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Friday, January 21, 2022
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Road Trip

Road-tripping 2010: six alternative stops in the Midwest you can't pass by

House on the Rock Spring Green, Wisc.

No, literally, it's a house on a giant rock. But the entertainment doesn't stop there. Here you will witness some of the most interesting architecture ever, from the world's largest carousel to a room dedicated to the world's largest collection of miniature dollhouses. The goal of architect Alex Jordan was to incorporate the creative sights and sounds of his architecture into a weekend retreat house. However, today the 14-room house is broken up into three separate tours that are now open to the public. Check out the resort, the attraction and the inn at www.thehouseontherock.com.

Ice Cream Capital of the World Le Mars, Iowa

Now who doesn't like the sound of that? This small town in Iowa is the largest producer of ice cream by a single company in the world, thanks to Wells Dairy and 120 million gallons of ice cream it produces each year. Besides stuffing your face with this delicious frozen treat at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor during your stay, check out the Ice Cream Capital of the World Museum, where you can learn all about the history of Blue Bunny ice cream and the ice cream- making process. For more information go to www.wellsdairy.com/VisitorCenter.aspx.

SPAM Museum Austin, Minn.

For our next location, experience the world of ""America's favorite canned meat."" And best of all, admission is free. In your tour through the 16,500-square-foot SPAM Museum you'll get a taste of everything SPAM is—from the exotic SPAM recipes in the CyberDiner to the World War II SPAM exhibit. You can even can your own SPAM during your stay! For more information on this delicious exhibit, visit www.spam.com/games/Museum/default.aspx, or to schedule your group tour call 1-800-LUV-SPAM.

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World's Largest Rocking Chair Fanning, Mo.

Certified in 2009 by the Guinness Book of World Records, the oversized rocker located outside of Fanning Outpost General Store is officially the largest in the world. The rocker towers at 42 feet and 1 inch and is a prime photo location for those touring down Route 66. If you can plan your trip accordingly, you can even come by Aug. 7 for the 3rd Annual Picture of the Rocker Day. To see pictures and learn more about the rocker and the Outpost General Store, visit www.fanning66outpost.com.

Mark Twain Cave Hannibal, Mo.

Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher find themselves lost in McDougal's cave after running off alone during a school field trip. While looking for a way out they run into the town convict, Injun Joe. The children manage to find their way, but when Becky Thatcher's father closes the cave after their escape, Injun Joe is trapped and left to starve to death. Sound familiar? Well, it should if you ever read the classic ""The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,"" by Mark Twain. The novel takes place in a small town just off the Mississippi River by the name of St. Petersburg, Mo. The town and cave mentioned in the story are based off those found in the real life Mississippi River town of Hannibal, Mo. What is today known as the Mark Twain Cave is a registered national natural landmark. During your stay in Hannibal take a tour of this cave and the larger Cameron Cave also located on the Mark Twain Cave Complex. For more information visit, www.marktwaincave.com/index.html.

Medieval Times Schaumburg, Ill.

Experience 11th century dining and entertainment at this medieval tournament. While you enjoy a four-course feast, cheer on your section's knight as he fights on horseback to win the Battle of Champions. You will witness amazing horsemanship and jousting skills all inspired by 11th century entertainment for royal families. And since dining utensils were not yet used in the 11th century, you can enjoy eating your entire meal with your hands. For more information about the show or ticket ordering and discounts, visit www.medievaltimes.com/chicago/abouttheshow.aspx.

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