Tag: roadsideamerica

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.

 

Oh. Hello, Mr. Water Tower – Nice to See You!

Oh. Hello, Mr. Water Tower – Nice to See You!

Do you live in the type of place that could have a smiley face water tower? I don’t. But I wish I did. This tower was along my route from Metropolis to Springfield, Ill. in the town of Makanda.

That bulbous knob with a smirk surveying the land has to do something for morale. Don’t you think? Seeing it for the first time, I found it was impossible not to smile back. He’s a seriously cheerful looking mo-fo.

Little did I know, (until 5-seconds ago when I tried to figure out just where it was that I saw this water tower) there is a listing of known towns with grinning water towers. I feel like this is very important information!

 

 

Big, Pink Roadside Odds and Ends in West Virginia

Big, Pink Roadside Odds and Ends in West Virginia

As I wound my way across West Virginia towards Kentucky, I spotted a few great pink roadside attractions.

A super-duper pink elephant in Barboursville on Route 60.

big pink elephant Barboursville, WV

Just down the road from the pink elephant in Huntington, WV is a pink giraffe with green spots. Naturally.

pink giraffe with green spot

And smack in between the two I spotted this pink pig bus, also along Route 60.

pink pig bus!

Isn’t that awesome? I wonder if the horn oinks when you press it 🙂

Road Tripping: The Coffee Pot – Bedford, Pa

Road Tripping: The Coffee Pot – Bedford, Pa

There was a time when visiting the Bedford Coffee Pot was one of those things that just nagged and nagged me. Way over on the western half of Pennsylvania, it seemed lightyears away. In truth it is a mere 330 miles that for whatever reason may as well have been a million. Maybe it can be chalked up to some type of mental roadblock or… maybe sometimes the wishing for something is just as satisfying as the getting. Daydreams are perfect where life isn’t.

Then on winter Tuesday in 2009 I found myself at the coffee pot. Just like that. You wake up one day and finally just do whatever it is you want.

breadbox at the coffee pot

Then on a trip to Cleveland in December 2013 with my mom and daughter, we once again stopped at the Coffee Pot. Doing something once can make it a lot easier to do again. The roadblocks aren’t there anymore.

bedford coffee pot

In July of 2015, I stopped by the Coffee Pot yet again. This time on my motorcycle. You know, just to check on things.

fuzzygalore at bedford coffee pot

Nothing much had changed since the last time I visited. Considering the life that these roadside giants can endure, that was a good thing.

 

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