Category: Country Mouse

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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Whole-kernel cornicesThe Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Now, there are roadside attractions, and there are roadside attractions. Much as I love a good giant fiberglass animal, the Corn Palace belongs in the elite upper crust of roadside gems. For one thing, the hand-pieced corn mosaic on the façade changes every year. That is a labor of love, people. For another, the folks… 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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LandsharkOcean Shores, WA

Sharky's Souvenir Shop sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Normally this would be the part where I tell you all about the souvenir shop with the giant shark’s head I found on the Washington coast—but I think I’ll just let the pictures do their job. Instead, I wanted to let you know that Sharky here has joined 29 more of his roadside brethren on… More

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The TurningNear Castle Rock, WA

Fall foliage sketch by Chandler O'Leary

There’s been a crispness in the air here all week—the first sign that my favorite season is well on its way. Autumn in the Northwest isn’t quite the spectacular show of reds and golds that you might find in New England or, say, Wisconsin, but I love it for its own qualities. Instead of huge… 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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