Category Spotted on the Roadside

Spotted on the Roadside: The 16th President Multi-Tasking


In 1849, Abraham Lincoln was offered the governership of the Oregon territory, which he declined. At that point in his life, he was disenchanted with politics and elected to temporarily return to his law practice, riding from village to village. He was a notorious bookworm, even from a young age, and thus it only made sense that he whiled away the long hours on horseback reading.


In 1965, five Oregon towns in Lincoln County consolidated to form what is now known as Lincoln City. The schoolchildren of the towns were given the honor of choosing the new city’s name, and in the fashion of children, they chose the zappy name “Surfland”, not knowing they could choose the even zappier “City McCityface”. Ultimately, the people in charge said “Screw you, children, we’re naming it Lincoln City” and Lincoln City it remains*.  In honor of the new city, the above statue was gifted to them by the sculptor, Anna Hyatt Huntington. No word on what the gift might have been for Surfland.


*At least for now. A placard at the base of the statue indicates that the statue may be removed by the governor if Lincoln City changes its name…so maybe Surfland still has a chance.

Spotted on NE 22nd St in Lincoln City, OR



Spotted on the Roadside: A Passel o’ Possums






Are possums the critter most suited to tending your autobody needs? These guys would definitely have you believe that’s the case. Or are they out for revenge, judging from the tire imprints that go around the midsection of one of their young? Looking for an excuse to get up under your hood and start bleeding your brakes? Either way,  don’t go playing dead when you see the bill–they’ll see right through it.

Spotted on SW 9th Ave in Albany, OR

Spotted on the Roadside: Technically, it’s an arachnid, not a bug

vw spider (1 of 2)

vw spider (2 of 2)

At one point, this VW beetle bug arachnid in Palm Springs graced the outside of a Volkswagen repair facility. I like the idea that you could bring in your Rabbit with a bad radiator and come out with a full-fledged Raptor, or at least a Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, given enough time and welding. The gates were closed when I passed by, and there’s precious little information available online. Frankly, I’m just happy knowing that somewhere out there is a light up spider with a happy Volkswagen body.

Spotted on N Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA

Spotted on the Roadside: If the fangs don’t get you, the tetanus will


rattlesnake (4 of 5)

rattlesnake (3 of 5)

rattlesnake (2 of 5)

rattlesnake (1 of 5)

Installed in 2013, this rattlesnake tops the scales at 800 1200 a lot of pounds and more than twenty feet long (when stretched out, I presume, it seemed maybe ten feet tall when standing next to it). You have no idea how badly I wanted to climb on and take a picture of me riding this snake, perhaps twirling a hat around like a cowboy…or if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably actually do have a pretty good idea. Respect for the artist and the town kept my boots on the ground, because, you know, not everything needs to serve my selfish impulses. This rattlesnake was commissioned by an anonymous donor as a gift for the town, and created by artist Ricardo Breceda, who has a number of sculptures not far away in Borrego Springs, which I meant to go see this trip but it just didn’t happen. Next time!

Spotted on Old Hwy 80 in Jacumba Hot Springs, CA*



*not visible on Google Maps as it was installed after the last time the road was mapped. You can see how close Jacumba Hot Springs is to the border, though. Close enough that I got one of those “Welcome to Mexico!” text messages from my carrier.

Spotted on the Roadside: The World’s Largest Paper Cup

worlds largest paper cup (1 of 4)

worlds largest paper cup (2 of 4)

worlds largest paper cup (3 of 4)

worlds largest paper cup (4 of 4)

Originally constructed to promote the Sweetheart paper cup manufacturing plant, the world’s largest paper cup now sits beside a furniture liquidator without even so much as a sign to tell the world of the wonder they’re witnessing. At least now I have a photo for reference when I make a hand gesture at the movie theater to tell the employees that I want a diet coke “this big”*.


*To clarify, at the movie theater, this size is known as a small, so maybe Riverside doesn’t have the world’s largest paper cup after all.

