America's Wildest Roads: Wet and Wild

Tornado Alley, The Dragon, the Overseas Highway and Route 4 ... these are just 4 of the roads featured in this special all about the wet and wild roads of the US.

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Joplin, MO, gives a warm welcome to the Rogue Riders, the Best of the Road team assigned to discover America’s friendliest small towns. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Percy Katz (pictured here with museum director Brad Belk) is the official museum greeter at the Joplin Museum Complex in Joplin, MO. The 12-year-old Russian Blue, who is named after local composer Percy Weinrich, has survived cancer and a kidnapping that made front-page news to become the unofficial mascot of Joplin. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Percy Katz, Joplin’s most famous cat and resident greeter at the Joplin Museum Complex in Joplin, MO. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Route 66 Carousel Park, a vintage, family-owned park along the popular Route 66 byway that runs through Joplin, MO. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

A view of Route 66 Carousel Park. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Best of the Road co-hosts Gary Hurt and Amanda Pflugrad enjoy the Route 66 Carousel Park in Joplin, MO. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

The Old Courthouse, built in 1892, is now the Bardstown Visitor’s Center. The Courthouse stands in the center of Bardstown’s historic district. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Bardstown’s nickname is the Bourbon Capitol of the World with mint juleps made with bourbon being a popular local drink. 960 1280

Allison Otto  

A mint julep made with Kentucky bourbon and topped with powdered sugar. 960 1280

Allison Otto  

Bardstown’s Old County Jail, built in 1797, was the oldest operating jail in the state of Kentucky until 1987. 960 1280

Allison Otto  

The old, one-room schoolhouse in historic Bardstown, Kentucky. 960 1280

Allison Otto  

Grand Falls, Missouri’s largest continually flowing natural waterfall, is a popular swimming hole just south of Joplin. The depth of the water can climb to about 25 feet. 960 1280

Allison Otto   

Photos

18 Photos
Route 66

Route 66

Get your kicks spotting one of these California highway Route 66 signs. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Truck Stop Missouri

Truck Stop Missouri

One of the signs located outside of Midway Truck Stop in Columbia, Missouri - the home of Travel Channel's new show, Truck Stop Missouri. 960 1280

Travel Channel  

Panther Crossing

Panther Crossing

Taking a trip through Alligator Alley? You might spot one of these panther-crossing road signs in Florida Everglades National Park. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Fitness fanatics in Venice Beach, California can feel a little safer when crossing the street. A huge sign warns careless motorists that body builders are crossing. 960 1280

Getty  

Buffalo Crossing

Buffalo Crossing

You'll find exotic -and possibly malevolent - buffalo crossing the road in Delta Junction, Alaska. 960 1280
Whoa

Whoa

This whimsical sign tells motorists (and those on horseback) to "whoa" instead of stop at entrance to a rural Wyoming highway. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Share the Road

Share the Road

A friendly reminder from those who like to explore the city and countryside on two wheels: share the road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Exit to Nowhere

Exit to Nowhere

This exit to nowhere is located near Vail Pass, Colorado. 960 1280

Mftaylor  

Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing sign on Wilson Road between Greenfield and East Monroe, Ohio. 960 1280
Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Driving to Vegas, Fear-and-Loathing style? You'll be sure to pass this famous road sign. 960 1280
Surfer Crossing

Surfer Crossing

Look out for dudes carrying longboards at the Mount Hermon campground and conference center near Felton, California. 960 1280
Moose Crossing

Moose Crossing

A charging moose can do a great deal of damage to your car - better drive with caution! 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Warthog Crossing

Warthog Crossing

Look out for warthogs if you're driving on this prairie country road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Willamette

Willamette

Natural disasters abound, according to this sign near the Willamette River in Oregon. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

DUI

DUI

This DUI traffic sign in Pennsylvania appeals to driver's budgets to stay sober on the road. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Bikes and Rail Tracks

Bikes and Rail Tracks

Make sure your bike wheels are perpendicular to the streetcar tracks - or you might find yourself head over handlebars. Luckily, the sign's victim is wearing a helmet. 960 1280
Use Lower Gear

Use Lower Gear

Use a lower gear - and save your car's transmission in the mountains. 960 1280

iStockphoto  

Flood

Flood

A sign states the obvious as floodwaters surround it on a roadway in Vicksburg, Mississippi. 960 1280

Reuters  

Cabazon Dinosaurs (Interstate 10 - Cabazon, CA)

Cabazon Dinosaurs (Interstate 10 - Cabazon, CA)

