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.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Beach Dude

July 26th, 2008 - Hampton, MN

Beach Guy

Just north of Hampton on Highway 50 (aka Hampton Blvd) you will find this 26-foot tall man in nothing but bermuda shorts, apparently lending a hand on a rock delivery at Tom Eilen and Sons Trucking. The Beach Dude is a creation of FAST Corp and this is not the only one in existence. There are a few others around, but only a few. I do not know the history behind this one. All I know is that it's just a little bizarre, which is why it's fantastic.

He has a Viking friend too. If you look closely, you can see him in the background of the picture above. He is 11-feet tall and is also a creation of FAST. Both of these guys, a couple old trucks, and a small gorilla are all part of a landscaping display at the trucking business.


Tip: If you are wondering what type of crushed rock goes best with your very own 26-foot tall half naked fiberglass man, then this is the place for you.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Soundtrack: Big Chair

It's time to add another song to the growing Big Stuff Soundtrack. The newest addition is "Big Chair" by Travis (it's a band, not just 1 guy). It makes perfect sense for the soundtrack, plus we've already been to a big chair.

Here is a YouTube video of the song. Well it's not so much a video as it is the lyrics of the song as the song plays.

The song is also currently up at their MySpace page.

The playlist so far:
Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota - Weird Al Yankovic
Stevie Nix - The Hold Steady
Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight (or Heavy D & the Boyz)
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
An Ear For Baby - The Thermals
Minneapolis - That Dog
Minnesota - The Push Stars
Minnesota - The Mountain Goats
Say Shh... - Atmosphere
We Got as Far as Minnesota - Kind of Like Spitting
Minnesota Moon - The Big Wu
Minnesota - Northern Light
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi - Radiohead
Big Fish - 3 Minute Hero
Spin The Globe - Reel Big Fish
Please Come Back - Catfish Haven
Fishing For a Dream - Turin Brakes
Big Chair - Travis

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Big Update

The Wadena Ice Cream Cone is alive and well. It's at a new location and had some work done to it and it looks fantastic. The cone is located south of Wadena on Hwy 71, somewhere between Wadena and Hewitt. Thanks to World's Largest Things (more links on the left) for spotting it and sharing.

Picture by worldslargestthings

Also, I've added a giant hobo to the map. The hobo is at Hobo Park in Starbuck. It's a campground on Lake Minnewaska and next to the marina. Starbuck is also home to the World's Largest Lefse. Unfortunately, you cannot see the lefse...because they ate it, but there is a commemorative photo hanging at the old depot in Starbuck and some of the utensils used, included the giant roller.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Giant Metal Otter

June 29th, 2008 - Ottertail, MN

Giant Metal Otter

Ottertail is not only the home of the World's Largest Dragonfly, it is also home to a giant metal otter, which makes sense. It's kind of like why Pelican Rapids has pelicans all over the place and the World's Largest Pelican, or like Deerwood having a giant deer. This otter is very large, however, it is not the World's Largest Otter. That belongs to nearby Fergus Falls. I hope Ottertail doesn't have a case of otter envy.

This otter is very unique. It is another art piece by the scrap metal artist Ken Nyberg. We have seen Nyberg's work earlier in New York Mills and earlier on this trip in Vining.

Giant Metal Otter - detail
The otter grasps a fish beneath it's right, front foot.

The otter is easy to find. Just turn onto 108 from 78 and it will be on the north side of the road.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

World's Largest Dragonfly

June 29th, 2008 - Ottertail, MN

World's Largest Dragonfly

After tracking down Our Lady Of The Hills, we headed north to the town of Ottertail. Ottertail is a small town of about 450 people on Otter Tail Lake in Otter Tail Township in Otter Tail County. Ottertail is where the World's Largest Dragonfly calls home. This is why the World's Largest Mosquito is not in Ottertail, but rather 180 miles away in Effie.

The Dragonfly sits at a plant store right along highway 78 and lends a hand (or a wing or 4) by holding some hanging plants. The Dragonfly was built on a frame with wheels and a hitch, making it very portable. It has been known to moonlight as a parade float.

World's Largest Dragonfly

Tip: Befriend the Dragonfly, it may help protect you from the mosquitoes, which would be good because you may mistake the mosquitoes for small birds.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Lady Of The Hills

June 29th, 2008 - Urbank, MN

Our Lady Of The Hills

While we were in Vining, we saw this sign with all of the roadside sculptures on the Otter Tail Scenic Byway. We were looking at the sign and basically going, "Got it. Got it. Going to get it. Got it. What?" We had never heard of Our Lady Of The Hills. We were very excited, naturally. Then we had to figure out if we should get it now or some other time. The plan had been to go from Vining north to Ottertail. Our Lady was, what we figured, about 12 miles south and was possible to get on a slight side trip off of I-94 someday. We ultimately decided to just go and see it now and wound up back tracking a bit later to get to Ottertail.

Otter Tail Scenic Byway Roadside Sculptures

Our Lady Of The Hills stands 22 feet tall. The plaque on the base reads:



I don't know exactly what that means. Did somebody promise a giant statue to someone if they healed somebody's cancer? Seems a bit odd.

Our Lady Of The Hills

Our Lady Of The Hills is located (out in the middle of nowhere) about a mile from Inspiration Peak, the highest point of the Leaf Mountains and the Alexandria Moraine. Minnesota native Sinclair Lewis once said of Inspiration Peak, "there's to be seen a glorious 20-mile circle of some 50 lakes scattered among fields and pastures, like sequins fallen on an old paisley shawl."

We pulled up to the trail head for Inspiration Peak, but we were unsure what the hike was like and were not prepared for much of a hike at all, so we passed on it.

Tip: I don't recommend trying to visit Our Lady Of The Hills in the winter. It's located on a gravel road in the middle of the country, the entire area is hilly, the roads are curvy, the winter weather there can get real nasty, and I don't know if Lady Of The Hills Road gets plowed much. Unless, of course, you are travelling by snowmobile, then I think I do recommend it.

Lady of the Hills Road
Lady Of The Hills Road taken from below the statue, facing east.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vining Sculpture Park

June 29th, 2008 - Vining, MN

Coffee Cup

After checking out all the pelicans, we headed out for some Big Stuff hunting. Our first target was Vining, home of artist Ken Nyberg. Nyberg creates incredible sculptures by shaping and welding pieces of scrap metal. We have seen a Nyberg piece before. He did the giant art tractor in New York Mills. Nyberg has created many sculptures for his hometown of Vining, so many that there is a park in his name, Nyberg Park. Not all of Nyberg's Vining pieces are in the park. There are a few that are scattered around this small town. Some of his sculptures are Big Stuff, some are actual size stuff, and some are both.

The Foot

The Foot might be the most famous piece. It sits on the west side of town (which is very close to the east side of town). The Foot was sculpted in 10 gauge steel and was donated to the town in 1991. It took Nyberg 2 years to complete.



Giant Chain


Metal Elephant

This elephant is really cool. It's big and actual size. It's different from his other work in that this elephant is made entirely out of lawnmower blades.

Square Knot

Giant Cactus Plant

The non-Big Stuff items around Vining are a little green alien, a buck, which is kind of big, a blacksmith (Could it be a self portrait?), a speared fish, an Indian on horseback, a cowboy (not pictured), and a tribute to his daughter.

Confused Metal Alien Buck Ray Self Portrait? Horseback Indian

Karen Nyberg: Astronaut

Ken Nyberg's daughter is Karen Nyberg, who is a NASA Astronaut. She has been to the International Space Station on two separate occasions.

Tip: I actually think we may have missed a couple sculptures. I think there may be a plug and cord thing and a door knob.