Tag: Sights from the Road

Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

On a chilly day, what better way to warm your heart than with some roadside Americana? I present to you… Balancing Yugos.
balancing Yugo

Pretty nifty, aren’t they?

When I was a teenager, I worked in a shoe store. My boss there had a Yugo in a color that is probably best described as “caucasian.” Stretched across the top of the windshield? A neon green lightning bolt sticker, of course. Because Yugos were all about speed and performance (in a not-so-speedy or performancy sort of way).

Just across the parking lot from the balancing Yugos was this painted V-Dub. Roadside jackpot.

When you don’t know what else to write, there is one tried and true phrase to fall back on. Two words that in their brevity say so much. Yes, keep this pair in your back pocket and you will never be stymied by profundity.

“Your mom.”

Your mom, indeed.

Stay smokin’, friends.

Wild Bill’s Nostalgia
1003 Newfeild Street
Middletown, CT 06457

Quirky Roadside Attractions from Illinois

Quirky Roadside Attractions from Illinois

This morning when I saw the Daily Page prompt: What’s the quirkiest thing about you? I had to smirk. Personally, I don’t think I’m exceptionally quirky but then, who does? It’s other people who find your you-ness quirky and comment on it.  I don’t think I dare ask my husband what he thinks it is.

But since we’re on the subject, I will go ahead and share some actual quirky roadside stuff that I saw in Illinois.

Pink elephant towing a trailer? Sure, why not?

pink elephant antique mall

Boyfriend might want to think about a spray tan. Just sayin’…

Doesn’t he look like he might bust out signing into that ice cream one? “I love you, baby and if it’s quite all right I need you, baby… thank you, thank you, very much! Thanks for having me on the Merv Griffin Show!”

beach dude pink elephant antique mall

Big John. Not big Johnson. Two very different things. Although he looks pretty freakin’ chipper and has a strategically placed apron so maybe he’s got a secret we don’t know about.

It might be best to just move along here…

big john metropolis illnois

“Hi, Billy Mays, here. Do you like Muffler Men and motorcycles?”

harley davidson shrimpy muffler man

muffler man boot

The awesome green futuro house. I saw one of these on Milton, Delaware a few years back. I think they’re so great looking. They have that “this is what the future will look like in the year 2000,” flying car, spandex space-suit clothing vibe. Can you imagine living in one?

futuro house in Illinois at pinkelephant

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A Twistee Treat ice cream cone-shaped building. There was a time when I just wanted to see one. Now I’ve got two under my belt after seeing this one in Illinois.

twistee treat ice cream building in illinois

Maybe when I’ve finally had enough of corporate America I’ll get myself a big ice cream cone and start slingin’ sprinkles. What can I getcha, honey?

One of the downsides to traveling alone is that often there is no one around to take your picture through one of these face-hole cutout things. I might’ve looked like a real motorcyclist. Oh, what could have been.

The well-groomed, much loved Lauterback muffler man of Springfield, Illinois:

lauterbach mufflerman

Vigilantly surveying his domain with beady eyes.

lauterback mufflerman

 

 

In the Shadow of the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle

In the Shadow of the World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle

When I pulled into the parking lot below the world’s largest ketchup bottle there was a man talking on his cellphone. I snapped a few photos and scribbled some notes on the hotel pad I keep in my tankbag.

worlds largest ketchup bottle

During the few minutes I was there fussing around, the man finished up his call and began walking towards me. With a toothy grin, he said a quick hello and asked if I’d like him to take a picture of me with the ketchup bottle. He said he gets that request a lot. The big ketchup bottle is a big draw to the town of Collinsville, Illinois.

worlds largest ketchup bottle

The man also asked where I was from and if I was doing “the Route 66 thing.” Apparently he’s lived in Collinsville his whole life, there in the shadow of the big ketchup bottle and seemed pretty content with that.

  • The World’s Largest Ketchup Bottle
    Just how big is the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle?
    It’s 170 ft tall. That’s a 70 ft tall riveted steel bottle on top of 100 ft tall steel legs. The diameter at the base of the bottle is 25 ft and the diameter of the cap is 8 ft. It has a capacity of 100,000 gallons.

I first learned of the big ketchup bottle in a documentary on PBS called “A Program About Big Things and Unusual Roadside Stuff.” The video is available on YouTube (with terrible misspellings in the subtitles) 😀 :

The Tangled Web of Bigfeet

The Tangled Web of Bigfeet

Does anyone ever wake up in the morning, rub the sleep from their eyes, stretch and think… “I bet I’ll see Bigfoot today”? I’ve got 5-bucks on probably not. But that’s the funny thing about life. It is seemingly random.

Bigfoot in cave city kentucky Bigfoot in Cave City, Kentucky

I say seemingly because even as I type this I fall back in to the pattern of thinking that maybe things aren’t really random at all. Maybe we draw them to us, like big cosmic magnets. For example, you put the thought of the banana car on the back burner of your mind and just let it simmer. Next thing you know – there it is in all its peelin’ out glory.

Bigfoot’s feet… are big! And well maintained.

Was it a random, chance meeting that put you and a 15-foot banana in the same place at the same time? Or did the universe keep rolling its dice until you came together somehow? Did you cast your banana-wantin’ line out in to the water and troll for it? Here, banana-nana-nana.

Bigfoot in Milford, Pa.

Maybe the universe is a big, glorious web and each step we take vibrates along a thread sending out messages to whoever is listening. Once there is a connection, do you become part of a circuit that passes that particular current through it all the time? Like, you see one Bigfoot and now you’re… an official Bigfoot seer, bumping in to him all the time?

On Sunday night after my most recent Bigfoot sighting in Milford, Pa. I thought I would share the good news with my husband, Kenny. As we tucked in to bed, the blue glow of the tv flickered in our bedroom.

“Guess what? I saw Bigfoot today.”

“Again?”

“Why don’t you support me?”

“It’s hard to get excited after like the 10th one. You’ve seen a lot of Bigfeet. Bigfeet? Bigfoots?”

 

In the last month, I’ve come across two Bigfoot statues “in the wild.” I wasn’t looking for them or anything, they were just random sightings.

What if they were looking for me? I’d be pretty honored if my picture was up at the Bigfoot Lodge and they all sat around, sipping macchiatos discussing whether I was real.

“I saw her once in the freezer aisle at the Stop and Shop…” 

“Ahhhhh, baloney! You’re full of it, Bob. Everyone knows she hates going to the grocery store. But this one time, I did see her pumping gas at the station by McDonald’s.” 

“You guys are bunch of idiots. Everyone knows she’s not real!”

Believe.

 

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