Thursday, August 27, 2015

RV Travel: Roadside Oddities in Canada

The Trans-Canada Highway in the Great White North is known for being many things: a beautifully scenic drive; a fun way to get from Canada’s East Coast all the way to the West Coast; an epic road trip to get to know the rustic country and exciting urban centers. But here’s something else about the Trans-Canada Highway: It’s peppered by roadside attractions. And not things like wax museums or fake spacecrafts – no, the majority of the Highway’s roadside oddities are oversized objects, everything from giant animals, to currency, to massive pieces of furniture. It’s as if Canada was once populated by giants who disappeared and left their playthings behind.

But where did all these objects come from? Was there a national motive to fill the towns along the Trans-Canada Highway with oversized tourist attractions? Here’s a brief background to the history behind the monuments, as well as a checklist for what you might see when you road-trip along Canada’s famous coast-to-coast highway.

Where Did These Roadside Oddities Come From?

There are so many oversized roadside attractions along the Trans-Canada Highway that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was a tourism venture sanctioned by the Canadian government. In fact, there was no organized campaign for giant objects at all – rather, several towns across Canada realized that tourist dollars could be made by creating oversized things as a way to encourage people to visit. Each town seemed to take the cue from the next, and before long the Trans-Canada Highway was lined with gigantic attractions for people to gawk at.

These days, the collection of oversized Canadian content doesn’t seem to be growing (no pun intended), but there’s still a ton of interesting things to keep an eye out for while road-tripping the Highway. These roadside oddities can provide a little bit of a bragging right to the small towns they belong to, as well as some tourist profit. Not to mention it’s just plain fun to be known as the town with the oversized [insert object here].

Some Big & Best Roadside Attractions in Canada

Let’s go from East to West along the Trans-Canada Highway and see what we might find:

The Worlds Largest Lobster
(Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)

The World’s Largest Lobster – Shediac, NB

Although it’s a statue rather than the real thing, this concrete-and-steel creation hangs out in Rotary Park in Shediac, a small town northeast of Moncton. The gigantic lobster was created in 1990 as a tribute to the town’s fishing industry and also as a potential tourist attraction. The plan worked, and according to Big Things, about 500,000 people visit the lobster every year. Stop by Shediac for a lobster roll and to snap a picture with the biggest crustacean you’ll ever see.

The big axe
(Dennis Jarvis/Flickr)

The Big Axe – Nackawic, NB

New Brunswick seems to be a province full of oddities, and the Big Axe in Nackawic is no exception. Only a year older than the giant lobster listed above, the Axe was similarly created as both a tourist attraction and a symbol of the town’s industry (Nackawic has special status as a Forestry Capital of Canada). The platform that the Big Axe rests on does additional duties as a stage for outdoor events, and Big Things notes that the Axe contains a time capsule in its head. One can only imagine what the people of the future might think of this massive woodcutting tool.

Big Nickel and Stack
(DeaShoot/Flickr)

The Big Nickel – Sudbury, ON

Many Canadians have heard of the Big Nickel in Sudbury, proving how well-known the giant coin is. The oversized 1951 five cent piece was created in 1964 with the intent to put Sudbury on the map. A 28-year-old fireman named Ted Szilva envisioned the nickel as Sudbury’s way to celebrate the Canadian Centennial, along with an underground mine and science centre to pay tribute to Sudbury’s mining history. Although the idea was rejected, Szilva raised the funds to create the 30-ft. replica built out of stainless steel to withstand the elements. It looks very different from the typical nickel that a Canadian might find in their wallet, but the Big Nickel has come to stand the test of time as Canada’s most famous oversized piece of currency. (For Ontario tourists looking to see even more giant money, there’s also a big toonie (two dollar coin) in Campbellford, and a big loonie (one dollar coin) in Echo Bay.)

