Off to New Orleans, Day 3 on our way to Georgia

Day 3, February 15 2018



Hillbilly Bake Shop and Ice cream and Creamery

20180215_074822153 N Main StMount Airy, NC


What could be more wholesome than milk in the land of Mayberry?

20180215_075711594 N Andy Griffith Pkwy, Mount Airy, NC


Giant Milk Shake

20180215_083108365 E Dalton Rd., King, NC


Some times we are so busy finding interesting BIG THINGS (like this Coffee Pot) that we forget to check out other attractions. I feel we missed out in quaint, historical Winston-Salem. It was too early for anything to be open, but it looked like it was a good place to spend a couple of hours.

20180215_090304408 S Main St, Winston-Salem, NC


Where’s the BEEF! Looks like it’s up a pole!

20180215_091044653 Waughtown St., Winston-Salem, NC


Charming, vintage gas station shaped like a shell. I think I’m pretty safe assuming it was a Shell station.

20180215_091503                 1111 E Sprague St., Winston-Salem, NC



Amazing facade for Furnitureland South. At eighty feet tall, it is one HUGE dresser!
20180215_0941245635 Riverdale Dr, Jamestown, NC



Oddly placed on a residential street, this piece is a big as a house! Billed as the WORLD’S LARGEST DRESSER. It apparently gets new socks on a regular basis – don’t know if they are the world’s largest, though.

20180215_095708508 North Hamilton St., High Point, NC


Bike has seen better days, but it is BIG.

20180215_1009172000 N Main St, High Point, NC 



Nice lyre or harp back chair. Billed as the World’s Largest Chair, but let’s be real – I’ve seen bigger. I’m willing to let it be the world’s largest Duncan Phyfe Chair, though.
6 W Main St, Thomasville, NC


Bill’s Truck Stop. Large prospector or hillbilly waves to motorists on the highway.

20180215_1111221210 Snider Kines Rd, Linwood, NC


Charlotte Panthers Stadium
20180215_120414.jpg 800 S Mint St, Charlotte, NC


I don’t know if this is larger than life, because for the life of me I don’t know what it is! It’s affectionately referred to as Disco Chicken.

20180215_123852.jpg420 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC


So these are along the lines of See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil. Right? These are in a parkette with several sculptures that (which?) incorporate the instruments of writing — typewriter keys, quill pen, stacks of books — as a tribute to a local newspaper publisher (According to Roadside America)

20180215_133306  20180215_132836.jpg  20180215_133050

Big stubby pensil


Giant typewriter keys20180215_133024.jpg

A stack of famous quotes


  A legend in my own mind!!!

 300 East 7th St, Charlotte, NC


Interesting sculptures on the four corners of Independence Square at Trade and Tyrone, representing Commerce, Transportation, Industry and The Future.

20180215_125434      20180215_12560320180215_125518     20180215_125406 Corner of Trade and Tyrone, Charlotte, NC


Lovely koi.

20180215_123323 parkette across from Charlotte Convention Center – 501 S College St., Charlotte, NC



Stacked books.

20180215_122920.jpg    20180215_122943.jpgparkette across from Charlotte Convention Center – 501 S College St., Charlotte, NC


This is AMAZING. The silvery head is made up of 40 slices that rotate more or less randomly, and form a perfect head every hour or so. Called Metamorphosis, it is located in a technology park.

20180215_141424   20180215_1414553700 Arco Corporate Dr., Charlotte, NC



JANUARY 22, 2017

Day 5 – Part 1 GEORGIA

We left Columbus in the drizzle at 6 am, knowing we had a long day ahead of us, but hoping it would be light by the time we reach our first stop – Plains, GA


We pulled into Plains, which proudly proclaims itself the hometown of President Jimmy Carter, about 7.30 am. Due to the weather, the light was still low, and we drove up Hwy 45 past the spot the GPS said the Jimmy Carter Peanut should be located. As we drove further along the highway looking for a place to turn around, we commented on what we assumed was unusual activity at Maranatha Baptist Church – a number of cars pulling into the parking lot at an early hour, even on a Sunday. We backtracked to the GPS marker, and low-and-behold, there was the Jimmy Carter Peanut. How could we have driven by!


