By on April 24, 2017

Dildo, NL Road Sign, Image: shankar s./Flickr

Mercifully, at least to those of us living in the Snow Belt or in the Great White North, the official start of summer is only 57 days away. You know what that means: swimming pools, grilling meat, and — for gearheads — road trips.

I’m of firm belief the journey is half the fun, especially if you’re taking the Queen Family Truckster somewhere new. The countries on either side of the 49th parallel are filled with random and bizarre roadside bric-a-brac, some of it fit for discussion on this website, some of it — as we shall see — is straight from Hugh Hefner’s imagination.

My home province has a weird fascination with naming towns after, well, things and acts one will not find detailed in the latest issue of Good Housekeeping. Heart’s Content, Heart’s Delight, and Heart’s Desire are all pretty PG-13, but there are not one but two areas containing the word Dildo. Unsurprisingly, the sign pointing to the town is one of the most photographed items on the island. You’d expect it to get stolen with alarming regularity but somehow it remains in place. Fun fact known only by locals: the town of Spreadeagle is next to Dildo but you won’t find that tasty fact on any map or tourist brochure. It’s said the name originated thanks to the land in the area, when viewed from the air, resembling an eagle with its wings spread. Yeah, right.

The town of Dildo is not to be confused with an area about four hours to the northeast called Dildo Run. Naturally, it is within shouting distance of the community of Virgin Arm. It gets better; the small town of Dark Hole (now renamed Parkview) is just down the road.

Urban legend or not, the following makes for a great story. I’ve heard it several times from different sources, so I’m confident there is a kernel of truth in there somewhere. Virgin Arm is big enough to warrant a locally owned fast food joint, as it’s in close proximity to about half a dozen other communities the same size or bigger. In the early ‘90s, long before the internet and online ordering, the restaurant — named Dildo Run Snacks — was trying to find a replacement part for its deep fryer. After all day on the phone, the sole place they found that carried it was in Ontario somewhere. After about 20 solid minutes of convincing the repair place that its restaurant was actually called Dildo Run Snacks, the supplier finally relented.

“Ok, ok. Fine. Dildo Run Snacks is the name of your restaurant. Whatever. In what town are you located so we can mail the part?”

“Virgin Arm.”

*click*

Roadside attraction, weird monument, town name — what’s the oddest thing you’ve happened upon during a road trip?

[Image: shankar s./Flickr]

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43 Comments on “QOTD: Best Roadside Attractions?...”


  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Pennsylvania.

    The towns of Intercourse, Big Beaver, and Blue Ball all remind us that early settlers did not have the convenience of the Urban Dictionary.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “..the official start of summer is only 57 days away. You know what that means..”

    Vermin rejoice!

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    There’s also the gem of F***ing, Austria…

    As far as actual attractions, two of the more interesting ones I’ve been to were both in Nebraska. People probably know about Carhenge, but more overlooked and really fascinating was the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington. It’s a pretty unassuming shed-like building a few hundred yards off of I-80, but it’s stuffed to the gills with everything from Jeeps to a Humvee prototype to a couple of UH-1 Hueys and everything in between. It’s a lot like rummaging through someone’s attic, the way it’s presented.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    Not far from where I live is the Old Brown #2 road. I chuckle a bit every time I drive by the road sign.

  • avatar
    mikey

    We have a little town up north, former Hillbilly country, and now gentrified …Kinmount…Oh ..there has been much speculation, and several interpretations….Like they couldn’t put “Cousin _____k ” on the sign.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    Here in Indiana, we have French Lick (hometown of Larry Bird) which started as a Frech trading post that was near a salt lick.

    Just across the Ohio border is the Big Bone Lick state park, near Cincinnati (exit 175, so not perfect).

    Near Troy, Michigan off I-75’s Exit 69 is Big Beaver Road (surely, not a tourist attraction, just a funny sign).

    I went to Ball State, and it’s proximity to I-69 meant signs came up missing a lot so people could put them up in their house.

    That’s all I have for the Indiana area, although I am sure there are more (Climax, Michigan?)

