Lirpa Anad Nitsud.
Lirpa Anad Nitsud out by the highway; Junkosaurus is hidden behind the tree.

Junk Creatures of Mike Goggans - Lirpa Anad Nitsud

Field review by the editors.

Fort Payne, Alabama

"How many dinosaurs have you thrown away?" asks Mike Goggans, who built a 21-foot-tall Tyranosaurus out of junk and named it Junkosaurus Wrecks. Mike explains that dinosaurs became extinct, their bodies became fuel, fuel powered industry, industry made things, things became junk, then Mike took the junk and built a dinosaur.

Junkosaurus Wrecks.
Junkosaurus Wrecks: 21 feet tall, 35 feet long. It took ten years to build.

It may not rock the world as a cycle-of-life philosophy, but it works for Mike.

Junkosaurus is the masterpiece (thus far) of Mike's junk art. Although it stands along a well-traveled tourist route, few people know of it. That's because everyone -- including us, initially -- will stop to look at one of Mike's earlier creations, a chrome roadside junk robot named Lirpa Anad Nitsud, and fail to realize that more creatures lurk only a hundred feet away behind some trees.

Lirpa, said Mike, was built in 1999. Then he "quit throwing everything away" and started to work on Junkosaurus. It took him ten years. "I'd go for a while, stop, do something else," said Mike. "Then I'd get all inspired and go back to work on him." The entire creature, said Mike, is held together using only wire and thousands of nuts and bolts. It weighs nearly two tons.

Mike is a family man with a home and a normal desk job, not a stereotypical visionary artist. But he sees things in junk that others do not. Mike pointed out that the Junkosaurus hands are mailboxes and its claws are jumper cable clamps. The creature's spine is an old TV antenna; its ribs are make from metal bed frames. Along its exterior we spotted spark plugs, hair curlers, license plates, a cordless phone, a bicycle, a toilet seat. A muffin pan has become a wart on the dinosaur's nose.

Mike Goggans.
Mike Goggans with Junky Munky, who has eyes made of lamp bulb sockets.

Junk Creatures of Mike Goggans.

"My wife said, 'Why'd you want to put that in there?'" said Mike of the toilet seat.

"She said it scares her to think what is in his mind sometimes," added Sue, Mike's sister.

Mike's other sculptures are similarly scavenged. Lirpa has hubcap biceps, Zerk Zing Gugbloot (another robotic emissary) has a helmet made of speaker cones. Mike has built a kangaroo with flip-flops for ears and a monkey with lamp socket eyeballs.

"You want to take a picture of my pile of junk?" asks Mike.

How could we refuse? Mike pulls back a tarp to reveal half-rusted garden and shop tools, automotive parts, and relics from various home improvement projects. "This will be something else some day," said Mike, mentioning that he might want to build a giant King Kong to face off against his dinosaur.

Most of Mike's creations stand inside a fenced yard that Sue sometimes rents out for events and weddings. Visitors who want to see them all can call ahead and schedule a time when Mike or Sue can drive out and open the property. Trashosaurus is big enough to easily be seen over the fence, if only people knew to look for it.

Junkaroo.
Junkaroo has a baby in her pouch and flip-flops for ears.

"I was headin' on toward retirement and I thought, 'Well, this is something I could mess with,'" said Mike of his sculptures. "But when you get to be my age, you figure if you're gonna doing something, you gotta hurry up."

Junk Creatures of Mike Goggans - Lirpa Anad Nitsud

Address:
DeSoto Pkwy, Fort Payne, AL
Directions:
From downtown Fort Payne (US Hwy 11) turn east at the stoplight onto Hwy 35/5th Ave. SE. Follow it up the mountain for 2.5 miles. At the blinker light, turn left (north) onto Hwy 89/DeSoto Pkwy. Drive 2.5 miles. You'll come to a blinker light with a Shell station on the right. You'll see the shiny robot on the left. Junkosaurus is behind it, hidden behind a tree.
Hours:
By appt. to be let into the gated yard. (Call to verify)
Phone:
256-845-9162
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Church With a Rock In ItChurch With a Rock In It, Mentone, AL - 3 mi.
Joe's Truck StopJoe's Truck Stop, Fort Payne, AL - 4 mi.
Bronze Statues Of The Band AlabamaBronze Statues Of The Band Alabama, Fort Payne, AL - 4 mi.
In the region:
Mini-Railroad Inside Choo-Choo Hotel, Chattanooga, TN - 44 mi.

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