The Giant Pyrogy
(Hands-Uptiger/Flickr)

The Giant Pierogy – Glendon, AB

By far one of the most unique oversized attractions you’ll see on your Trans-Canada trip is the statue of a massive pierogy (also called pyrogy, a dumpling that is a stable of eastern European cuisine) being speared by an equally massive fork. You’ll find this creation in the village of Glendon, Alberta, conceived to attract tourists to the tiny spot. (If a gigantic dumpling that weighs 6,000 pounds doesn’t do it, then clearly there is no hope for any village.) However, it’s much more heartwarming to envision the Giant Pierogy as a tribute to the Ukrainian-Canadian population of Alberta. There’s even a Pyrogy Festival in Glendon every August. (If you’re looking for some oversized meat to go with your dumpling, the world’s biggest kovbasa sausage is located in Mundare, Alberta.)

Pysanka Vegreville large Easter egg
(Kevin M Klerks/Flickr)

World’s Largest Easter Egg – Vegreville, AB

Here’s another whimsical example of the Ukrainian influence on Alberta – the town of Vegreville is home to what’s known as the World’s Largest Pysanka, a type of elaborately painted Easter egg that is a traditional part of Ukrainian culture. Big Things breaks down the structure of the aluminum creation: “The highly complex design features 524 star patterns, 1,108 equilateral triangles, 3,512 visible facets, 6,978 nuts and bolts and 177 internal struts. The pysanka leans at a 30º angle and turns in the wind like a weather vane.” As with Glendon’s pyrogy, Vegreville holds a festival devoted to the pysanka the first weekend of July, with Ukrainian music, folk art sales, and food. The Egg is located in Elk’s Park, which also hosts a statue of an oversized elk, so you’re getting two massive attractions in one.

Biggest Hockey Stick roadside attraction
(Heather Harvey/Flickr)

World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck – Duncan, BC

Canadians are known for their obsession with ice hockey, so it’s only appropriate that the biggest hockey stick and puck in the world are located in Canada. Originally created for Expo ‘86 in Vancouver, the massive stick and puck are 40 times larger than their life-size equivalents and had to be moved from mainland Vancouver to Duncan (a town on Vancouver Island) via a barge and three flatbed trucks. In 1988, the sports equipment was officially installed on the side of the Cowichan Community Centre (now the Island Savings Centre), where it was recognized by the Guinness World Records in 2008 as being the official world’s largest ice hockey stick and puck. Definitely the best decoration a small-town ice arena could have.

Conclusion

For a truly unique road trekking experience in your motorhome or RV, you could absolutely make an once-in-a-lifetime journey out of spying the oversized sights along the Trans-Canada Highway. Bring a camera and snap selfies in front of as many gigantic creations as you can — and while you’re at it, stop in to the little towns that host these wacky statues, visit the local establishments, and pick up souvenirs of your trip. The roadside attractions may be oversized, but you’ll soon find that the love behind them is just as large.

Have you ever spotted any larger-than-life roadside attractions? What were they, and where did you find them? Let us know in the comments.

Sources:
http://www.bigthings.ca/
http://www.roadsideattractions.ca/
http://www.where.ca/blog/slideshow/canada-roadside-attractions/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Canadian
http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/largest-hockey-stick/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan,_British_Columbia

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2016 New RV Features to Swoon Over

Like computers and smartphones, RVs get more astounding every year.

2016 is no different. RV manufacturers listen to buyers and sales people, both directly and through social media. They also do their research and have learned that they have great opportunity in the coming years . . . if they get models and features to match buyer habits.

New RV Features to Appeal to Baby Boomers

Each and every day until 2029, 11,000 baby boomers will retire. What will they do with their free time? While some will golf and others volunteer, a large portion will hit the road, exploring all of the incredible sights and cities they could only connect with through television in all the years before their retirement party.

To appeal to this huge crowd, RV manufacturers are focusing on comfort and ease. Wild as the baby boomers were in the 1960s, by 65 they’ve earned the comforts of home. That’s why, when you go onto the dealer lot, you’ll find stainless steel sinks, cabinets built by Amish woodworkers and memory foam mattresses. Beds drop down from ceilings with the push of a button and full outdoor kitchens unfold from RV exteriors. Baby Boomers: don’t be shy to ask for the top in comfort and design when you select your 2016 RV.

Features Designed for the Millennials

Vendors courted Baby Boomers for so long because they were the largest generation in U.S. history. In 2015, for the first time, Boomers’ numbers were surpassed by their children, the “Millenials.” According to Pew Research, in 2015 Millennials (ages 18 to 34) will hit 75.3 million, surpassing 74.9 baby boomers (ages 51- 69). By 2036, enough teens will have moved into the Millennial generation to bring its numbers up to 81 million. You can see why vendors of all kinds are creating products to appeal to this generation.

