Day 34: July 22, 2013
Return to Apple Valley Toyland
Previous Day
Next Day
Site Home
Trip Home

And now the old car is in front of the Apple Valley Hillbilly Gardens and Toyland Museum Roadside Attraction. I've been here before, in the winter of 2009, and the last words I wrote about that visit were that I "want to go back when it's warmer". I'm back and it's definitely warmer. Another difference from that previous visit is that today's tour was conducted by Keith Holt, Apple Valley's creator, himself. Keith has led a number of lives one of which was as a puppeteer in his native Indiana with near human sized puppets including the one pictured with him. It was Keith who first made me aware of Tinkertown where I was just four days ago.

Some items I remember from my first visit make up this set of pictures. There's Lawnmower Ranch, the Hillbilly Chariot, and the Hillbilly Spaceship. The last picture is of a pair of Mister Tree Heads. Several of Apple Valley's trees, like this one and this one, have faces. Keith credits Roadside America with the Mister Tree Head name though I didn't see it on their site. Keith also credits last year's Roadside America visit and article with improved visibility and an upswing in visitors.

The Pot Garden is new to me. Keith planted it in response to repeated attempts by undercover cops to buy drugs. As he always points out, "You gotta weed out the pans". It's hard to tell which comes first, the display or the pun. I imagine it's a little of both. At another point, Keith warned me "don't get mugged" then pointed to some coffee mugs in the overhead tree branches. He's got a million of 'em and they're all part of the Apple Valley charm. The doors (There are four of them including one with a screen missing to represent a shirtless Jim Morrison.) were here on my last visit but not the floating furniture. I'm not sure about Alice in Wonderland's Smoking Caterpillar but I don't recall it.

Inside Toyland, I grabbed a picture of one of the running trains as it passes between Timmy Tiger and Ozzy Osbourne. Before we left, the train derailed at that same corner but was soon set right. The cowboys are an image I recall seeing on Facebook when I first heard of Apple Valley. I took the last picture as I was leaving. The signs do bear something of a resemblance to Burma-Shave signs but they are not a series. Each is a two-line standalone phrase such as "No Imagination -- Follow". The signs are probably the most serious thing about the place and they're not all that serious.

I returned to US-60 and was soon crossing the Tennessee River on a 3 ton limit bridge. After about a dozen miles of pleasant country two-lane I crossed the Cumberland River on what looked to be an identical bridge but with no weight limit. Both the Tennessee and the Cumberland are tributaries of the Ohio River which US-60 is more or less following at this point.

I stopped in Salem, Kentucky, for gas and went inside to use the restroom. There was a good sized food counter and some booths at one side and I was reminded that I'd not yet eaten today. When I realized that I could get this journal up to date with just a little effort, I stayed in the motel just a bit longer than planned then headed straight to Apple Valley Toyland. I bought a catfish sandwich ($2.99) and a big pile of fried okra ($1.99) and went back to the car. Someone had commented on the car went I walked into the store and someone else was looking it over when I returned. A conversation ensued and before long there we had a group of four or five men of a certain age talking about old cars and good memories.

I'd thought to take my lunch to a park or something similar but found this little church instead. I pulled into the empty lot and watched traffic pass on US-60 while I ate.

The late start, leisurely pace, and the more than two hours spent at Apple Valley resulted in a lunch/breakfast time of nearly 2:00. As I drove on, I did some calculating. It was about 4:00 when I neared Owensboro. It was hot and home was a four hour plus drive away with a time zone change along the way. Driving through the heat and then the dark just didn't interest me. I opted for one more day on the road.

[Prev] [Site Home] [Trip Home] [Contact] [Next]