More trees

There's not much between Huntsville and Birmingham, except somewhere near an hour and a half of scenery that can be compressed into approximately three minutes of equally unexciting viewing:

"Look. Trees."
"More trees."
"Is there anything else to see?"
"More trees, I think."
"Are we there yet?"
"Given that we left five minutes ago, and it takes nearly an hour and a half to get there, I think that highly unlikely."

It's a pity, really; Alabama seems to be missing some of the out-and-out oddness that is the freeway scenery in Arkansas. Anyone who has driven I-30 has encountered one of the most famous (and enduring) billboards in central Arkansas:

Enormous capital letters, the billboard equivalent of a shout:


You think I'm kidding, but every person who has seen the sign, when asked about it, has trouble resisting the urge to yell the words instead of merely saying them. (After all, it should come as a shock to everyone driving down I-30 that there are actually churches in central Arkansas. Who knew? In the Bible Belt? What a shocking aberration!)

For those oriented toward country music, go a few miles further north on I-30 and you'll be presented with the most serendipitous (and undoubtedly not accidental) juxtapositioning of businesses, ever.

First, the bar devoted to country music. For years, it was BJ's Star-Studded Honky Tonk, but the last time we went to Arkansas, it had changed to the more Urban Redneck name of "Electric Cowboy."

Next to the bar: a Waffle House.

Next to the Waffle House: a Super 8 Motel. I may be slightly wrong about the name of the hotel, but I'm fairly certain that it's either a Super 8 or a Motel 6. (Either way, it was one of those dirt-cheap motels which cater to the kind of guests who are more concerned about the existence of a bed than about any presence or absence of quality.)

Think about it. You go to the bar, you drink yourself stupid, you stumble to the Waffle House for cheap coffee with the molecular density of molten lava, and then you stumble to the motel to sleep it all off.

These people are making a killing, and I cackle madly every time I pass that place on I-30.

What do we have? Since the ever-so-classic Boobie Bungalow got shut down [or not. see the comments], the funniest signs we've got on I-65 are for some gas station advertising their "dazzling bathrooms." That's a direct quote; I was so disturbed when I saw it that I fumbled for pen and paper and scrawled a note down right then, before I could forget.

Dazzling bathrooms. I don't know about you, but I haven't been much in the way of dazzled when going into a gas station bathroom since, oh, I dunno, never. As far as I'm concerned, they're places you duck furtively into while on roadtrips, pray that the toilet actually flushes, and get out of before the creepy-crawlies get a GPS fix on you.

Somehow, I feel a little robbed. Up here, we seem to be lacking the billboard charm that even south Alabama has. There were some excellent signs down in Mobile.

Yep, I think I miss Boobie Bungalow. 'Dazzling bathrooms' just doesn't cut it.


Don't forget my favorite billboard on I-65N between B'ham and Huntsville. It advertises the Shoals as the new "retirement community". This actually means that the Shoals area leaders are too lazy to try to acquire actually businesses, and are instead raising the gas tax to pay for a new (Robert Trent Jones) golf course.

I would just like to say that being able to edit my own comments KICKS ARSE. Thank you.

Never ever ever speed in Cullman County. I know it's tempting, especially since Cullman is the Gate Of Hell On Earth, but don't speed there. I got my one and only speeding ticket there, and it was a bitch. (I wasn't even going that fast - 76 in a 70. He clocked me at 81 but my cruise was set on 76. 'Course, you can't really SAY that to the officer...) Need more proof that Cullman is Hell? - Kat's car died there. - My friend Stephen's car died there freshman year. - Once, there was a chemical spill on the interstate requiring a massive detour through the wilds of Cullman County, past the unbelievably humongous Wal-Mart distribution center. (My one-time question "Why would people live here? Where do they all work?" was answered.. at least somewhat.) I think we had to get somewhere at a certain time, too. - Dry county. No lie. They have the world's only dry Oktoberfest. So there isn't even alcohol to dull the pain. - Dairy Queen/Stuckey's/Texaco which sells 3/$10 redneck shirts, Nut Logs (draw your own conclusions), and Aunt Mamie's Rhubarb Jelly right alongside years-old candy bars and the stalest chips in Christendom. And you have to walk past all that to get to the Diet Cokes. Blef. Speeding? You bet I was. I'm surprised I wasn't going 110 just to get through there...

