Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Driving the Route 66 Singing Highway

Eastbound on historic Route 66 just east of Albuquerque, slow down to 45 miles per hour and drive through the rumble strips to hear the song “America the Beautiful” on the Singing Highway. We tried it, and it works! Hear it in our latest podcast. Read more

11 Delectable Midwest Chocolate Treats

11 Delectable Midwest Chocolate Treats

Dark chocolate—it’s one treat I can’t pass up. A few years ago on a press trip we were tasting chocolate at a chocolate shop.  I was skipping the milk chocolate and going right for the dark. One of my fellow travel writers said, “Even if I never meet you again, I will always connect you with dark chocolate.” Yep, that’s me.  I’ve tasted a lot of Midwest chocolate over the past few years, and am sharing with you 11 of my favorites, in no particular order, plus two from beyond the Midwest. Read more

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 Posts

At Midwest Wanderer we write about a variety of article topics. We like to include a mix of restaurants, attractions, festivals, and accommodations. So I was pleasantly surprised when I ran the list of the Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 (most viewed) posts and the top four were a bakery, an attraction, a hotel, and a festival. Apparently you, our readers, like a variety of topics, too. Here is the list of Midwest Wanderer 2016 Top 10 posts: Read more

Carlsbad Caverns: Hiking 750 Feet into the Earth

Carlsbad Caverns: Hiking 750 Feet into the Earth

Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico contains the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. The 8.2 acre Big Room is filled with huge calcite formations, as well as more stalactites, stalagmites, columns, draperies and other smaller formations than you can imagine. Read more

Muffler Men: Still Standing Tall on Route 66

Muffler Men: Still Standing Tall on Route 66

For years I worked just down the street from the Gemini Giant that stands on the edge of the Launching Pad parking lot. I frequently ate lunch at the Launching Pad, a now-closed fast-food diner on Route 66 in Wilmington, Illinois, but I never thought about the history of the oversize figure. It turns out he’s one of many Muffler Men, 14- to 25-foot tall fiberglass advertising icons produced by International Fiberglass in Venice, California, from 1962 to 1972. The Gemini Giant was repainted to fit the Launching Pad space theme, the space helmet was added and a rocket placed in his hands.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in U.S. Long Cuts. We are merging U.S. Long Cuts with Midwest Wanderer, adding a “Beyond the Midwest” menu option. Read more