1. OzMuseum-Wamego, KS (I-70) Dorothymay have gotten famous for traveling “over therainbow,”but don’t forget that theadventurestarted right hereinKansas. The Oz Museummemorializes Dorothy’s journeywith exhibits dedicated to the”The Wizard ofOz”filmand the original book series byL. Frank Baum. The museumshowcases over 2,000 artifacts fromthe 1939 movie,earlier filmadaptations,and the books. You can see both originaland reproduced movie props, including ruby slippers decorated with over 3,500 Swarovskicrystals that werecreated in honor ofthefamous film’s 50th anniversary. If you’relucky enough to bein town on thefirst Saturday inOctober, besureto spend alittle bit oftimeat OZtober Fest, theannualcity-wide eventcelebrating thelegacy ofOz. Residents get together fora day ofshows, shopping,and Oz-themed activities. Whether you’reafilmbuff or just interested in picking up a Wizard ofOz-themed Monopoly gamefor your kids, taketheexit for KS-99 and followthe Road to Ozto seea unique piece ofAmerican culture.
2. Big Texan Steak Ranch-Amarillo, TX(I-40) You can’tmiss this restaurant if you’re driving through northernTexas. Billboards linethe highway,and you’velikely been tempted before. Next time you drive by, takesometimeto experiencethelife ofarealTexascowboy. The BigTexan Steak Ranch has gained country-widerecognition for its 72-ozsteak challenge. If you can consumefourand a half pounds ofred meat in an hour, the dinner is free. Thesteak comes with ashrimp cocktail, salad, baked potato,and roll, so you can takea break and eat something else before you start on the main dish again. If you completethechallengeand feelready to callita night, theranch also hasa motelwith semi-truck parking nearby.
3. Sierra SilverMine Tour-Wallace, ID (I-90) When driving theroutefromSeattleto Chicago on I-90, you’ll pass right over the old mining town ofWallace. Thecity’seconomy struggled when their focus was solely onmining, but when they decided to open the old mines to tours, thecity started to thrive. If you’reinterested in learningmoreabout the mining profession and howit’schanged over thelastcentury, takea guided tour led by aretired miner. You’llseefirsthand the processes used to minesilver fromthe mountain and hear storiesabout what life was likefor these miners. After thetour, if you havethetime, takea walk around the other historicsites thetown has to offer. You can hikethe PulaskiTunnelTrail, visit the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum, or try any ofthelocalrestaurants. It’safun town to exploreif you’re passing by.
4. SC(I-95) If you often drive through the southeast, you need to stop here at least once. Part amusement park, part rest stop, it’s great if you want to do a little sight-seeing before turning in for the night. The stop is almost its own town, with on-site gas stations, grocery stores, shopping areas,and restaurants. You can choose to dine at a sombrero-themed Mexican restaurant,a fast-food tamale and hot dog stand, or a classic American diner. After you eat, you can ride up the famous Sombrero Observation Tower and get a great view of all that South of the Border has to offer.
For those moreinterested in the naturalworld than arcade gamesand shopping, South ofthe Border includesan indoorexhibitcalled Reptile Lagoon. As you can probably guess, it’s fully dedicated to teaching visitorsabout thelocalreptilianwildlife, including snakes,alligators, lizards, and turtles.
Wherever your trucking job takes you, maketimeto explorethesmallwonders thiscountry has to offer. The next time youwant to stop, takea fewminutes to find out ifthereareany attractions in thearea. Not onlywillthis give you achanceto walk around and think aboutsomething other than driving but youmay also just learn something interesting