|Ginormous Mystery Beastie|
We had some serious geology to do, but the impulse proved irresistible. We stopped for a photo op.
|I'm afraid this IS his good side|
|Don't get on his bad side|
|Verily, I am dwarfed by the might of the masticator|
But it would seem to have nothing to do with truck accessory shops. A little Google-fu, however, and ye olde mystery is solved. We begin here, where a search for Paraceratherium and Oregon returns a question, answered in comments: what is this dude doing here? Turns out he was part of a roadside attraction called Thunderbeast Park, which closed back in the 90s. The truck shop people let the attractions go to seed, and apparently get very cross whenever people ask them about it. Bad business sense, if you ask me - not everyone driving by needs shiny new rims, but if they ran the theme park on the side, they could make a tidy sum on the side charging them a few bucks a pop to ogle old Oligocene oddities. Alas, they have chosen the way of guard dogs and grumpiness instead. But the Paraceratherium in the parking lot can be enjoyed quickly enough that irritated employees don't have time to chase you off.
Brian Switek snagged photos of one of the missing beasts from readers who were there before the park closed - if anyone has more, send 'em his way.
A little further searching reveals the genius behind the giant - Ernie Nelson, who also created Oregon's apparently extant Prehistoric Gardens. It seems Thunderbeast Park was star-crossed from its inception, but the Prehistoric Gardens, cared for by Ernie himself, thrived. Gotta go see that place next!
|One last shot|