What?? The Boobie Bungalow is closed? Interesting. :)

speaking of billboards - the infamous Pedro from South of the Border is definitely a must-see on I95 in the Carolinas. Once, up here on Rt. 1 there was a huge sign that said "Just Ahead!" it was red with white letters and was there for over a year. Trouble was, there was nothing just ahead....nothing at all. oh yeah: Hey -- I like Waffle House coffee !! (and the waffles :-)

Waffle House next to a bar is a stroke of genius. I was saddened to see BJ's go away, just for the name. Drunk folks tend to gravitate to Waffle House, or whatever the local equivalent is (The Pan-Pan Diner, here in Durham). One time during college I went to the Arkadelphia Waffle House with some friends to drown our studying blues with grease and a side order of fried. Four drunk girls were in the booth behind us, giggling at everything. After their waitress took their drink orders, the four girls started whispering excitedly. Then one of them pulled the giant "ALL CAN" sign (part of the split ALL YOU CAN EAT sign) off the window. Then they laughed and laughed, secure in the knowledge that they were putting one over on their waitress.

My fav billboard sign would have to be the one Karen and I saw on our honeymoon, and that was on Tybee Island. It simply said "Jesus Taste Great!"

One has to wonder what the "less filling" half was... (I will go hide now)

The Boobie Bungalow still exists ... I drove by there on my way back from Jackson last time. However, their signage is significantly, ah, reduced.

Well, my car died near Cullman. It actually *sigh* died just north of Birmingham. I cringe every time I see the exit it decided to quit working at. Cullman's close enough, though, when it comes to blame.

The Boobie Bungalo..... I caught a lot of picking from family and future family over that place. On our way up to Indianapolis, my family stopped off just north if that exit. During the shuffling of parents to the bathroom, I had both my parents individually make a comment about that. That paired with Jessica's uncle saying he was gonna have to take me there once I got out to Huntsville just left me scared. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that they need to bring the signs back. Even if they don't work as advertising, they do make for great fun. And this one's not a billboard, but it's still quite amusing. On I-59 (I think) just north of Hattiesburg, MS, there is exit 69 for Eatonville.

Hey Kat, don't forget that exit has special meaning - that's where I first met Andy. I like saying, "Yes, I met my boyfriend at exit 289 on I-65 N in Blount Springs."

My favorite is on IH-45 between Dallas and Houston: an extremely professional looking, probably expensive sign, posing the question, "COULD THE U.N. BE INVADING TEXAS?" It provided a phone number for additional information; I was always tempted -- but a ltitle afraid -- to call. The runner-up is the "MICROSURGERY VASECTOMY REVERSAL," for which you can get information by calling 713-REVERSE. I've actually seen these all over the country, leading me to wonder just how many men there are out there looking to have their vas deferens reattached.

"That paired with Jessica's uncle saying he was gonna have to take me there once I got out to Huntsville just left me scared." Well, that solves the question of the location of Rick's bachelor party ...

Matthew - I've seen that billboard myself and found it equally disturbing. Seems like a pretty small niche market at best. There are lots of signs like that down in Mobile. I just wish I could remember what they were.

Oh, and those UN signs are undoubtedly giving out a number for the John Birch Society.

My current favorite billboard is one on Airport Blvd in Mobile. It's for a concrete mix: "It's Easy. Then It's Hard." I think that's extraordinarily clever. :)

I can't believe I forgot the best sign! "GO TO CHURCH OR THE DEVIL WILL GET YOU!" It used to have a scythe-wielding devil affixed to the side of it, but it seems to have fallen off. Drat. *Grin*

Ya know, the Boobie Bungalow is up and running again, Amy. Noticed that on one of my trips through Nashville on the way to hockey ... ;)

I used to live in Cullman, it's a great place. Lots of fun, the I drove up to Exit 6, I-65 in Tennessee to go to the Boobie Bungalow and saw some of the biggest bazooms in the world. All fun.

I had a friend that went to play baseball at the community college in cullman or right next to it. The first day of class he started a conversation with a girl and in 5 minutes found out her dad was the red dragon (somethin crazy like that) for the KKK. He quit baseball and left the the school (named after George Wallace)as soon as the first semester was over. Sounds like a charming place to me! Oh yeah i've always been tempted to go in Boobie Bungalow to see if they sold t-shirts. can anyone save me the trip and tell me because i gotta get one.