UnBooks:A Guide to the American Roadside Attraction

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RoadsideGuide

Introduction

If there's one thing I love about this country, one thing that makes me wanna grab my gun in the morning and shoot out randomly into the sky, it's the God-given heat that greets me on my daily drive through our nation's sun-baked southwest. I used to work on the farms that still dot these landscapes - The same ones you may have seen on TV from your comfortable rich-ass couch up in some skyscraper. So I know a few things about the real America, up close and personal, that most people never get off their fat asses to experience themselves. Anyway, in the last twenty years I've done a lot of driving around, mostly here in the sun belt but I've been through every state in North America. I even been through Maine once, wherever the hell that is, to deliver some produce.

Surviving on the road as a truck driver makes a man watchful and a smart man knows that he's always being watched. I hung on to my job. I hung on nice and tight because the boss didn't wanna give some driving job to dumb-as-a-donut Lenny, who's momma done dropped him on his head when he was a youngin'. When I'm driving, I tend to be late with my load but it gets there safe and sound - The last time Lenny took the wheel he drove several thousand cans of creamed corn into Lake Superior. The reason I'm always behind schedule is because every time I head out into this great country, each side of the highway is adorned with signs that tempt an adventurous man to pull over and investigate for himself. Now, the National Interstate Highway System didn't use these official, shiny metal roadside-attraction signs telling us where we could pull over to see the World's Largest Artichoke[1] until 1974, back in the old days a businessman had to build something that would attract attention to his store and that's why our great country still has a legacy of Muffler Men[2] who stand eternally displaying their wares on a roadside near you.

Now, a sign like the one for The World's Second Oldest Continuously Burning Lightbulb[3] was nothing more than a small wooden post that you had to pull over and get out of your truck in order to read. The first time I sat down in my big-rig and hit the highway in Texas, I pulled over and read that very sign - The next thing you know I was on my way to see this wonder of mankind for myself. My first impression was that the bulb was small and unsatisfying, kind of pointless like a side-saddle for a cow. When I set my eyes on the bulb and stared deeply into its glowing coil, I believe God spoke to me for the first time in my life. He said, "Don't forget to pick up a T-shirt, my son". Perhaps not the "my son" part, but I definitely heard those very words when I took a step into that building. It was only the first of many glorious American roadside attractions that I was to visit over the years and since then I've been to every attraction that's got a sign I can read and a parking lot big enough for my truck. Of course, nobody but the lord and I knew about my many roadside visits but now that my employer is deceased I feel that it's time to pass some of the knowledge I've accumulated in my twenty years of truck driving to the general public. So if it was A Guide to the American Roadside Attraction that you were looking for, then hell's bells sheriff, you've just encountered one.


Borderlines

I'll never forget the fall of 1973 when I first heard these prophetic words uttered, "A man's got to know his limitations". It probably helped that the man who said those words also had a 44 Magnum in his hand - The most powerful handgun in the world which could blow your head clean off. Now, understanding state boundaries is just like understanding your limitations, which is why real Americans love a border. Up north, those Yankees seem to like marking "global" places like the 45th parallel,[4] which has something to do with being halfway between the equator and the north pole. There's also the Geographical Center of North America,[5] another pointless monument for a meaningless place. Why anybody really cares is anyone's guess because the important borders are the boundaries between these United States. Individual states' borders are the best places for keeping a watchful eye out for terrorists and smugglers. One of those places where good Americans keep their eyes peeled is the Four Corners Monument,[6] which precisely marks the spot where the states of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah all touch each other. Drop on by any time and keep an eye out for terrorists trying to exploit our precious state boundaries for the purpose of smuggling contraband to potentially illegal immigrant family members standing in other states. Just remember that every state has a different set of rules and a wise man uses that to his advantage if ya know what I mean.

Not far from the Four Corners marker is an all-American roadside attraction called the Wonder Tower,[7] which allows you to view seven (count em', seven) states from its strategic vantage point - the highest place between New York and Denver. Despite being undermanned, the owner Jerry Chubbuck has kept the Communists fooled with his parking lot filled with cars that are nothing but rusted out hulks filled with empty bottles (to fool commie spy satellites) and fake guards on top of the tower that are nothing more than sheets nailed to pieces of wood that wear sunglasses. When the weather is bad and visibility is poor, there's still a tower filled with all kinds of freaks and oddities to amuse yourselves - Just keep an eye on the little folk so they don't get their hands in the formaldehyde that's leaking from the one-eyed pig jar.