Don't be surprised to see a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex perched alongside the road while driving on Interstate 10 in Cabazon, CA. Visitors can climb to the top of the dinosaur for a close-up view of its teeth. Make a pit stop to pick up souvenirs at the museum shop, located inside Ms. Dinny, a 150-ton Apatosaurus, considered the largest concrete dino in the world. 960 1280

Dan Eckert, flickr  

General Sherman Tree (Generals Highway - Sequoia National Park, CA)

General Sherman Tree (Generals Highway - Sequoia National Park, CA)

James Wolverton, a naturalist who served among General William Tecumseh Sherman's troops, named this sequoia tree after the Civil War general in 1879. According to the US Department of the Interior, it is the largest tree by volume, standing 275 feet and 52,000 cubic feet. Nature lovers can appreciate the beauty of this tree by taking Generals Highway, located off US Highways 180 and 198 in southeastern California. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Randy's Donuts (805 W Manchester Blvd. - Inglewood, CA)

Randy's Donuts (805 W Manchester Blvd. - Inglewood, CA)

Visitors should add this roadside attraction to their travel plans. In Inglewood, CA, near the Los Angeles International Airport, stands the famous Randy's Donuts. The donut-shaped façade of this landmark building is just as popular as the tasty pastries made inside this 24-hour bakery. Located on the corner of West Manchester Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard near Interstate 405, the giant donut -- built in 1953 -- has been featured in videos and movies like 2012, Iron Man 2 and Get Shorty. 960 1280

Extra Medium, flickr  

Jimmy Carter Peanut (Route 45 - Plains, GA)

Jimmy Carter Peanut (Route 45 - Plains, GA)

The Peanut is one of the wackiest monuments built to pay homage to the 39th US President Jimmy Carter. During the 1976 presidential campaign, members of the Indiana Democratic Party built this 13-foot-tall statue to honor Carter as he "stomped" through the state. The plaster and mesh statue pays tribute to Carter's early career as a peanut farmer and currently resides on Route 45 in his hometown, Plains, GA. 960 1280

Donna Sullivan Thomson, flickr  

The Catsup Bottle (800 South Morrison Ave - Collinsville, IL)

The Catsup Bottle (800 South Morrison Ave - Collinsville, IL)

The world's largest bottle of ketchup remains in Collinsville, IL, even after the bottlers of Brooks Rich & Tangy Ketchup left town in the 1970s. This 170-foot-tall water tower was built in 1949 for the G.S. Suppiger ketchup-bottling plant, the bottlers of Brooks. The bottle reads "catsup" after the original Brooks bottle. Plan your road trip in July and attend the annual Catsup Bottle Festival, featuring a hot-dog-eating contest, ketchup tasting and crowning of Little Princess Tomato and Sir Catsup. 960 1280

Anne Hornyak, flickr  

Lenny, The Chocolate Moose (419 US Highway 1 - Scarborough, ME)

Lenny, The Chocolate Moose (419 US Highway 1 - Scarborough, ME)

Meet Lenny, the world's only life-size moose made of 1,700 pounds of creamy milk chocolate. Located in Scarborough, ME, Lenny draws tourists to Len Libby Candies, a store that sells handcrafted chocolate and ice cream just south of Portland. 960 1280

Patti Gravel, flickr  

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox (300 Bemidji Ave - Bemidji, MN)

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox (300 Bemidji Ave - Bemidji, MN)

Eastman Kodak recognized lumberjack Paul Bunyan, along with his trusty sidekick Babe the Blue Ox, as the 2nd most photographed icons in the nation. These oversized, mythical characters stand high above the shore of Lake Bemidji, near the Tourist Information Center in Bemidji, MN. Road trippers can also see other versions of the colossal statues in Bangor, ME; Portland, OR, and Klamath, CA. 960 1280

two stout monks, flickr  

Jolly Green Giant (Interstate 90 - Blue Earth, MN)

Jolly Green Giant (Interstate 90 - Blue Earth, MN)

This 55-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant is a must-see if you're planning a road trip from Minneapolis to Iowa. Visit the town of Blue Earth, MN, to see this roadside attraction, built in 1978 to commemorate the completion of nearby Interstate 90. The vegetable company gave the town permission to use its symbol as long as the townspeople provided 100% of the funds to build it. 960 1280

Doug Kerr, flickr  

Carhenge (Highway 87 - Alliance, NE)

Carhenge (Highway 87 - Alliance, NE)

Just north of Alliance, NE, on Highway 87, road trippers should keep an eye out for Carhenge. In 1987, artist Jim Reinders created this replica of the UK's Stonehenge using 38 automobiles placed in a circle measuring approximately 96 feet in diameter. Additional, smaller sculptures have been created at the site, known as the Car Art Reserve. 960 1280

