When I was a kid my folks moved our family across the country a few times, and drove the distance even on summers when we weren’t pulling all of our belongings behind us. Which meant that road trips were as much a part of my growing up as living in any one place was. Indiana to Washington state was a frequent route, and to a seven-year-old such trips were interminable. Car games helped a little, but you can play only so many rounds of roadside bingo and the alphabet game with your sister before they get as tired as day-old gum.
But sometimes … sometimes, all of a sudden … Dad would hit those brakes and wheel us off to the side of the road and unload the lot of us and point to some outrageous example of 1960s Americana and with theatrical reverence say, “Look, look kids. You’ll want to remember that you were here once in your life: The world’s largest ball of twine.”
At least that’s how I remember it.
Which is why, I’m sure, that these days I’m on a constant hunt for those never-to-be-missed icons of kitsch, whether it’s an alien spaceship repair facility or the world’s largest private bug museum or a fire-breathing dragon.
If You’re Not at the Table, You’re on the Menu
And with so many aliens and dinosaurs and giant, odd scarecrow-ish things out in the world, my motto is that it’s better to join them than to fight them. I don’t want to be first against the wall when the ETs come.
Doesn’t Matter Whether You Call Him Sasquatch or Yeti or Bigfoot
But the best of all of these icons – it cannot be denied – is Bigfoot. Rachel and I have just spent a month living in the northern California redwoods, one of his frequent lairs, and in homage I did what I could to echo Bigfoot’s elusive combination of mystery and menace.
As the ultimate social-distancer (you never see him within six feet of anyone), Bigfoot is also a paragon of COVID hygiene, so that’s worth copying too. I consider it a public service to point this out. You’re welcome.
Of course I’m not done yet. As we continue our travels, using the online treasure that is roadsideamerica.com along with lightning-quick reflexes, I hope to find many, many more chances to hit those brakes and wheel us off to the side of the road and with theatrical reverence say to Rachel, “Look, look! You’ll want to remember that you were here once in your life.”
Otherwise, see the kinds of things we’d have missed: