“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.” ~Erma Bombeck
Each July Americans commemorate the American Revolution with a national holiday celebrating our independence from English rule. This bloody revolution made all our freedoms possible, and after the recent upheaval in the European Union, we propose a shorter and catchier name for it – Amexit.
And before you laugh, the two events may have more in common that you might think. Recently Britain has objected to onerous EU rules and regulations that impinged on its sovereignty, so it held a referendum to decide to stay or go. Colonial America took issue with burdensome taxes and having no say in its governance, and it held a referendum by rifle.
Who knows what will happen in Europe and where all the histrionics and political posturing will lead. But after almost two and a half centuries of independence in America, freedom of choice and all the wacky creativity that goes with it are alive and well. So here at Gallivance we’re celebrating the holiday with a Fourth of July toast to all those eccentrically creative folks who keep us entertained on the road. Here’s your heapin’ helpin’ of Roadside Americana.
A 1,200 foot-long mural made of recycled road signs … really? Really! This Meadville, Pennsylvania marvel sits at the top of our Roadside Americana list. Its clever use of color and shape as well as its sense of humor make it a remarkable piece of public art. You should definitely check out the details – fabulous.
Cave City, Kentucky’s Wigwam Village is a vivid reminder of the halcyon days of early car travel when the journey was just as important as the destination. These nostalgic motor inns are a rarity, and we applaud the owners for maintaining a romantic piece of history.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Minnesota need little introduction. Their colorful comic strip simplicity and peaceful lakeside location clearly make them classic Americana. Our only suggestion: visit in the summer because the lake can freeze to 30 inches in winter.
Meet “Palmer” – the sublime spine carved in place from a dying silver maple tree, and named after the founder of chiropractic medicine. Never let it be said that the doctors in Columbus, Ohio don’t have a sense of humor.
There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
Three bedrooms, two baths, and a dog house for Ol’ Blue.
So if you’re on the road this holiday drive safely, and keep an eye out for Roadside Americana. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to get out and relieve your car-butt. And remember, if this Amexit name takes off, you heard it here first.
Happy Independence Day,
James and Terri
2. Gerbil via Wikimedia Commons
5. Dawn via Wikimedia Commons
6. Andreas F. Borchert via Wikimedia Commons
9. Christopher Michel via Wikimedia Commons
10. Matt Kennedy via Wikimedia Commons
16. Terry Shuck via Wikimedia Commons