RV manufacturers are ready and willing to create motorhomes that jibe with Millennial tastes and values. Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) Vice President Mac Bryan explains, “Millennials share core RV values. They place a higher value on family outdoor recreation than any prior generation. They’re tech savvy and expect digital and high-tech features in the products they purchase...innovative products will ensure future sales growth among the Millennials.”

To satisfy the environmentally conscious but digitally addicted, manufacturers will load RVs with cutting edge control panels, ubiquitous Wi-Fi enablement, smartphone connectivity and more. Because RVs will need to grow with growing families as well, look for beds with flexibility to convert from twin bunks to king or queen sized and back again. If you’re a Millennial, don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson to show RVs with flexibility and technology that will keep you working efficiently AND playing on the road.

Examples of Future RV Trends in Action
2016 Winnebago Models Set to Stun


2016 Winnebago Adventurer

Winnebago has long had the reputation of providing terrific motorhomes at affordable prices so that Americans of all income levels can hit the road in style. This spring, they unveiled the 2016 models they’ll be shipping this fall to dealers across the United States.

First, Adventurer and Suncruiser, Winnebago’s top of the line Class A gas motorhomes, have undergone complete redesigns. The new passenger-side work station includes a “pull-over” tray that acts as a desk. It contains USB and 12-volt ports. The Adventurer and Suncruiser also received a makeover with new LED accent lights and new front and rear molded fiberglass styling. Inside, optional tile flooring can extend into the cab area.

Journey and Meridian 38P models have a new four-slide floor plan. The 38P’s new interior design also opens up space with a large picture window on the patio side and roomy bedroom/bathroom area containing Winnebago’s largest shower.

In 2016, for the first time Winnebago joins the toy hauler movement with Scorpion, a premium wide-body design with a 14 foot garage area. This garage converts into a room containing a private half-bath, facing sofas and an optional queen bed.

2016 Fleetwood Bounder Boasts Brand New Design


2016 Fleetwood Bounder

To meet requests for more sleeping room, Fleetwood upgraded its popular Bounder with an exclusive Hide-A-Loft™ P2K™ front overhead power loft bed system. The optional full-sized bed has a 500 pound weight capacity. The bed comes down at night over the driver and passenger seats. The 2016 model also focuses on an all-new transitional design. The ergonomic dash features integrated camera and audio/visual monitors. The co-pilot workstation ensures passengers can help with navigation and even get their own work done on the road. Engineers also incorporated a 100-gallon fresh water tank into the new floorplan.

2016 Augusta RV LUXE Toy Haulers Baby the Babyboomers!


2016 Luxe Fifth Wheel RV by Augusta

Luxe engineers and designers picked up on the Baby Boomer desire for comfort when they embarked on building their 2016 RV Luxe. Bringing amenities found only in high end homes, Augusta aims to lead “a Fifth Wheel revolution.”

Each Luxe kitchen backsplash is hand laid and grouted. Master light switches next to the bed and front door let owners control all lights from one convenient spot, and dimmer switches modulate all lights. Soft Touch walls and ceilings provide for noise reduction. Full sized residential refrigerators and ovens with range hoods and modern, brushed nickel faucets in the bathrooms all make every mile logged indulgent. Luxe designers say, “We designed the most modern, up to date unit on the market right now.”

La Mesa RV Has All the Resources to Help You Weigh Your Options

Hopefully, this post gave you some perspective of how RVs will be detailed in 2016 and beyond. If you’re weighing a few brands, feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or email us here. Our salespeople are ready to show and explain the advantages of each feature. Let their insights get you into the perfect rolling palace!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

RVs: Get to Know the Dutchmen Brand

In 2013, Dutchmen celebrated its 25th anniversary, making it one of the most reliable names in the RV industry. Over the years, it acquired brands Aerolite, Aspen Trail, Coleman, Denali, Kodiak, Razorback, Rubicon and Voltage. Dutchmen has focused its design and engineering talent and investment to perfect toy haulers and travel trailers. This way, all technology developed for lightweight, but stable RVs can be leveraged throughout a line of products, each with its own features, designs, function and personality.

