News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 11, No. 6 - August 21, 2015

Summer Heated Fever Dreamers

Lirpa Anad Nitsud glints in Alabama's August sun. The Forevertron shimmers on the cracked concrete of an old Wisconsin schoolyard.

Heat never seems to faze the still-living creators of fantastic scrap artworks. In fact, the summer surge of curious visitors fuels these visionaries with pep, whether they're building and sculpting, or just talking about building and sculpting.

We envy their fry-an-egg-on-my-head energy, and make sure we spend time with some of them every summer.


The Forevertron

The Forevertron.Dr. Evermor's one-way ticket to God will be punched by the Forevertron, a dynamo-powered Victorian launch complex that he's been building since 1983. In an earlier life the Doctor was Tom Every, an industrial salvager... and if this all sounds confusing then we suggest you visit Dr. Evermor's creation, or at least read our story about it. All will become as clear as the Doctor's glass egg space capsule, possibly.

World's Largest Ball of Paint

Ball of Paint.Unlike most visionaries, Michael Carmichael created the World's Largest Ball of Paint as a collaborative project. He wants you to join in! Our visit in July found the ball in fleshy pink, coat #24,624, although that layer has been painted over dozens of times by the time you read this. The Carmichaels welcome visitors, and Mike has devised a special ball-painting system so no one gets messy.

Museum of the Weird

Museum of the Weird.Austin's gravitational pull has long favored strange energies, and Steve Busti has fallen under its spell by amassing the densest (and best) collection of oddities in that weird-friendly city. From a giant creature frozen in ice to a Cursed Box that can never, ever be opened, the Museum of the Weird challenges those who would say that a statue can't make you pregnant, or that a human skeleton can't pull pranks.

Journey Through the Center of the Earth

Hollow Earth Monument.Of America's earliest crackpot dreamers, the one with the grandest vision -- the only vision preserved in a monument -- was Capt. John Cleves Symmes. His tombstone is one of America's oldest postcard-worthy man-made monuments, because it depicts his theory that "the Earth is hollow and habitable within." Symmes died back in 1829, but still holds his place as a bold thinker well into the 21st century.

Family Problems

Hatfield-McCoy Feudin' Trail.Although not farsighted in the strictest sense, "Devil Anse" Hatfield and Asa McCoy dreamed of a better world -- one without the existence of each other. Their respective clans became America's most popular bad neighbors, and you can follow their bloody, vengeful deeds along our custom Hatfield-McCoy Feudin' Trail as it snakes its way back and forth across the Kentucky-West-Virginia state line.


Spotted by Tipsters

Krishna Temple.Pigeon Takeout: Tipster glb had a memorable visit to the lotus-shaped Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, which concluded when the we-can't-harm-animals Hare Krishnas unexpectedly gave away a free box of live nuisance pigeons, which glb dutifully drove 140 miles before releasing.

Cowboy Whizzer Tree.Wild Whizzer: Combining a rare twin tree stump with a real toilet, an anonymous visionary created Cowboy Whizzer Tree, found in the Oregon woods by R Pearson, who cautions visitors to "stay in their cars," although more from trespassing concerns than possible splashback.

1940s dinosaur.Dinosaur Survivor: Preserved as if in amber by dry Utah air, a rare Vintage Roadside Dinosaur was spotted by tipster Steph near Dinosaur National Park. Nearly 70 years old, the teal T-rex once had a car horn in its mouth that its gas station owner could honk at passing cars.

Old Salt.Old Salt Moai: If there were a roadside statue reuse-recycle award, it might go to the Huge Slickered Sailor Head seen outside a Massachusetts seafood restaurant by tipster Carol. The freakishly stretched skull looks familiar -- maybe because it used to be an Easter Island head outside a Polynesian restaurant.

Maze of Wood.Maze of Wood: Hedge mazes are elegant, corn mazes are earthy, but the Fort Custer Maze made of weathered wooden pallets found by Kara S. McC. looks like our-kind-of scary. There's no shade, it's huge, and "very rickety" according to Kara, but, "All of these things just make the maze more fun."

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


Yesteryear Travel: Where the Sun Reigns!

Where the Sun Reigns.Our latest rummage through the archival footage trunk uncovered this clip from a 1954 black and white travelogue selling the golden promise of Miami. Dad, Mom, and "little Lisa" watch alligator wrestling at Musa Isle Indian Village, then dress up for an elegant meal of ice cream. "You too can enjoy the same fun," promises the narrator, although if you didn't pack the right clothes you wouldn't get any ice cream.


Latest News on Roadside America

First a salute to some eagle-eyed tipsters: Tim Martini reports that the Drink with a Human Toe in It now carries a $2,500 fine for swallowing the toe; Chase Fisher says that Steven Seagull is, amazingly, still hanging out at the Super 8 in Duluth; Pam provided photographic proof that Vanna Whitewall has stripped down to her bikini again; gjb discovered that the Caterpillar of Tires has been joined by a frog companion; and Matthew Krist found that Ronald Reagan, a Great American now advertises a ladies' dress store. Elsewhere, our feature on Lizard Man at the Cotton Museum was unexpectedly followed by news reports that Lizard Man had returned to terrify his museum's home town. The Blarney Stone of Las Vegas was stolen by a drunk (he sheepishly returned it the next day) while the Most Photographed Sculpture in Las Vegas successfully moved to its new Sin City home. The Enchanted Highway far surpassed its fundraising goal ($15,000) and will begin construction of its newest sculpture: a giant spider web. The World's Largest Concrete Totem Pole received a fresh coat of paint, as has the World's Largest Cigar Store Indian. The Corn Palace is now fully repaired (and looking good), as is the World's Largest Teapot and the World's Tallest Grandfather Clock. Finally, the annual across-the-Mississippi Tug Fest took place: Illinois out-yanked Iowa and now leads the heave-ho contest 18 to 11.

Follow our Twitter stream o' news: @roadsideamerica


Enjoy your end-of-summer excursions!
The Team

Apps & Tools

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America for iPhone
11,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, including new research targets, interactive "Near Me" maps.

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


Roadside Presidents App for iPhone
Find US Presidents, VPs, First Ladies, even dastardly assassins -- where they lived, worked, played, died!

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


Roadside America iPhone app My Sights Route Planner - FREE! Save places you read about on Roadside America to your computer desktop, 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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Main image: Lirpa Anad Nitsud, Fort Payne, Alabama