Location: 120 Hwy 45, Plains

We were greeted by this very friendly dog, who insisted on being in the photo. While we were there, a car pulled up and a nice lady asked us if we were looking for the church. President Carter was going to be speaking. She was a Sunday school teacher, and we would be welcome to come. What an opportunity! Unfortunately, we had such a long day ahead of us, we regretfully turned down the offer. In hindsight, I wish we had gone. We need to learn to be more flexible with the schedule.



Did I really drive out of my way for this chicken? It might be time to rethink how many white chickens I want – the South is full of them.20170122_075401

Location: 288 N Main St, Dawson



OK. DEFINITELY have to rethink this chicken thing. This is IDENTICAL to the one in Dawson. Even the angle of the shot is the same!


Location: 510 N Slappey Blvd, Albany

The majority of Albany turtles (which first appeared in 2003), are living in Turtle Jail. These were just four of the originals we could find scattered around downtown.

Location: along Pine Avenue and N Front

All the fiberglass turtles who used to reside in Turtle Grove Park are gone!  I’m wondering if the gator I’m wrangling, who has invaded the children’s park, ate them all? If so he had better keep an eye out for the ENORMOUS turtle around the corner


Location: Turtle Grove Park, 112 N Front St, Albany,

What a great memorial to a wonderful musician! The Ray Charles, across from the Hilton Garden Inn,  is a revolving, lit sculpture of the famous man at his grand piano. (Because it is winter, the water is turned off, and the statue isn’t revolving.) Piped in music plays from his list of hits, and a music motif winds through the park. It was fun to pretend to play the giant piano keys.


Location: 112 N Front St, Albany



*World’s Largest

This peanut is billed as the World’s Largest, and maybe it was when it was erected in 1975, but I think the one in Alabama has it beat.


Location 424 Sylvia Dr. Ashburn, just off Hwy 75

This lovely lady stand in the parking lot of a Chevron Gas/ Dairy Queen, looking over     Hwy 75, just one exit north of the giant peanut.


Location: 2005 North St, Ashburn



Now THIS rooster is worth a side trip. He comes from a different mold from the other chickens, and great pains were taken with his sculpting and paint job. He stands outside Wishbone Chicken, along with a pig (with ‘Pork Chops’ painted on it’s side) a couple of piglets and some pocket sized alligators. Do they serve alligator? After reading reviews on yelp, I wish we had popped in for a snack. But it’s already past 10.30 am and we haven’t even left Georgia! Time to push on to Jacksonville FL.


Location: 605 Love Ave, Tifton


September 29, 2016

Day 3 of our Michigan Adventure



Another bonus day! The sun is shining first thing this morning. Look how beautifully it highlights the WORLD’S LARGEST HOTDOG! And I need you to understand this is not photoshopped – this is the real thing! Built in 2014, it is 63 feet long, 15 feet, 2 inches high, 12 feet wide, and weighs approximately 2.4 tons. The place is called Wienerlicious.   Apparently 7 am is too early to try out their wares!

Mackinaw City - WL Hot Dog.jpg

LOCATION: Wienerlicious, 102 E.Central Ave, Mackinaw City



Cheboygan turned out to be a small gold mine of BIG THINGS. We came for the axe, and found 3 more things!

The axe isn’t anywhere near as large as the one in Nackawic, NB but it’s still pretty impressive. Strangely, it is a monument to early lumberjacks, so I’m not sure why it is a fireman’s axe!



Beside it is this tool, which is called a cantilever hook. It is also a traditional lumbering tool. Both of these items are displayed at the Cheboygan Fairgroundscheboygan-cantilever-hook

LOCATION: Cheboygan Fairgrounds, 312 E Lincoln Av., Cheboygan

In the downtown area is a small sculpture park. The owl was one of the first sculptures, and the mosaic fish is a particularly attractive recent addition

    cheboygan-owl   cheboygan-fish

LOCATION: corner of  W State and N Main, Cheboygan



Our next stop was Onaway – a small town with an interesting inhabitant. Tom Moran, founder of Moran Ironworks! Although the company specializes in BIG metal fabricating jobs (think structural steel and ferry construction) Tom is a sculptor of large, sheet metal objects. To quote directly from his website: “Tom Moran was born and raised in Onaway, Michigan. He started Moran Iron Works, after high school graduation in 1978. Today his company specializes in large modular metal fabrication and employs people at four locations in Onaway, Cheboygan and Rogers City, Michigan.

