Road trip news, rants, and ruminations by the Editors of RoadsideAmerica.com
July 14, 2020
We live in wondrous (and confusing) times. Driving in our ever-smarter cars, we ingest up-to-the-minute data and maps, then take advice from robots about where to eat and pee. Yet, along America’s highways and back roads, dinosaurs still roam; pigs fly; and junked cars park nose-down in the ground. Pink elephants stare into the distance and quietly wonder who stole their martinis.*
Tim O’Brien might be able to answer that. He’s an expert at divining what may entertain you.
Our friend Tim is a huge fan — and an investigator — of roadside attractions. He’s been a frequent contributor to the Roadside America website. He’s an award-winning photojournalist, has been a senior editor at Amusement Business magazine, and spent ten years as a public relations executive for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!
Tim recently launched his 18th book: Tim O’Brien’s Roadside Pics & Picks — The Huge, The High, The Half-Buried. Publishing a book of roadside attraction photos during a lockdown pandemic might seem to be inauspicious timing — or it might be a perfect tonic for the new normal.
The book’s prelude starts with Tim’s warning: “I am a son of wanderlust and I have a camera.”
Roadside Pics & Picks is a photography exhibit of unique art environments, statues and other eye-catchers. It’s the visually weird stuff. The attractions are off the interstates, but conveniently along the highways and backroads — and accessible to all.
“I can’t imagine even one location featured in the book that is off limits or unsafe for a visit, ” Tim told us.
Tim’s photos exclusively feature each attraction — no tourists crowds or selfies. He groups themes of imagery — a leaping swordfish-on-a-pole in Ft. Lauderdale, FL shares a page with a catfish-on-a-pole in Burns, TN, and a spread of other skewered fish giants.
Many pages are devoted to scenes from RA mainstays such as the Forevertron, Salvation Mountain, and Cadillac Ranch — but also the less visited sites: International Car Forest of the Last Church, the House of Half-Buried Cars, and Boathenge. The images are large and colorful, and will leave you itching to hit the road yourself … and that includes us. Thanks, Tim!
Tim O’Brien’s Roadside Pics & Picks: The Huge, The High, The Half-Buried 174 pp, Casa Flamingo Literary Arts, Nashville, TN From Amazon: Print: $34.99 Kindle: $19.99
* Excerpt stolen from the forward Doug wrote for Tim’s book.