I have always had a somewhat wild spirit that wants to wander around and get lost. Like on Friday mornings I want to stop at estate sales on my way to work. If I see a new food truck at lunch, I’m drawn to try it out. Maybe it’s from all the vacations my parents took us on as kids where we hit the open road in the car and stopped at strange places for no apparent reason. Or maybe not, because I always got car sick and hated traveling long distances. But I do have fond memories of stopping in strange and weird places starting at a very tender age (around 3 or 4) when we went to the north pole. Mind you, it was not the REAL north pole, but it was close enough. I eventually learned it was some type of amusement park. A small petting zoo caught my eye like Giovanni shoes would catch my eye at a later stage in life. Once in, I remember a pole made of ice. That was really cool.
I am not sure if it was the North Pole or my A.D.D. that sent me on the path of discovery, but I now have this urge to stop at roadside attractions. Now that I’m older, my urge is more like a gravitational pull that causes me to immediately turn in and park at various sales on the sides of any road including flea markets, garage sales (masked as “estate” sales), any kind of zoo or animal conservatory, and wax museums, This is why it is important for other people to drive when on a lengthy trip anywhere with others.
Many, many, many years ago, I read Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins. Aside from the crazy twists and turns and bizarro nature of the book itself, what I remember is that it takes place at a roadside attraction. It was so outrageous, I decided roadside attractions of most kinds would have to be added to my bucket list (even though at the time I read the book, no one had ever uttered the words “bucket list” together).
Roadside attractions serve so many purposes. They give the traveler a break from the road, a leg stretch if you will. They provide income for those that purport to have something special and of interest. And last, they provide possibilities and hope to the treasure seeker. Everyone is different. Maybe you are looking for that long lost pet rock you sold for a quarter at your family’s garage sale; old license plates for conversion into a coffee table; or maybe you collect dead insects. (Roadside attraction in South Georgia)
If you see a lot of rubber on the road in front of the roadside attraction, don’t automatically assume it’s a good one and everyone slammed on their breaks to make the turn. It could be that something or someone made a speedy exit. On the other hand, if something catches your eye or you have an intuition, then stop! Currently, our kitchen table, antique pump organ, and various pieces of artwork all come from roadside attractions posing as antique malls, garage sales and flea markets. Lest we not forget the Christmas drive-through Wonderland, the wildcat conservatory, any circus that doesn’t advertise or sell tickets in advance, houses with front yards completely ravaged by junk that appear suddenly in the middle of nowhere, and objects that are the size of Godzilla. These all require a visit immediately.
Now I bet you are wondering how you get started. Step 1, Take a trip somewhere. Step 2. stop at an interesting looking roadside attraction. Step 3. Take pictures, buy something and leave. Step 4. Post your pictures so we can see them. If you have already completed Steps 1-3, post your pictures or email me and I will create a new blog with pictures. Make your next trip a little more enjoyable by stopping at a roadside attraction!