Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction: the Giant Idaho Potato

Another Roadside Attraction: the Giant Idaho Potato

WC and Mrs. WC were birding, looking for Ferruginous Hawks out on the Snake River Plain. And on the old road to Orchard, Idaho, a few miles off I-84, we found this. A giant potato. A giant fake potato. You can’t make this stuff up.

It’s a famous giant faux potato. It has been hauled something like 150,000 miles advertising Idaho potatoes for the Idaho Potato Commission. It’s been the mascot at a number Idaho Famous Potato Bowl football games.

It’s giant. Originally the “Great Big Idaho Potato” — the largest potato on wheels (retired)1 — is 28 feet long, 12 feet wide and 11.5 feet tall. It spent most of its career on a 48-foot long flatbed trailer. It weighs six tons. And it’s been officially retired. There’s a new faux potato, made of fiberglass. The old faux potato sits on a concrete pad, about mid way between the Stage Stop Inn truck stop on I-84 east of Boise and the Idaho National Guard’s training facility out on the Snake River Plain. An area that grows sagebrush and cheatgrass, mostly; notably, not potatoes.

WC was able to photograph the potato in better days.

The Giant Potato in Better Days; pro tip: despite sign, it's not real

The Giant Potato in better days; pro tip: despite the sign, it’s not real

This is what happens when advertising agencies are allowed to work without adults present. Anyway, there are reports the giant faux potato was retired because it was getting old, and starting to look pretty bad. Admittedly, not as bad a real potato – giant or otherwise – would look after seven years being hauled around on a trailer.

Kristie Wolfe, co-designer and co-builder of the traveling tuber, reportedly plans to transform the faux potato into an Air Bnb. Ms. Wolfe is a tiny home designer and builder. Seriously you can’t make this stuff up.

Interviewer: When you saw this giant potato, did it just scream to you that it could be a tiny house one day?

Ms. Wolfe: Yes, almost immediately after going on tour, a lot of people don’t know that the potato opens, that’s kind of hidden, and there are stairs that go into it, and I was like, this is bigger than my house, which it is, dimensionally, about the same size as my original tiny house,

The titanic tuber even has a door in one end. Yes, really.

This potato has a door

This potato has a door

Presumably, there are no building codes in Orchard, Idaho. Or maybe building codes weren’t written to address the possibility of giant fake taters. But WC has little doubt there are folks who would be delighted to sleep in a potato. After all, there is a giant igloo-shaped motel – never opened – on the Parks Highway in Alaska.

WC wishes the giant faux potato every success in its second career.


  1. Okay, until its successor was built, the only giant potato on wheels. 

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