You're in the car, on one of those summer road trips. Initially it's pretty fun, but after a while, the miles drag by. Everything looks the same. Same fast food joints, same strip malls, same gas stations. Same everything.
Then, in the distance, you see something odd. Something big. Something touristy, yet pretty freaky. It's a roadside attraction -- put there for only one reason: to get you to stop and buy something you don't need.
The best roadside attractions you know about already. The Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas. The Field of Dreams near Dyersville, Iowa. How about the World's Biggest Muskie in Hayward, Wis.? Or the Superman statue in Metropolis, Ill.? Gotta love 'em all.
But for our tastes, those are pretty pedestrian. Roadside attractions can, and do, get much weirder.
Hop in and ride along as we zig-zag the lower 48 to show you the 5 Freakiest Roadside Attractions. (We promise we won't make you buy anything. But feel free to look at the ads on the page.)
No. 5: Mike The Headless Chicken - Fruita, Colorado
You're driving east, through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, near Grand Junction. You're on Interstate 70. You pass the exit for Mack. You roll by Loma. Next stop: Fruita.
It's in this mountain hamlet where you'll see a 5-foot metal statue that recalls a legendary town fowl: Mike, The Headless Chicken.
Back in 1945, Mike was an actual bird that lived for 18 months with his noggin chopped off. How this bird wonder didn't flop down and die, mankind will never know.
Actually, Mike's owner, Lloyd Olsen, severed Mike's head off but missed his brain stem. Mike lived, with Olsen feeding the cluckster with an eyedropper. A legend was born.
Back in 2000, sculptor Lyle Nichols paid tribute to Mike's tenacity with the 300-pound statue right at the corner of Mulberry and Aspen. Touching, isn't it? Oh, and Mike also has an annual festival named in his honor. Yep, that's where visitors are invited to "party their heads off."
No. 4: World's Tallest Thermometer - Baker, California
You're driving northeast through California's Mojave Desert. You're on Interstate 15. You pass the exit for Adelanto. You zip through Barstow. Next stop: Baker.
Right in town, you see a huge tower. Actually, it's an electric sign flashing the day's temperature -- and billed as the World's Tallest Thermometer.
Why this? Why here? Well, back in 1913 -- July 10, to be exact -- nearby Death Valley recorded the ungodly temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a modern record in the United States.
So in 1991, a local businessman had the sign built to honor the record, and give drivers something to gape at while cruising through the "Gateway to Death Valley." Just how tall is it? An astounding 134 feet, to mark what the mercury zoomed to on that scorcher in 1913.
The three-sided tower is made from 33 tons of steel and features 5,000 lamps to make sure you know exactly how hot it is outside your air-conditioned vehicle. Your air conditioning is working, isn't it? Oh boy, you should have checked that before you left home.
No. 3: The Gemini Giant - Wilmington, Illinois
You're driving southeast, just leaving the outskirts of Chicago. You're on Interstate 55. Shorewood is in your rear-view mirror. So is Channahon. Next stop: Wilmington. That's where you'll meet someone who may just belong on another planet.
He is the Gemini Giant, and he guards the Launching Pad Drive-In on the northeast side of town on the world famous Route 66. This fiberglass freak is one of the few remaining "muffler man" statues, which could be seen all over the U.S. in the 1960s.
GG, known as the "space age muffler man," has stood the test of time in his green garb and snazzy helmet -- clutching that 8-foot rocket to nowhere.
GG stands 28 feet tall, and weighs 500 pounds. Gemini came to Wilmington in 1965 for a mere $3,500, and was shipped from Venice, Calif., on two flatbed trailers. What, he wasn't flown in? Someone has to "enhance" his origin! Anyway, $3,500 seems like a bargain. The silver in that helmet alone most cost a fortune! (Now, that's what you call enhancement.)
No. 2: The Jolly Green Giant - Blue Earth, Minnesota