Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Look out for Muffler Men

I got an email from Gabriel Aldaz, a friend in Copenhagen with whom I'd once been discussing a bike touring book. Life (a new child) changed some of his touring plans but he told me:
"I have not worked on my bicycle stories, but I have been wrapping up a different project. You will think that I am crazy, but I have written an entire book on a specific kind of 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue, known as the Muffler Man. These guys are all over the US - there is even a tracking chart on Roadside America...my book tells about how I first encountered this statue in 1984 and the ensuing 20-year (with many long breaks in between) scavenger hunt to discover its origins."
I love it when I brush up against something that I know nothing about and find out that there is a bunch of people who do -- and like barbed wire collectors, orienteerers, or members of Vermont's 251 club, are pretty passionate about their activity. So I've already boned up on how "to avoid the social embarrassment of incorrectly categorizing a muffler man sighting by studying his simple features and variations" and reviewed the U.S. map with Muffler Man sightings.What's this got to do with Airstreaming? Well, I've never seen one of these dudes and since we're heading through many states with Muffler Men, we might just track down some of these along the way. It's a neat part of roadside Americana. For equal opportunity viewing, we'll also keep an eye open for UniRoyal Gals. Stay tuned for our results.

top photo from bradbridgewater lower photo from Mykl Roventine

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