Moving up from tent to a towable or trailer is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors in the second most affordable way. Dutchmen carries travel trailers for everyone from the camper who wants “nothing fancy” to towables with slide outs, hydraulic beds, artisan crafted cabinetry and brushed nickel faucets. Aerolite, Aspen Trail, and Kodiak brands stick to a range of floor plans for travel trailers ranging from 23 to 38 feet. Aerolite keeps the weight down as much as possible where Kodiak sticks with higher end amenities like stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets. Aspen Trail goes for spaciousness in its large windows, high ceilings and “mega-slides.”

Sitting atop the kingdom, Dutchmen’s Voltage line is “the height of luxury in fifth wheel toy haulers,” according to the company. The garage area can be converted into a screen room, complete with awnings, side rails and rear steps. The hardwood cabinets, leather seats and granite countertops we see coming in on the Voltage toy haulers convince us that this is unit is designed for those accustomed to living well. With its largest model stretching to 43 feet, the Voltage accommodates a family of four for weeks and even months.

Dutchmen’s Impressive Track Record

La Mesa RV is thrilled to carry Dutchmen. Over the years, the manufacturer has earned numerous awards from industry and camping magazines and associations. Dutchmen and its brands have won:

  • Camping Life Magazine Green Award, recognizing Dutchmen’s innovation in, “a line of ultra lightweight travel trailers using composite materials to replace wood products in the trailer . . . ”
  • National RV Dealers Association’s Quality Circle Award, which uses dealer input to measure manufacturer performance in eight areas including vehicle design and quality and competitive price.
  • Thule Manufacturing’s Strategic Partner of the Year. Thule representatives called Dutchmen management, “true visionaries.”

Which Could Be YOUR Dutchmen Trailer?

New and pre-owned Dutchmen inventory arrives at our La Mesa RV locations frequently. To see which we have on the lot today, please check our Dutchmen recreational vehicle inventory. Keep track of the new offers, specials and inventory on our La Mesa RV website. Feel free, too, to just drop in at one of our many locations. We think you’ll be amazed at the high tech features Dutchmen puts into their rigs these days! Feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or email us here. A travel trailer or a towable is an excellent way to get out onto the road affordably!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

{Infographic} Top 8 Most Beautiful Roads in North America

Hey RV road-trippers, take a journey through the lush forests, expansive deserts, majestic mountains and pretty pastures that North America has to offer! We've compiled a list of the top 8 enchanting adventures to help you pan your next RV roadtrip.

Complete this adventure of a lifetime in the cozy convenience of your very own RV!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Surging Popularity of the Class B RV

Over the past two years, Class B RVs have been the fastest growing segment in the industry. The RV Industry Association tells us that Class B deliveries jumped 43.5% from 2013 to 2014. If you’re considering purchasing or trading (up or down) a motorhome, this post will provide some insights into whether the Class B motorhome fits your family’s needs — or even wildest dreams!

Baby Boomers & Millennials Love Class B Motorhomes

Those in the RV industry point to some demographic trends driving the Class B surge. Let’s start with the generation getting ALL the attention these days: the Millennials.

Millennials (birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) gravitate toward the Class B RV because they are eco-conscious and prefer a motorhome that uses less gas than either the Class A or Class C RV. Also, as indicated by the "Tiny Home" and social entrepreneurship movements, Millennials typically reject the rampant consumerism that led to their parents’ bigger-is-better and he-with-the-most-toys- wins mentality. These days small and less outrank big and brash.

Reaching 75.3 million strong in 2015, the Millennials make up the largest generation in U.S. history. Of course manufacturers want to appeal to this huge target audience. Millennials covet nature and outdoor experiences with family almost as much as their iPhones! With these values in mind, manufacturers are equipping RVs with high tech features that digital natives adore.

