Friday, September 28, 2012


We haven't been on a true road trip since 2006 and this year the First Lady of Neato Coolville and I decided to make it happen for 2012. A couple of weeks ago we jumped in our jalopy and stretched the pavement for a total of 2800 miles. This trip was a bit unusual because we didn't plan a thing and so we winged it. Our main goal was to drive to Cooperstown, NY and visit the Baseball Hall of Fame with a few other museum stops along the way. Of course the great thing about roadtrippin' is the opportunity to visit roadside attractions. Our first roadside catch of the trip was a giant metal dragon.

He's known as the Kaskaskia Dragon and he lives in Vandalia, Illinois. Watch out! This metal monster breathes fire! See it snort out some flames by clicking here.

Wow, that is one enormous cross in Effingham, Illinois! It was built in 2001 and is 198 feet tall. Visit for some construction photos.

Looks like King Kong lost one of his basketball shoes and we found it! This oversized sneaker is in New Castle, Indiana at the Steve Alford All-American Inn. College basketball fans will know the name Steve Alford, the former Indiana Hoosier and current basketball coach at University of New Mexico. Steve grew up in New Castle. If you're wondering; the match to this shoe is located a few miles away at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Staying in New Castle, we came across a giant dapper looking man dressed in blue. Roadside aficionados have nicknamed this fellow the Iceman or Ice House Man because he stands next to the Ice House Tavern. According to, this guy is really named Corey and originally stood in front of a Marathon Oil gas station.   

Leaving New Castle we spotted the Skyvue Drive-In Theater. Sadly, this drive-in recently went dark.

Entering Ohio! This was our first time to explore Ohio and I must say this state has lots of neato stuff to see. Our first Ohio destination was in Mansfield.

You're never too old to ride a merry-go-round! Right? We convinced ourselves we weren't too old and jumped on the Richland Carrousel in downtown Mansfield. The First Lady found herself a nice horse and I picked out an ostrich. It was kind of a surreal experience since we were the only ones riding.

The main reason to visit Mansfield was to meet someone very special and that's Elektro the Westinghouse robot. His claim to fame was his appearance at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair and he now lives at the Mansfield Memorial Museum.

To see Elektro in person was one of my highlights of our trip. He's amazing!

Also at the Mansfield Memorial Museum are some very old and very curious pieces of taxidermy.

A trip to Mansfield would not be complete without a visit to the Ohio State Reformatory or better known as the prison from the movie Shawshank Redemption. Unfortunately, we missed the last tour and had to settle for a quick walk around outside. It was getting late anyway and we had to make a decision - get busy sleeping or get busy driving. We picked the later and drove to Canton.

Our first Hall of Fame to visit was the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You gotta love a building that resembles an orange/lemon juicer!

Think the busts tell old football stories after hours when no one is there? makes you wonder?

Whoa! This "Mean Joe" Greene statue looks green. Quick! Someone give him a Coke before he turns into the Hulk!

Our second Hall of Fame was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. We had a rockin' good time checking out the amazing collection of music artifacts.

If only I could go back in time to let my 16 year old self know that I would someday see ZZ Top's Eliminator. Good thing I can't 'cause I might wipeout the space-time continuum!

We accidentally found the town of North East, PA because we noticed a spectacular sunset on Lake Erie. We raced off the main drag and drove to the shore to witness one of the prettiest sunsets we've ever seen. As we stood on the beach watching this beautiful sunset we kept sniffing a unique smell. No, it wasn't dead fish on the shore, but instead the air smelled like grape jelly. The next morning, we found out that North East is in Concord Grape country. 

Since the whole town smells like grapes, there was no way we could leave without taking a mini wine tasting tour.

Oh...and check this out! We spotted a famous Norge Ball.  This one is painted to look like a big grape!

I guess instead of wine tasting we should have been tasting some Vitameatavegamin to prepare us for our next stop in Jamestown, NY.

Jamestown is the birthplace of Lucille Ball! Man, that is one giant paint by numbers those guys are working on! (Take a look at what it looks like now that it's finished.)

The final resting place of Lucille Ball.

Being from Missouri, we made a point to visit the grave of Missouri's most famous son, Samuel Clemens. Mark Twain is buried in Elmira, NY.

Whew, we made it! We made it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum!! Luckily for us we didn't have a Griswold moment because our "Walley World" was open!!!

As a diehard baseball fan, I've been wanting to walk the Hall of Fame since I was a kid. Even though I don't talk about sports on this blog, I could easily fill a few blog posts with all the photos I snapped.

