Time magazine has put together its list of the 50 Greatest Roadside Attractions in America. When you've got the national resources of a media empire like Time, this is the type of thing you can do.
Exactly four of the 50 "nostalgic, gaudy, run-down and kitschy locations" come from Texas. Can you name them?
Of course, you can name one. A list like this doesn't get put together without Cadillac Ranch on it. It's the law.
But the other three? Hint: Two are in the Houston area.
First, there's the The Devil's Rope Museum, McLean: Oh yeah, we go to this all the time.
Located in a former bra factory, the museum has thousands of strands of barbed wire on display, and demonstrations of how to make your own "devil's rope." There's even a collection of sculptures made from barbed wire -- including a cowboy hat. Ouch!
Get it? "Ouch"? Because a barbed-wire hat would hurt!
And the Houston-area locations?
Forbidden Gardens, Katy: Can't argue with this. The small-scale replica of the Forbidden City is worth a stop.
The Gardens' location in Katy, Texas, was chosen due to its many rice fields and proximity to Houston, which has a large Asian population. All of the scenery was made in China -- which will give you an odd international break when driving through the Lone Star State.
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The Beer Can House, Houston: Oh, zzzzzz. We've outlined before how the Beer Can House baffles us with the amount of publicity it gets for its alleged wackiness. Time adds an intriguing angle, though, implying that you can visit spectral beings from another dimension:
Over 18 years, [John Milkovisch] attached an estimated 50,000 beer cans, including beer-can garlands that hang from the roof and sing in the wind. Why? We're not entirely sure, but Milkovisch said on the house's website, "I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it's easier than painting." He said he's tickled with people who drive around the block a few times, then return with a carload of friends. Take a group to Houston and pay him a visit.
Pretty tough to do, since he died in 1988.