News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America. Sightings Vol. 9, No. 6 September 24, 2013

Art: Secret Caverns

You might already know we're easy marks for tourist attractions rhapsodizing space visitors, mushroom clouds, underground waterfalls, and 1970s prog album covers. The guide-artists of Secret Caverns have stippled and stroked an entire netherworld cosmology of this stuff, ostensibly to lure travelers to take their commerical cave tour. But if you spend long enough staring at their hand-painted masterpieces, you will be sucked into their fantasy world. And you'll get the munchies.

The Art of Secret Caverns


Map of Secret Billboards

While we were on this summer's visit to Cobleskill, NY, the Secret Caverns gang promised us they'd help map the locations of their craziest billboards. Behold!

Secret Caverns Billboard Map

Billboard Map


Mountain of McKinleys

William McKinley wasn't as much of a rock star as our first and second most popular assassinated Presidents, but he did have his fans. When he was shot by a crazy gunman in September 1901, a mourning nation paid tribute. Today you can visit McKinley statues, museums and other landmarks. Note: At least one of us has contracted a chronic case of William McKinley Eye*.

A Mountain of McKinleys [ Map ]

Mckinley Map


Spotted by Tipsters

Our mobile contributors have learned that a fleeting glimpse of a lumpy shadow in a backyard may turn out to be the Greatest Discovery in History...

Backyard Terrors.Tipster Chris K. came across the Backyard Terrors and Dinosaur Park in Bluff City, Tennessee. In addition to the dagger-toothed dinos, the terrors include skeletal pirates and bloody horror clowns.

S.S. Cole.Found by Jen S. in Thurmont, Maryland, Lawyer's Farm has a 40-foot-tall Transformers robot and a home-built tribute to the terrorist-struck S.S. Cole.

Goddess of Life.Matt L. sent a pic of the stone-veil-shrouded Creepy Goddess of Life statue in West Branch, Iowa. Creepy.

As always, a big thank you to all our sharp-eyed tipsters! Check out more discoveries in the very Latest Tips.


Tourism News

ReaganLong gone from the crucible of power, Ronald Reagan again felt the heat when a statue of him was set on fire in Temecula, California. He was charred, but The Gipper is still standing, and the town has vowed to clean him up.

Leaning Tower.Battling back from the floods of Superstorm Sandy, much of the boardwalk at Seaside Heights has burned up, depriving New Jersey (at least for the rest of 2013) of one of its top culinary destinations.

Big Indian.The World's Tallest Indian, in Skowhegan, Maine, has for many years been surprisingly difficult to see behind trees and dumpsters -- but the town plans to clear the vista (and repair the Indian) for 2014.

Get more info about these and other breaking news stories on the Roadside America Twitter feed.


When in the Neighborhood...

CameraThese new Research Targets seem worthy. We'd appreciate it if you could swing by in your travels to snap a pic and/or write a visitor tip.

Submit a Tip


Road Tools and Tips

RandomTucked into the lower left corner of the Roadside America home page is the Roadside Random Destination generator. Click it and it transports you to one of our thousands of Field Reports, attractions personally vetted by the editors for travel satisfaction. Try Random.


Happy randomizing,
The Team

* William McKinley Eye: A medical condition we imagined for the uncanny ability to spot a McKinley statue, even by peripheral vision at twilight while driving by at high speed.

Mobile Apps

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America App for iPhone: Update 1.8.4
$2.99 (inc. access to 1 region); addtl. regions in-app optional purchase.
iOS 6+ iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)
9,000+ Offbeat attractions, research targets. Fun trip tools. Option to open in Google Maps. iOS7 update coming soon!

Roadside Presidents App for iPhone: Update 1.3.4 - iOS 6 + iPhone, iPod touch, (iPad compatible. Full of nutty, surprising, and obscure Presidential sights, photos, maps. Factoids and fun poked at our leaders!
iOS7 update coming soon!

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Main image: Some of the Secret Caverns crew in front of the bat mouth entrance, Cobleskill, NY.