When I was a kid, my parents dragged me all over the south and western United States in a camp trailer. Dad wasn't the one to stop much for man-made roadside attractions, but we saw every cave and strange rock formation between Mississippi and Colorado. He was more of a nature-made roadside attraction guy. I can remember one weekend trip where Dad stopped the car and made me get out of the trailer so I could see a live armadillo. I was fifteen and it was the first time I'd seen a living breathing armadillo. Up until then I'd only ever seen them as roadkill. But Dad wasn't the type to stop and see the world's largest rubber band ball.
I, on the other hand, am a sucker for all things like the world's largest rubber band ball. I paid a dollar once to see the oldest cypress tree in America. I wasn't even remotely disappointed when it turned out to not really be a living tree anymore because a weak earlier it had been struck by lightening. Sometimes I could convince Dad that we had to stop at something. For instance Aquarena Springs , home of Ralph the Swimming Pig. Steph was with us for that one. We did a glass bottom boat tour of the springs. Apparently, perch look a lot like piranha. At least enough that someone thought that this was the perfect location for filming the horror flick Piranha. I usually went with Randy and Katrina and J when they'd take J down to boy scout camp every summer. We always stopped at the Heavner Runestone and it was my favorite thing. It should be of no surprise that during our tour of the Dakotas, we stopped to see the World's Largest Buffalo and ride a giant Jackeloupe.
The Cabbage spent this last weekend with Randy and Katrina and we met them in Joplin on Sunday to retrieve her and take her back to her mom's. We had some time to kill as we drove north on the highway. Michael looked up some roadside attractions on his phone and we both agreed that we had to see the World's Largest Coal Shovel! The giant morel mushroom can be seen from the highway. The coal shovel was off the beaten path a bit. Lordy, it was so cold, but we all got out of the car to inspect the giant shovel any way. I told the Cabbage "get in there so I can get a picture." She happily obliged. I thought maybe once inside the shovel, it wouldn't be so cold. The wind still managed to nip at our fingers and noses. Water had formed frozen puddles in the corners, trapping acorns and leaves. We didn't investigate the shovel for long. I didn't even read the panel next to it that told the story of the shovel.
We've got a trip planned in June. We'll be meeting friends in Alabama for a week on the beach, our first vacation with the Cabbage. I've done very little research on area activities for where we will actually be staying. Instead I've been looking at the map and planning roadside attraction stops. I can see a whole photo album of the Cabbage standing next to the world's oldest shoe or the world's largest soup spoon. I see there's a giant fork in Springfield and a giant chicken statue on a car in Alabama. I'm sure it won't take much convincing to get Michael to stop at the scrap metal sports statues. Wait! I just discovered the Parachute Inn and Restaurant. This may have to happen.
Hello. My name is Cindy Maddera and I am addicted to kooky roadside attractions.
Happy Love Thursday!