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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1 Route 66


Flagstaff, Arizona


I encountered Louie the Lumberjack within weeks of moving to Flagstaff from Spain at age 10. The intriguing giant silently guarded the Skydome on the Northern Arizona University campus. During that brief first encounter in 1984, Louie enticed me to unravel the mysterious origin of his species.

Location: Outside J. L. Walkup Skydome, Northern Arizona University (NAU)
Type: Bunyan
Accessories: Axe
Spotlight: The first one
Damage: Axe stolen (multiple incidents), decapitated, legs sawed off (2004)
  • Louie 2005

Left: Louie the Lumberjack, official mascot of NAU. Right: Louie has a frame support for his torso and wires to hold up the heavy axe. Photos from 2005.

2023 Update

Thankfully, Louie the Lumberjack continues to be well-maintained at his post outside the Skydome, next to the ticket office. His axe is periodically removed, and either recovered or replaced.

  • Louie 2023
  • Left: Louie enduring the harsh Flagstaff winter. Right: His right hand might be a bit frost-bitten, but he bravely soldiers on.
    Photos courtesy of Michael Gaud.