The landscape of America is full of silly little (and often big, very very big) things that some people may pay no heed to or others find as eyesores: roadside attractions. They are objects that might make you wonder “who put that there,” “where did that come from,” “what were they thinking?” These things are sometimes in the big cities and sometimes in the suburbs and oftentimes in those little towns you’d never think to go to or have driven through without paying a second look.
These roadside attractions give a sense of humor and a sense of wonder to America: nostalgic entities and marvelous objects that make this country what it is. They are beautiful items that have history and reason and often drive people into places they might otherwise overlook. Roadside attractions are essential to the backdrop of America.
Silly America is a roadside attractions blog designed to help travelers find unique stops for their next road trip. The website is a tribute to the great American road trip, devoted to all that is odd in America: roadside attractions, tourist traps, peculiar destinations, bizarre events, road food, fun festivals, and more! It’s a travel website and trip planner for those seeking an offbeat road trip.
Hello everyone! I’m Val, your Silly American Adventurer. As a web designer, writer, photographer, and traveler, Silly America is a natural extension of all my passions rolled into one! I love taking road trips and am always ready and willing to drive anywhere for anything. My favorite part about hitting the road is finding crazy roadside attractions and marveling in their greatness. The bigger, the better; the weirder, the more wonderful!
I grew up in Brookfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago that was a silly place in itself. Brookfield is known for the great Brookfield Zoo, and because of that you’ll find an animal motif on everything in the town from the water tower to the train station to the car wash. Since I was very young, one of my favorite places was the Brookfield Restaurant, which had a statue of a cow on its roof.
My hometown was also very close to Berwyn, Illinois — home to the monumental Spindle (AKA car kabob, cars on a spike) before its tragic dismantling in 2008. Growing up, every time I went to the nearby mall I would watch for the Spindle and just marvel at its sheer beauty.
As I grew older my fascination with these roadside attractions grew. And now that I have a driver’s license I can drive the country seeking out more of these amazing oddities. I take road trips and plane trips and any kind of trip possible as much as humanly possible in order to see the world…and always have my camera in hand!
My interests in the weird and wacky span outside of just road art — I’m also one of the biggest fans you’ll find of competitive eating! I’ve never been much of a sports person, but I do love food! So competitive eating is a great way to experience the thrill of competition without having to watch someone throw a ball. (Although, you might have to watch someone throw up…) My love of the sport has taken me all around the country and I’ve had some zany adventures…like the time I drove ten hours to Chattanooga and ten hours back within a 26 hour period just to see an eight-minute hamburger eating contest!
So that is me: a crazy girl wandering a crazy world. And Silly America is my journey and my experiences. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures and that they can help you find your own silly way through this silly country.
You can also catch me blogging about the rest of my life on my personal blog, Choosing Figs.
About Flopsy the Jackalope
Flopsy the Jackalope is the official mascot of Silly America.
Flopsy hopped into my life (and my car) while I was visiting Wall Drug in South Dakota and he has become my very favorite travel pal!
Flopsy is a Jackalope — a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope — and one of the rarest animals in the land. Although you don’t see them about very often, if you are lucky you will spot one in Wall Drug, where they seem to thrive. Even luckier are you if one of them decides to let you adopt him! Especially as they are known as being very shy creatures.
This jackalope is small and gray. His ears are pointy, his nose is pink, and his antlers are a little crooked…but he is the sweetest animal anyone could ask for!
He loves to travel around the country with me and sometimes even lets me photograph him at one of the crazy places we find together. He won’t admit it, but he actually is a ham for the camera!