Tom also shares his creative passion by making ornamental sculptures and teaching ornamental welding. He shares his metal creations by donating most of his sculptures to non-profit organizations and educational facilities for fundraising opportunities or public display.”

An example of his work is this head of George Washington, perched on a small rise in the field next to the fabricating plant (created for the 1998 4th of July Parade in Onaway). As we were soon to discover, Tom’s sculptures are well represented in the area!


 LOCATION: 11739 Michigan 68, Onaway


Tom Moran is also the founder of Industrial Arts Institute, a trade school in Onaway. Behind the large building are the beginnings of a trail and sculpture walk. It is here that you can find the WORLD’S LARGEST STEERING WHEEL. Created by Tom Moran for 4th of July parade in 2014, the steering wheel celebrates the history of Onaway – at one time the proud home of the largest wooden steering wheel factory (it burnt to the ground in 1926.) Although this item appears to be situated on land behind a large industrial building and loading docks, it is actually part of a walking trail. The old foundations of the steering wheel factory are visible, and several more creations by Tom Moran – a steam locomotive, Iron Man and battling dragons (with more to come) – are interspersed along it’s length.


 LOCATION: behind 20902 Washington St, Onaway



Just east of Onaway on Hwy 68, on the north side just passed OcQueoc Rd.,  we spotted this giant daisy. My wife kept yelling “get closer” but I can see what happened to the last guy that waded into the swamp!


LOCATION: 13546 Hwy 68, Millersburg



If you drive straight through Rogers City to the foot of Hwy 68, you come to Lakeside Park, and right there in front of you is a giant metal hand holding a torch with a gold tinsel flame! This is another sculpture by Tom Moran of Onaway (created for the 2004 4th of July Parade in Onaway).


On the main street Of Rogers City – which is actually 3rd St – this hot dog stands proudly – and patriotically – outside Plath’s Meats.


LOCATION: 116 S 3rd St, Rogers City



Further down the coast we come to Alpena. Our research shows there are two sculptures at the Besser Museum – an art/history/science museum. Outside are two large, metal sculptures (again, by Tom Moran!). One is a soldiers head, painted in a camouflage pattern, representing the Unknown Soldier (created for the 2007 4th of July Parade in Onaway). The other is an eye-catching eagle’s head (created for the 2000 4th of July Parade in Onaway), with stainless steel feathers that catch the sun. I think it is great that these sculptures get to live two lives – one as a parade float, then a second as site specific sculptures.


alpena-soldier  alpena-eagle

LOCATION: Besser Museum, 491 Johnson St, Alpena

While we are admiring the fountain outside the Besser Museum, we spot a large figure near the parking lot next door. It is Kaiser Paul, the mascot for the Alpena Community College Lumberjacks sports teams. According to Roadside America, he is built of old parts of Kaiser automobiles! (Click here for full story on Kaiser Paul)


LOCATION: 666 Johnson St, Alpena

On the way out of Alpena we came across the Red Arrow Party Store, with it’s vintage red arrow outside. In Canada, a party store would have paper plates, hats and streamers for sale. In Michigan it is beer, liquor, cigarettes and lottery tickets! Now THAT’S a PARTY!


LOCATION: Red Arrow Party Store, 3033 Us Highway 23 S, Alpena



As we continue down Hwy 23, we come across Dinosaur Gardens. The dinosaurs aren’t larger than life, so they don’t get pictured here, but standing outside the gardens is a large Jesus with world in his hand!


LOCATION: 11160 US Hwy 23 S., Ossineke

Ossenike is the home of yet another Paul Bunyon, this one with his blue ox Babe. Ossenike, along with Oscada MI, Bangor ME, Bermidji MN and a host of other towns, claims to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyon.


LOCATION: 12022 US-23, Ossineke



While driving along Hwy-23, we came across this fishing bobber/propane tank.


