Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Nick, Jacque & Elizabeth Kelly
Date: February 18, 2023
One of Cincinnati’s most popular roadside attractions, America’s Largest Sign Museum takes you through a century of sign history. Sections began with early 1900 painted wood, goldleaf and glass signs to the pre-neon and lightbulb era then to the neon era and lastly, plastic era signs. Nostalgic signs were lit up everywhere. The museum plans an expansion with hundreds more commercial signs to be added in the future.
This is a unique roadside attraction for me because I have never seen or heard of this before. On Route 93 south of St. Ignatius heading toward Glacier National Park we went under an overpass that was grown up in tall grass, small trees, and shrubs with outside fencing so that animals can cross the road safely. My photo was a little blurry, so I substituted it with a photo from the internet. Route 93 in Montana is considered one of the most wildlife-sensitive road designs anywhere in North America whose goal is to help reduce vehicle-animal conflicts and collisions. I was impressed with the ingenuity of this.
This relatively new roadside attraction is a community artwork project. It is a beehive painted on the side of a local business by a local artist and 50 volunteers. Vandalia is designated as the first Bee City USA in Ohio, where they create sustainable habitats for pollinators.
Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Jacque Kelly, Holly Miller
Date: June 11, 2016
After running the Shawshank Hustle 7K Run and visiting the Mansfield Ohio Reformatory Prison, we drove a few miles downtown to the first, new hand carved carrousel to be built and operated in the United States since the 1930’s. It opened in the fall of 1991 and costed only 50 cents per ride. There are 30 horses and 22 menagerie figures including bears, ostriches, cats, rabbits, lions, goats, tigers and more. A Stinson Band Organ provides the music. The scenic panels on the carrousel depict past and present attractions in Mansfield. It was so much fun we rode the carrousel several times.
This is a rare food related roadside attraction, but Thurman’s Café was voted as having the best hamburger in Columbus many times and one of the best burgers in the USA. This surprisingly small restaurant with a long bar opened in 1942 in the heart of the German Village District and has been operated by the Suclescy family ever since. It received national fame by being on the Travel Channels “Man vs. Food” TV show. Thurman’s is famous for its burger the Thurmanator, two 12-ounce burgers with eleven other toppings. The Thurmanator originated as the preferred fuel for competitors in the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic bodybuilding competition held annually in Columbus.
Coming straight from a long checkup at the OSU James Cancer Hospital, I was starved but not manly enough to tackle the Thurmanator. However, I ordered the famous Thurman Burger (which had only one 12-ounce burger) and as you can see from the photo, it was still over 8 inches tall. The burger was way too big to even take a full bite, but it was delicious. Rosie enjoyed a fish sandwich and fries.
I ate off the grid today and visited the famous Hamburger Wagon ranked in the top 100 hamburgers in the USA and voted Dayton’s best burger. Established 110 years ago in 1913, they claim to be America’s first slider. Miamisburg resident Cocky Porter began selling these special recipe burgers at a tent city built for residents displaced by the Great Flood of 1913. They were so popular he began a full-time business. These hamburgers are small, with onion, pickle, and pepper. They are very tasty and not greasy at all like White Castle sliders. I waited 25 minutes as I was the ninth person in line and there were eight more people behind me. That wasn’t bad as I have seen the line three times as long. Singles are only $1.50 each and doubles are $3.00.
This little village of 1,100 people in northwest Ohio was a surprise find as we drove through into Indiana on to Michigan. Rockford was originally named Shanesville, which was notable to us since our youngest son was named Shane. Adjacent to the St. Mary’s River, this village had a large park for its citizens and a grandiose historic mural of significant people who crossed paths in this area. The mural included nearby Fort Adams, General Mad Anthony Wayne, local Indians, hunter Anthony Shane, General William Henry Harrison, and Johnny Appleseed.
An update on one of our favorite roadside attractions. On July 6, 2022, a bomb was set off by unknown individuals about 4am destroying a section of the 19-foot-tall granite monument that served as a tourist attraction and fodder for conspiracy theories due to its controversial guidelines on population control and harmony with nature allegedly aimed for future generations. The inscriptions are carved into the stone in the eight most popular world languages. The monument had been built anonymously in 1980 and attracts around 20,000 visitors a year. We visited the monument several years ago and took some hilarious photos there. For safety the remaining granite slabs were knocked down and removed. There were no signs of an alleged time capsule buried six feet below the monument.
The famous wienermobile was back in Dayton at UD campus promoting and advertising Oscar Meyer products. We have seen this vehicle five times over the past forty years. The first wienermobile was built way back in 1936 and currently there are six vehicles traveling the country driven by graduating college seniors (under one year contracts) called Hotdoggers whose job is to “meat” and greet people across America and pass out OM swag. By the way, I own a 1990’s Hot Wheels Wienermobile die cast replica.