Washington Road Trip Journal

"Goin' on a Field Trip"

by David "Sumoflam" Kravetz

Aug. 28, 2007: Tomorrow, Aug. 29 I will be taking a long road trip with my 18 year old son Solomon. We are going to Great Falls to see my new grandson, Charlie O., but we will also be going to Kennewick and Dayton in Washington State for three Trailer Park Troubadours shows that I will be acting road manager for.  After these are over on Sept. 9, we will return home via Salt Lake City.  As with all of my trips, I have an itinerary set and we will see a number of fun and interesting and fun sites over the nearly 6000 mile drive.  As always, I will have links to many of these places and will document the history as we go:

Some sites we will visit on this trip

Cars on a Spike in Chicago

The Mustard Museum in Wisconsin

Big Ball of Twine in Minnesota

World's Largest Fire Hydrant in Manitoba

World's Biggest Moose Statue in Saskatchewan

Vulcan, Alberta (with a huge Starship Enterprise)

Hell's Canyon National Recreation Area

Douglas, Wyoming (Jackalope Capital of the World)

I-80 Truck Stop in Iowa (The World's Biggest)

and many many other interesting places


Aug. 29, 2007: Day 1 - Lexington, KY to Black River Falls, WI (665 miles)

Today finally got here.  Solomon and I got on the road at 6:45 AM and were on our way.  A quick stop for a gas fill-up and some drinks and then on to Louisville, Indianapolis and finally, to Gary, Indiana.

Besides the typical stops for gas and rest areas, our first "tourist" stop was at the Indiana Tourist Information Center in Gary. This is right on the border with Illinois.  I was quite impressed with the architecture of the building.  This was reminiscent of the Memphis, TN Visitors Center that we saw back in June.

Gary, Indiana Visitor's Center


After our brief visit there, it was then on to Cermak Plaza in Berwyn, IL to see the Cars on a Spike ("Spindle" by Dustin Shuler).  I have tried to get to this unusual piece of art a number of times.  However, this time I had to get there.  You see, in October, or thereabouts, it will be taken down to accommodate a Walgreen's expansion (also listen to NPR interview with artist Dustin Shuler) in the Cermak Plaza shopping center.  Shuler was commissioned to put this piece up back in 1989.  There are numerous articles about trying to save "Spindle" and there is a great deal of information elsewhere.  But, "Spindle" is not the only piece of artwork at the Cermak.  Check the video out below to see some of the others.  Click here for some detailed explanation about the other art work. One final comment about "Spindle" is that the BMW (second from top under VW Bug), has a license plate on the front that says "Dave", as if it were there to greet me (there is a close up in the video). The Spindle was demolished in May 2008.



Here is Sumoflam with visiting "Spindle" (by Dustin Shuler) in Berwyn, IL

**The Spindle was demolished in early May 2008


"Pinto Pelt" also by Dustin Shuler on the side of the optometrist by Walgreens


Spindle video by Sumoflam Productions on YouTube             Flash Version


There is even a Save Our Spindle website


I felt like the day was already fulfilled being able to see "Spindle", but Sol and I still had a very long road ahead of us, thus it was on to Wisconsin.  We pushed the schedule, but I was thrilled to get us to Mt. Horeb, WI just in time to get to the Mustard Museum before it closed.  My hope was to see it and get my "MBA" Degree from Poupon U.  We got there in time...



Walls of mustard varieties at the Mt. Horeb Mustard Museum


Here I am with my Master of Bad Attitude from Poupon U. (notice it is for Sumoflam)


Mt. Horeb actually offered me a surprise today.  Typically, I am pretty thorough about researching all the sites and information on a trip.  Unfortunately, I missed something big time about Mt. Horeb -- The Mount Horeb Trollway.  There are a number of finely carved wooden trolls dotting the town and we noticed them immediately.  Read more information on the above link...



These are some of the numerous trolls that can be seen.  All of them are available on the above link


Troll twins on the left.  A Grumpy Troll on the right.


We had a great time in Mt. Horeb and I hope to make another, more extended visit in the future.  After filling up with gas, we continued northward towards Black Earth, WI -- the only town named Black Earth in the world apparently.  Along the way, we went through the small hamlet of Vermont, WI and ran into another pleasant surprise...there were some amazing metal sculptures in someone's yard and they had a great mailbox!!  I will continue to do research to find out more about this amazing artwork...on the road between Mt. Horeb and Black Earth.







Our next stop was in Black Earth.  I had one important visit...The Shoe Box...so I could see the big boot and then also the Wall Drug sign on the building (see my Wall Drug visit from 2005).



The Shoe Box is a HUGE shoe store in Black Earth, WI.  There are two other big boots on the property.


After Black Earth, it was on to Black River Falls for the night.  Along the road today we saw some beautiful pastoral scenes and I even saw a trailer with some future opportunities for "Living in Aluminum".




Today was a long day, but we stayed on schedule.  I had planned to get to Black River Falls by 9 PM EST and we actually pulled in about 9:15 PM.  It is nice to finally get to rest as it is now after midnite Lexington time and I will need to get up at 3:15 AM to make sure Julianne gets up in time to catch her flight to Salt Lake City. By the way, many have questioned gasoline costs....we have averaged about $3.00/gallon along the way.  We drove 665 miles today and put in 41 gals (for 542 miles of the trip) at $125.00.


A final word about today...both Solomon and I have noticed in Mt. Horeb and then here in Black River Falls, that everyone has an unusual accent.  Solomon has gotten a chuckle out of some of the phrases.


Tomorrow is on to Minnesota and Manitoba.  It will be a very eventful day with lots of fun visits.


Day 2   Day 3  Day 4  Days 5-8  Day 9  Days 10-12  Day 13  Days 14/15  Day 16


Roadside guidance provided by......


See more of Sumoflam's Trip Journals


Music: "Field Trip" by Antsy McClain (www.unhitched.com)