LOCATION: 5130 North U.S. 23, Oscoda Twp

Apparently we are really in Paul Bunyon country in this part of Michigan. This Paul stands on Hwy 23 at Furtaw Feild. On November 6, 2006, the state of Michigan gave Oscoda the “Official Home of Paul Bunyan” title because the Oscoda Press published the first Bunyan story in 1906.


LOCATION: 405 N State St, Oscoda Twp



One hour inland on Hwy-55, is this unusual lumberjack. He wears clothes made out of fabric! Look at the close-up detail! He seems a little out of place in the urban sprawl of hotels, fast food joints and gas stations, but he has a happy smile on his face.

west-branch-lumberjack1  west-branch-lumberjack3

LOCATION: 2980 Cook Rd, West Branch

Maybe Happy Faces is the theme for West Branch, because one of their water towers has a really big one! Not me – the one on the water tower.




East of Tawas City on Hwy-55 we spotted this padlock on a post. Not sure what its purpose is – is there a locksmith here? Is their last name Lock? is it just there to amuse me?


LOCATION: 5448 Hwy-55, Tawas City



A cute place called Sundaes Afternoon has an especially nice ice cream cone out front – two flavours and a good looking cone. Beside it is an over sized chair. The back is the shape of Michigan, minus the part that probably should be part of Wisconsin!.

omer-icecream  omer-chair

LOCATION: 406 Center Rd, Omer



Pinconning had the first of today’s mouse-and-cheese figures. Wilson’s bills itself as Michigan’s oldest cheese shop. We didn’t go inside, but if I had known about the Wall of Fire, I’d have been inside in a flash stocking up on exotic hot sauces!


LOCATION: 130 N. Hwy 13, Pinconning



Williams Cheese Co has a big, happy looking cow outside. I thought I’d try my hand at milking her, but I got nada. Her face makes me think I might have cold hands! Williams Cheese produces over 5 MILLION pounds of cheese annually. That’s a LOT of cheddar!


LOCATION: 998 N. Huron Rd, Linwood



I hoped to find a large pickle somewhere around here – this part of Michigan is supposed to be the Pickle Capital of the US. I mean, Linwood has a Pickle Festivals, for crying out loud! But what I found outside the Pickle Store was a giant Yankee Candle.


LOCATION: 2779 S Huron Rd, Kawkawlin



Saginaw Valley State University is home to the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum. I was really looking forward to spending some time here, but it was already after 5 pm (closing) when we got there. So we had to be satisfied with a walk around the outdoor exhibits, which wasn’t too shabby. There were several of the same sculptures we saw at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Gardens, as well as the one’s below. The large hands are called ‘Youth in the Hands of God” I’m amazed by the perfect scale of the hands, which were created before computers could help with the imaging. The sculpture was created for the 1955 opening of the Dallas Central Library, but in 1993, the artist bought back the 880 pound, 20 foot sculpture when the city of Dallas didn’t have the funds to maintain it.

saginaw-marshall-m-fredericks-sculpture-museum-buffalo  saginaw-marshall-m-fredericks-sculpture-museum-handsaginaw-marshall-m-fredericks-sculpture-museumpeople  saginaw-marshall-m-fredericks-sculpture-museumhand-geesesaginaw-marshall-m-fredericks-sculpture-museumclowns

LOCATION: 7400 Bay Rd, University Center, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw


What a pretty town, straight out of a Disney Black Forest. The main street is lined with castellated, gingerbread encrusted hotels, restaurants and shops covered in bunting and flags and decorated with seasonal flowers and grasses. It may be contrived, but it still works. So It’s kind of sad that the only picture we took in this colourful downtown was another mouse-with-cheese photo op!.


LOCATION: 561 S Main St, Frankenmuth

Of course, what we really came to see were the decorations at Bronner’s Christmas Store.


frankenmuth-7   1

frankenmuth-4    frankenmuth-11


frankenmuth-9   frankenmuth-6


LOCATION: 25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth

So that was it for Day 3 of our adventure. We drove home in the pouring rain, back across the Bluewater Bridge, back through Sarnia and London and the insane drivers of Ontario (who drive on a rainy night like it is a sunny day!) and home just before midnight.

