Go BIG or Go Home
What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

The Wienermobile, Bootmobile, and other BIG Things on Wheels This Year!

Of course, you are all familiar with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, that icon of American pop culture history. Personally, I think it’s adorable. Not only is this BIG hot dog on the road this summer and fall, but other BIG things as well, including the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, the world’s largest potato, and the Butterfinger van. I know you’re intrigued, so read on!

L.L. Bean Bootmobile

When we went to Maine two years ago for my college (cough)-tieth reunion, we stopped at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport. The Boy hammed it up for the camera, posing under the 15-foot boot as if he would be smooshed.

This year, the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and taking its 13-foot Bootmobile around the northeast (ME, MA, NY, VA) and the midwest (IL). We found out that we are going to MISS it when it’s in NYC, because that’s the week we’ll be in Florida. We are DISTRAUGHT. (And by “we,” you know I just mean “me.”)

LL Bean

The L.L. Bean Bootmobile

Hopefully, you’ll be able to catch it, and report back to me with photos. Track it on its website or the L.L. Bean Facebook page.

Upcoming appearance dates for the L.L. Bean Bootmobile:

6/16-6/17 – Boston, MA

6/22-6/23 – McLean, VA

6/29-6/30 – New York, NY

7/4-7/7 – Freeport, ME

The World’s Largest Potato

This is fun! The world’s largest potato is touring the U.S. to celebrate the Idaho Potato Commission’s 75th anniversary. The Famous Idaho® Potato Truck is traveling coast to coast in 2012, stopping in large cities, supermarket parking lots, and at special events. Currently, the truck is on the East Coast, and although we missed the New Jersey appearances, it’s likely we’ll be able to catch it in Orlando on the 25th!

Idaho potato

The world's largest potato, on tour!

On the flatbed sits the super-sized spud — a 12,000-pound russet potato, equal to 32,346 medium-sized potatoes. Of course, it’s not a real potato. This replica is 1,102 times heavier than the largest potato ever grown, which weighed 11 pounds.

The website and Facebook page provide dates and locations for the immediate future, but it’s constantly updated as they get permits for showing up at places with a six-ton potato.

Butterfinger BARmageddon News Network (BBNN) van

BUTTERFINGER® candy bars…mmmmmm. The company’s new promotion is playing up the end of the world, counting down the days to the Mayan prophecy predicted for December 21, 2012. The Butterfinger BARmageddon News Network (BBNN) van is on a nationwide tour to collect evidence that the end is year, like crop circles and UFO sighting locations.


The BARmageddon van

I wish they would have invited me along, because the BBNN news van is stopping at the country’s  kitschiest roadside attractions and unexplained mystery sites, including Roswell, the Petrified Forest in AZ., the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK., and the world’s largest basket in Newark, OH.

You can watch the footage of their interviews and stories here. If you spot the van, say “hi” and try a sample of Butterfinger Bites.

Upcoming appearance dates for the BARmageddon News Network van:

6/17 – Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK
6/22 – Dallas, TX
6/29 – Roswell, NM
6/30 – Albuquerque, NM
7/1 – Grand Canyon, AZ
7/3-7/4 – Las Vegas, NV
7/7 – Los Angeles, CA
7/11-7/15 – San Diego, CA

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

I didn’t realize that there are currently eight active Wienermobiles, with each assigned to cover a different part of the U.S.  The first Wienermobile was created in 1936 by Oscar’ Mayer’s nephew, Carl Mayer. The design has changed over the years, but the main component, a hot dog on wheels, is still part of its charm.


The Wienermobile. Photo credit: All rights reserved by kb.ultra

Drivers of the Wienermobiles are known as Hotdoggers. Unfortunately, I do not qualify for the position, which is only open to college seniors. You can keep up to date with Wienermobile appearances on Facebook, Twitter, and the Hotdogger blog. Regrettably, the company did not respond to my requests for upcoming appearance dates or photos.

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World’s Largest Rotating Globe, Yarmouth, ME

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

I couldn’t wait to try out our new, matching Go BIG or Go Home T-shirts, which I purchased in a frenzy of blind gooberness while ordering business cards on Vista Print.  It didn’t matter where we went, so long as we could wear the coordinated attire which would brand us fools.


Our gooberifically matching Go BIG T-shirts. I still owe The Boy $2.00 for agreeing to wear it.

The shirts arrived just in time for our trip to Maine, both to attend a college reunion and to see “Eartha,” the world’s largest rotating and revolving globe in Yarmouth. As an added BIG bonus, we also went to the L.L.Bean flagship store in neighboring Freeport. Outside the store stands a 17-foot boot.

Happily, no coercion was necessary to get the four of us psyched for the trip. Matt got to take the new family roadster, a Mazda CX-9, on the open road for a little zoom, zoom, zoom. The Boy got to miss a day of school. The Girl was very excited to stay in a “soyal.” This is the word she’s decided to use instead of the widely-accepted “hotel.” We don’t know how and where she picked this up, but she’s quite certain that this noun describes a place offering overnight lodging.

Our trip to a “soyal” actually became a nifty bargaining chip the week before the trip, as in “If you don’t let me brush your teeth, we’re not going to the soyal.” She’s three. There’s a lot of negotiation happening in the course of a normal day.

WHY did you go there, exactly?

I attended Bates College in Lewiston, ME, and my 20th reunion gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the “Vacationland” state together as a family. As well as distract me from the unsettling fact that it’s been two freakin’ decades since I was a college-aged student.

Conveniently, Yarmouth is on the way to Lewiston, and is also the home to the DeLorme Map Company. The 41-foot globe sits in the company’s glass-enclosed lobby.

Okay, what was so cool about it?


Eartha is immense, so regardless of your age, your first reaction is “Wow!”  To even see the northern hemisphere, you have to take the stairs or elevator to the second and third floor observation balconies.

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