And where did the Millennials get the camping/traveling bug? Their parents or grandparents: Generation X or Baby Boomers. Just as grandma and grandpa disappoint everybody by downsizing from the big house with the swing to a yard-work-free condo, they’re starting to do the same with their recreational vehicles. Numbering 74.9 million, Baby Boomers are retiring at a rate of 11,000 per day until 2029. RV manufacturers long to fulfill the precise desires of this population. Simplicity and access to all areas top Baby Boomer’s wish list for their motorhome.

Class B RV Key Differences

First and foremost, Class B RVs get double, triple or even quadruple the mileage afforded by Class A and C motorhomes. Ranging from 18 to 25 mpg with gas and 22 to 25 mpg with diesel, they put the 10 mpg of Class C's and 7 mpg of Class A's to shame.

Motorhome reviewers also focus on the Class B’s maneuverability advantages over the other two motorhomes. Narrow forest and mountain roads don’t intimidate Class B drivers. The Class B certainly endures less branch damage. Easily parked on the street, in mall parking lots or by the side of the road, drivers and passengers “sneak” sleep with little trouble. Where those interested in maneuverability may gravitate toward trailer RVs, Class B enthusiasts remind them that when leaving the campground for nearby sight-seeing, the kitchen and all clothing and devices come with you.

Finally, the Class B RV can also be easily used as a second vehicle if need be.

The one big drawback: space and privacy. Class A and Class C motorhome owners have the space, doors and curtains to get away from each other for a time. Class C owners escape in the bed over the cab. Class A owners close the door behind them in elaborate master bedrooms to read while a spouse watches television in the living area.

Despite cramped quarters, Class B owners claim that they use the vehicle itself for comfortable cooking, sleeping and clothes storage. Their true living space on the road is the whole outdoors. If that’s your family’s mentality, the Class B could be for you.

Browse New and Used Class B RVs for Your Adventures

Class B RV manufacturers offering models with hundreds of amazing options (slide-outs, panoramic cockpits, computer workstations), every family can build or find the motorhome to make vacations comfortable, convenient and fabulous! Get started by visiting La Mesa RV’s Class B inventory online here. We are happy to sit with you to find your own home away from home. Visit one of our many locations across the U.S.A. for a firsthand look. Nothing like touching the leather seats, laying on the memory foam mattresses and playing with the back up cameras in person!

Can’t decide between Class B and A or C motorhome? Have a few models or floor plans you’re weighing? Feel free to call us at 800-496-8778 or contact us here. We can’t wait to help you get onto the road!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Top 10 Bluegrass Festivals


Photo Credit

Bluegrass festivals are heavenly playgrounds for those driven by the acoustic accouterments and harmonious marriage of those classic bluegrass instruments. With mixed roots and traditional flair, the twang of banjos, harmonicas, and the like creates a unique and soul-fulfilling sound. Harvesting musicians and fans from across the globe and between generations, these festivals are often held outdoors where the sounds of nature can accompany the earthy notes of striking ballads. Participants are most often without assigned seats; free to wander about among strangers and friends, and join along in song and dance. If you’re a Bluegrass fan searching for a perfect festival to include in your upcoming RV travel plans, then take a look at these great many tantalizing festivals that play out annually across the nation.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Held in Telluride, Colorado, this well-known event has been going strong for over four decades. The Telluride Bluegrass festival has become a staple for die-hard fans and musicians alike, and is not to be missed by any tried-and-true Bluegrass lovers. Marrying itself to the summer solstice, Telluride brings with it new and innovative talent every year. Set in the San Juan Mountains, the stunning landscape of Colorado acts as a gracious host, making this festival not only beautiful to the ears, but a feast for the eyes as well.

MerleFest

Anyone deeply entrenched in the bluegrass scene knows about the MerleFest as well. Initiated in 1988 by Grammy award-winning guitarist, Doc Watson in honor of his son Merle, this engagement has grown to become one of the largest musical festival events in the world. Bringing in music genres that expand the auditory palette, you can find a broad array of musical artistry showcased here; including jazz, folk, and blues.

Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival

Bill Monroe is known as no other than the Father of Bluegrass, and this whopping eight day event is held every year in his honor. Located just five miles north of Nashville, Indiana, the town of Bean Blossom has been a continual host to this festival for 49 years. As the oldest Bluegrass festival in the world, with over 80 bands in attendance this year alone, the Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival is undoubtedly one to pencil into your summer event plans.

Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival

Sticking near to its roots, the Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival also pays homage to the Father of Bluegrass. The Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Festival is stationed in Monroe’s hometown area of Rosine, Kentucky, and brings in over 12,000 fans and 44 musicians each year. With good food, continuous music, and southern hospitality, this festival provides a taste of everything the Bluegrass culture has to offer.

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in New York hosts over 40 bands and six stages, selling out 4,000 campsites each year for the event. Quietly touted as the best-kept secret in the musical scene, this festival is enthusiastically attended. At 30 years running, it is one of the oldest and most respected events in the industry, capturing an impressive lineup of musicians. Campers coming from far and wide can plant tents at a nearby farm called the “Foxhole” and get themselves settled down in advance—sometimes up to a week before the actual event.

World of Bluegrass

Taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina, this festival is hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), and reaches beyond the standard musical stages and amazing performers to become an affair for all facets of the industry. The World of Bluegrass includes an awards show, a business conference, an exposition and tradeshow for Bluegrass professionals, and a free street festival and showcase throughout downtown Raleigh.

3 Sisters Bluegrass Music Festival

In the catchy city of Chattanooga, the 3 Sisters Bluegrass Music Festival combines old and new sounds, and welcomes staple performers along with newcomers to create a melting pot of sound. Imagined into existence in 2007 by local resident George Bright and set up alongside the Tennessee River, this festival is a fun and family-friendly walkabout experience that you can count on, rain or shine.

The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival

If you like to mix your musical genres, the Hardly Strictly festival is the one for you. With over 100 artists and seven stages, this festival is held in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, in the first week of October every year. Free of charge, this festival is a must-attend for anyone who can find their way to the Bay area. What makes this festival unique is its local financial support. Warren Hellman, a venture capitalist in the area, helps to subsidize the event each year so that it can remain a free and pure musical experience for all.

Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival

Held in Branson, Missouri, the distinctive Silver Dollar City Bluegrass and BBQ Festival offers a delectable assortment of both great music and unforgettable food. This event spans nearly the entire month of May and pulls in over 40 bands. There is even a Youth in Bluegrass contest to encourage up-and-coming young musicians to practice their talents. And if you’re hungry for more, you can participate in the all-you-can-eat BBQ rib feast on any given afternoon on the Square.

40th Annual National Old Time Country Bluegrass and Old-Time Folk Music Festival

Going strong since 1976, this National Old Time Music Festival takes place in at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa. With 10 stages and over 600 celebrities and performers in attendance, the broad array of activity is enough to bring Bluegrass fans pouring in from all over the country. Music contests, workshops, and arts and crafts can also be found weaved into a lineup of musicians that is not to be missed.

Conclusion
The pleasures of Bluegrass festivals are well known by their attendees. From the social, laid back, family-friendly ambiance, and abundant camaraderie to the talented lineups of masterful musicians, the experience promises to be nothing less than enchanting. Whether framed by the gorgeous San Juan Mountains or the expansive flow of the Tennessee River, these events highlight all the joys that nature, clean living, close community ties, and great Bluegrass music can offer to the soul.

Making the rounds at various Bluegrass festivals is part of the fun when you live the RV lifestyle. Traveling to music festivals becomes a destination in itself and often, just getting there is all part of the fun. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

RV Travel: Roadside Oddities in Southern U.S.


Photo Credit

Make no bones (or bricks) about it – the Southern United States can be a strange place to drive through. Taking an RV road trip through the Southern States can be full of interesting and unique sights that you will not see anywhere else – and you’ll find that the majority of them are located by the side of the highway. This part of the country ought to be nicknamed the roadside attraction capital of the world because it’s hard to imagine any place where you’d find so many unusual and wonderful things located just off the next exit.

Are you planning a road trip in your RV? How about taking some roadside adventures down South? Here are just a few of the road tripping oddities you can discover when you hit the road in the Southern States:

Roadside Oddities in Florida

Coral Castle — Miami, FL
In a state already chockfull of oddities, the Coral Castle just south of Miami is relatively tame and quite pretty. Says the official website: "From 1923 to 1951, Ed [Leedskalnin] single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock, and his unknown process has created one of the world's most mysterious accomplishments." But as the story goes, the Coral Castle was made as a monument to Ed's fiancee Agnes, who left him at the altar. People also say that Ed may have had supernatural abilities, as no one ever saw him – or anyone else – working on the castle. Spooky.

