Roadside distractions between Toronto and Memphis
September 20, 2023 10:48 AM   Subscribe

In a little under a week I’m heading from Toronto down to Memphis for Gonerfest. Making stops in Detroit, Indianapolis, and Bowling Green KY (yes, Mammoth Cave). I’ve got a fair amount of free time built in, is there anything cool along the way I should stop for? Biggest ball of yarn, junk sculpture garden, that kind of thing?

On the way back I’ll be stopping in Louisville and Toledo. I’ll have less time to fuck around on the return leg but still some.

Extra credit: Also, I’ll be riding a motorcycle, so if there are any great mc roads or destinations along the way I’d love to hear about them, too.
posted by rodlymight to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Heidelberg Project would be up your alley.
posted by praemunire at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Prehistoric Forest? It's here on US12 west of Ann Arbor. It has abandoned dinosaur statues in the woods and was pretty cool to see. I hear they may have started rehabilitating the place, but I haven't verified that.

Also, further along was a place that claimed it had the "Nation's Best" clam chowder. Being from New England, of course, I was skeptical and had to go there. I'd say they were pretty close to the best, anyway. Delicious. I am pretty sure it was The Deck Down Under, but this was back a few years, so of course things can change.
posted by TimHare at 11:42 AM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

The biggest ball of twine is in Darwin, Minnesota, if you're going that way.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:33 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Bowling Green is home to the Corvette Museum. YMMV as to whether that's interesting or not, but what is unquestionably interesting is that a few years ago, a sinkhole opened under the museum and like two dozen priceless cars fell into a cave. The security camera footage is on Youtube.

Robert Plant lives in Bowling Green and is occasionally seen around town.

If you're not set on going through Indiana, it might be worth taking 75 South through Ohio so that you can then go through horse country in Kentucky, which is stunningly beautiful. That would also put you on US-62 to Bowling Green, taking you past Bardstown, which a lot of places claim is the most scenic small town in America. That's also bourbon country, if that's your thing. I like Indiana a lot, but it can be pretty boring. Kentucky is much prettier.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:35 PM on September 20, 2023 [2 favorites]

More dino statues in the woods available at Dinosaur World in Cave City, KY, near Mammoth Cave:
posted by fogovonslack at 1:37 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

-If you're into memorabilia, there's a giant Doctor Who store outside Indianapolis
-Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park in Tennessee has some neat Indigenous mounds
-More Indigenous sites on your way to Toledo - this is a new UNESCO site!

If you don't mind a slight detour:
-See bison at Land Between the Lakes
-Roll through Cairo, IL, a beautiful and semi-abandoned city in southern Illinois that features in Neil Gaiman's American Gods.
posted by toastedcheese at 1:37 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I always recommend the Indianapolis Museum of Art (a.k.a. Newfields, now) It’s well worth at least an afternoon of your time, if not all day.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:00 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I still enjoy driving by the Giant Uniroyal Tire near along 94 near Detroit.
posted by icaicaer at 5:42 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

I was riding a motorcycle somewhere in Indiana and happened upon the Dan Quayle museum. The name of the town might have been Huntington? Huntingdon? Something like that.

I refuse to sully my memory of its weirdness by looking it up online to give you better directions. This is my wish that you too may unexpectedly find yourself in its proximity.

The Vice President does many important things! And also he was a lawyer.
posted by inexorably_forward at 11:59 PM on September 20, 2023 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: So, I did see the Heidelberg Project, and even met the artist, Tyree Guyton as he was working around the street. Super cool! I put up a few photos on Instagram.

Didn't manage to happen on the Dan Quayle museum, or follow up on any of the other great suggestions, in large part because I hit some bad weather on day 2 and 3, and then it was soooo hot, and then I was in Memphis. On the way back up, I did take a nice detour on The Trace Road through the Land Between The Lakes in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Thanks for all the tips! I'll keep them in my pocket if I'm passing this way again.
posted by rodlymight at 8:20 AM on October 22, 2023 [1 favorite]

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