The most unexpected things always seem to be in the absolute middle of nowhere. Maybe that’s part of what makes it all so weird. These are the ten most jarring things Jalopnik readers have seen out on the open road.
10.) Drive-Through Strip Club
Never before has there been an easier or more efficient way of getting aroused while on your way home from work or when in the middle of a road trip. Reader Rai-Fox can tell us a bit about this very exceptional business:
This section of Pennsyltucky “highway” has half a dozen or more gentlemans’ clubs over as many miles, ranging fron sketchy to terrifying, peppered between farms and evangelical chuches, but this one definitely takes the prize.
It was, fortunately, closed before the first time I ever saw it, saving me the mental agony of deciding if finding out how a place like that actually worked was worth the horrors I might actually bear witness to there.
Suggested By: Rai-Fox
9.) Gilbert The Golf Ball
List of things I don’t want to see pop up while driving at night: Deer, police, drunk motorists, and the recently added Gilbert the Golf Ball.
During the daylight Gilbert stands tall and proud with a hockey stick in hand as a proud Canadian, forever-celebrating, um, being Canadian. His Ross Tartan plaid get-up and hole-y skin structure is also supposed to represent the golfing community in the town of Gilbert Plains, where Gilbert resides.
Suggested By: ultimatt, Photo Credit: ultimatt
8.) ‘Redneck Tug-Of-War’
Whoever said “only rednecks know how to have real fun” was probably right. Reader WebMattR might agree:
I sadly lack photos or video, but at 16 I drove through Eastern Oregon with my boyscout troop. That by itself, is incredibly dull. It’s literal nothing for hundreds of miles. Somewhere in that emptiness we came upon a small compound with a manufactured home at either end, and a Confederate flag flying high (no American, just that).
What really impressed us? In the middle of the property were a bulldozer and a backhoe, pushing against each other, in a redneck game of tug-of-war.
Suggested By: WebMattR
7.) World’s Fastest Scooter
Long live the mythical scooter man and his plastic milk crate. Reader abcs has a crazy story:
Around 2001 or so I was visiting a friend in Bethesda, MD. He had several motorcycles at the time, so we did a day trip on a couple of them out to Route 211 past Luray in Western Virginia. There are some pretty awesome stretches of road out that way. Basically, we just rode back and forth over this mountain that was twisty fun from end to end. Anyways, we stopped at one point to grab a drink at this side-of-the-road general store type of place. We watched plenty of other sport bikes and performance cars go past us to head up the mountain. Then, we saw a scooter go past. It was driven by a guy, probably in his mid-fifties, with a bushy beard, wearing an open face helmet. Behind him on the seat, he had a plastic milk crate strapped down with bungie cords and filled with stuffed animals.
We were all staring as he passed by because it was just an absurd sight. He looked at us, gave us this huge grin, and went on his way. We were finishing up our break. No one said anything, but we were all thinking the same thing - “get geared up again quick so we can catch that guy.” He had no more than a two minute head start on us heading up the mountain but we never caught him.
Suggested By: abcs
6.) A Crashed Plane
I see no better way to symbolize a market crash than to artistically place a crashed airplane nose-into the ground alongside a highway. Reader Sampsonite24 was surprised to find this memorial:
Random crashed plane in Norway, Illinois (didn’t even know there was a Norway, Illinois until a friend and I stumbled upon it) supposed to symbolize the agriculture industry crash of the ‘80s.
Suggested By: Sampsonite24, Photo Credit: Sampsonite24
5.) Circuit de Reims-Gueux Grandstand
Without knowing that they were passing through the former site of the Circuit de Reims-Greux race track, almost any car enthusiast would likely have an excited pullover worthy panic attack. They left the whole paddock and grandstand right next to the road!
If I lived in close-proximity to the circuit, there’s a good chance I would make it a semi-regular habit of driving through this short stretch of road at full-throttle, engine-blaring, and with my exhilaration levels very, very high. Then I’d probably circle back for the victory lap, proudly waving my country’s flag out of my window as tears slowly fall down my face. I guess I’d have to hold off on on the celebratory post-race donuts, though.
4.) Buzludzha Monument
If you ever wondered what a real life James Bond villain’s lair might look like, you can fly out to Bulgaria and drive to this decrepit communist-era compound to get a solid idea. Reader BULArmy can share some details about this crazy structure:
On the top of the Buzludzha peak (1441 m/4728ft), it was built as a shrine and conference center for the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1981. It was abandoned after the fall of socialism in ‘91. It is pretty spectacular thing and the road that lead to it is great drive. This thing is absolute James Bond villian lair.
3.) Kings Of Kings Statue
To prove that they take their Jesus-believing seriously, a megachurch in Ohio has this epic 62-foot Jesus statue placed right in plain view from a major interstate. Definitely better than a billboard.
I’m not exactly sure how fond Jesus actually is of his big statue. The whole thing was almost completely destroyed in 2010 after it was struck by lightning and caught fire. Maybe this church should take a hint.
2.) Bombay Beach, California
Forty miles from any real civilization lies the near-forgotten former resort town of Bombay Beach, California. In the early 1900s, the large desert area surrounding Bombay Beach was turned into California’s largest lake, after much of the Colorado River was diverted toward it. From then on, this extended body of water was known as the Salton Sea. The massive body of water and new waterfront properties turned quickly turned Bombay Beach into a highly-desired place to live and visit.
Over time, the large amounts of farm land surrounding the lake had leaked harmful pesticides and chemicals into the ‘Sea,’ killing almost all of the living organisms in the water. This began to cause piles of dead fish to rise up on shores. Unfortunately for the businesses of Bombay Beach, most of the upscale tourists weren’t too fond of that and the beachgoers of Bombay Beach left to find somewhere a vacation spot that was a bit less gross.
Now, Bombay Beach is a post-apocalyptic carcass of a once vibrant tourist attraction. The dead fish and the odors that accompany them still remain, as does the Salton Sea. Only now the lake is brown, not a serene blue, and the beaches surrounding it are made up of tiny fish bones, not sand.
To unsuspecting motorists passing through the area, the leftover odor and sights must really be something of concern.
1.) Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex
The ominous-looking set of concrete structures in Grand Forks, North Dakota is what was known as the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex. Though officially placed into standby operation for just 24 hours, this single facility had the intense capabilities of launching 100 missiles of two different variations as well as monitoring the world’s airspace to make sure no stray missiles had gone flying toward United States soil.
Hey, only in North Dakota, right?
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day’s Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It’s by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: Gricha via Wikipedia