The Fountain of Youth – St. Augustine, FL
Apparently founded by explorer Juan Ponce de León, the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine was bought by “Diamond Lil” McConnell in 1904, who then went on to turn it into a major tourist attraction. Bottles of the supposed magical water are still sold here, and Roadside America calls it one of Florida’s finest remaining attractions – “Where else can you drink from the Fountain of Youth, watch white peacocks and see a giant 2-story black light globe?” Now that’s a sales pitch that’s pretty hard to pass up.

Road Tripping in Georgia

Georgia Guidestones – Elbert, GA
Budget Travel describes these weird granite stones as “the Ten Commandments inscribed on Stonehenge” – which is as good a way as any to sum them up (plus nobody knows who created them or where they came from, which adds an extra layer of mystery). Also fantastic is Budget Travel’s directions to find the Georgia Guidestones: “The folks at the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce say that the best way to find them is to drive on Highway 77, between Elberton and Hartwell, and look for the lady's house that resembles a spaceship.” Two oddities in one trip!

Roadside Fun in Alabama

World’s Largest Brick – Montgomery, AL
You can’t have a list of roadside oddities without including at least a couple “world’s largest” objects, and in Alabama you’ll find the world’s largest brick – or at least, it was, until a larger brick in Texas dethroned this poor red behemoth. However, as Thrillist notes, the brick in Montgomery is technically made up of many smaller bricks, so it still holds its title as the world’s largest brick made up of small bricks. Go pay the Jenkins Brick Company a visit and let them know you still appreciate their efforts.

Unusual Roadside Attractions in Louisiana

Nicolas Cage’s Tomb – New Orleans, LA
The versatile and quirky actor isn’t in the ground yet – but when Nicolas Cage does shuffle off this mortal coil, he’s already got a plot picked out in New Orleans, complete with a 10-foot tall marble pyramid. According to Thrillist, it’s inscribed with the Latin phrase “Omnia Ab Uno” or “Everything From One” – though we would have expected something more like “Oh No! Not the Bees!

What to See in Mississippi

The Crossroads – Clarksdale, MI
Anyone familiar with the legend of bluesman Robert Johnson knows the story of how he purportedly sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads – this very crossroads, where Highways 161 and 49 meet in Clarksdale. Although Johnson got the guitar skills that apparently cost him his soul, the tale of this Faustian bargain has always been slightly in doubt (Memphis also tries to claim that the crossroads is located there instead), yet that hasn’t stopped Clarksdale from putting up a guitar-shaped sign at the crossroads to signify the spot where the deal was done.

Strange Wonders to See in Texas

The Prada Marfa Store – El Paso, TX
“Store” might be reaching a little bit – there isn’t exactly anything to purchase at this tiny Prada shop seemingly in the middle of nowhere on U.S. 90 near El Paso. Instead, this building is an art installation of sorts, created with the permission of Miucchi Prada. Travel + Leisure reports that there are indeed Prada accessories in the shop: “20 left-foot shoes and six purses, to be exact, visible through the store's front windows.” Yet the door is permanently locked, forcing sad Prada fans to head to more urban areas for a new handbag.

Now that you’ve gotten a decent idea of what strange wonders the American south has to offer, it’s tempting to get out on the road your RV and see them for yourself – or possibly find new ones. After all, that sense of adventure – and discovering what lies beyond every exit sign – is a vital part of the road trip experience, and one that we heartily encourage every time you get behind the wheel.

Have you visited any of these roadside oddities while road tripping in your motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel or toy hauler? What did you think of them? Leave a comment and let us know!

Sources:
http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-strangest-roadside-attractions/
http://coralcastle.com/
http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/0410_RoadTrip_59Attractions_South,5663/
http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2013/apr/27/florida-top-10-roadside-tourist-attractions
http://www.rattlesnakes.com/
http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/weird-roadside-attractions-strangest-road-trip-sights
http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/14156#sthash.rVsoySBG.dpuf