Category: Roadside Curiosities

Roadside Americana

Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

Crazy Horse Monument is almost inconceivably big. This is a rendering of what the final sculpture is supposed to look like.

Here is the monument from a distance–you have to pay extra to get up close but we opted not to (I don’t even remember why–I think we were in a hurry). At any rate, to give you some idea how big this thing is there is a tiny tractor at the base of the sculpture, as you can see below.


Cropped to see some detail. Pretty spectacular!

Mount Rushmore, Keystone, SD

I always wanted to visit Mount Rushmore. And I always figured I’d be disappointed or underwhelmed but when I finally saw it–glimpsing it the evening I arrived at Keystone–I thought it was awesome. I got weirdly excited and felt kind of emotional.

It’s a pretty spectacular sight and it’s an incredible tribute to some of the great leaders of the past. It’s beautifully executed and majestic. I would go back–also because I never made it to the Reptile Park, which was a bummer!

Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota

While this is a weak example, the I-90, the highway that cuts across South Dakota is littered with promotional signs for Wall Drug. A drug store tourist trap that is a must-see in South Dakota–if only to answer the mysterious call of the dozens of billboards that boast all manner of exotic treasures at the legendary Wall Drug.

An 80-foot dinosaur greets you in Wall, South Dakota, along the highway. If you head into town you see the infamous store.

I don’t want to ruin the Wall Drug experience for anyone! So only a couple of pics of the inside. It’s a wacky labyrinth of mini shops offering everything from jackalopes to cowboy hats and everything in between.

One of the most unusual–and quiet (and oddly empty) spots is the traveler’s chapel. Just a quiet respite in the midst of a cacophony of tourist trappings. Pretty fabulous. Worth the minor detour. And you’ll be thirsty by then anyway!

Mitchell Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

There’s nothing quite like the world famous Mitchell Corn Palace! It’s worth the stop on any road trip through South Dakota.

The outside is filled with corncob art that is completely rebuilt on an annual basis.

As you an see it wraps around the building. Each panel is made entirely of corncobs.

Inside, there is quite the tourist trap, and it features a roaming cob!
There are more panels of corncob art on the inside.
Here’s an overview of the interior! Quite the mega-mart of corncob-themed supplies.

Penguin Statue, Bloomfield Hills, MI

I used to drove along Lahser in suburban Detroit to avoid the highways, and I’d always spy this giant penguin through the trees. It was hard to see in summer. But in winter? You could get a closer look.

So I zoomed in on him.

No idea why he’s there or what he is up to. But I like him.