Day 3.jpg

Distance today: 878 km.

Total for three days: just under 2500 km driven, 8 World’s Largest somethings seen.

FOOTNOTE: These aren’t the World’s Largest, and because they are mass produced and for commercial advertising they don’t really belong here. But because we don’t have Big Boys in Canada, we found them amusing.

west-branch-big-boy    big-boy-1

September 28, 2016

Day 2 Part 2 of our Michigan Adventure


Our next stop is in the town of Norton Shores on the west coast on the state. This giant hand is suspended in front of a private residence – no explanation of why it’s here!


LOCATION: 706 Pontaluna Rd, Norton Shores.




Now for something really great – the World’s Largest  Functioning Weathervane! The weathervane is 48 feet tall with an arrow 26 feet long.

Montague - WL weathervane.jpg

LOCATION: 8718 Water St, Montague

NOTE: there are at least two other competitors for this title. One is in the Whitehorse, Yukon Territory and the other in Jarez Spain



Whoops! I might temporarily have forgotten these fish! They are part of an Art Walk in Whitehall – just across the causeway from Montague, where Dowling St turns into Thompson St. Apparently we missed some large colourful flowers and a large stained glass butterfly. Darn!




On our way to the next scheduled stop, we drove through the charming town of Fremont. The streets are decorated with amusing hay bale sculptures. Of course, these aren’t permanent installations, so in THEORY they don’t belong her. But this one was too good to pass up.




We had to hunt HARD for these – even though we knew they were here. I’m not sure if these are fun or mildly creepy!


Kiss and Release!





The World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan.

The pan was made to hold the World’s Largest Cherry Pie at the time (from 1987-1992). The huge pie weighed 28,350 pounds and was 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter.Nov 15, 2012. Made by Chef Pierre Bakeries before they were bought out by Sara Lee.

Also pretty big is this bear, who guards the entrance to Traverse City Bear Company. I’m not sure he is really inviting you into his souvenir shop!


LOCATION: 896 Munson Ave, Traverse City



The Roadrunner’s Favourite City – Acme! On top of this fudge store is a huge box with a giant slice of fudge.  Visit Doug Murdick’s Fudge


LOCATION: 4500 U.S. 31 North, 5 miles North of Traverse City



This is a nice addition to my collection of Big Chairs. Convenient steps, and it’s made out of easy-to-care-for recycled material. At the Cherry Street Market and Garden Center


LOCATION: 301 W Mile Rd, Kalkaska

National Trout Memorial Fountain, or, as it is known by the locals –  Big Trout Fountain, is nearly 20 feet long. The trout is Michigan’s Official State Fish!


LOCATION: 335 S. Cedar St., Kalkaska





Another World’s Largest Cherry Pie. This was the first one in Michigan, baked in 1976 when a man named Dave Phillips convinced local businesses in Charlevoix to bake the World’s Largest Cherry Pie as part of the town’s annual cherry festival and to celebrate the Bicentennial. A giant pan (7 tons!) was built, along with an equally titanic oven (by Medusa Cement). Local farmers supplied the ingredients ( a 1,730-pound pie crust and filled with 12,750 pounds of cherry filling—that’s 4,950 pounds of Michigan cherries and 540 pounds of sugar in a 14’4″ in diameter pan that is 2 feet deep). The egg wash and sugar was “distributed on top of the pie crust using a helicopter.” The monster dessert was then baked for 5 hours in an 18-foot oven. The result: a cherry pie weighing 17,420 pounds. It was a world record.Well, until 1987 when Traverse City built a bigger one!. Neither city got to hold on to the title – it is now held by the tiny town of Oliver BC, who built a cherry pie that weighed a whopping 39,683 pounds! (they didn’t save their pie plate though)

I tried a bite of the pie above, but it tasted like concrete!

LOCATION: 6591 6725 Old US 31 S., Charlevoix




My wife has been yelling “we’re burning daylight” every time I dawdle,  and it turns out she was right (again!) We arrived in Indian River after the sun had set, and had to grope around in the dark to find the World’s Largest Crucifix. The entire setting looked pretty amazing – even in the dark! Check out the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods for the full story. The cross is 55 feet high, and was erected in 1954. The Corpus, created by sculptor Frederick Marshall, is 31 feet high, and was added in 1959.