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Giant Things

The United States of America is the biggest country on earth. We got the biggest houses, the biggest guns, the biggest wallets and the largest cities. Hell, we're almost like God's own lounge - we even have the largest pieces of furniture on the planet to match. After hours of skedaddling through Alabama, you may want to take a seat at, oh, only the World's Largest Chair.[8] While you're sittin' a spell, pour yourself a cup o' coffee from the World's Largest Coffee Pot.[9] But where to stick your feet up? Well you can do this and maintain your Cherokee-killing roots by parking your bunions on the World's Largest Indian.[10] If he was any taller, people would be compelled to knock him down. Any good day drive through America should have you sipping hot beverages on or next to the world's largest something or other.

None of these modern computers and plasma screen TV's, with all their high definition, can ever take the place of seeing something unnecessarily large in person. The Largest Woman in the World[11] is downright educational and sure beats reading books. Enjoy looking at her because It's the only time you'll ever find a woman who's able to see over God's America. For people who like experiencing the extreme, perhaps you'd like to take a first-class mail order ride to Nebraska and see the World's Largest Ball of Stamps.[12] The ball, which stopped growing in the 1950s, once went missing - causing the town to lose all their tourist dollars and the townspeople to go broke. When they ran out of indigenous animals to eat, the adults ended up devouring their own children. Later they found out that the ball had been sent through the mail to Alaska by local pranksters - most likely the children. Serves 'em right. Over in Georgia you'd be nuts to avoid the monument to the World's Largest Peanut,[13] which is very much worth it's salt. The only other peanut-related attraction is the Jimmy Carter Peanut,[14] so there's really only one commendable peanut attraction in the world to speak of and we have it right here in America.

No matter what, God intended us to be large and large we shall be. Take a good look at the official list of the world's largest roadside attractions and you can see that the United States is still the place to be for all things super-sized - even waistlines. The obvious choice to fulfill your destiny as an obese American is to visit the World's Largest donut.[15] It belongs to a man named Randy and he's often spoken of the pleasure of owning a massive hole, as well as selling a few real ones himself. You'll be so surprised by the size of the donuts they offer, it's guaranteed to stop your heart.

Bigmary
Big Mary found out the hard way that defiance of her human masters would not be tolerated

Man vs Nature

Sometimes animals just don't seem to know their place and understand that mankind is their rightful master. That's why our country is filled with testaments to man's dominion over the animal kingdom. You can't drive a full day through America and not pass by a monument to some circus elephant who bit the hand that fed em. One of the more famous killer pachyderms was Big Mary,[16] who stomped a man to death and left the circus' owner with a publicity problem. Who wants to get near a killer elephant? Nobody. Who wants to watch a killer elephant get hanged (using a giant crane and chain) for daring to raise a foot in anger? Everyone. So that's exactly what they did.

As my dad and my brother used to say, "a good animal, is a daid animal". As for me, I'm a little less extreme than my kin, I only shoot things that move y'see. That right there sums up my view on animals - shoot 'em. It's easy to get lost in the thrill of God's natural plan when you sight a critter in your scope and pull that hairline trigger. For those of you that love the thrill of the hunt there's plenty of roadside attractions in America where you can go inside a room filled with every creature under the sun, stuffed and prominently displayed for your enjoyment. However, there's only one place you can sit down to a meal while being completely surrounded with the stuffed carcasses of big game animals - The Safari Room in Wyoming.[17]

Of course, not all roadside attractions that feature dead animals are about rogue beasts that dared to defy man's hand. In fact, there are many sites which pay tribute to animals who loved and served their masters as best they could. One of the most revered dogs of all time is Jim the Wonder Dog[18] who was claimed by his owner to have exhibited the ability to correctly choose the winner of the Kentucky Derby for seven years. It's not surprising that this country is loaded with tributes to the finest examples of man's best friend.[19] A good dog's eternal reward is to be stuffed and put on display to keep his memory alive. One special pooch who's story has always touched my heart is that of Auditor the Strip Mine Dog[20] who lived to the ripe old age of seventeen despite living the life of a stray dog on a strip mine operation. It sure sends a message to all those Inviro-mentalists that the smoke, coal dust and effluent produced by strip minin' is nothing to worry about.

