Photo Of The Day: Gum Wall

Photo of the day: Seattle gum wall

There are the attractions you plan a trip around: the Taj Mahal, the Louvre museum, a bakery serving bacon donuts, and there are the attractions you stumble upon, and the latter are often more memorable and fun. Take, for example, Seattle‘s gum wall, whose existence I was unaware of until I saw this close-up photo in our Flickr pool, but is evidently a downtown landmark. The wall is about 15 x 50 feet completely covered in gum, and several inches thick with chewiness in some places. The wall is near a movie theater, where employees long ago gave up trying to scrape away the crud when it kept getting replaced. Another example of how one man’s trash is another man’s tourist attraction.

See any odd attractions in your travels? Add them to the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Mark Fischer]

Get weird at Obscura Day this weekend

We spend our travel lives hunting down the world’s most famous sights like the Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu. But did you ever consider the amazing sights right in your own backyard? That’s the idea behind Obscura Day, an international event taking place in 80 cities worldwide on March 20th.

Obscura Day is dedicated to celebrating the strange and interesting sights found in our hometowns. In San Francisco, a tour will be visiting the Musee Mecanique, a museum devoted to antique coin operated carnival games. In Detroit, the tour will bring visitors to the Heidelberg Project, and “outsider art” project made from found objects. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the tour will bring visitors inside the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, a 170-year-old subway tunnel Gadling visited last year. Those living outside the U.S. will find plenty to do as well, with events taking place from Canada to Iceland to Japan.

Want to investigate the weirder side of your own home town? Head over to the Obscura Day event page and see if there’s a tour near you. Hurry though, tours are filling up quick!%Gallery-72634%

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Be sure to check out Episode 5 of Travel Talk TV, which features a Santa Cruz beach adventure; explains why Scottish money is no good; shows how to cook brats the German way; and offers international dating tips!

Detroit, home of the Uniroyal Giant Tire

Interstate I-94 East from Ann Arbor, Michigan to downtown Detroit is a monotonous drive. Low-rise housing complexes, mall parking lots and the Detroit Metro airport pass you by on the mostly flat route, snaking its way towards the heart of the Motor City. But if there’s one weird landmark you’re not likely to miss along the way, it’s Detroit’s very own Uniroyal Giant Tire, rising more than 80 feet above the roadway.

This giant disk of premium rubber has been greeting Detroit-area commuters for more than 40 years. First built in 1964 as a monument for the World’s Fair in New York, the tire was originally a working Ferris wheel which could hold 96 riders. After the Fair’s conclusion the wheel was moved to its current home along the interstate. It’s been confusing and delighting motorists ever since, suddenly rising into view like a celestial hubcap sent from the heavens above.

It’s fitting that Detroit, a city that has long staked its reputation on the auto industry, would have such a landmark. But perhaps these days, with all the doom and gloom that’s been forecast in the state of Michigan, it’s become more a ghostly reminder of glory days past than a symbol of Detroit’s hopes for renewal. Still, for anyone who’s ever driven that flat road East towards Detroit, it’s a much needed symbol of whimsy and pride that never fails to make you smile.