Category: Roadside Stuff

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park – Wilson, NC

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park – Wilson, NC

After visiting the White’s Tire Muffler Man on Hines Street in Wilson, North Carolina, I navigated my over to visit Vollis Simpson’s Whirligig Park.

As I turned the corner the park came into view. It was a riotous explosion of color and motion set against the backdrop of old buildings and a gorgeous blue sky. I kid you not, I said “oh my god,” out loud as everything came in to view. It was like being a kid and catching a glimpse of a carnival that came to town.

I must preface these photos by saying that they in no way deliver anything close to the experience of seeing these whirligigs in person. Really, I found them hard to photograph at all. There was too much going on that I had no idea how to do them justice.

Being there was a full sensory experience of sight, sound, and motion. The scale of these works creates a presence that is captivating. As you move around them your eyes pass over each piece picking out the details of castaway items turned in to something greater than themselves. All the while your ears pick up a symphony of whirring, clangs, clicks, and squeaks.

If you are anywhere near Wilson, North Carolina, do yourself a favor and visit. You’ll be glad you did.

Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park
301 Goldsboro St S,
Wilson, NC 27893
GMaps

The Rapture of a North Carolina Muffler Man

The Rapture of a North Carolina Muffler Man

Much like the Spanish Inquisition, no one expects a religious experience.  It’s just one of those things that sneak up you when you aren’t lookin’. If not the sight of Saint Pete at the gates or Archangel Michael eating tacos, what could you attribute the expression on this guy’s face to?

Point of note: One of Saint Peter’s patronages is Horology. Horology and Whoreology? These homonyms are two entirely different things and will guide you down two very different internet rabbit holes.

Maybe this muff looks so in awe to me because I keep thinking that his lips are an open mouth – My God, It’s full of stars.

But upon closer inspection, he does seems to have bags under his eyes. Perhaps his look is less rapture, more why did I wake up behind a dumpster in a winter coat, with no pants and one shoe on. I mean, who doesn’t know THAT feeling?

Wait, what? No… one… else..?

Well, would you look at the time. Lunch hour is over, best be running along.


If you’d like to visit this muffler man, you’ll find him in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

In October of 2018, I spent some time bumming around on the Bonneville. My meandering route took me down through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky before I started making my way back east to New York through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Not having a set route or a plan is my usual road trip vibe. I leave home with a general sense of where I want to go or things I might want to visit. But, other than that I try to leave myself wiggle room to add and subtract along the way. After all, it is a big gorgeous world out there. You never know what wonderful thing is waiting for you around the next corner.

Not long after visiting the husk of the Underwood & Petty Service Station in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, I had to slam on the brakes and pull a quick U-y to get a good look at this building:

I can’t say for sure whether this was an actual business or just the trappings of a collector-type. Looking at the details on the building and the “fire door” sign through the window, maybe it did operate as a store of some type. Whatever the case may be, it was nice to stumble across it.

Sadly, I have no stinkin’ idea where it is. I’d be only too glad to share the location. For now, it’ll have to remain a mystery.

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

While navigating my way around York, Pennsylvania to look for murals and ghost signs, I rode passed a metal garden which had giant flowers made out of gears and things. 

Something about the Gear Garden felt reminiscent of the PennDOT Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pa.  – another great stop. Perhaps the idea of making something lovely out of throwaways is the connection.

I bet the flowers look especially lovely on a bright blue day.
Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s leg of the Lincoln Highway has some interesting sights peppered along the route. For reasons unknown to even me, I especially love riding along it’s western half.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor established a group of 5 roadside attractions called Roadside Giants for people to stop at and enjoy.

This 1921 Selden pickup is just a walk across the parking lot of Shatzer Fruit Market in Chambersburg.

I previously wrote about this Chambersburg peach-covered gas pump at Shatzer Fruit Market in the post: Tales of a Second Grade Nothing

In October, I was able to stop and see the awesome giant quarter near the town of Everett.

I’ve now seen two out of the five giants. Seeing the rest will keep me thinkin’ ’bout the Lincoln.

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