When travelling, we sometimes come across some really unexpected, quirky places, exhibits or stories. Our last road trip through some of the eastern and southern states of the US was no exception. Here are a few such examples – in no particular order.
The National Corvette Museum
Bear with me. I am not really a Corvette girl, though I do like cars and sports cars. This is not because I dislike the Corvette; it is just that they are not a part of the British scene and I am not really familiar with them. All of that aside, there was no way Peter was going past the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky without going in.
If you like Corvettes, this is place is heaven. If you just like sports cars, you can spend a happy afternoon exploring. An introductory video presentation explains the evolution of the Corvette and there are examples on display from every generation throughout the museum, as well as some specimens that were owned by the rich and famous.
Lots of cars to drool over and they are all beautiful and polished and shiny……except for one exhibit!
The Quirky Bit?
In 2014 a giant sink hole opened up beneath the museum and swallowed up 8 pristine, extremely valuable Corvettes. They tumbled about 30 feet down into the hole, landing in a tangled mess of twisted metal and rubble.
This event took place in the early hours of the morning and the whole thing was caught on the security cameras. This amazing footage can be viewed in the museum. Not only that, you can see the very corvettes back on display in the exact same spot from which they fell, covered in rocks and debris, all beaten and battered!
In a stroke of genius, the museum made an exhibit of this event. Two of the less damaged cars have been restored, but the others are still mangled and covered in dirt.
Visitors can walk around the perimeter of the sink hole (covered over after the cars were extracted) which has been marked out by a red line on the floor. In addition, the museum has thoughtfully installed a viewing port so that visitors can look down into the sink hole and marvel at how far these cars fell.
I love this quirky story. No one was hurt. The number of visitors to the museum increased exponentially to see this phenomenon and the museum has an amazing new display.
The Bats of Austin
Austin is the state capital of Texas and we really enjoyed our visit there. We met up with friends, Allison and Mark, who showed us round their home town.
We got out and about along some of the great cycling tracks along the river and ate out at some really characterful restaurants, for example, the Hula Hut. ( – one of Peter’s old haunts when he was in Austin “on business”!)
One of the really noticeable things in Austin is just how many people are out jogging. All the time! We were really impressed. Admittedly, we were staying quite close to the river at the very conveniently located Pecan Grove RV Park and there are lots of good running tracks there, but even so, I don’t think I have ever visited a place where so many people were out getting fit.
The Quirky Bit?
About a million and a half bats hang out under the Congress Avenue Bridge in the heart of Austin. As you walk under the bridge during the day, there is no visible sign of them – other than the street art painted on to the bridge (and the rather pungent odour!).
At dusk every night, however, they put on an amazing display. Imagine a million and a half bats swarming out from under the bridge as they venture out into the countryside in search of food! Apparently they eat about 20 tons of bugs every night. Yum!
It is an amazing sight and the crowds gather on and under the bridge to watch.
This quirky phenomenon takes place at dusk every night from spring through to early November when they migrate south. Nature is awesome!
The National RV Museum
Our RV was made in Elkhart, Indiana. I think about 90% of RVs in the US are probably made in Elkhart. It really is the RV Capital of the World!
We had decided to visit as we had a minor problem with the RV and it seemed like a good idea to take it back to where it was made to get it fixed under warranty.
The Quirky Bit?
A whole museum devoted to the RV! Motorhomes, trailers, fifth wheels, pop ups….they are all there.
It is fitting that the National RV Museum is sited in Elkhart and whilst we were there we decided to pay a visit. And it was really interesting!
On display is the oldest RV in the world.
And were you aware that Mae West had her own personal RV
And as well as aviation, Charles Lindbergh was into camping in his RV!
And lots of others!
A whole museum devoted to campers and caravans! Who knew?!
These are just some of the quirky and interesting places and stories we came across on this trip. There were lots, some of which can be read about in The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation (why is there a restored bus from Montgomery on display?), Monticello: Thomas Jefferson’s grand design (why did Jefferson make a hole in the floor of his house?) and Now for the whiskEy trail (why can going to work early be bad for you?)