MummiesOTI


Occasionally, mankind needs to slap mother nature upside the head and send her back into the kitchen - that's why our control and harvest of nature is the subject of many a fine roadside attraction, serving as a testament to that fact that man is the boss. Machines like Big Brutus[21] used to work round the clock scooping out house-sized chunks of earth in the endless search for coal to fuel the American home fires. In Ohio, another piece of earth moving history is proudly displayed as well - Big Muskie[22] was once the biggest earth moving machine in the world and I sure wish they would have used it to build a giant berm on the border between the US and Mexico. If all this talk about earth moving gives you a hankerin' for a bit of recreational digging yourself, then grab a shovel and head out to Kennecott's Bingham Canyon Mine, also known as the world's largest exposed strip mining pit[23] - it just might feed that Jones. In Arkansas, they've got a little gem of an attraction that any tunneling kind of man can enjoy. At the Crater of Diamonds State Park,[24] you can just about get rich overnight at this free-for-all digging attraction because you gets to keep any diamonds that you find! More people than you might think find these gems but you'd better find at least a couple of em' to cover your costs on the flashlight, helmet and pick rental - not to mention the hourly rate.

American ingenuity is definitely one of the reasons why we're able to control wildlife and nature in this country. Being American also means having the ability to control people in other parts of the world as well. Mel, the cook on the hit TV sitcom Alice had it right when he said that the best D-fence is a good O-fence and nothing demonstrates the great history of our offensiveness than the Atomic Testing Museum[25] in the great state of Nevada. It's a perfect opportunity for the youngins' to experience a simulated nuclear bomb test. Of course, any historical tour of our country's awesome power should also include the brand new Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Missile Silo Historic Site.[26] For those people who don't believe in our former President Ronald Reagan's great vision, you should probably go take a peek at the Congressional Fallout Shelter[27] if you had any doubts about our American values surviving anything those Rooskies throw at us.

MysterySpot

Mystery Spots

Now if you asked if I had any braincells, I'd probably say that I don't know what you're talking about. My mind ain't addled with all that foolishness. Instead, I keep a hold of almighty God to enlighten me (I ain't talking Buddha here, the Buddha god, or whatever the hell those Injuns call him, he don't exist) with whatever I needs to know. Of course, that's excluding the many mysteries I encounter and investigate on the road. I'm not talking about that useless science stuff that don't contribute to America none, like AIDS research or hydrogen cars, I'm talking about real mysteries like the Vortex of Oregon.[28]

Now before I went to Oregon for the first time, the greatest mystery on my mind was whatever the hell my wife was doing when she was supposed to be writing me letters while I was on the other side of the country (as well as finding out how crappy Oregon really was). That all changed, much to my now-dead wife's relief, when I finally came up to see the Oregon vortex. This place has all kind of weird stuff going on, such as height phenomena where you look like a midget in one spot and 8 foot tall in the other. Tennis balls roll uphill, brooms stand on end... Yeah, to me it's still a mystery why anybody buys this crap.

About a day's drive south of there will take you to California and yet another Mystery Spot[29] which features the same stuff as the place in Oregon but has a different kind of mystery than they advertise. Back in the 70's I made a couple runs out to that area and stopped at anyplace with a big sign and lots of promises. All those years ago, the Mystery Spot was located in Felton but today its somehow moved itself to Branciforte Road in Santa Cruz - about five miles away. I think the only mystery out there is why the nearby Santa's Village[30] went out of business. Now there was a real old fashioned roadside attraction that you just don't see anymore.

Henges

If you've ever taken a day trip to our little known 52nd state called England, you'd know that their so-called attractions are nothing more than piles of stony crap called castles, some mounds and a place called Stonehenge. I've never been to England and that's because I really never needed to. We got our own piles of rock, rubbish and polystyrene that beat the living crap out of their old junk. Why, we have eight different Stonehenge style attractions and none of them are those stupid rock hassles either - we live in the 21st century for god's sake! We got real henges, made of trucks, Cadillacs, foam, trees, disused ICBMs, refrigerators and so on.

