Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
November 16, 2008
In this unscientific user response poll, we asked: Which of the following would make you detour furthest from your travel route:
- Obscure monument or grave
- Muffler Man
- Theme park with wild rides
- Chance to drive on Route 66
- Crusty coot with a tale to tell
The poll ran on RoadsideAmerica.com through the wild gas price arc of Summer and Fall 2008, so it’s hard to tell whether that factored into the preferences voters showed (and keep in mind our wording doesn’t exclude the other choices as good destinations)
Here are the results, and our usual rationalizations:
36% of respondents would go furthest out of their way to Drive on Route 66. The actual Mother Road may be in tatters, but its fabled predecessor is still a popular state-of-mind for road trippers.
Even if travelers don’t see much other than Route 66 signs on every single business along its length, they can brag to the folks at home that they drove part of the famous road.
30% of respondents would detour for an Obscure Monument or grave. This may be the real hard core of Roadside America as we see it, whether you were thinking about that tomb shaped like a Mercedes Benz, or a monument to the Father of Gynecology.
But you could argue it’s also another case of bragging rights. “I’ve been to the Tuberculin Rabbit Shrine — have you?”
We don’t get this one: 15% of voters would travel off-route furthest to go to a Theme park with wild rides. Yippee! That’s not a big %, but since we don’t write (or care much) about theme parks with wild rides, we’re wondering who these corporate day ticket thrill-seekers are.
On their way to Six Flags, did they mistakenly exit onto our poll?
Crusty coot with a tale to tell garnered a not-so-impressive 13%. Maybe we should have labeled as a “visionary” instead of as a “coot.” We were thinking of the many elder characters we’ve met along the road — the great artists, builders, collectors. These individuals may be a risk to “detour” for, since they can’t be trusted to stay put — like Route 66. Perhaps results were also skewed by voters already having a family member who’s a coot, telling the same tale, over, and over, and over…
The least favored for a lengthy detour: Muffler Man. Only 4% — though still several hundred of you — would stray for this choice over the others. Is it their ubiquity? The near-identical fiberglass statues can be found from coast-to-coast. Or has America lost its interest in these giants?
Guess we’ll have to run another poll….