LOCATION: 7078 M-68, Indian River


After this, we hopped back in the car,  and headed to Mackinaw City for the night. Ate a great pizza from Mama Mia’s, drank a couple of Coor’s Lights, and collapsed into bed. Because it will all start again tomorrow with the WORLD’S LARGEST HOT DOG!

DAY 2 : Drove 628 km.



Sept 27, 2016

We are off on a 3 day trip through Michigan to see BIG THINGS. The route is all plotted out. We won’t see everything, but we have a mix of Must Sees, World’s Largests and just-for-fun items on our list. When we planned it, the forecast was for sunny, warm weather. Now they are calling for days of rain. Darn!

We left home at 5 am, which means we should reach our first destination around 9 am.


Armada - apple.jpg

LOCATION: Blake’s Big Apple, 71421 North Ave, Armada

This big shiny apple is at Blake’s Big Apple. We bought a bag of apples, a couple of well deserved coffees and two cinnamon sugar donuts. These turned out to be the best donuts I have ever eaten – clouds of sweet, yeasty softness. Luckily I was already a couple of kilometers down the road when I discovered how good they were! Blake’s is set up as a destination, and obviously it gets REAL busy on the weekends.




LOCATION: Riverbend Driving Range – 33190 23 Mile Rd

Next Stop was the Riverbend Driving Range in Chesterfield. This golfer seems to have lost his club!



This was the first thing on out Must See list. Originally called Unconditional Surrender, (but now called Embracing Peace), this statue is the 3D representation of a famous photo. The original image of the moment was captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945 (V-J Day). Several copies of this sculpture exist – one in Sarasota Florida, another in San Diego (which has been replaced with a painted bronze copy) This copy is on display on Royal Oaks only until December 2016. Up close, the finish is amazing, the texture of the stockings with a seam running up the back of her legs, the sailor’s uniform, his shiny boots – fabulous. There are amazing amounts of controversy about this piece, but I think people should find better stuff to get worked up about.

Image result for unconditional surrender photo  royal-oaks-unconditional-surrender-now-embrasing-peace

LOCATION: Woodward Ave.  and W. 13 Mile Rd., Royal Oak



And now for something a little more light-hearted. This cow stands on the roof of the Carry Dairy.


LOCATION: 979 Ecorse Rd, Ypsilanti




Off to Dundee to visit Cabela’s. It’s rather out of our way, but too hard to resist. Actually, we wont go in the store – we’re just going to see the World’s Largest Bronze Wildlife Sculpture – two enormous grizzlies fighting over a carcass! Looks like Thanksgiving dinner at our house!


LOCATION: 110 Cabela’s Blvd E., Dundee



Ann Arbor has two Big Things I want to see. First are the carrots at 1 Carrot Way (love it!) I’m sure it would usually be simple to get here, except road construction got in the way. Normally, you get of Hwy 23, make a right, a left and bingo you are there. Instead we drove around residential streets, all of which were blocked by construction. Eventually we backtracked to our highway exit, drove east until the GPS redrew a new route. Ridiculous! Worth it though to get these great carrots! These are located outside Food Gathers – a food bank situated in what appears to be a pretty affluent area.


Next stop is also food related – garlic! this giant bud is outside The Quarter Bistro.


LOCATION: 300 S Maple Rd, Ann Arbor



Onward north to Brighton, where there is a selection of local sculpture. It’s a pretty town, with a great park in the centre of town, lined with walkways and bridges. brighton-fish

Only a couple of items were Bigger Than Life – this colourful fish, and this weirdly grinning head – his, not mine.


There were supposed to be floating waterlilies, but we couldn’t find them.




Next stop is Lansing, which is quite attractive despite it’s blue collar reputation. We came here to see the World’s Largest Lug Nut, which is perched atop a smoke stack in the downtown near Cooley Law School Stadium, where the Lansing Lugnuts  Minor Baseball team plays.


