in to seeing hearts, or faces or animals in the clouds. Some of us, are not. The experiences that brought us to this very moment shape the way we interpret all manner of things.

This piece? This piece I interpret as mom-circle at Target with the sounds of “mom, mommy, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mom, mom, momma, mom…” trailing behind her as she clings tenuously to her sanity.

Opera-singing dragon. At least, that’s how I see it.

Harkening back to people seeing things – being able to assemble a lovely little elephant from scraps of car parts is important work. Maybe the most important-est. To be able to create something lovely where others see junk… divine 🙂

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just crank it up by the tail and have it scoot around the yard? It’s springy feet stomping like pistons and a trail of peanut-scented smoke in its wake. If only.

Been Thinkin’ ’bout the Lincoln

Been Thinkin’ ’bout the Lincoln

Over the weekend I plucked a book off the shelf that I’ve had for a few years now: Lincoln Highway Companion: A Guide to America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road by Brian Butko. Flipping through its pages, makes me want to hit the road. I wish I could pinpoint what it was that initially sparked my interest in Americana.

Whenever I’ve traveled along the western half of Pennsylvania’s section of the Lincoln Highway, I’ve had a great time. The riding itself can be dull in some places with lots of traffic lights and congestion. But, those population centers lighten up as you go west and the sights overshadow the annoyance.

Some of the things I’ve seen along the way in PA:

Haines Shoe House – Hellam, PA

Mmmm… donuts… – Maple Donuts in York, PA

Pied Piper – Schellsburg, PA

Dutch Haven – Where I had my first taste of Shoo Fly Pie – Ronks, PA

Mural at the Bison Corral – Schellsburg, PA

Mural at the Bison Corral – Schellsburg, PA

Totem Pole Playhouse / Mail Pouch Barn – Ortanna, PA

Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum – Ortanna, PA

Ms. Penny Candy at Mr. Ed’s Elephant Museum – Ortanna, PA

Vincent Van Gas a Lincoln Highway Pump Parade gas pump – Schellsburg, PA

Bull Durham ghost ad – Bedford, PA

Dunkle’s Gulf – Bedford, PA

The Coffee Pot – Bedford, PA

Near Jennertown / Stoyestown, PA

Wayne Fettro mural and a Lincoln Highway Pump Parade gas pump – Stoyestown, PA

Roadside Snaps: Captain Brown – The Big Fisherman of Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Roadside Snaps: Captain Brown – The Big Fisherman of Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Literally just down the block from Big Bertha the Butt Tree, is the giant old salt fisherman, Captain Brown. He stands in the parking lot of Brown’s Wharf Motel and Restaurant. At 15 feet tall, you can’t miss him. Brown’s must be pretty proud of him as he is heavily featured on their website.

I’m a little obsessed with his high gloss boots. Weird, I know – there’s something about their rubbery shininess that I love. But, between you and me – there was a time in my life that I considered taking a bite out of one of those cone-shaped, jelly air fresheners because I thought it looked delicious. So perhaps I’m just a little off kilter.

Don’t they look delici… I mean awesome! Don’t they look awesome!

Road Trip Inspiration: Hillbilly Hot Dogs Postcard

Road Trip Inspiration: Hillbilly Hot Dogs Postcard

Recently, I wrote about my friend Chris and how he sends me postcards from the places he visits on his motorcycle. Last week I received a card from Hillybilly Hot Dogs in Lesage, WV.

The card looks like a folksy representation of a roadside shack you might see being reclaimed by the land in the mountains somewhere. But… it’s a restaurant. And, I think I must go.

Google Streetview of Hillbilly Hot Dogs:

My daughter and I looked at their menu on their website when the postcard came. Apparently, they serve up 2 and 3-foot hot dogs as well as something called The Homewrecker.

WHAT’S ON IT…
Jalapeños, sautèed, peppers and onions, nacho cheese, habenero, chili sauce, mustard,slaw, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese, piled high on a 15-inch, 1-pound all beef weenie in a big ‘ol bun! As Sharie says, “It’s 15-inches of pure eatin’ pleasure!!”

I’ll have to take a pass on that, but I’d like to see someone else take one of those down. Hoooo lawdy – the aftermath must be misery. It has probably more than earned its name.

A few years ago, I became aware of HHD when it was a bonus location during the Void Rally. It was a stop I’d chosen but ultimately dropped because my schedule was too tight. In a few weeks, I’ll be hitting the road for a little ramble and I think I’ll have to rectify missing it.

As I think about it, I believe I must’ve passed HHD riding along Route 2 toward Point Pleasant in 2009. We were on our way from Kentucky back to New York. I can’t recall if we passed through Point Pleasant on purpose or if it just happened to be on the way. All I know is I saw the Mothman. And now, I need to see myself a West Virginian hot dog.

A Nod to Roadside Americana Staple – The Dinosaur

A Nod to Roadside Americana Staple – The Dinosaur

Over the weekend, I stopped and had a chat with this motley crew. Aren’t they a handsome bunch?

Dinosaurs are a hugely popular fixture in the roadside Americana landscape. Their popularity seems to transcend visitors’ age, social rank, gender and every other qualifier I can think of. I have yet to meet a person who harbors a white-hot hatred of dinosaurs.

My roadside holy grail of the dinosaur kingdom was visiting the Cabazon Dinosaurs in December 2016. Climbing up the stairs into the belly of Dinny was glorious. Until scientists finally clone the wooly mammoth, I think Cabazon will be my high-dino-watermark.

Stegowagenvolkssaurus

source: flickr

Should I find myself in the neighborhood of Highland Heights, Kentucky, I do want to stop in for a peek at “Stegowagenvolkssaurus” by Patricia A. Renick. It was a bonus location in the 2017 Iron Butt Rally. And I have to admit, it looks pretty awesome.

Atlas Obscura just ran a feature about the ubiquitous roadside dino. Check it out:

Documenting America’s Long, Venerable Tradition of Roadside Dinosaurs
Photographer John Margolies spent nearly 40 years documenting what we now know as “roadside Americana”—the gas stations, motels, drive-ins, and diners that attracted road trippers with quirky signs and kooky architecture. In 2017, a year after Margolies died at the age of 76, the Library of Congress made its Margolies holdings available online—more than 11,000 color photos of food-shaped restaurants, catchy neon signs, and an intriguingly large number of dinosaurs.

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