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Ultimate Quirky Road Trip
Weird, Quirky, Kitschy, and Strange. For example, Quirky is “characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits.” And Kitschy: “Something considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but often appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.” Therefore, The Driveby Tourist presents you with the Ultimate Quirky Road Trip! For that reason, I hope you have as much fun reading this as I had while putting it together. (I hope to connect with you regarding your comments.)
How did the trip planning happen?
In any case, a brief explanation is in order. I became interested in The Ultimate Road Trip when I saw and/or read about some of the attractions presented here and others similar to them. I also saw other information on Ultimate Road Trips with different destinations planned. With this in mind, I started more research. My purpose, is specifically to identify my thought on the attraction that best fit my description above. I identified four websites for my research. Here they are in no particular order.
First, MoneyWise.com (As of August 2020, MoneyWise changed their site and requires signing in to see their content, so no link is provided now.) published an article calling them the “Oddest Tourist Attraction in every state”. Secondly, Travel+Leisure (Link no longer viable, guess you’ll have to take my word for it!) calls their’s “America’s Strangest Roadside Attractions”. Thirdly, The Daily Meal (link) published “The Weirdest Tourist Attraction in Every State”. Finally, Readers Digest (Note: At times, a link I just removed [August 18, 2020] shows as an invalid link. You may be able to go to it by copy/paste the text between parentheses.) calls their’s “The Strangest Roadside Attraction in Every State.”
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Ultimate Road Trip Planning
Following that research, I picked my favorite from each state as the weirdest, quirkiest, kitschiest (is that a word?), or oddest attraction in the continental, lower 48 states. (After all, driving to Alaska is very hard, and driving to Hawaii is impossible unless you have a genie in a bottle build you a bridge (but that’s a story for another post.) With this in mind, I created a map to show how a tourist could reach all 49 of them (one for Washington DC as well). Without further delay, I present you with The Ultimate Quirky Road Trip!
What about this Quirky Trip?
First of all, I’m not planning to do this trip! Secondly, I’m not really expecting anyone else to do it, either. I’ve done the work and posted this for fun. Again, I hope you have fun reading this quirky trip post and some of the websites with links to them. By drawing attention to these weird and quirky attractions, some travelers may want to see some of them. Or maybe even go somewhat out of their way to see some of them. The Driveby Tourist would certainly love to hear your comments: Good, Bad, or Indifferent. Here is a link to the map above, followed by driving directions to all 49 places!
Link to show name and website of attractions in 48 states
Note: The Driveby Tourist wants to hear from you if you have been to any of these places: Here is a link to connect.
Some details and further explanations
According to My Route Online, the quirky trip would be about 15,150 miles (Here is a link to the My Route Online website. Just enter each address or import from Excel, and the website will print the best route.) Talk about a weird trip, really?! And it would take 10+ days if the travelers had enough drivers to only stop to eat, see the attraction for no more than one hour, and make “necessary” stops. That would take about 6 to 8 weeks to see it all. Is anyone interested in seeing these attractions included with 2 or 3 other attractions per state??? (Yeah, right!)
Want to see a shop for my road trip photos? You can have them printed as wall art or puzzles. They also work on coffee mugs, t-shirts and more! So, take a look. Maybe you'll see something you will like!
While including a short paragraph on every one of the attractions would get extremely tedious to read, I’ve added 15 places in this post. I’ve also added detail on all 49 of them here (really just name and address). Not located within this blog post, but the link will take you there. Since I’m from the Twin Cities area, I started at Minneapolis City Hall and ended there. Strangely, the last stop on this quirky trip was in Texas and then leads back mostly up I-35 to Minneapolis again. If you really wanted to take this trip, just jump on the route anyplace. (By the way, the pictures posted here are public domain to the best of my knowledge. My research also tells that bloggers and website developers can link to any publicly available URL.)
A bit more detail on 15 attractions on this quirky trip
The Driveby Tourist picked 15 because it seemed like an appropriate number. Or maybe an inappropriate number!
Alabama – Bamahenge – Barber Parkway, Elberta, AL. Here is a link to a Roadside America post about Bamahenge. This one is located on the Alabama Gulf coast, west of Pensacola, FL. Since it is made of fiberglass, one of the names considered was Fiberhenge! I tended to pick several of these “..henge” sites. Likely because I’ve already been to two of them. There are at least 15 replicas of Stonehenge in the US. Some attempt duplication of size and orientation, and others are just there for fun (#26 on the map).