Kevin Staff, flickr  

World's Largest Ball of Stamps (Flanagan Boulevard - Boys Town, NE)

World's Largest Ball of Stamps (Flanagan Boulevard - Boys Town, NE)

See the world's largest ball of stamps on Flanagan Boulevard in Boys Town, NE. The Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club started collecting stamps in 1953 to create this oversized sphere that today measures 32 inches in diameter, weighs 600 pounds and contains almost 5 million canceled stamps. The Ball reached its current size in 1955, and was featured in the syndicated newspaper column, "Ripley's Believe It Or Not." 960 1280

Laurence Pearlman © 2013  

Lucy the Elephant (9200 Atlantic Ave - Margate, NJ)

Lucy the Elephant (9200 Atlantic Ave - Margate, NJ)

In Margate, NJ, locals and visitors can climb a spiral staircase into the howdah, or bed, atop Lucy the Elephant. From this perch, it's possible to see views of Margate, NJ, the Atlantic City skyline and Atlantic Ocean. This 130-year-old, 65-foot pachyderm -- located along the beach in Josephine Herron Park -- has on-site, outdoor picnic tables, so pack a lunch. 960 1280

Tony Fischer, flickr  

World's Largest Pistachio Nut (7320 US Hwy 54-70 - Alamogordo, NM)

World's Largest Pistachio Nut (7320 US Hwy 54-70 - Alamogordo, NM)

One of the more recently built roadside attractions is the World's Largest Pistachio Nut in Alamogordo, NM. Built in 2009, this 30-foot-tall nut was dedicated to the owner of McGinn's Pistachio Tree Farm (aka PistachioLand), who, according to locals, was a big fan of roadside attractions. It's worth a detour. 960 1280

The Flippers, flickr  

The Shoe Tree (US 50 - Middlegate, NV)

The Shoe Tree (US 50 - Middlegate, NV)

Take a break from driving to see this cottonwood tree just off US 50 -- also known as the "loneliest road in America" -- in Middlegate, NV. Tourists and locals drape footwear on the branches of the Shoe Tree. 960 1280

LeeAnne Adams, flickr  

Enchanted Highway (Regent, ND, to Gladstone, ND)

Enchanted Highway (Regent, ND, to Gladstone, ND)

See local artist Gary Greff's collection of the world's largest scrap metal sculptures along the Enchanted Highway, a 32-mile stretch of road between Regent and Gladstone, ND. Some of the sculptures have picnic shelters where travelers can stop for lunch, or weary drivers can check in at Gary's motel in Regent, The Enchanted Castle. 960 1280

J24L, flickr  

Golden Driller (East 21 St. - Tulsa, OK)

Golden Driller (East 21 St. - Tulsa, OK)

Planning a road trip near or through Tulsa, OK? Check out the Golden Driller, a 76-foot-tall, 22-ton concrete and iron rendering of a man. The statue was erected in 1953 to celebrate Tulsa's good fortune as entrepreneurs rushed to capitalize on the growing number of oil fields in the area. Built to withstand a 200-mph tornado, this roadside attraction was declared Oklahoma's official state monument in 1979. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Dinosaur Park (940 Skyline Drive - Rapid City, SD)

Dinosaur Park (940 Skyline Drive - Rapid City, SD)

This isn't your regular Jurassic Park! Head to Dinosaur Park if you're traveling near Rapid City, SD. This 75-year-old outdoor park is full of dino statues that project a decidedly 1930s'-era understanding of these creatures. Dinosaur Park is located on Skyline Drive and is almost as popular an attraction as nearby Mount Rushmore. 960 1280

Paul Weimer, flickr  

Cadillac Ranch (Interstate 40 - Amarillo, TX)

Cadillac Ranch (Interstate 40 - Amarillo, TX)

Created in 1974 by a group of artists called the Ant Farm, this graffiti-splattered homage to Cadillacs represents the car's evolution from 1949 to 1963. Travelers along Interstate 40, near Amarillo, TX, can see Cadillac Ranch from the road. 960 1280

waxhawian, flickr  

The Beer Can House (222 Malone St. - Houston, TX)

The Beer Can House (222 Malone St. - Houston, TX)

In 1968, John Milkovisch, a retired upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad covered his house with aluminum siding made entirely of 50,000 flattened beer cans, bottles and other beer paraphernalia. Locals and visitors can visit this artsy house located on 222 Malone Street in Houston, TX. 960 1280

  

Benewah Milk Bottle (Interstate 90 - Spokane, WA)

Benewah Milk Bottle (Interstate 90 - Spokane, WA)

