About Val

Val with the World's Largest Shuttlecock.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 (now called Papa Vini), which had a statue of a cow on its roof.

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Val at the Berwyn Spindle after it was dismantled.

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 and a car 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!

Val at Coney Island for the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest

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…) Mind you, I don’t compete, but I love to watch! 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.


Val is the founder and head road tripper at Silly America. Having grown up near Berwyn's famed car kabob, The Spindle, and a restaurant with a cow on its roof, her fascination to roadside attractions started early. Val blogs about her life, travels, and cats on her personal blog, Choosing Figs.