By the way, I visited this place in October of 2021! Here’s a link to the post about it and a few other quirky places.
Cannabis in Colorado?
Colorado – The International Church of Cannabis – 400 S Logan St. Denver, CO. I was recently in Denver and didn’t see it! And you’d expect it to be in Colorado! Here is a link. And pictures below. (#40 on map.)
Kansas – The Worlds Largest Collection of Smallest Versions of Largest Things – 214 Main Street, Lucas, KS. Here is a link to the site. The museum founder is an artist, a collector, and one of America’s foremost experts and speakers on The World’s Largest Things. (#33 on map.) Edit: I visited “Truckhenge” near Topeka since the initial publication. That place has a wide variety of quirky objects and an artificial fishing lake!
So, let’s visit Lessman’s Truckhenge Farm near Topeka. They also call it an Art Park. The place features trucks and boats with one end buried in concrete. And, they provide a private fishing pond and shooting range. The art includes Beer Bottle City and Sculpture gardens. The park includes many chain saw art pieces. And they’ve included many pieces of “junk” positioned as art as part of various displays. Great addition to the Ultimate Quirky Road Trip. (I’m updating this as we recently drove through Topeka on I-70 and it’s close to the highway.)
Another inclusion is old shoes and boots hanging from trees. Since they “speak pun” one would think they’d call it a shoe tree. But no, it’s the “Tree of lost soles”! Of course, they had to have a “Beer Bottle Tree”, so they have hundreds of bottles set in concrete at several locations around the Art Park!
…and the trucks…
As the Lessman’s converted their farm into a tourist attraction, a local millionaire fought them on it. He insisted they moved the trucks they had parked near the road on the edge of their property. The judges order said to “lift” the trucks. (Picture #1, top right, above) Ron used his front end loaded and lifted the front end, slid them into a hole he had dug, and set them in concrete. They got hauled back into court, but the judge said it complied with the order to lift them up! Later they added some old boats and set them in concrete as well.
How do you build a private fishing lake? When the state approaches you to give them access to build a road, you negotiate for obtaining the artificial lake! Now, (seen in picture #2 above), they have a 30-acre fishing pond stocked with popular fish. For $10 per person, you can fish all day. (They also have a shooting range that also costs $10 per day.)
Chain Saw Art
Ron Lessman, in addition to other skills, excels at chainsaw art. There are many of his creations around the property.
Sears Kit House
“Back in the day,” Sears Roebuck made kit houses. A person orders it like anything else from a catalog (not online in those days) and assembled it according to the included instructions. This house is one of the oldest ones still standing. (Although, it’s not occupied and not “occupiable”.)
And the weirdness just keeps on coming!
Massachusetts – Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast – 230 2nd St, Fall River, MA 02721. The actual house where Lizzie Borden was accused of and acquitted for killing her father and stepmother with an ax. Now operating as a Bed & Breakfast. There are stories of it being haunted. Here is a link to the website. (#18 on map)
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
Michigan – Da Yoopers Tourist Trap – 490 Steel St. Ishpeming, MI 49849. Here is a link. People living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan are called “Yoopers.” Mostly, they have fun with it! This is a supposedly hilarious visit. (The Driveby Tourist will be going to the U.P. soon (link) and possibly check it out!) (#3 on map) How about linking to my next post about the U.P.?
..And the Ultimate Quirky Road Trip continues…
Missouri – Giant Red Rocker – 5957 Hwy ZZ, Fanning, MO. The Giant Red Rocker resides on Route 66, and The Driveby Tourist saw it on that trip. Here is a link to the post. (#31 on map.) This was the largest rocker in the world until someone in Illinois built a larger one. So now they call it the Largest Rocker on Route 66! Of course, here’s a link to the “now largest” rocking chair!
Another ….henge? Talk about a weird trip!!
Nebraska – Carhenge – 2151 Co Rd 59, Alliance, NE 69301 – The Driveby Tourist visited this one in April 2019. That trip (returning from visiting my brother in Denver) was to show that there ARE places to see in Nebraska. Here is a link to the blog post. And a picture from there as well! (#39 on map.) And here is a link to a list of posts from that full trip.
North Dakota – Enchanted Highway – Starting in Regent, ND, The Enchanted Highway continues north to Gladstone, ND, on I-94. (Link) . The Enchanted Highway consists of eight of the world’s largest scrap metal statues spread along the highway. The artist built the statues to encourage visitors to his small town (Regent). Expansion is continuing… (#37 & 38 on the map. Two stops to cover both ends of the 32-mile-long highway.)
