random good news

I know I’ve been saying that I’m going to start using this blog for more than just roadtrips.  I’m just not in the habit yet. Well, here’s one post to get the ball rolling.

I’ve been making a lot of updates to my website lately since I’ve temporarily caught up on adding photos.  I’ve been keeping a list of notes for years now and am just now finally getting to it.  In the process, I’ve discovered lots of changes around the country — both positive and negative.  Many things are gone now — but some things have miraculously taken a turn for the better.  Here are a few.

Cap’n Cain Golf, a mini golf in Myrtle Beach, SC, was closed for many years.  I’d heard that the course and statue would be demolished in 2007.  However, apparently not!  It reopened last year and the Cap’n has been given a new paint job & some TLC.  I am SO happy about that.  With all the continuous new development there, I’d assumed it had been leveled for another Spring Break bar.  Here’s the Cap’n in 2004 (sorry about my really crappy photo).  He appears to be concrete — but there could be fiberglass under there.  I have always been suspicious that he started out as an International Fiberglass Pioneer statue:


and thanks to Google Street View (the only current photo that I could find of him) — here’s what he looks like now — woo hoo!




Here’s another happy mini golf story from Ortley Beach, NJ.  Barnacle Bill’s Golf was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 — but it’s been completely rebuilt.  The Muffler Man and the whale and apparently a few other statues survived.  A great little video about the rebuilding is here:


And speaking of videos and Muffler Men — here’s my chance to plug my pal Joel Baker’s “American Giants” video series and blog.  He’s been documenting Muffler Men and speaking with their owners every chance he gets for the past couple of years.  Here’s his latest video episode — links to the earlier ones over on the right of the page:

and his blog is here:

[SIDENOTE:  It looks like I will finally get to meet Joel this weekend since he’s got a stopover at LAX.   I’ll be shooting down in L.A. and Orange County this weekend.  You can tag along here and at Flickr for a sampling of the photos.]



One more mini golf happy ending story — the Cool Crest course in San Antonio, TX which opened in 1929.  It closed in 2007 and was looking miserable for years.  It seemed absolutely doomed.  Here’s my photo of the sign from 2011:



Miraculously, a family adopted it and has cleaned up the place.  It reopened last summer.  Here’s what the sign looks like now:

and a video about the reopening:

Cool Crest’s website:



OK — one more cool statue story:  the Carpet Viking statue in Chincoteague, VA.  He looked like hell when I shot him in 2005 (sorry, another lousy photo shot in bad weather):


And then along came Hurricane Sandy last year, knocking him on his ass.  He was on the ground in a heap for awhile and we all assumed he’d be carted off to the landfill.  A real shame because there are only a few of these statues left.  But no!  He was miraculously restored.  Here’s an article about that with a video of him being carefully reinstalled:



How about a happy sign story?  I’m always prowling the internet for sign stories for my SCA (Society for Commercial Archeology) Signs Snippets columns.  I’ll probably feature this sign in the next issue.

The Vic Suhling Gas for Less sign in Litchfield, IL has been standing on a vacant lot, abandoned and missing its neon & bulbs for decades.  Here’s my photo from 2010:




And here’s the story of its restoration and relighting this past weekend:


OK — that’s enough yakking for now.  Less yakking and more photos Saturday night.

Til then — wishing you much to celebrate roadside & otherwise,

dj & the dogs


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