Sunday, May 29, 2011

Roadside America: Weird, Wacky, Tacky and Wonderful

Someone once said, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that counts.” Undeniably, many of the most memorable road trips that I’ve been on were so unforgettable because of the side trips that I took in traveling from here to there, on roads less-travelled, on the turnoffs that beckoned, and on the off-beat detours that weren’t even on the map. That’s when you’ll encounter stunning natural beauty far from the madding crowds. It’s also when you’ll find the unexpected and the inexplicable.

That’s when you see the unusual signage, the eccentric pieces of art, the strange architecture, the ubiquitous, kitschy dinosaur-sculptures, the poignant juxtapositions, and all the tacky, wacky, bizarre and oddball attractions that are so characteristic of roadside America. You’ll know when you see it. You'll do a double-take and shake your head in disbelief. That’s when, remembering Steve Martin's Saturday Night Live skit, you'll exclaim, “What the HELL is that!” 

Here are a few of the attractions and distractions that I’ve seen along the road in going from here to there, many taken most recently while driving around the Colorado Plateau. Doing geology...what else!

I imagine this will be a work-in-progress, as I continue to explore America’s backroads and detours by intent and by mistake.

Porky the "Propane" Pig?

Navajo road sign near Cameron, AZ
"When you gotta go, you gotta go" Monument Valley, Utah

"Hold all calls!"

WHOA stop sign, Jackson Hole

Mrs. Darth Vader, I presume, Utah 
For sale... make me an offer!
Lucy the Elephant, originally a hotel and now a historic museum, Margate, NJ

Unfinished house insulated with glass bottles, Utah
Sinclair Dinosaur...a painful reminder of our reliance on fossil fuels
Milk-crate steer

Enigmatic Victorian house on the roof of a building in Syracuse, New York

Metallic T-Rex, Utah
Wagon wheel window, Utah

Christmas in Margate, New Jersey... this house has everything but snow!

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