To travel with me is to take in roadside tourist kitsch. The Big Nickel in Sudbury Ontario is one such destination. Since it’s on the grounds of  genuine science museum, Dynamic Earth, it has a bit more dignity than some of my other roadside favorites, some of which are captured here.

The Big Nickel is reportedly the world’s largest coin, erected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of nickel as an element by a Swedish chemist.

Here’s a fun video profile of the man who conceived of it.

Guerilla knitting

Jill, me, and a local resident

We motorcyclists are multi-faceted. Jill and I both knit, and had been looking for just the right public place to share our craft. When we asked our waitress at lunch about a fun tourist destination in the area and she mentioned The The Big Nickel, we looked at each other, raised our eyebrows and without a word knew we’d found our mark.

The local woman (pictured left) and her husband came upon us just as we finished the installation, laughing and thanking us for brightening what was a cold, dreary day. She said she wished she’d been a part of the project and we agreed that life’s too short to be taken so very seriously.

Admit it, now, doesn’t every weathered sign pole deserve a pretty pink muffler? Especially one in Canada?

There’s a documentary film in the works on the guerrilla knitting/yarn bombing phenomenon. One knitter covered the Wall Street Bull in pink camouflage yarn a couple of years ago and some Texas “knittas” made a Willie Nelson effigy out of a W hotel sign. Sarah Gonzalez, the filmmaker, observes that there’s something warm and human about knitting in an world that’s increasingly lacking in both. “You don’t knit for hate,” she observed.

True that. It’s too much work for hate! There’s even a book that advises, Never Knit Your Man A Sweater, unless you’ve got the ring!

I can’t go around installing pink mufflers on sign poles every day, but I can brighten someone’s day with a smile or a good word. You can too.


New to this series? Here’s the first post.