The Gemini Giant Muffler Man of Wilmington, Illinois
The Gemini Giant stands sentinel on Route 66 in the town of Wilmington, Illinois. For as long as I can remember being aware of muffler men, he has captured my imagination as being special. Is it the handsome green space suit? The helmet? Maybe his name? I can’t say for sure.
What I do know is that he is my favorite muffler man. That’s just the way it is. To some people these fiberglass giants all look the same. They think, what’s the big deal? They don’t do anything. They just stand around being the same as every other muffler man who stands around looking the same.
But, those people would be wrong.
The town of Wilmington is 900 miles from my house. In the scale of this big, wide world it’s not that far. Hell, people ride further than that in a 24 hour period. But, the truth is – sometimes it seemed like I would never be able to get there. I mean, it’s easy to hop on a plane, fly to California and do some sightseeing around San Francisco or LA. A trip like that seems to have a much more concrete purpose, a more definitive destination. You don’t question that you would be able to fill your time there with a million things. When would I ever have a reason to find myself in Wilmington, Illinois?
But, you know what? The only places you can’t get to are the ones you decide you can’t get to. When you decide there isn’t reason enough to go, there isn’t reason enough. But, when you decide you can and there is? Well, then…
In October of 2015, I finally made my way to Wilmington.
It might sound silly but when I approached the spot where he stands I actually got a flutter of excitement. Especially when my GPS stopped marking his distance in miles and started marking it in feet. I may have said “Ohmygahhhhd” out loud. Maybe.
When I pulled into the lot and parked, I stumbled around for a few minutes just gawking.
I’d made it!
To a parking lot of a closed down restaurant!
Reconciling what you’re seeing with what you’d imagined is a curious feeling. Arriving at knowing versus wondering is almost a physical sensation.
Though I was dazzled by his gorgeous green suit, that I did something that I set out to do was as important than seeing the thing itself. Maybe more important.
I just now realized that the Gemini Giant is secretly smiling underneath his helmet. I know someone else like that.
Thankfully, I don’t have a football jammed up in mine, though.
Just wanting to is reason enough to do things.