America is famous for having some of the weirdest highway attractions, and I eagerly try to get to the ones that intrigue me the most.
This being said, so far, I’ve been to:
THE BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE (in [Darwin], Minnesota)
Made further famous by the Wierd Al song, the twineball itself is quite a thing to witness. Francis A. Johnson spent four hours every day for 29 years wrapping his dream, a twine ball 12 feet in diameter that currently sits in a specially constructed gazebo.
I trucked out there with a friend one night after work, but we’d gotten there too late to actually get into the museum or the tourist shop.
Oh, for a keychain with the biggest ball of twine on it! 😦
THE CORN PALACE (Mitchell, SD)
(otherwise known as ‘The World’s Only Corn Palace’), is easily the oddest marketplace/arena I’ve been to so far. The outside walls are covered in decorative corncob murals that depict various patriotic and/or religious scenes. The inside is a lush, full-on Americana tribute to the biggest cash crop that the US has to offer.
The citizens of Mitchell celebrate this intriguing structure with a citywide festival each year, and the external corn murals are apparently replaced and redesigned every year with different themes. Ah, the adoration of corn. Inside, there are several displays of all of the things one can make with corn, as well as several pieces of farm equipment – and within the arena/theater itself, when there aren’t either sporting or other events, there are a rather alarmingly large collection of corn themed tourist geegaws for sale.
I was surprised to find full pheasant pelts for sale for ten bucks each. I picked up two. I have my reasons.
WALL DRUG (Wall, SD)
A shopping mall full of multiple gift shops, an apothecary and eateries, Wall Drug is advertised for hundreds of miles in almost every direction throughout South Dakota. It’s a veritable wonderland of bizarre trinkets. I lost track of the numbers of billboards for the place while rolling down the highway.
In the courtyard between stores within the complex, sits an enormous fiberglass jackelope with a saddle that children could climb up on so that their parents could capture the proud moment when their child rode into battle on the back of a mighty rabbit with horns.
Unable to resist this magical photographic opportunity myself, I asked one of the ladies nearby to get a picture of me astride this majestic cryptozoological creature.
The resultant image has captured one of my finer moments, I think.
While I was there, I also picked up a jackelope head for a good friend back east that had been wanting one since he was a kid. It pleases me greatly that I was able to help fulfill a childhood dream for him. 🙂
AHLGRIM FAMILY FUNERAL SERVICES (Palatine, IL)
Sadly, I didn’t really have time to hit this one. Ahlgrim boast a feature that I don’t think any other funeral home in the company has – a festively death themed mini golf course in the basement. Maybe next time I’m out in Illinois.
Well, that’s it for this installment of roadside wierdness.
Until next time!