Spotted on E Citrus St in Riverside, CA

Spotted on the Roadside: Coyote’s Flying Saucer Retrievals and Repair Service in Jacumba Hot Springs, CA

coyote ufo hauling (1 of 11)

coyote ufo hauling (3 of 11)

coyote ufo hauling (4 of 11)   coyote ufo hauling (7 of 11)

coyote ufo hauling (9 of 11)

coyote ufo hauling (10 of 11)

coyote ufo hauling (11 of 11)


The truth may or may not be out there, but Coyote not only wants to believe: he’s ready to take action and lend a helping hand if need be. Situated right outside the desert view tower, Coyote’s collection of saucers and little green men beckons passersby to pull over and contemplate the final frontier. Although Coyote wasn’t there when I dropped by, I have heard that he and his saucers are a regular fixture at Burning Man, where he gives people UFO rides across the playa. In other news, I really, really want a flying saucer ATV to put around the neighborhood with. Just because.


Spotted on In-Ko-Pah Park Rd in Jacumba, CA



Spotted on the Roadside: A Monument to an Online Empire


eve online monument iceland

eve online monument

eve online player monument

j monument

player names

tile lifting

Once upon a time, about a decade ago, there was a young man in the greater Seattle area who seriously considered dropping out of school to play Eve Online, whiling away his days in his parents’ basement, eating cheetos, and engaging in virtual space warfare and corporate espionage. I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if that young man had followed through with this course of action, there’s no way he would have ever visited this monument to the game and its players that was dedicated in 2014 and we wouldn’t be married. His name would have been on the monument, though, so I guess all decisions come with sacrifices. The End.

Spotted in the old Reykjavik harbor, Iceland.


Spotted on the Roadside: The Friendship Chimp in Ellensburg, WA

the ellensburg friendship chimp

washoe the chimp

Washoe the chimp was born in 1965 and raised in Reno, NV. From infancy until age five, she was only spoken to via sign language, which she quickly learned and began to use. In 1980, Washoe and her signing family moved to Ellensburg; for the next twenty years, she would be part of weekly “Chimposiums” given at Central Washington University which educated the public about chimp language abilities. When she died in 2007 at age 42, messages of sympathy arrived from around the globe, even getting a mention in The New York Times. Not only had she broken the language barrier, but she’d done so as part of a project that was dedicated to proving that animal research could be conducted with kindness and respect, which was a huge step forward.  In 2012, this park in downtown Ellensburg was dedicated to Washoe, along with a statue in her likeness, signing “friends”.

Spotted on E 5th St, Ellensburg, WA

Spotted on the Roadside: We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat in Ocean Shores, WA


shark attack

Sharky’s is THE photo op in Ocean Shores, whether you want to photograph a gleeful mauling or an impending attack with your husband looking on in the background like he doesn’t even care that you’re about to be eaten by an enormous freaking shark. If you dare to venture inside the jaws, it’s full of nearly every shark-related thing you could possibly imagine, including a pretty decent book selection, one of which I purchased for a friend’s son who is an aspiring young marine biologist. What’s particularly funny about this (to me) is that the same people who are pumped to take photos in front of Sharky’s are super upset that an actual great white was found in their waters recently. Like anyone is going into the water at Ocean Shores, anyway.

Spotted on Ocean Shores Blvd in Ocean Shores, WA

Spotted on the Roadside: It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers!

 psl mural

psl days

psl detail 

the future

ahhh refreshing

In accordance with the agreement signed by all bloggers, I am contractually obligated to celebrate the return of the pumpkin spice latte, long may it reign over inferior similarly pumpkin spiced products, such as the pumpkin spice air freshener, pumpkin spice laundry detergent, pumpkin spice lady garden freshener, and pumpkin spice heartworm pills for dogs. This particular mural was painted for Starbucks’ PSL Days commercial on the side of the DeCamp and Stratford Furniture building and is a reminder during those other horrible nine months of the year that Our Latte has not forsaken us.

Spotted on Cherry St in Burlington, WA