Big Things Photos – Back up and Running

My “Big Things” photo galleries are back up and running, finally, after some coding goofiness. In going through all the new photos, I realized I have hundreds of new ones to put online; I’m further behind on this project than I thought. But I have much easier ways to get them online, so that’s good.

I’ll point new things as I get them on the site.

Mr. Bendo
Mr. Bendo

Big Things in Indianapolis

Indianapolis’ Lost Big Things

Big Things In Indianapolis — Inflatables

Big Things Around Indiana

Big Things in Muncie, Indiana

Big Things Around the U.S.A.

2001 Midwest Big Things Road Trip

2004 Visit to Dinosaurland in Virginia

2005 Big Things In Louisville, Kentucky

Coming soon: 332 new “Big Things” photos, including our Big Things Road Trip to Kansas, and this summer, our Route 66 Roadtrip to California.

Continue ReadingBig Things Photos – Back up and Running

Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino: 2007 Route 66 caravan to Roswell

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As you may know, Stephanie like to drive her New Beetle to Roswell, New Mexico in the summertime for a large New Beetle car show called Roswell2K. It’s been going on since 2000, and Stephanie usually joins a caravan of cars from the east coast to attend the show, and they drive together.
Roswell Museum
Stephanie’s friend Lisa has even rigged up a live webcam of the caravan in transit, which is pretty effing awsome to say the least. The last couple of years, though, Stephanie hasn’t been able to go (Shhhh, don’t tell that to Phoebe. She can’t tell time and thinks she’s been every year) due to our surgeries and to moving.
Next year, they’re having a Route 66 caravan. It’ll start in Chicago and follow old Route 66 to New Mexico, where it will break off and go to Roswell for the event. Then it will finish up the last leg of Route 66 and head home, I believe. We’re hoping, if all goes well, to join in next year.
U Drop Inn Cafe
I’m really excited by the idea. I got to drive part of Route 66 when I helped my friends move to Arizona 9 years ago, but we didn’t have much time to stop and gander at Roadside Attractions because we were driving a big, frickin’ uncooperative moving van. On this trip, they’re apparently building in some time to see sites, which should be fun.

Continue ReadingKingman, Barstow, San Bernardino: 2007 Route 66 caravan to Roswell

Home Again

We arrived home yesterday afternoon after a fairly long trip. Before the wedding, we drive out to the countryside to see Big Brutus, the second largest earth mover in the world. It was used in the late sixties and early seventies for strip-mining for coal, before environmental concerns sidelined the giant machine. It’s now a coal mining museum.

Big Brutus

Big Brutus

We also found another giant cow in town, of the same variety we already saw. But we took a picture anyway. They’re the same mold, so they must have all be manufactured in the same place, probably for dairies in Missouri and Kansas.

giant cow

giant cow

The wedding on Saturday was beautiful, and the reception was very nice; we talked a lot to my family a caught up with them. Sunday we had breakfast at my Aunt Susan and Uncle Ron’s house, then started home by way of Kansas City for a change.

Sarah and Chris

Sarah and Chris

I had some giant things plotted out there, but we only located one of them — three giant Badminton birdies on the lawn of the Art Institute. We went on a fruitless tour for a muffler man, and decided against visiting the World War I museum, due to concerns about time. So we headed back across Missouri on I-70, which had the advantage of bypassing lots of the road construction we were stuck in on I-44.

Giant Shuttlecocks

Giant Shuttlecocks

giant tire

giant tire

We stopped at Ozarkland (crappy tourist giftshop) and Nostalgiaville (fun pop culture memorabilia) which were at the same exit for King City. Nostalgiaville was interesting, but not enough to really get off the road for if you’re pressed for time.

Scary stuff for sale at ozarkland

Scary stuff for sale at ozarkland





We didn’t see as many giant things on I-70, though. We did catch site of a muffler man next to the road, that from what I can tell, hasn’t ever been documented before, but it was almost dark and in the middle of a thunderstorm, so we decided against trying to turn back and hunt it down.

giant tires

giant tires

We stayed on the outskirts of St. Louis, then headed home. We did hop off to visit Mid-America Motorworks, which has a Corvette/Volkswagen museum. It’s a big parts manufacturer and distributor for people restoring classic cars, and they have have some big car shows every summer and sponsor lots of car shows around the country. The had some of the special effects VW bugs from the original Herbie movies, and a couple from the recent Herbie: Reloaded movie, too, which was fun to see. And lots of really cool corvettes.

