After being run out of the sleepy, little town of Funks Grove by the not-so-sleepy guard dog and his elderly sidekick, we decided to play it safe and visit Atlanta, Ill. and another one of the Mother Road’s Muffler Men statues. Statues stand still after all, so we weren’t worried about being chased out of town!
This gentle giant resided on top of (and then in front of) Bunyon’s, a hot dog establishment in Cicero, Ill. from 1966 through 2002 and was designed to hold an ax (ala Paul Bunyan), but ended up holding something much more appropriate and appealing to me. An enormous frankfurter!
After the restaurant closed, he moved to the tiny town of Atlanta, Ill., where he has dwelled ever since 2003. He is known as Paul Bunyon (purposely spelled with an “o” to avoid copyright infringement) or Tall Paul, even though he is missing an axe, his ox and his beard! He’s got the size though, I’ll give him that. He stands over 19 feet tall! That’s taller than me, Levi, MaMa and Pop combined!
We had lots of fun taking our picture with him and marveled over the size of his hot dog! I think I could make at least two or three meals out of that thing. Now if only I could find a way to get it out of his hands!
Next door to Tall Paul is the Gunnar Mast Trading Post, full of odds & ends, kitschy trinkets, Route 66 memorabilia and more. Dogs aren’t allowed inside, even though I did a dance to try and gain entry. Levi and I had to wait in the car while MaMa and Pop did some shopping. The door was certainly welcoming, but just not for us pooches!
While checking out the store, MaMa ran into a group of four that was also driving down Route 66. One of the men in the party asked if we had also made a stop at the Two Cell Jail in Gardner. They said they saw me and Levi in the car and recognized us from that stop, and figured it couldn’t be another pair like us. Wow, this was our second time being recognized. My star is really on the rise! Levi’s too, I guess, but I like to think it’s all about me!
After finishing up in the store, we were released from the confines of the car to walk around this tiny town. We didn’t stay long, as the day was quickly getting away from us and we had more stops to make. While touring the town, we did spot an old clock tower from 1909, and found a bathroom at the town library for MaMa to use. I think we spend half of our stops looking for a bathroom for MaMa and Pop! They don’t have it easy like me and Levi. I’ll even go right on the sidewalk if I have to. I don’t care! The world is my toilet!