It was exciting to see so many important artifacts that I've always read about or seen in classic clips. I got goosebumps viewing Babe Ruth's famous "called shot" bat and Hank Aaron's uniform from the game he broke Babe's home run record.

Poor Phillie Phanatic is trapped in a glass box! I bet Mr. Met stuffed him inside. 

My favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals are well represented in the Hall of Fame. It was the Redbirds amazing win in last year's World Series that inspired us to make the pilgrimage to the Hall. Just a few minutes after they won game seven, we both looked at each other and said, "We need to go to the Hall of Fame!" Not wanting to leave Cooperstown we eventually had to get back on the highway for more adventures.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!! Driving through tunnels is cool! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!

No, this is not the grave of Joe Palooka, but a marker for Mt. Joe Palooka, named after Ham Fisher's famous comic strip character. Located in Ashley, PA.

The First Lady is a big Frank Lloyd Wright fan and she was thrilled to visit Falling Water. I really enjoyed the house tour, but couldn't help thinking that this house needs to be in a James Bond movie. (For more info on Frank Lloyd Wright, check out Artsy's page dedicated to the master architect.) 

Back in Ohio and a quick stop to see John Glenn's boyhood home. My photo of the house didn't turn out too good, so here's a picture of the vintage sign instead.

I've never visited a concrete cornfield before until we stumbled across this one in Dublin, OH. Hybrid Corn was invented on this field by Sam Frantz. We had some good corny fun here!

Our next museum was the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, OH. This museum will make you feel small...really really small.

Gotta love nose art!

Seeing the Apollo 15 Command Module was out of this world! 

In the Vietnam wing of the museum is this painting of the Jolly Green Giant honoring the pilots and crews of the HH-3 "Jolly Green Giant" rescue helicopters. The artwork is by the Giant's creator, Saul Mandel. 

Our next stop was at Jungle Jim's Supermarket in Fairfield, OH. Now this is not your everyday normal supermarket, but instead it is a super super supermarket that's overstuffed with tons of products from around the world and features outlandish store displays. This place might be the coolest supermarket I've ever visited.  

Jungle Jim's even has a Cereal Bowl Band! (Don't worry, I'll be blogging about this place later this year!) 

The last museum on our "museum tour" was the fantastic and not to be missed American Sign Museum! Located in downtown Cincinnati, this hidden treasure was another highlight of our trip.  

Everywhere you look there is neon eye candy! 

Just a few blocks away from the sign museum is this giant robot worker! How cool is he? Well...he's neato cool!

The great thing about going on a roadtrip is meeting so many nice people. A visitor at the sign museum told us about the Anchor Grill in Covington, KY. He said it was like going back in time. Boy was he right and we were happy for the experience.

They even have an original Chicago Coin Band Box. Put some money in the jukebox and the curtains open up and the band plays along with the music. Click here to watch a 1990s video about the Anchor Grill. Thanks for the recommendation, David!

Our last roadside stop was in the town of Mount Vernon, IL to see a Uniroyal Gal. This fiberglass giantess stands outside the business of Stan the Tire Man. That Michelin Man better watch out or he's going to get slapped! ----Update--- This gal is now a California gal! Read the story here.

Our old fashioned American road trip was practically done by this point and so it was time to head for home.

Driving through St. Louis we spotted on the highway a hot rod hearse! This photo is a good a reminder I need to get back to work on the Halloween countdown. It starts in just a few days. Hope you enjoyed the travelogue!

Friday, September 07, 2012



What is a Prop Hop? I'm not sure, but these fine folks seem to be having fun. Just look at those big grins! The only info on the back is a photographers stamp - R.A. Rooman Photo 501 Coakley Drive San Jose 28, Calif. AX 6-8788 May 19, 1964.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


Get ready to set sail for an adventure with Captain Cornelius Cartoon and his crew of the cartoon-retrieving vessel the Manta Ray! This November you can join the crew as Cartoon Lagoon will be released on DVD! I've been eager to watch this zany animated/puppet show since I first heard about the project earlier this year. The good Captain will be navigating the Manta Ray in search of the best and the WORST cartoons ever made. Watch this PSA -

Yeah, neato cool, huh? Everything about this show really hits the nostalgia button in my brain! Here's the newly released second trailer - 

Good luck and congrats to Manny Galán and his creative crew behind Captain Cornelius Cartoon's Cartoon Lagoon. Everyone here at Neato Coolville will be watching!

Be sure to visit Cartoon Lagoon on twitter and facebook