I’m not the type to pull off the highway for what’s known as a tourist trap. I’ve never visited a “Mystery Spot” to watch water flow uphill. I’ve not set foot in a wax museum. I managed to avoid the “world’s largest prairie dog” perched near a highway exit in South Dakota. Heck, the closest I or we came to participating in this nonsense was the “Wall Drug” incident.
While driving through the above-mentioned South Dakota a few summers back, the husband half and I began counting the number and ways in which this business advertised itself. In a state comprised primarily of undulating prairie grass, there’s not much to draw your attention away from these signs, which sprout from bridges, ponds, rainclouds, herds of antelope and unsuspecting hitchhikers.
The effect is that you’ll either be so darn curious you have to pull of the highway to see this place, or else — like us — you are so freakin’ irritated you want to set fire to the place and end the madness. But you don’t because you don’t want to hurt the state’s economy.
Oddly, we found ourselves running low on fuel just as we approached Wall Drug. Interesting how that worked. Great. Now everyone will THINK we purposely pulled off the road to visit this Tourist Trap. We’ll come home to find Wall Drug bumper stickers plastered to our car, or Wall Drug tattoos etched onto our butts.
We quickly refueled but then decided, what the heck, let’s “just drive past the place to see what it is.”
So we did. But in a stalker stealth kind of way, like ducked down in our seats, with sunglasses on and hats pulled low over our eyes. We even took the back road behind the place so as to avoid any eye contact with tourists on foot.
What we found was a huge building about the size of a Wal-Mart, taking up an entire city block. It’s exterior was decorated to look like an old West wooden storefront with water troughs, barrels and places to tie your horse.
As close as we could figure, it was the world’s largest gift shop, with probably a restaurant and casino added on for good measure.
But that incident has forever changed the husband half of this relationship.
Last weekend we were passing through a small town in Western Michigan when we came upon “the world’s largest weather vane.”
Requests to stop and view this marvel of craftsmanship were initially ignored. Finally, husband gave in, but refused to get out of the car and ducked down as Girl from the East and I got out, with a camera, and pranced toward the attraction.
We also saw this:
He would have nothing to do with any of this nonsense. Just so you know.
And if that was you passing through this little burg, which by the way once manufactured weather vanes, and saw me posing my child underneath this homage to a simpler era, I heard you call me a dork. That’s world’s biggest dork to you, mister.