News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 10, No. 9 - August 1, 2014

Show Us Your Floats!

Dog Days sizzle like an egg on the sidewalk at Mardi Gras World. The warehouse that shelters New Orleans' most over-the-top parade art was roasting on the summer afternoon that we visited, but that didn't deter our appreciation of giant-size versions of party-boys Yoda, Uncle Sam, and Satan, all under one roof.

Women of Strength, America Salutes You

Rosie the Riveter.The Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center at the Richmond, California shipyards honors the real-life versions of the World War II torch-brandishing poster gal. Elsewhere, the Statue of the Cannon Lady celebrates one woman's take-charge approach to government dysfunction.

The President Wore a Dress

Pierce Home.Places where Presidents lived are only boring if you don't pay attention. The most eye-catching item in the historic home of Franklin Pierce (U.S. President #14), aside from his beaver hat, is the little red dress he may have worn as a child.

Titan Survivor of the Texas Panhandle

Big Tex.Tex Randall, formerly the World's Tallest Texan (and not to be confused with the TX state fair giant), has faced over 50 years of merciless Panhandle wind and weather. He's still awkwardly standing, and ready for a long-overdue makeover.

Pittsburgh's Sneaky Submarine

Submarine.The USS Requin, a workhorse World War II battle sub, was given a fancy fake conning tower and sent out on missions to befuddle the Commies -- which it did for decades. It's made of steel, so it's perfectly at home moored in the river in the Steel City.

Frenzy Over Austin

Purple Martins.If there's a chance the sky will be blotted out by flying creatures, who would object to standing around in a parking lot waiting for it to happen? The Purple Martins roosting at a mall in Austin are a FREE summer evening thrill. Austin is also home to a nightly bat mass exodus from under a bridge.

Cadillac Ranch Made of Yugos

Yugos.The Iron-Curtain-era Yugo is one of history's favorite comedy cars. Two Connecticut artists have taken three of these bucket-of-bolts autos and turned them into a patriotic-hued tribute to the late Stanley Marsh 3, who gave the world the iconic Cadillac Ranch.


Spotted by Tipsters

Yellowstone Bear World.Bears on Asphalt: You can't feed bears from your car window any more in Yellowstone National Park, but shutterbug Shari B. shadowed a curated tour truck dispensing bear snacks at nearby Yellowstone Bear World in Idaho.

Mecca Muffler Man.On With His Head! Tipster S. Winston was first to report the glad tidings that the Muffler Man of Mecca, who lost his head in 2001 and then vanished from the roadside in 2007, has returned with a reattached noggin... dutifully updated on the Muffler Men Map.

Showgirl.Off With Her Clothes! Las Vegas' towering Sin City Sindy has never been overdressed, but Mary C. learned that the indoor bar giant with the stripper pole may have originally worn real undergarments -- until they were stolen.

Waterski show.Affordable Aqua-Acrobats: In Florida, water ski performances in Tower Lake are free, courtesy of the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team. Tipster Walter H. took in a summer evening show and suggested purchasing refreshments there to support the Team.

The VillagersTown of History's Phantoms: Tipster Emily came across an eerie community art project named The Villagers, which has taken over a tiny rural Nebraska town with scores of 2-D black-and-white olde-timey people, on street corners, porches, and in yards.

Catfish.King of Catfish: A giant catfish lashed to the roof of a pickup truck is already a classic postcard image brought to life. Megstar1220 shared a pic that shows why people make photo-ops even better.

For more fun discoveries and updates from the road, head over to the Latest Tips.


Latest News on Roadside America

Graceland Too.A great loss of a unique roadside collector and entertainer: Paul McLeod, owner of Graceland Too, died sitting on its front porch the day after killing an intruder with a handgun at that same doorway. The attraction plans to reopen for one day, August 12, in Paul's memory.

After years in the dark, World's Largest Thermometer was relit for one day; it hopes to be lit permanently later this year. The John Dillinger Museum closed (it's moving to a new town) while the nature-gone-haywire Coudersport Ice Mine reopened. Both the World's Tallest Indian and Rock River Colossus (another big Indian) are undergoing much-needed repairs.

Billionaire Elon Musk reportedly donated $1 million to speed construction of a museum at Tesla's last laboratory, while the World's Largest Catsup Bottle is looking for a benefactor of its own (some think they see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile circling hungrily).

The Smithsonian pulled the last passenger pigeon out of mothballs for its extinction centennial.

Finally, a British tabloid wrote that Arizona's London Bridge would be bulldozed and replaced with a legalized drug zone, "Hemped in Havasu" -- a claim that the paper was later forced to retract.

Keep pace with important attraction updates on the Roadside America Twitter feed.


Never eat a sidewalk egg,
The Team

Apps & Tools

Roadside America iPhone app My Sights Route Planner
Save places you read about on to your computer, create a trip, and then email it to friends or export a .cvs file to upload onto a GPS device (Garmin, TomTom, etc.). Learn more and try it!


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June-July 2014

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Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America App for iPhone: v. 1.8.7
10,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, inc. new research targets, interactive "Near Me" maps, Sunset Alert, Tourist Interruptus (yes, you might need this).

$2.99 on the App Store (inc. access to 1 region); addtl. regions or "All Access" unlock is optional in-app purchase.
iOS 7 iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)


Roadside Presidents App for iPhone: v. 1.3.7
POTUS road trip! New photos, new landmarks, essential Roadside Presidential sights. The legacy of our leaders — inspired, uplifting, hapless, tragic — first ladies, assassins, and ample patriotic bunting.

$2.99. iOS 7 iPhone, iPod touch, (iPad compatible). Available on the App Store.

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Main image: Mardi Gras World, New Orleans, Lousiana