When I last blogged, I was in the middle of my story about the weird and predominantly tacky stops James & I made on our last 5000-mile-90-hours-of-driving RV Trip of Fun. If you missed that post, Roadside America is a wacky little website James and I use to map out driving breaks every two hours on all our road trips. It’s pretty easy for a bored RVer driving cross country to get excited about kitschy, politically-incorrect tourist traps…and the Roadside America website encourages just that. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to see this:
Two-Headed Calf at the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte, Nebraska
Apparently, the calf was born on a Nebraska ranch in the mid-1900’s and only lived for two days. He’s now stuffed and protected by a glass case where he spends his days being photographed by fellow easily-excitable road trippers like us. But this little guy (guys?) isn’t the only reason you should swing in. The “trading post” is also quite proud of its Wild West show in miniature…something like 20,000 hand carved pieces that actually move around every half hour, complete with card-playing cowboys, arrow-shooting Indians, and lots of little soldiers marching about. James became about 8 years old again and was transfixed by the miniature show. I had to bribe him with ice cream to get him out of there.
So how do you top a stop like that?!? I’ll TELL you how, folks. You head two hours east to Lexington, Nebraska:
Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles
We were initially on the hunt for a statue that recreated America’s hasty retreat during the fall of Saigon that was somewhere outside the museum. You’ve all seen that famous photo…the helicopter on the roof, Americans lined up and getting pulled in to the helicopter. James decided we needed a picture of us pretending to be evacuees boarding the helicopter. We ended up sidetracked by the museum itself…it was a military history buff’s dream! You actually get to go inside tanks, helicopters, and all sorts of other exciting military vehicles and you can push all the buttons you want!!!
The museum not only houses 100’s of old military vehicles, it also has pretty impressive displays of weapons, uniforms, and all sorts of other military equipment that I knew nothing about. We completely forgot about our hunt for the fall of Saigon statue and spent the next hour exploring the museum and crawling around the vehicles. It wasn’t until we were back on I-80, still reeling and giddy from the whole experience, that we finally spotted the fall of Saigon statue. Dangit all! We missed our photo op. We shall return, Heartland Museum. We shall return.
World’s Largest Covered Wagon in Milford, Nebraska
That’s me, jumping about. Remember, our stops every two hours aren’t only to see roadside weirdness. The main purpose of our stops is to get 15 minutes of exercise. So, I was multi-tasking. Posing for the picture AND getting my workout in. I do have to say, this stop had us both befuddled. The world’s largest covered wagon is sort of in the middle of Nothingness, Nebraska. It’s just an exit off of I-80 that used to be a gas station. Yet, the covered wagon building is now a golf cart store. So, let’s recap.
1. Here we have the world’s largest covered wagon.
2. Over a store that sells golf carts.
3. In the middle of nowhere.
I love America.
Volkswagon Beetle Spider in Avoca, Iowa:
No need to scream and jump up on your chair (no wait, that was me). This giant arachnid on the edge of an Iowa cornfield is just a sculpture, we’re all safe. So safe, you can use it to do a few pull-ups before you hit the road again; at least that’s what James did as part of his required 15 minutes of exercise. But did you know this spider isn’t an only child? Apparently, it has its long steel-legged siblings all over the US! There have been Beetle Spider sightings in California, Oklahoma, and Nevada amongst others. Next time we are out scuttling about those parts, I plan to find them.
So there you have it. Those four stops were all in one day’s driving. We banked 10 hours behind the RV wheel on this particular day, and even with that ridiculous amount of driving, it turned out we had a blast of a day! That’s completely due to the quirky roadside stops.
If you haven’t yet traveled this way, making lots of stops, seeing the fabulousness that is Roadside America, I really REALLY hope you’ll try it. It completely changes the dynamic of a long journey. Instead of looking at the end destination as the place where your fun begins, you actually turn the drive time itself into part of the fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find new, previously uncharted weirdness of your own!