When the journey is the true vacation it is time to find new and different things to see and experience.
Road trips are an American tradition, where much of your trip is not about the journey instead of the destination. Visiting family or friends several states away does not mean airfare is in your future, instead make the trip a road trip and learn something new and silly about the country you live in. Here are some of the best oddball road trip finds and some basics on where you can track them down. Take your time, slow down, enjoy the quirks, and sights that the American roads can offer.
Credit: WikipediaOnly an art group named Ant Farm could come up with the Cadillac Ranch installation. This modern artwork stuck into the ground in Amarillo, Texas consists of ten different Cadillacs buried nose down into the dirt off Interstate 40. The installation originated in 1974 but was moved in 1997 because the city of Amarillo was expanding and Cadillac Ranch was too close to the new booming city limits. One of the best parts of this road trip gem is that it is free to visit, friendly to animal visitors and truly original. The artwork was created for many reasons, though one specific one that car buffs will enjoy is the homage to the changing Cadillac tail fins in the cars showcased in the Texas dirt.
The United States is massive and road tripping can take you just about anywhere. One of the most original places in the country is the one spot where four different states meet at one spot, called Four Corners. This is the spot where Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado all join and it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Finding gems like this in the middle of nowhere is the true beauty of the road trip, though. Off the beaten path you’ll find this monument where there is a type of monument or plaque that you can stand on to be in all four states at one time. Surrounding the area there are vendors with great souvenirs and original handcrafted items that are wonderful keepsakes of your trip. This spot is especially good to visit with children around the age of 10 and up, as they are studying the states and capitals and other national geography from those years on in typical school curriculums. The general area of Four Corners is Navajo land and rich in Native American history as well. This road trip stop is also very affordable at just $3 per person to visit. In recent years there has been some data showing that the real spot where the four states meet might be off by roughly two and a half miles, but the history and novelty of the monument still stands tall.
This airplane attractively smashed into the ground in Philadelphia is worth a visit, if only to be surprised and awed by the sight. This newer sight was unveiled in 2011 and was the product of the imagination of Jordan Griska, a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The project is called the Grumman Greenhouse because the plane itself is a Grumman Tracker S-2E, and the cockpit area was replaced with a working greenhouse. Yep, you read that right. The artwork is a functioning greenhouse and the plane has to be watered to support the plants growing inside. The brainchild of the installation actually uses it to grow herbs and vegetables then donates them to a local food bank then returns to the plane to start all over again. That is worth at least a quick peek and a one-of-a-kind photo-op.
World’s Largest Tire
What was once a Ferris wheel featured in the World’s Fair in 1964-1965 is now transformed into the world’s largest tire and a beacon advertising the site of the Uniroyal headquarters. This unexpected sight is in Allen Park, Michigan off Interstate 94 and there are plenty of fun rumors associated with the tire. The most well-known story is the one about the tire getting loose from its fixed spot and rolling across the adjacent highway. Thankfully, that is just a rumor and the tire and its fixed base are both safe and sturdy.
World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock
There are some fun restaurant gimmicks like having a face painter on hand to doll up the munchkins or a mascot walking around for a photo-op, but there are bigger better gimmicks, too. The owners of the Grandma’s Alpine Homestead (previously Alpine Alpa) restaurant in Winesburg, Ohio took fun gimmicks to the max when they transformed the restaurant into the world’s largest cuckoo clock. The restaurant closed in 2009 and everything was sold at auction, though the new owner is looking to continue restorations on the clock and keep it in the same general area in Ohio. The clock is currently in Sugarcreek, Ohio.