The only henge that should interest someone like me is a place called Truckhenge[31] in Kansas but Its not the kind of monument I'd suggest taking any children to visit. It was created by a liberal beatnik called Ron Lessman, who having made enemies with the right and proper health and zoning officials of Shawnee County, decided to create this mess of trucks - all tossed haphazardly around his property and decorated with slogans, some of em' a little too hippie for my likin'. Ron claims to enjoy some 300 visitors a day, but I find his liberal bias very hard to trust. I did take a gander myself once but I had to park my rig a mile away so it wasn't towed off. I have to be honest though, it ain't anywhere as good as Carhenge in Nebraska. Carhenge is situated outside the good town of Alliance and the crusty residents initially wanted it torn down. However, a campaign started by the rest of the state of Nebraska called Keep Nebraska from Being Boring ensured that ordinary Joes like you and me can still view this stunning monument today.

Unbookslogo
The novel A Guide to the American Roadside Attraction is also available in paperback.
AREURchrist1
This Giant Jesus can be found on the Texas-Mexico border. Not only does the statue spread Christian beliefs, it also acts a large "Stop foreigners, do not enter this holy land" sign for all the crazy Mexicans trying to get in

Religious

America is God. No doubt about it. God... Is us. We Americans, who love God, who loves us, revere God and Jesus, and will forever do their divine bidding. That crusade can start by packing the car, filling the tank and going south to visit the Giant Jesus.[32] Jesus is, as good Americans know, supreme in all our hearts and is most certainly bigger than the Beatles - that knowledge is a literate fact. Come and pray to the Giant Jesus, or go to hell. Seriously.

Of course if that giant Jesus isn't close enough to you, there's plenty of giant Praying Hands[33] and Commandments[34] to prove your faith and ultimate value as an American.

If you're a recent 'reborn', there is no finer way to brush up on your science-bashing skills than taking a trip to the Creation Museum in Texas.[35] This museum teaches everything you need to know about the problems inherent with the so-called fruit of "scientific minds" and how dinosaurs lived together with humans - literally arm in arm. There is also a Creation Museum in Kentucky[36] but it's run by Protestants, so avoid that place. Speaking of museums, you may want to step in and lose yourself in the next best thing to a book, a living bible-walk museum in Ohio.[37] The place has most of the stories from the bible acted out by waxwork figures of biblical statures. The figures themselves attempt to show these stories in graphic detail....just a little too damn much for my likin'. It kind of freaked me the hell out.

Still, there are other decent evangelicals doing a useful job spreading the word of the bible, but for a serious cause - the rebuilding of Noah's Ark[38]. The idea came to the good Pastor Richard Greene in 1974 when Jesus told him repeatedly to build an Ark next to interstate 68. It wasn't until 1999 that somebody else found himself talking to Greene for some apparent reason, and the first parts of the Ark were set in place. During the construction, several miracles took place, such as a man who was healed of bronchitis, and another of his sun allergy. In any case, even if this lousy Ark is never finished, God's miracles have proved why stem cell research oughta be banned.

Hitler's Nazi Reich

The Nazi story really goes all the way back to the war of 1917-1918, which happened in Yerp and was won by Uncle Sam. The losers of that war, the Kaiser roll Germans, were still spoiling for a fight so in 1939 they done elected a Nazi guy named Hitler. Now this man went on and killed some 6 million jews or something but I don't really care much about that. The real point is that the greatest generation this country has ever known marched across Yerp and kicked a bunch of Nazi ass all the way back to Berlin - while saving the hides of those British and French. Plucky and victorious American GI's came home with many a souvenir of war that ended up on display at roadside attractions. What better place is there to start off a serious tour than by visiting Hitler's Tea Service.[39] Adolf (that be his first name) must have really liked his tea, because if he didn't absolutely love the crap this attraction wouldn't make any sense, would it? In the 21st century, Hitler doesn't look like such a bad guy after all. Every Limey drinks tea, so why not come over to Hitler's tea service and pour yourself a cup of history, take a swig and feel Yerpean - Or better yet, Nazi.

You can find Hitler's 1937 Rolls Royce way out in Arizona, It's not too hard to find because the owner of the venue that displays the car has plastered about 247 billboards and signs over 200 square miles to advertise their main attraction, The Thing.[40] Hitler allegedly used that very vehicle to drive up and down his empire on wet Sundays to wave at the throngs of cheering, oppressed masses on the road from Berlin to Paris. Next up is this whole tedious list of Hitler Stuff[41] for your entertainment, make sure to study it well and see how many Nazi stops you can make on your next cross country road trip.

