road trip

Route 66: the ultimate road trip

Here’s a sneak peek at the Route 66 slide show I had a little too much fun putting together for Bing travel.

Seat belts on?

The Gemini Giant is the official greeter at the Launching Pad Restaurant in Wilmington, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago. A former fiberglass “muffler man” statue designed to show off an oversized automotive part, the Gemini Giant now wears a pointy space helmet and holds up a rocket ship advertising the restaurant’s name.

The Fanning 66 Outpost is a general store with a taxidermy shop, archery range and wide-range of Route 66 souvenirs. Out front, and impossible to miss at a smidge over 42 feet tall and 20 feet wide, is what the Guinness World Records has declared to be the World’s Largest Rocking Chair.

Hugh Davis built this smiling, 80-foot long blue whale in 1974 as an anniversary present for his wife, Zelta and, not long after, the whale became Catoosa, Oklahoma’s most popular public attraction. The creature fell into disrepair in the 1990s, but it’s been rescued and revived by the Catoosa community.

I’ll circle back with some more kicks from Route 66, but in the meantime, there are lots more photos – and links – back on the Route 66 slide show on Bing.

Really big things you can’t – and shouldn’t – miss!

World's Largest Ball of Twine

(Courtesy Linda Clover)

The World’s Largest Ball of Twine. (Cawker City, Kansas)

The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle. (Collinsville, Illinois)

And the World’s Largest Penny. (Woodruff, Wisconsin)

World's Largest Penny

Who can resist making a detour to see this stuff?

Not me.  And you shouldn’t either.

Especially when 14 (possibly 15th by now…) of some of the biggest “can’t miss” things are gathered all together in my “Really Big Things You Can’t Miss” story over on Bing travel.

You can flip through photos of the the World’s Largest Frying Pan, the World’s Largest Egg, the Giant Duck and other cool big things on Bing, but here’s some bonus information about two of the people who helped me gather up images and information for that story.

Erika Nelson, the artist who made the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate for Lucas, Kansas, also shared her photo of the World’s Largest Eight Ball for the story. Look for her out on the road: she travels around the country displaying tiny versions of some of the world’s largest things.

Erika Nelson World's Largest Souvenir Travel plate

And several of the photos in the story are courtesy of Amy C. Elliott who co-produced, with Elizabeth Donius, World’s Largest, a documentary all about small towns with …big things.

Thanks, ladies, for your help!

World's Largest Duck, Flanders, NY

1958 Airstream trailer gets university makeover

In May I took a little road trip to visit the RV Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana for an msnbc.com story about the  the RV industry: Celebrating 100 years on the road.

From RV Museum and Hall of Fame - 2-door travel trailer 1954

A 1954 Yellowstone Travel Trailer - with two doors

So I was intrigued when I saw a story about the 26-foot 1958 Airstream Overlander trailer being gutted and re-modeled by a group of students at Washington State University in Spokane.

1958 Airstream Overlander

They’ve been working on it all summer and, according to a university report, “Part of the focus of the project is to explore the sustainability issues of today’s society and challenge the current image of the travel trailer industry.”

They’ve gutted the inside, but luckily they’re committed to preserving the trailer’s historic exterior character.

Here’s a short video on their progress:

And here’s the part I’m especially excited about: this fall, when the Airstream is all shiny and renovated,  the students will be taking the trailer on the road to show off their handiwork.  (And party?) After that, the updated WSU Airstream trailer will be either given away in a contest or sold. To find out what happens, follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

And for inspiration, here are few photos from the collection of the RV Museum and Hall of Fame:

Mae West's 1931 Chevrolet trailer

Mae West's 1931 Chevrolet trailer

1936 Airstream Clipper at RV Museum and Hall of Fame

1936 Airstream Clipper

(Vintage RV photos courtesy RV Museum and Hall of Fame)