Herbie Goes Bananas

Herbie Goes Bananas

1964 New York World's Fair Mitchell Styling Corvette

1964 New York World’s Fair Mitchell Styling Corvette

1954 Pennant Blue Corvette

1954 Pennant Blue Corvette

As we were leaving, we were photographing a restored Microbus outside the building, and the companies’ photographer came out to talk to us.



He takes pictures for their website and catalogs of all their merchandise, including car parts, the classic cars, clothes etc. Stephanie knows an enormous amount about cars, so they got talking, and he took us into his studio to show us how he takes pictures of everything. It’s a really awesome setup. So we got a behind-the-scenes tour of how they produce their catalogs and websites.

Mid-America Motorworks owner's car

Mid-America Motorworks owner’s car

As we were leaving (again), the president of the company stopped by, and we also took pictures of his corvette. Then we finally got back on the road for home. We snapped pictures of some odd things along the way, like a house on stilts and a couple of cool round water towers, but that was pretty much it.

House on Pole

House on Pole

cool water tower

cool water tower

Continue ReadingHome Again

Pittsburg, Kansas

We made our way across Missouri today, and into the eastern edge of Kansas, where my aunt Susan and uncle Ron live, with their kids. Sarah is the one getting married tomorrow. Today we photographed:

1. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis (we went up in it!)

The gateway arch

2. A giant baseball (we stumbled on this one, so not a great picture.)

Giant Baseball

3. A giant shoe, made of shoes (in front of a shoe company, of course.)

Nope, too big.

4. A giant Muffler-man style cowboy


5. An entire A and W Root Beer Family. (Very rare!)

A&W Rootbeer Family

5a. My truck turning 27,000 miles

27,000 miles on my truck

6. A giant bowling Pin

Giant Bowling Pin

7. A giant cow at the Mule Trading Post (we stumbled on it while charging my camera battery.)

Giant cow at the Mule Trading Post

8. A giant Dinosaur near Exit 130 on I-44 (visible from the road!)
(Photo eventually, sorry.)

9. A giant Fork near Springfield, Missouri (it’s still there, DocLarry, just near an ad agency now.)

World's Largest Fork

Photo Set: Kansas Road Trip so far. (Includes way more photos than what I posted here.)

Continue ReadingPittsburg, Kansas

St. Louis

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So we found the giant catsup bottle in Collinsville, Illinois (hmm. They have lots of “l”s in their name). I have photos to upload of that shortly.

World's Largest Catsup Bottle

Then we headed further towards St. Louis, intending to find a hotel and restaurant, then head out to find a couple of big things. But we noticed a giant hill off of I-70, and realized it was an indian burial mound. So we hopped off the nearby exit, and found our way to the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which was incredibly beautiful. It helped that we had bright sunshine in the late afternoon, while we climbed up Monk’s Mound, the largest of the many mounds on the site. We took lots of great pictures.

Cahokia Burial Mounds
Stephanie climbing Monk's Mound

Just west of the site was Woodhenge, a reconstruction of a large ancient calendar that stood on the spot, made of cedar poles set in a ring 400 feet across, with a pole in the center. We walked to the center pole, and the shadow lined up with the pole directly in line with Monk’s mound. It was pretty cool.

Woodhenge at Cahokia Burial Mounds

Then we headed into St. Louis to look for a hotel. We opted to look on the west side of town near I-44, which we’ll be taking through the rest of Missouri. We drove through a beautiful section of town called Webster Groves, which had some really huge historic houses. Very nice. We eventually found Pear Tree Inn, and had dinner at the Bandana’s Barbecue next door. It’s obviously a chain, but we’ve never been, so it was fun.

Continue ReadingSt. Louis

Foot High Pies

We’re stopping at the Blue Springs Restaurant near Highland, Illinois, because they advertise foot-high pies. And we discovered they have free wifi at this gloriously gingham-bedecked country-fied cafe. They also offer “Ho-made” pork sausage and “Ho-made” mashed potatoes. I didn’t realize hos were such good cooks. We took pictures of the foot-high pies (whose towering height is mostly due to meringue) and now we’re splitting a piece of chocolate and blogging our trip so far.
Foot-high Chocolate Pie
We stopped at the Giant Cross at Effingham, and also jumped off 70 at Vandalia, the old state capitol to take a pictures of the Madonna of the Trail statue at Illinois’s old state capitol.
Giant Cross at Effingham, Illinois
madonna of the trail
After this, we’re off to find a giant bottle of catsup.

