My wife and I are on a mission to visit all the oversized local landmarks throughout Minnesota. This blog chronicles those visits and covers other related topics.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Garrison Walleye

March 19th, 2008 - Garrison, MN

Walleye Capital

Across the lake from Isle is the town of Garrison. Garrison definitely does claim to be the Walleye Capital of the World. The Garrison walleye stands in a place of honor, not just in front of some bank. This walleye is in the center of a kind of scenic overlook park type thing right on Mille Lacs. Here you can park your car and enjoy the walleye and the view of the lake. Or you can crack your window and eat your lunch in the car because it's maybe a little too cold to sit outside that long and the only place to sit would have been on a cold stone wall overlooking a frozen lake, as we did.

Garrison's walleye is bigger than the Isle walleye and at 15-feet it's shorter than the big mean walleye, which is fully extended, but it may still be larger overall.

Tip: I cannot stress this enough. Mmmmmmm.......walleye.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Big Mean Fish

March 19th, 2008 - Isle, MN

Big Mean Muskie

If you are in Isle visiting the giant walleye at the bank and find yourself saying "I would really like to see more giant fiberglass fish like this one but with an angrier disposition and huge teeth," then you are in luck. Just head a mile north out of Isle on 47 to Johnson's Portside Bait and Liquor, it's your one stop shop. At Johnson's Portside you can get gas, food, bait (don't confuse those last two), liquor, shirts, fishing licenses, and real estate. Ok, the real estate is next door, but they share the same building.

Big Mean Walleye

There are two big mean fish here. The first is a big mean muskie and the second is a big mean walleye. Both are 20-feet long. And mean.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Giant Walleye - 1 of Many

March 19th, 2008 - Isle, MN

Giant Walleye

This giant walleye is prominently displayed in front of a bank on Main St. in "Downtown" Isle. Isle is a small town on Mille Lacs Lake, a haven for fishermen in summer and winter. Isle once claimed the title of "Walleye Capital of the World". This giant walleye once had a sign proudly boasting said title, as seen in the following photo from June, 2000. It's unknown to me what happened to the sign. It's also unclear whether or not Isle still makes this claim. It is clear that the landscaping has changed.

Photo by Tiffibunny.

The race for the walleye capital title has more candidates than this year's presidential campaign had, it seems. There are five Minnesota towns alone that have a hat in the ring, including cross-lake rival Garrison. The battle for walleye supremacy isn't nearly as contentious as the fight for the title of "Icebox of the Nation" was. Thankfully, the good guys won that one.

Tip: Mmmmmm......walleye.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Repurposed Happy Chef

March 19th, 2008 - Princeton, MN

Repurposed Happy Chef

Our trip got started with the super awesome incredible happy surprise I mentioned. As we were driving north on 169, I spotted this Happy Chef statue along the side of the road. I turned around as soon as I could and we pulled up in front of him for a photo. We had no idea he was there and we were both very pleased to have found him. It really was a great start to the trip.

This Happy Chef was obviously one of the lucky ones. He looks very good and has a nice new paint job. He now stands in front of A-Z Restaurant Equipment Company just north of Princeton and is clearly visible from the highway.

I don't know the history of this statue, so I can't tell you which Happy Chef restaurant he belonged to or how long he's been at A-Z. If anybody knows anything about this guy, I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Day 2

We are at my parents' house now. Today was just as sunny, but was a little colder and a lot windier. We only really had one stop today, so we didn't have to spend much time outside. That stop was a good one, so it was worth standing out in the cold wind.

You may not see any posts about our stops until Sunday. I'm not sure if I'll be able to upload my photos from here. We didn't bring the USB cable and I don't know if our card works in the card reader on this computer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On the Road

We are at our hotel in Baxter, MN. We had a gorgeous day today. The temperature was in the 40s and there wasn't a cloud to be seen. It was perfect conditions for taking pictures, well except for the snow, slush, water puddles, and mud, but that's what you get in Minnesota in March. The bottom of my pant legs are still a little damp.

We had one super awesome incredible happy surprise and a couple less successful moments, but I was a little concerned about those to begin with so I wasn't too let down. Further details will become available as I blog about each stop.

Spring Break!

My wife is on Spring Break, so I am taking a few days off of work and we are going on a mini Big Stuff trip on our way to visit my parents. We are leaving in the morning and there will be a lot of stops tomorrow and a couple more stops on Thursday. I may or may not blog from the road. I guess there's only one way to find out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

International Spotlight: Giant Lobster

Larry the Lobster
Kingston South East, South Australia

Photo by Johnsyweb

He is 18.2 meters tall, which is roughly 59 feet, and he is made out of fiberglass. Kingston SE is one of the best lobster fishing areas in all of Australia.

Tip: If you are visiting Kingston SE, order the lobster. I got a hunch that it's good.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Map of Illinois Big Stuff

Photo by army.arch.

Illinois is home to the World's Largest Catsup Bottle, World's Largest Abraham Lincoln Statue, a number of Muffler Men, a few Big John statues, and Superman, among other things.

Perhaps the most famous Illinois Big Stuff is The Spindle. It's a bunch of cars on a spike. It was featured in the movie Wayne's World, as you can see in the clip below (it's at the end). There is also a giant Indian too. The Spindle is in danger of being lost. There are plans to take it down to make room for a Walgreens. It's still unknown what will happen to it because the cost to move it is high, especially if the cars are in tough shape.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fallen Heroes: Stonefridge - A Fridgehenge

Santa Fe, NM

Photo from

Stonefridge, if you haven't figured it out, is a recreation of Stonehenge using old refrigerators. It was built northwest of Santa Fe at a closed city dump, Paseo Las Vistas, by artist Adam Jonas Horowitz as a "monument to consumerism & the hubris of man". It was damaged this summer by a storm and was dismantled in May.

Here is an article from June 8, 2007 about the dismantling of Stonefridge.

Photo by Scott MacLeod