Category: Back Roads

Gobble gobbleEdgewood, WA

Farm sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I pulled over and started sketching this little farm, with the idea of doing some sort of pre-Turkey Day post today. And then this guy wandered right up to the fence—and into my drawing. I guess it’s a good thing (for him) that emu isn’t traditional Thanksgiving fare…

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Serves four (hundred)Long Beach, WA and Seaside, OR

Giant Frying Pan sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Well, I can’t feature the Winlock Egg without giving you something to cook it in, can I? Just over the coast range from Winlock is the town of Long Beach, home of the perfect roadside companion to the World’s Largest Egg. Since it’s not exactly as flamboyant as, say, a giant orange, people often blow… More

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Eggstra largeWinlock, WA

World's Largest Egg sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Now, I know I can go to the market and find eggs in small, medium, large, extra-large and jumbo. But can I get a round dozen in World’s Largest? (Maybe that’s what those Washington cooperative farmers have been hatching…)

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Two-ton tater totO'Leary, PEI, Canada

Giant Potato sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Oh, the fates were cruel to me this day. I happened to pass through a town that shared my last name, and in that town I stumbled upon a giant fiberglass potato. In front of a potato museum. Which had closed an hour before. Now, really. That’s just not fair.

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In the pinkMarquette, IA

Pink Elephant sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Some of my favorite roadside attractions are the ones that are totally incongruous with the surrounding area (like finding a blue whale in the middle of Oklahoma). Unless, that is, I’m wildly misinformed, and Iowa is actually chock full of elephants…

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Never the twine shall meetWorld's Largest Balls of Twine, Cawker City, KS and Darwin, MN

World's Largest Ball of Twine sketches by Chandler O'Leary

The Tailor and I have been having the same argument for years now. It’s really one of those fundamental debates in life, revolving around the universe’s most pressing question: Which Giant Twine Ball is better? Now I’m going to tell you up front: Kansas is the Tailor’s home state. So I think it’s bias talking… More

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Fossil fuelWorld's Oldest Gas Station, Lamar, CO

Petrified Wood gas station sketch by Chandler O'Leary

It’s very common to find giant fiberglass statues and other roadside attractions plonked down in front of gas stations. After all, where are you more likely to stop along the way? Gas stations that are roadside attractions in and of themselves? Well, now, that’s more of a rare bird.

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Short and stoutTacoma, WA and Zillah, WA

Bob's Java Jive sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I am pleased to tell you that Washington is the proud owner of not one, but two teapot-shaped buildings. (Well, one is a teapot and the other is a coffee pot, but since the designs—and even the colors—are nearly identical, I think that’s close enough.) The first might just be, as advertised, world-famous. Tacoma’s very… More

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Faux farmVashon Island, WA

Vashon Island barn sketch by Chandler O'Leary

You know I have a real thing for farms—as evidenced by all the sketches that have cropped up here (no pun intended) so far. But I also have a fascination with fake farms—you know, the odd sort of agricultural replica that you sometimes see at museums, tourist traps, or—as in the case above—private property. I… More

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Reflecting poolBlue Rocks, Nova Scotia, Canada

Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I really should have a bumper sticker that says something like “I brake for tiny fishing villages.” I know I’m not the only one, either. I figured Blue Rocks would be another Peggys Cove in terms of number of fellow tourists—but I was so happy to be mistaken. That morning, at least, it was just… More

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