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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Random Road Trip Attractions

I was reading a list this morning which named 7 top roadside attractions in the country and on the list was something that is only about 1.5 hours away from Albany, NY - the Petrified Creatures museum in Richfield Springs.

With summer road trip season winding down, it made me think about what would be on my own top random roadside attractions.

Here's my list (so far):

5. The Corn Palace - Mitchell, South Dakota
Mitchell is a nice place to stop on a long trip and not far from Mount Rushmore/ the Badlands. The exterior of the Corn Palace has murals that change annually and the interior is used for community and regional events.
4. Pioneer Auto Show  - Murdo, South Dakota
There are a lot of random things to see along I-90 in the Midwest. But, they can also be educational. For example, before this museum - which also has interesting collections of 80s lunch boxes, an Elvis motorcycle, and lots and lots of cars - I didn't know what the General Lee was. (I know, I know...)
3. Jolly Green Giant - Blue Earth, Minnesota
Standing at over 55 feet tall, this thing certainly makes an impression. There's also a cute Dairy Queen and place for a picnic nearby.
2. Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas
Just as you start to think there's nothing more to Texas on Route 40 than open/empty space, dirt roads to nowhere, abandoned gas stations, and an eternal smell of cow manure, you reach this interesting artistic installation just outside Amarillo.

1. SPAM Museum - Austin, Minnesota
Yes, Virginia, there is a SPAM Museum. As sure as there is pork and ham, the SPAM museum lives forever just off I-90 as one of the most memorable and fantastical places on earth. And my lone regret from my road trip: that we didn't get there in time to go inside!
Honorable Mentions:
The Big Texan Ranch, Amarillo, TX, and their 72-oz steak challenge (which, OK, I also might regret not doing)
Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer Co., SD, which should really be considered more of a main road trip destination but it's just not quite there yet - despite the unfinished monument being so big it could fit Mt. Rushmore inside it's head
Wall Drug, Wall, SD, cannot be missed. No, seriously, there is no way you could miss this roadside, larger-than-life business. They spend about $400,000 annually in billboards along I-90 and you can tell. They're everywhere. You want to go to the shop just to make the signs stop.



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