Two giant milk-bottle-shaped buildings are the only things remaining from the once-booming Benewah Dairy Company in Spokane, WA. This bottle building -- pictured above -- was built in 1935 and is located just off I-90 in downtown Spokane. The other building is located on Garland Avenue and was built in 1934. Dairy owner Paul Newport hoped the bottle-shaped storefronts would attract customers to the retail outlets. 960 1280

RoadsideArchitecture.com  

Fred Smith's Wisconsin Concrete Park (Wisconsin 13 - Phillips, WI)

Fred Smith's Wisconsin Concrete Park (Wisconsin 13 - Phillips, WI)

In Phillips, WI, artist Fred Smith created more than 200 concrete sculptures, scattered across 3.5 acres of this 16-acre small-town park. After Fred's death in 1976, the Kohler Foundation spearheaded the park's restoration and turned over control of the park to Price County, to be used as a public art park. 960 1280

Steve Mays, flickr  

Foamhenge (South Lee Highway - Natural Bridge, Virginia)

Foamhenge (South Lee Highway - Natural Bridge, Virginia)

Travelers visiting the Natural Bridge in Virginia should also pay a visit to its neighbor, a full-size, Styrofoam replica of the UK's Stonehenge. In 2004, American artist and entertainer Mark Cline built Foamhenge on a hillside in the Shenandoah Valley. 960 1280

Alun Salt, flickr  

Near miss passing lane

Near miss passing lane

Truck driver Al Jones travels the dangerous Route 52 in West Virginia. He has a scare when he almost hits a tractor trailer on Horsepen Mountain. 960 1280

  

Coal truck accident 2

Coal truck accident 2

Other coal truck drivers aren't as lucky as Al and end up jackknifing. 960 1280

  

Jeep at extreme angle

Jeep at extreme angle

On the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, off-road enthusiasts try to take on massive boulders. 960 1280

  

El Dorado County Search and Rescue Team

El Dorado County Search and Rescue Team

El Dorado County Search & Rescue Team is sometimes called in to rescue stuck vehicles. 960 1280

  

stranded vehicle in the challenging granite ravine called Little Sluice

stranded vehicle in the challenging granite ravine called Little Sluice

The rescue team tries to help a stranded vehicle in the challenging granite ravine called Little Sluice. 960 1280

  

the crew near a dam spill way

the crew near a dam spill way

The crew sets up for a scene near a dam spill way. 960 1280

  

a smushed turtle on the side of the road

a smushed turtle on the side of the road

In Florida there is a war on the roads ... wildlife vs. vehicle. Highway 27 near Tallahassee, FL, was not so kind to this turtle. 960 1280

  

Biologist Matt Aresco with a python

Biologist Matt Aresco with a python

Python hunter Edward Mercer is concerned about the safety of those who travel the road ... humans and animals. 960 1280

  

turtles traveling on a eco-passage

turtles traveling on a eco-passage

Thanks to Matt and concerned citizens, an "eco-passage" has been built to help protect the wildlife. Here, a family of turtles, takes advantage of the trail. 960 1280

  

Raccoon roadkill

Raccoon roadkill

South of Tallahassee is the Tamiami Trail which is even wilder. This poor raccoon was not so lucky. 960 1280

  

Stranded jeep in the snow

Stranded jeep in the snow

At Glacier National Park, crews have to rescue stranded vehicles from snow banks. They had more than 80 feet of snow during their last season. 960 1280

  

Snow plows clearing the roads

Snow plows clearing the roads

It takes months for snow plows to clear out all the snow that the park gets during the winter. 960 1280

  

Plows at Glacier National Park

Plows at Glacier National Park

The plows work hard to clear the roads but one avalanche after another brings their progress to a crawl. 960 1280

  

snow-capped mountains in Glacier National Park

snow-capped mountains in Glacier National Park

A cameraman gets a shot of snow-capped mountains from a road overlook. 960 1280

  

Highway One and Big Sur

Highway One and Big Sur

In California, Highway 1 provides scenic views of Big Sur and the Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

  

seals on the beach

seals on the beach

After a long day of navigating the roads, you sometimes need a rest. These seals have got it right! 960 1280

  

Landslide on Highway One

Landslide on Highway One

Highway 1 has landslides that can close parts of the road for weeks at a time. 960 1280

  

Biker Bill Mannschreck

Biker Bill Mannschreck

Retired pediatrician Bill Mannschreck has climbed the 18-mile Spiral Highway in northwest Idaho more than 100 times. The road has 64 twists and turns. 960 1280

  

Washington Pass, high

Washington Pass, high

Thrill-seekers love Washington Pass, high atop Route 20 in the Cascade Mountains. The pass is only open 6 months out ofd the year due to its hairpin turns and steep climbs. 960 1280

  

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