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      When I lived in Ohio, my plate had the county name of Licking on it (without the word “County” to give it some context).

      Never really felt comfortable with that when traveling out-of-state.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I encountered Big Bone Lick State Park when my girlfriend (now wife) was going to college at Miami in Oxford, OH.

      Man, was that just the funniest thing in the world in my early twenties.

      http://www.dirtybutton.com/media/db791-big-bone-lick.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      OMG, I forgot that Big Beaver was at exit 69 when I posted above!

  • avatar
    statikboy

    The town of Beaver Lodge in northern Alberta has a business right on the main highway called Beaver Liquor. The neighbouring town of Pouce Coupe, which translates to “Inch Cut” or “Cut Thumb” in English, has it’s own alcoholic attraction; the Liquor Box.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Sexsmith is to the North East of Beaver Lodge.

      North West of me is Great Beaver Lake just off of the Tear Drop Forest Service Road. The guy who names that road must not have found what he was looking for.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    God Wants You Creek, Oregon

    https://tinyurl.com/mxzkxel

    It’s really just a roadsign, nothing as ominous as the name suggests. For that you need to head on over to the homegrown 1800s American cult festering in Colorado City/Hilldale on the Utah-Arizona border.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    We traveled to the UP where there are tourist traps-a’plenty. Instead of the Mystery Spot, we visited the “Weird Michigan Wax Museum” located in St. Ignace. Way to much to get in and only one small stretch of displays before you turn the corner… and end up in the gift shop!

    A quick Google shows this place is gone now.

    We also stopped at Sea Shell City in Cheboygan,MI – because everyone knows that Michigan is the best place to get seashells – and ended up buying a sand dollar along with some kitchy odds ‘n’ ends.

    My favorite driving roads? Tennessee/North Carolina mountains. Taking the Blue Ridge Highway in a Grand Marquis! I thought I was going to lose it a few times in that car.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m trying to collect places to take SWMBO to now that I’m retired….
    .
    Keep ’em coming .
    .
    -Nate

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Hahaha. come on. How childish.

    Butte Montana

    Weippe Idaho

    Idaho

    Beef Creek Ohio

    Climax Michigan

  • avatar
    CowDriver

    My wife and I took an entertaining road trip through Minnesota. Near the border with North Dakota, in Polk County, are two small towns: Fertile and Climax. The Fargo newspaper once reported a traffic crash with the headline, “Fertile Woman Dies In Climax.”

    I bet the editor had been waiting his entire career to write that headline.

    It’s a shame that they couldn’t work in that other Minnesota town, Moorhead (my wife’s alma mater).

  • avatar
    7402

    The first time I heard a Canadian pronounce Regina (Saskatchewan) I figured they must have a limerick contest to rival Nantucket.

    And let’s not forget Truth or Consequences, NM.

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Related to the anecdote about being hung up on, I had a co-worker whose last name is “Schmuck”.

    We could always tell when he was on the phone with support for the various products we sold because the calls would often start off with:

    [Dial]

    “Hello, I’m calling for support on XYZ router.”

    “Sure, it’s [redacted] S-C-H-M-U-C-K.”

    “Yes, that’s right… Hello? Hello?”

    [Grumbling while pressing re-dial]

    “Hello, I’m calling for support on XYZ router. This isn’t a prank call.”

  • avatar
    Wacko

    I live about 30 minutes from Cadillac, Quebec.
    I also live about 1 hour away from Swastika Ontario.

    • 0 avatar
      andreroy55

      So you’re in Rouyn? (or Noranda, I suppose, I left when they were separate cities)

      In the other end of Quebec, there’s St-Louis-du-Ha! Ha! (exclamation marks, hyphens, and all)
      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/ba/Saint-Louis-du-Ha%21_Ha%21.jpg/250px-Saint-Louis-du-Ha%21_Ha%21.jpg
      http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2496/3900886889_aea189e23d.jpg

  • avatar
    Featherston

    This one’s a gimme: http://www.funnysigns.net/files/bong-recreation-area.jpg

    See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bong_State_Recreation_Area