Continue ReadingFoot High Pies

Road Trip

I’m just now realizing that in all of the concern and activity around the house, I totally failed to mention that I’m on vacation for a week so we can drive out to my cousin’s wedding in Pittsburg, Kansas.
We’re taking 1-70 across Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri; and from there, we’re taking I-44 down through Joplin, Missouri and into south eastern Kansas, where Pittsburg is located.
Stephanie and I decided to plan a leisurely trip out there, so we can try to photograph some Big Things and visit other roadside attractions. Here’s roughly the entertainment plan:
Effingham, Illinois – Giant Cross
Address: Pike Avenue, Effingham, IL
Madonna of the Trail
315 West Gallatin Street
Vandalia, IL
near brownstown
World’s Largest Catsup Bottle
800 South Morrison Avenue
Collinsville, IL
Stay overnight in St. Louis and visit perhaps some of these attractions:
Big Shoe Made of Shoes
Address: 8300 Maryland Avenue, Clayton, MO
St. Louis Arch
Get a spectacular view of the St. Louis area from 630 feet up at the top of the Gateway Arch.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery
12th and Lynch Streets
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
4431 Lindell Blvd
St. Louis, Missouri – City Museum
St. Louis, MO Directions: 701 North 15th Street.
On the road again:
Eureka, Missouri – Black Madonna Shrine
Black Madonna Shrine: Eureka, MO Directions: I-44 to Eureka Exit, turn left on Hwy W (Central Ave. N) and drive south to Hwy F-F to Shrine.
Buckhorn, Missouri – Giant Bowling Pin
North side of I-44, around the 153-154 mile marker.
Meramec Caverns – Stanton, Missouri
Three miles east of I-44 exit 230. Follow the signs. Impossible to miss.
Stubby Stonehenge
Rolla, Missouri
Precious Moments Chapel – Carthage, Missouri
4105 S. Chapel Rd., Carthage, MO
Springfield, Missouri – Big Fork
2155 W Chesterfield Blvd
Springfield, MO
Big Brutus the Giant Earth Mover
West Mineral, Kansas
Big Brutus: 6509 NW 60th St, West Mineral, KS
Six miles west of the junction of K 7 and K 102, then 1/2 mile south. Hours: Daily 9 am – 8 pm. Phone: 620-827-6177
Here’s where we’re staying in Pittsburg:
Holiday Inn Express
4020 Parkview Drive
Pittsburg, Ks 66762-2398
United States
Hotel Reservations: 1 888 HOLIDAY (888 465 4329)
Hotel Front Desk: 1-620-231-8700
Hotel Fax: 1-620-230-0154
Check-In Time: 3:00 PM
Check-Out Time: 12:00 PM
On the way back, we’re thinking of driving north to Kansas City on I-69 instead, and then taking I-70 back east. That way we could possibly see:
Kansas City, Missouri – World’s Largest Shuttlecocks
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street.
Kansas City, Missouri – Sinclair dinosaur
Sinclair Station at I-35 and Antioch Road
World’s Largest Concrete Soccer Ball: Kansas City, MO
Directions: Western Missouri Soccer League fields.
Kansas City, Missouri – America’s only World War I museum
The Liberty Memorial and its 217-foot-tall Eternal Flame tower
Kansas City Children’s Museum – Muffler Man
Indian Springs Marketplace
4601 State Avenue, Ste. 92
Kansas City, KS 66102
Columbia, Missouri – Beetle Bailey Statue
On Conley Ave, in front of the Alumni Center on the University of Missouri campus.
Kingdom City, Missouri – Nostalgiaville, USA and Ozarkland
A shop full of 1950’s and 1960’s kitsch.
Ozarkland – SR 54 & I-70.

Continue ReadingRoad Trip

Muffler Man Deconstructed

Kyla sent me a link to this picture from the San Fransciso Gate’s Day in Pictures:

Deconstructed Paul Bunyan
Deconstructed Paul Bunyan

“Saving face: Gene Lanich normally maintains a brisker pace in Springfield, Ill., but lately he’s been hampered by a large Bunyan. A weekend windstorm decapitated a statue of the legendary lumberjack at a local eatery.”

So sad.

Hoping that I’ll be able to add the Bunyan to my “Big Things” Photos sometime soon.

Continue ReadingMuffler Man Deconstructed