A concrete totem pole? (Quirky trip)
Oklahoma – Totem Pole Park – 21300 OK-28 A, Chelsea, OK 74016 – This one is on Route 66 as well and was visited by The Driveby Tourist on that trip (link). And, of course, the picture from there as well as the link to the featured website. (#32 on the map.)
More Quirky Trip pictures and descriptions
South Dakota – Corn Palace – 604 N Main St, Mitchell, SD 57301. Built to celebrate the agriculture in the area. The front of the building’s annual redesign contains various corns and grasses in a theme selected by the Corn Palace board. The Driveby Tourist also stopped at this one. (Link to that blog post and a link to the Corn Palace.). Also, the obligatory picture. (#36 on the map.)
Texas – Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum – 239 Abiso Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209. And the link to the museum. Barney has been working on his museum for “65 – 75” years. Now nearing his 98th birthday, the sale was completed in 2018, and the museum moved to The Colony (Yes, that is the town’s name in the north suburbs of Dallas and will open in June of 2019. The new address is The Truck Yard (that’s a bar), 4450 Destination Dr, The Colony, TX 75056. After all those years in San Antonio, Barney said it was time to move on! He is a retired master plumber and, of course, an artist as well. (#51 on map).
Vermont – Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard – Waterbury, VT 05676. Ben & Jerry’s graveyard holds tombstones for many of their discontinued flavors. The graveyard’s reputation tells us how popular their ice cream becomes after a few addicting bites! The Driveby Tourist hopes they never bury Cherry Garcia! And, of course, the graveyard “owns” a website here, Of course, need a picture of a flavor that is “not dead yet”. (#15 on map)
Even our nation’s capital made the list in the Ultimate Road Trip!
Washington DC – International Spy Museum – 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20024. This is another one The Driveby Tourist has visited. I debated even putting it on here as I wasn’t sure it fit the Ultimate Quirky Road Trip definition. But it was on the list, so….. And, of course, the link to the museum.
The museum very recently opened in a new building. I was there in October of 2018 and visited the old building. I understand the new building puts the museum into a new class. While the old one also displayed and presented real spying from the past, they also had a nearly equal exhibit on “movie spies“, like James Bond. The Driveby Tourist posted about the museum as well and you can see that here. As a follow-up, here are a couple of pictures from the museum from my own visit there in 2018. (#11 on map)
Hold on, coming to the end of the Ultimate Road Trip!
Wisconsin – World’s Largest Fish – 10360 Hall of Fame Dr, Hayward, WI 54843. Another attraction The Driveby Tourist has visited. It’s the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Click here to see the website. And what better way to present a fishing hall of fame but with a huge fish! The fish replica is a Muskellunge, better known as a “Muskie”. The museum is dedicated to promotion of and education about fishing, especially in fresh water lakes. (#2 on map)
Wyoming – Jackalope Museum – 404 W. Ramshorn, Dubois WY 82513. The jackalope, a fictional cross between an antelope and a jackrabbit, and rumored to abound in Wyoming. Therefore, someone built a museum (as part of a Country Store), and you can find the website here. Actually, it’s antelope that abound but there are a “million” stories about Jackalopes in a lot more states than Wyoming. I do believe there are more antelope than people in Wyoming! Wyoming is the USA’s least populous state, and as someone from there told me once, “We prefer to say we are #!” (#41 on map)
End of the Quirky Road Trip!
And here we are. I know that’s a lot to look at but I hope you enjoyed it. I’d like to hear from readers about any of these attractions you have visited! (Here is a link to connect.) I said at the beginning the 15 attractions above were the ones I picked out from the four websites. Some of them, obviously, became favorites because I’ve seen them. I certainly hope you’ve enjoyed my Ultimate Quirky Road Trip. And, if you have comments back to me, let me know if I can use your first name and maybe last initial and state, and I may do a blog post about the blog post! (And don’t forget about Thrifty Traveling. )
Classic Rock Recollection
What better way to celebrate than to include song lyrics from “Weird Al” Yankovic! “Trapped in the Drive-Thru”.
When we drive to the drive-thru
Heading off to the drive-thru
We’re approaching the drive-thru
Getting close to the drive-thru!Almost there at the drive-thru
Now we’re here at the drive thru
Here in line at the drive-thru
Did I mention the drive-thru?Well here we are
In the drive-thru line, me and her
Cars in front of us, cars in back of us
All just waiting to order
Lyrics by “Weird Al” Yankovic