Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down
In 1984, a ten-year-old boy encountered a mysterious 20-foot-tall fiberglass statue named Louie in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Eight years later, he spotted an identical statue in Tucson. A third sighting outside a run-down convenience store made it a trend. Thus began a scavenger hunt to discover the origins of Louie and his brethren. Only one rule applied: No searching for them on the Internet!

Right Palm Up, Left Palm Down

The Log of a Cross-Country Scavenger Hunt by Gabriel Aldaz

Meet the Characters

This page is devoted to the Muffler Men in the order that I encountered them in my scavenger hunt. The names of most statues are widely accepted, and the numbers roughly correspond to the book chapters. The map and descriptions were accurate in 2009, and are being updated in 2023 with your help! Click on the numbers on the map or the names on the right to learn more about each one.
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13 Route 66

Gemini Giant

Wilmington, Illinois

Gemini Giant

In 1965, at the height of the space race, John and Bernice Korelc bought a restaurant along Route 66. They renamed the eatery the Launching Pad Drive-In and installed a 500-pound astronaut outside. A local fifth-grade girl nicknamed the figure the “Gemini Giant” and it stuck.

Location: Launching Pad Drive-In, 810 East Baltimore Street
Type: Cowboy with silver, egg-shaped helmet over head
Accessories: Rocket with words “Launching Pad” written across the fuselage
Spotlight: Route 66 icon, classic photo-op, featured in Smithsonian magazine (2000)
Damage: Rocket stolen (multiple incidents)
  • Gemini Giant

Left: The Gemini Giant (2009) might be wearing the world’s weirdest spacesuit, but a Route 66 icon can dress however he wants. Right: This giant is wired for AC power.

2023 Update

Coming soon!