Category: Before & After

Both sides, nowTwo views of Fox Island, WA

Fox Island sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Much as I love the excitement of sketching in an unfamiliar place, I also love exploring my own corner of the world. The best part, for me, is returning to the same place over and over again, and seeing it from a new angle— —or in a whole different light.

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A room with a viewTacoma, WA

Tacoma sketch by Chandler O'Leary

The Tailor and I haven’t done a whole lot of traveling this year, because we’ve spent most of our time since January searching for and finally buying our first home. After what has seemed like an eternity (though it has actually been a lightning-fast whirlwind!), we finally moved in a week ago. Now we’re surrounded… More

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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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Wrented wingsTopeka, KS

Topeka Wren sketch by Chandler O'Leary

I’m always up for the hokey and awkward when it comes to roadside attractions, but every now and again you find a true masterpiece. Case in point: the Topeka Wren (formerly the mascot for WREN radio in Lawrence, KS) nearly took my breath away. This bird is a couple decades older than your average roadside… More

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And the winner is…

Darwin, MN illustration by Chandler O'Leary

I don’t normally post on Thursdays, but I had to break in here to tell you that the Giant Twine Ball in Darwin, MN is the clear people’s choice! No disrespect to its lovely (and technically larger) sisal-sister in Kansas, but the voters have spoken, and by an overwhelming margin, Minnesota’s masterpiece is the clear… More

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Orange you gladShasta Lake, CA

Giant Orange sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Apparently these giant orange stands (which are actually ducks) used to be so common along the old Pacific Highway that by the time you got thirsty on your journey, you’d have arrived at the next one. There are just a handful remaining today, and I was extra lucky to discover that this one was actually… More

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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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Kings of the roadMuffler Men, various points around United States

Muffler Man sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Well, if I’m going to spend all this time talking about roadside attractions, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the legendary Muffler Men—guardians of gas stations, presidents of photo ops. If you’ve ever taken a road trip, you’ve probably seen at least one of these guys along the way. These behemoths started appearing… More

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Disappearing act(Former) Hostess Cake factory, Seattle, WA

Former Hostess Cake factory sketch by Chandler O'Leary

All cities grow, shrink or evolve over time—but as Seattle is in the midst of yet another building boom, the place is changing so rapidly that I can’t keep up. Landmarks and local mom-and-pops disappear in a puff of smoke—while presto-change-o, mammoth condos and office blocks pop up, seemingly overnight. Painted plywood fences mask building… More

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The road aheadSouth Dakota, Wyoming and California

Black Hills sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Tomorrow this little travel blog turns one year old. In that time, I’ve jumped around in time and place, in hopes of showing you as many different sketches as I could: country scenes, cityscapes, vintage kitsch, wildlife, you name it. But while I love me some roadside attractions, I must confess that my very favorite… More

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