LOCATION: near the corner of N Cedar and E.Michigan, Lansing 


LOCATION: N. Cedar and E. Shiawassee, Lansing

This sculpture is called the Worker, and is an homage to Lansing’s blue collar work force. And as you can see, every city needs to have sculptures you can dress in sports uniforms!



This more-than-heroic sized statue is of Sojourner Truth, an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist who spent the last 25 years of her life in Battle Creek Michigan.

Battle Creek - Sojourner Truth.jpg

LOCATION: corner of S. Division and E. Michigan Sts, Battle Creek



east-leroy-icecream   east-leroy-2

“Lick faster – it’s melting!”

YUM! Good thing we didn’t scratch this one off the list. It was a bit out of the way, and the carved cone isn’t HUGE, but the REAL ice cream might be the best I have ever eaten! It was made with a freshly baked waffle cone and filled with made-in-Michigan Ashby’s Sterling ice cream. The regular sized cone was so huge I couldn’t eat more than 2/3 of it! The Station 66 store carries a wide selection of unique, Michigan-made items as well as holding fun events.

LOCATION: 4588 D Drive S., East Leroy



I love the place names in Michigan. I just love saying KALAMAZOOOO – almost as much as saying CheBOYGAN!  I only found one Big Thing in Kalamazoo – a 10 foot bronze Makinauk turtle at Arcadia Creek Festival Place – a large city park with nice open space  and a band shell. Special events are held here regularly throughout the year.

Kalamazoo - turtle.jpg

Outside Kalamazoo, we came across Gene the Pumpkin Man. This farm looks like a VERY sincere Pumpkin Patch, complete with pumpkin carriages. 


LOCATION: 22637 M 43 Highway West, west of Kalamazoo



Just a few minutes west we came across this big bow at Kruizenga Archery. Great sign!


LOCATION: 24780 M-43, Mattawan 



Great roosters outside Arlington Trading Post! Nice decorations for a pet food and feed store. I’m not sure these guys like being fondled, though – they look a little surprised.

bangor-chickenbangor-chicken2   bangor-flower

Our next stop was just down the street. I called ahead to check with the principal at Bangor High School to make sure it would be OK to take pictures. She was very nice, and said of course we could, and warned us that there was some painting and restoration in progress. Isn’t he a beauty!


This is the school mascot – the Bangor Viking. He stands at the end of the football field – part of a sport complex that any college or university in Canada would be proud to have. A beautiful football field, bleachers, washrooms, changing facilities, hard and softball fields, 6 tennis courts and what appear to be archery ranges, as well as picnic tables and some secondary practice fields! And Bangor is just a small town of fewer than 2000 in the middle of nowhere. The high school has fewer than 400 students. The middle school has 350 students. That’s less than 800 students using these facilities! Lucky kids!


Bangor High School and Middle School with sport facilities



We were loosing light before we reached our last stop before heading to dinner and our hotel. This chicken stands in the parking lot of Jake’s Byron Center Hotel. I think she is lost!


LOCATION: – 2619 84th St. SW, Byron Center


Onward to our hotel in Grand Rapids. We had a delicious all-day-breakfast at the IHOP next door. Their new apple ring pancakes are to die for!


And so ends DAY 1 of our Michigan Adventure. We left home at 5 am, checked into the hotel at 10 pm. Below is roughly our route across the cuff of the mitten that is Michigan – a mere 980 km! Tomorrow we attack the fingers of the mitten!


September 19, 2016


We are still on our way home, and have decided to drop in on our son in Ottawa. To fill time until he gets home from work, we will visit a few of the Ottawa Big Things I have on my list.


Our first stop is Algonquin College, where I have been told there is the WORLD’S LARGEST WORKING PEPPER MILL. According to a newspaper article, it was permanently housed in the Hospitality Building, so that is where we headed. After accosting several people in the lobby (who all looked at me strangely) I headed to the offices. No one had heard of such a thing. People who had worked there for 20 years had never heard of it. Not to be put off, I encouraged them to make some calls. Eventually someone told someone that it was at the Woodworking building across campus, so a very helpful employee (her curiosity piqued) led us over there. We asked one of the custodians where it was, and got a blank stare – not good. We asked several staff members, who gave us an educated guess where it might be. Eventually we ended up near the woodworking shops. When we asked one of the instructors if he knew where it was he laughed and pointed to it 20 feet away, tucked in a corner of the shop. How sad. Apparently there was a lot of discussion about where it should be permanently housed, but no decision, so it lingers in a corner gathering dust. Luckily we had our steel toed boots on, so we were allowed to get close enough to take this picture.