  • avatar
    nationwidejim

    Bamahenge is a full sized replica of Stonehenge located in south Alabama. It’s off the beaten path and free. It was erected by the Barber family, (think Barber Motor Sports Park in Birmingham AL) on the road they built to get to the marina they built down by the Gulf of Mexico in Baldwin County. Its refreshing to see something unique that’s totally free. No gift shop or even signs telling you how to get there.

    http://blog.al.com/gulf-coast/2013/08/stonehenge_replica_hidden_in_a.html

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I visited Foamhenge at its original Natural Bridge location before they dismantled it and shipped it up to its current location. It was super easy to miss and not well marked; I’m surprised it lasted there as long as it did.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foamhenge

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Washington State also has a Stonehenge replica, built by a tycoon as a memorial to local boys lost in WWI. On a beautiful location overlooking the Columbia River, absolutely free.

  • avatar
    George B

    My theory of place names is that the original explorers came up with interesting names independent of property values. Once a place is settled, developers give everything generic vaguely upscale names. People trying to make money off development didn’t name Mosquito Creek (NE Kansas), Muddy Boggy River (Oklahoma), Chunky River (Mississippi), or Gun Barrel City, TX. I enjoy road signs for places named before the salesmen moved in.

  • avatar
    cirats

    We were in Arizona over spring break a couple weeks ago and made a point of stopping to take a photo in Nothing, Arizona, which has an interesting little story behind it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing,_Arizona.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    If you’re in Northern California, don’t forget to stop in Bumpass Hell.

    From their website…

    Steaming sulphur vents, splattering mud pots, boiling springs—these lively features show that the earth is not quiet in this fascinating park in the state’s wild northeast corner.

  • avatar
    Rick T.

    Always got a chuckle out of the:

    Bong Recreation Area

    sign when going up to Kenosha for my semi-annual hit of kringles, cheese curds, and summer sausage at the Mars Cheese Castle.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I can say I was recently disapointed in Route 66 especailly accross New Mexico and frankly Arizona wasn’t that great either. The real highlights were the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forrest. Finding small town breweries. Some interesting Indian crafts and mueseums.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    That’s the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, thank you very much.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    When I lived in Montana there was a town called Ennis. It was considered great sport by aspiring graphic designers to add a letter “P” to the front of the name of the town and I think I managed to see at least one such altered sign every time I drove in that direction.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Driving to Florida we go past a few places with interesting names that one day I will find out more about.

    Zelienople (apparently named after the founder’s daughter, Zelien)
    Nutter Fort (which is less funny if you don’t know British slang)
    84 (Which I thought was a highway, but is actually a town)
    Bland (…)

    Actually, if you are a fire truck aficionado, Bland actually has a very interesting rig.

    Driving out east, I think I found my favourite town name: Saint-Louis-du-Ha! Ha!, Quebec.

  • avatar
    jimf42

    Let’s have a shout out for the Bong Recreation Area in southern WI

  • avatar
    Philosophil

    It’s been a few years since I’ve been home but one of my favorites has always been Bay d’Espoir. It means Bay of Hope but is actually pronounced Bay Despair.

    Another local joke was about about Joe Batt’s Arm being halfway up Hobb’s Hole, but this actually makes little sense geographically as those communities are in different parts of the island.

  • avatar

    Though not nearly as risque as the other mentions, I always got a smile when seeing the sign for Bat Cave, NC. There was also the altered version of the ‘city/mileage to’ sign for the Twin Cities where someone had sprayed a capital “T” over the “C”. That was there for quite awhile before the Minnesota DOT finally changed it to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

  • avatar
    Salzigtal

    Roadside Attractions? In the word(s) of the immortal comedian, Bobby Bitters, “Hookers”.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I must agree ~ it was hot in Los Angeles yesterday afternoon and I was driving through South Central and the Hookers were out in force if not much clothing….
    .
    Whew .
    .
    -Nate
    (who’d not touch one with *your* dick but still and all)

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ? Is it permissible to say remote Desert, rust free junk yards are good road side attractions ? .
    .
    -Nate

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