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If you aren’t new around here, you already know how much effort James and I put into planning out our RV road trips. We spend weeks before a trip creating our “Binder of Fun” with its 100’s of pages detailing our itinerary down to about every two hours of activity.
We start the planning by mapping out our driving route, and then we turn to the website www.roadsideamerica.com. The website lists hundreds of quirky stops all over the country….complete with photos and narratives of each place. We hone in on the two hour point along our planned driving route, and we pick the most interesting stop in the area from the Roadside America site. We believe that stopping every two hours not only is a more healthful way of surviving long days on the road, but also makes the drive a billion times more interesting. Since our last RV trip had a total of 90 hours of driving, we had to plan over 40 Roadside America stops. Woosh! That’s a lot. So you see how this sort of planning can become time-consuming. But, just look at some of the fun we had on our latest trip! Had we not spent all those hours planning ahead, we would have driven right by all these super cool (and sometimes freaky weird) things.
First stop: Meeting Emperor the Penguin in Little America, Wyoming
You can find this stuffed HUGE 4 foot penguin at the world’s largest gas station…a very busy and famous stop along I-80 in Wyoming. Back in the 30’s, the owners shipped this penguin (still alive) from Antarctica to be the gas station’s mascot. He died en route. Trying to make the best of a bad deal, the owners had him stuffed and displayed anyway.
Next Stop: Shoes Made from Human Skin in Rawlins, Wyoming
Yes, folks, you read that right. Obviously, the picture isn’t showing the shoes. That’s because the Carbon County Museum doesn’t allow photos of them. Sorry, gang, I know you’re terribly disappointed. This strange sculpture was in the same museum, and depicts how natives would set hand traps to snag some eagle feathers. The shoes were much more interesting, and looked just like you’d expect a pair of old-timey shoes to look. So the short version of the story on the shoes goes like this: Big Nose George was a train robber and murdering outlaw from the Wild West. Parts of his skin were put to practical use after he was lynched. The governor wore the shoes, and someone else used part of his scalp as a doorstop, or maybe an ashtray. I don’t know what else to say about that. On a less creepy note, I did find this cute little book nook outside the museum:
Take a book, leave a book. I’ve been spotting these creative little free libraries everywhere lately. Now if only they could figure out how to exchange digital books inside the trees, I’d be in business.
Next stop: Pine Cone Eating Dinosaur in Laramie, Wyoming
Despite James’ terror, I actually had a blast at this stop! This copper life-sized dinosaur hangs his mouth open so students passing by (along with immature RVers) can pick up the pine cones that cover the University of Wyoming campus and attempt to lob them in his jaws. Yes, folks, I activated my GIRLPOWER and got one in. But let’s not discuss this in front of James…though he did try real hard.
And the last stop of Day #1:
Well as you can see there is no picture here. Our last Roadside America stop of the day was to see a Titan I nuclear missile that allegedly stands in a park in Kimball, Nebraska. It is there to honor all the hidden missiles that once lurked underground all around the town. We cruised that park a few times through, and while it was pitch black with lots of local teens hanging about, we couldn’t see the darned thing anywhere. Roadside America, you led us astray. But! Our very first roadside stop the next morning made up for it!
The super cool Fort Cody Trading Post and the two-headed calf!
But I’ll have to save this story for another day. After all, it’s been two hours and there is that dang two hour sitting rule…