This working, 16 foot tall pepper mill was an end-of-year project for the 2014 class and deserves a good home.


Our next stop was the Canadian Firefighters Memorial on Lett St off the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway near the War Museum. It is an impressive bronze statue pointing to a granite map (VERY stylized) of Canada, with the names of firefighters who died in the line of duty (including workplace related illness). We were touched to see the name of our friend Bill Crawford on the wall.


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With just a quick but scary trip across the Pont Alexandra we are back in Quebec. This is definitely the weirdest bridge, with the going-to-Quebec side ‘tacked’ on to the bridge, and the whole thing made from a Mechano set. Avoided if possible! The sculpture titled Odyssey is temporarily installed at the corner of Pont Alexandra and Rue Laurier, near the History Museum. We missed it when it was on display in Quebec City (a better location) and were thrilled to have a chance to see it in person. Three ENORMOUS pigeons are looking at a huge Campbell Soup can. Or are they looking at me? I feel like a french fry about to be attacked by birds!


The sculpture was created by by Cooke-Sasseville of Quebec, who are known for their large and often irreverent artworks.

APRIL 16, 2016

Yesterday was a BIG day for Carl with BIG THINGS! A trip to Collingwood via Mount Forest, Owen Sound, Wiarton and Meaford. Then home via Orangeville!


This used to have a long skinny tail, which made us think it was a rat. Up close, I’m thinking maybe a dog?

Arthur rat.jpg

LOCATION: Hwy 6 south of Arthur, below Sideroad 19, on the east side.



A giant Foodland Ontario produce basket

Mount Forest basket.jpg

LOCATION: Sligo Rd in front of Wellington Wood Products

Also in Mount Forest, these interesting metal sculptures, at the workshop of JC Wood Working. I own one of his garden sculptures – a hummingbird at a flower. Very nice and reasonably priced.

Durham flowers.jpg

LOCATION: JC Wood Working, 460 Main St. N



A REALLY BIG chair, that needs some repairs and a can of paint. This used to be in front of a business, but it is now just a private residence. I’m not trespassing this time – there was someone to give me permission!

Varney chair.jpg

LOCATION: Highway 6 below Durham on the west side.



A tree trunk carved into the likeness of a soldier.Chatsworth soldier.jpg

LOCATION: Chatsworth War Memorial, Hwy 6 and Sideroad 1 at the north end of town



Home of Wiarton Willie, the weather prognosticating groundhog, and his successor Wee Willie. Everything you need to know about Wiarton Willie.can be found at  Wikipedia: Wiarton Willie

This is the memorial to the original Willie.

Wiarton willie.jpg

LOCATION: 402 William St

This is the Willie that appears on the sign when you are entering town

Wiarton Willie sign.jpg

LOCATION: Hwy 6 as you enter town



Biggish tomato.

Owen Sound tomato.jpg

LOCATION: Hwy 6 as you enter Owen Sound above a restaurant next to the Galaxy Cinema.



Not THE Big Apple, but certainly A Big Apple!

Meaford Apple.jpg

LOCATION: Visitor’s Centre, by the Playhouse in downtown Meaford




Probably the World’s Largest Golf BAG!

golf bag

LOCATION: Lynbrook Family Golf Centre, Sideroad 10 just east of County Road 11

(North of Orangeville, turn west off Hwy 10 onto Sideroad 10)



World’s Largest Working Eggbeater. You have to be determined to find this!

Lauretta PE Worlds Largest Hand Egg Beater.jpg

LOCATION: Up towards the north western tip of the Island. Take PE-2 to Alma. Turn west on Centre Line Rd to Back Road Folk Art. Drive up the lane – the egg beater is near the house. NOTE this is a narrow dirt road. You aren’t lost.