Now don't let those screamin' little whipper-snappers, clawing at each other in the back seat worry you none. Your Hitler trip can also be a KiDz FrIeNdLy zone too! For the kids that love trains, railroads and the smell of hot smoke, make sure to choo-choo your way to the exhilarating and educational Holocaust Boxcar.[42] The parents can pretend to be guards while every boy and girl gets their own yellow star to pin on their shirt. If your lookin' to keep a good watch on the neighbors, waste no time in getting yourself a good vantage point on the exciting and authentic POW Camp Guard Tower.[43] People of every age love playing in a fort or guard tower but here's where the kids get to learn that fascist xenophobia can not only get you places, it's fun!

Mammysbanner


Cannibals and Killing: American Style

Of course, Americans know all about killin'. People have been killing and eating each other here in America for hundreds of years before Adolph Hitler was even born. Is it any wonder that there's plenty roadside monuments and museums to commemorate Americas most famous massacres? There's too many places where Indians got snuffed out to mention but if you're out west you'd be inclined to visit the numerous sites in Colorado celebrating Alferd Packer[44], Americas favorite cannibal. Of course, nobody can forget the infamous Donner Party [45] so if you're headed all the way to California, you can pay your respects at the monument and museum while you're crossing the Sierra Nevada.

If you're headed back east you can start your murder tour in Iowa at the Villisca Ax Murder House and Museum[46], or take a peek at three human fingers in a jar at the Wood County Historical Museum in Bowling Green, Ohio.[47] They even have the knife that cut those fingers off and the noose that hung the man who did it. Of course there's nothing like visiting the god fearing state of Massachusetts where they have Lizzie Borden Murderabilia[48] and more sites to celebrate the Salem Witch Trials[49] than you can shake a stick at.

All across this great country, our tourist attractions reflect who we are. By now you should have a good idea about what it means to be American and what it means to watch your ass if you ain't. Anybody that crosses Americans over here in our country runs the risk of being reduced to a plaque and a pile of stones marking the spot where you got torn to pieces in a hail of gunfire or skinned alive and burned at the stake. Just remember, the next monument I check out just might be made outta you!


Footnotes

  1. Steer clear of the hippies in nearby Santa Cruz
  2. Here's where you can find every one in these great United States
  3. And no, I didn't stumble into no power station, it's right here
  4. Just in case your interested in what northerners like
  5. Complete with Mexican and Canadian flags. What a bunch of shit
  6. Here's the website from those wonderful folks in Utah
  7. It's even called a legend of America
  8. Not quite big enough for God though
  9. I never have a second cup at home
  10. This attraction gets more visitors than my sister Mary-Louise's vagina but most of them visitors come there to spit at that god-damned redskin
  11. Still no bigger than any short man.
  12. Nobody really cares but here's the link anyway
  13. Who doesn't love peanuts?
  14. Horrible president, horrible attraction
  15. Mmmmmmmmm, Donuts
  16. Unfortunately, some of the good people of Tennessee have fallen prey to the politically correct police and are ashamed of this
  17. I had a Bengal Tiger fajitas the last time I was there
  18. He was a good boy
  19. Did you really think you'd find any heroic cats anywhere?
  20. He was a good boy too
  21. Now that's a machine!
  22. I could make a house out of that thing
  23. They've already given you a good head start
  24. Only in America
  25. Freedom testing museum
  26. Opening in 2009!
  27. We will survive
  28. I was always sayin', Oregon is a hole
  29. There's an awful lot of Mystery Spots in America
  30. Such a wonderful place
  31. You'd think if it has trucks, it has to be good
  32. Oh lord, you are so big. You are so immensely huge. And quite enormous. We're all very impressed down here, you know
  33. Or them hands might be smiting you down someday soon
  34. Just in case you can't remember them any other way
  35. Texas gets better and better
  36. Kentucky Fried Creationism
  37. What's round around the side and high in the middle? Ohio!
  38. All aboard, one and all! Oh sorry, only two of all
  39. Hm, oh god, very interesting. Hm, yeah.
  40. It's just some mannequin with a Gorilla mask
  41. How much crap can one dictator have?
  42. All aboard the fail train!
  43. Raus, uncle Sam! Raus!
  44. He even had a musical made in his honor
  45. My favorite cannibals
  46. Everyone loves an ax murder house
  47. They say the museum was built on them fingers
  48. She gave my wallet 40 whacks!
  49. God fearing people at their best
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