The Parthenon of Nashville, Tenn.

In the heart of Nashville there is an exact scale replica of the Greek Parthenon! Weird, but true. It serves as the city’s art museum, though that was closed the day I was there. It was a Sunday, what can you do?

It’s a beautiful building in spite of having nothing to contextualize it. It’s just a big ass Parthenon. Worth the side trip we took on our way back from Memphis. Oh, Elvis, you are on my list!

Crazy Busses

A couple of crazy busses make their way around suburban Detroit with some regularity. They are especially visible during Detroit’s annual Dream Cruise. They make the rounds on Woodward all day, ensuring to horrify the millions of drivers and lookie-loos. They are class-a crazies. And I do love the crazies!

The top bus is my favorite as it conflates all sorts of issues, including 9/11 and abortion. The second one is all anti-abortion so at least they are on message though they say 1/3 of all US abortions are black babies and this connotes a ‘black genocide’–amazing!

I’m not sure what Islam or 9/11 has to do with abortion (did one cause the other?) but it’s an impressive, if lunatic, idea all the same.

Alfred E. Muffler Man

Alfred E. Muffler Man! I stumbled upon this gem in my own backyard!
Located in the parking lot of a rundown mall in my hometown of Flint, this old muffler man has been converted to look like Alfred E.! Sweet!

I love finding things like this where I least expect them.

The Nun Doll Museum

By far the best thing about the Cross in the Woods is the basement of the gift shop–it houses the World’s Largest Nun Doll Museum. The “museum” has dozens of glass cases filled–and I do mean filled–with dolls of all stripes and sizes dressed in Catholic clergy/nun gear. I’m especially pleased with the photo above! Dioramas always draw me in.If you know much about dolls–or even if you have a strong working knowledge of pop culture–your enjoyment of the nun doll museum is sure to increase exponentially. Note the doll above? It’s a Robin Williams as Mork from Ork dressed in a monk/priestly costume.

Here’s a sampling of one of the many cases filled with of baby doll size nuns.

They even have mannequin “dolls” to show off full-size costumes. I might consider that white and pink number, it’s cute!

Because I am a bad person, this display is a personal favorite of mine. Two priest/monks take two little boys camping. I love how Ken is directing his charge to the tent enticingly! C’mon in, little fella!

Other dolls I recognized include Barbie, Charlie’s Angels and Donny Osmond. Fantastically bizarre and just creepy enough to make me want to go back and check it out. I heard they carried Jesus ashtrays at the gift shop but when I asked the chick behind the counter got really offended. Must have been before her time.

The Cross in the Woods…

I drove past the billboard on I-75 many times before finally getting the gumption to pull over the car to check out the Cross in the Woods. The cross is actually a big ol’ crucifix in the woods, complete with outdoor worship area, indoor church, grounds, gift shop, and the nun doll museum!

The cross looms 55 feet tall and reportedly weighs 21 tons! And you can’t walk on the marble steps on your way to Jesus, as the sign clearly explains.

Anyway, I finally stopped here when I convinced my friend Heather to pull over. She hates this kind of stuff so she sat in the pew, shaking her head and feeling rightly uncomfortable. What can you do? Sometimes you have to make your friends suffer for this level of entertainment.

Da Yoopers Tourist Trap: Free Admission–Free Bathrooms!

Even among the Northern-most residents of Michigan’s lower peninsula, there is talk about “da yoopers”–those folks that live in Michigan’s upper peninsula. The U.P. is another world filled with self-referential humor and unabashed love of hunting, the outdoors, and drinking. It’s rural America with a weird sense of humor.

And it’s got TONS of Roadside Attractions! One of my favorites is Da Yoopers Tourist Trap and Museum–free admission and free bathrooms. And those bathrooms flush, I tell ya, unlike many of the rest stop restrooms that litter da U.P!

Sadly, I don’t have a photo of Gus, the world’s largest chainsaw, but I do have a pic of the world’s largest working rifle! It’s quite a machine!

What was I doing at Da Yooper Tourist Trap? Just my honeymoon! I love a good roadtrip and my husband loves to drive aimlessly. We’re a good match.

Anyway, you can check out Da Yoopers Tourist Trap with plenty of pictures here.

Included in the free museum is a series of bizarre yooper scenarios, my favorite involving the two deer turning the tables on a hunter. It’s so beyond weird. I love it. And my uncle is a taxidermist so I respect the craftsmanship, too!

There’s plenty of other photos on their site. It’s right on US-41 West in Ishpeming. It was a late fall day when I visited and took these photos in 2002.

A Guest Submission!

Only three days old and I have a guest submission!

My friend Cindy offered up this photo of her friend Will fondling a well-endowed wooden lady! She looks like she can’t decide if she likes it or if she’s going to bitch slap him. Having been in that position before (though not with Will here) I can relate!

This lovely lady is situated in the Northern outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie, Canada (our first international find).

Cindy couldn’t remeber the exact place but she said she always called it “that tourist trap”! Sounds like my kind of place! In honor of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (known affectionately in these parts as “da U.P.”) my next post will highligt a special spot along da U.P. landscape: Da Yooper Tourist Trap–giftstop with FREE restrooms!!

The Magical Swan of Elk Rapids, MI

So we were on yet another roadtrip through Northern Michigan when we drive past this beauty on US-31–a giant swan in front of the Elk Rapids Chamber of Commerce! Elk Rapids is just outside Traverse City and is fighting to become a destination spot.

According to the local paper, the Swan is 15 feet tall and was created to carry the local beauty pageant queens. Especially charming is the baby swan at momma’s wing!

Elk Rapids has one fantastic restaurant–Pearls–and a decent ice cream joint, if I remember correctly. It’s worth the trip!

World’s Largest Fiberglass Indian

I collect weird things…including images of strange roadside attractions. I wanted a place to put them all. So I’m going to put them here for now.

Roadside Americana is awesome and it’s a bit of a passion of mine.

This here is Hiawatha, the “World’s Largest Fiberglass Indian!” I made my husband drive many, many miles for this beauty in Ironwood, Michigan. I love it to bits and pieces and, honestly, I wouldn’t mind going to see it again. It was worth the trip. Check out how he towers over the neighborhood!

Hiawatha has his own page at!

My favorite thing about this big boy is that he’s sort of randomly placed in a neighborhood and not downtown or in the middle of a big park or anything. Just right in the thick of things. Imagine growing up in the shadow of Hiawatha? I think I’d feel protected. And it’s a great conversation piece at the bbq, no?