While an image like this would normally be cause for concern to the average road tripper, it's just another day for the owner of what possibly qualifies as the coolest camper to hit the market in years.

Der Schwimmcaravan, or "the Swimming Caravan" as its German manufacturer calls it, the Sealander is a fully amphibious trailer that goes from highway to waterway with no conversion whatsoever. Just mount the included outboard motor and you're off.

It comes standard with a sunroof, storage areas, bed and removable table, and can be configured with a kitchen, cooler, audio system, barbecue and chemical toilet.

It's sleek, it's sexy, and I want one.

Thanks to Lee-Ann for the tip!

Does a completely furnished, midcentury house lie forgotten beneath the soil of a public park in Queens, New York? A handful of optimistic archaeologists aim to find out.

In the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis, American families became increasingly interested in buying fallout shelters in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. Capitalizing on the craze, home builder Jay Swayze designed a modern upscale home that was completely subterranean, perfect for year-round, radiation-free living. The residence, which Swayze called simply the Underground Home, opened to great media fanfare at New York's famed 1964-65 World's Fair.

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house included not only complete security and a filtered air supply, but also a swimming pool and selectable daytime/nighttime lighting. You could even change the view by choosing from a variety of "outdoor" murals. ... Continued

Tired of escaping the city just to be surrounded by dozens of other campground dwellers? French artist Bufalino Benedetto has the solution with his scissor-lift camper.

Titled "La Caravane Dans Le Ciel," or "Caravan of the Sky," Benedetto's creation hydraulically elevates itself several stories above the earth for a penthouse view of any destination.

Sadly, it's more a work of art than functioning trailer. The camper is hollow. But it does give a person ideas.

See it in action below. ... Continued

Graphic designer Michelle Enemark has published a terrific map of the strange and mysterious creatures rumored to be hiding in the depths of the United States' waterways, including mutant alligators, webbed-footed bipeds and America's nearly two dozen cousins to the famed Loch Ness Monster.

Get a breakdown of some of the most bizarre among them over at Atlas Obscura, and locate your nearest cryptid on the full-size map to share with relatives visiting over the holidays.

Inspired by the otherworldly landscape of Joshua Tree, California, artist Phillip K. Smith III turned a 70-year-old desert cabin into an awe-inspiring optical illusion.

With a series of mirrored panels and some LED lighting, Smith created "Lucid Stead" from an abandoned shack that stood on five acres he had purchased in 2004. The resulting play of light and reflections created a kind of fragmented phantom that appeared to be stuck between here and another dimension.

Unfortunately, the work was only temporary, but you can experience it through a series of images available at Royale Projects.

You can also watch Royale Projects' official video on the work, below. ... Continued

Here at the Roadside Resort, I generally stick to oddities within the United States. On occasion, though, if something strikes my fancy, I'll ignore the borders and give a creator their due attention.

This time, it's Blair Somerville of Papatowai, New Zealand. For more than a decade, he's filled his Lost Gypsy Gallery with hand-created automata both large and small that are, as filmmaker Joey Bania describes them, "ingenious, interactive, and often hilariously impractical."

Almost one year ago, the icon of the State Fair of Texas caught fire and disappeared in a plume of black smoke. But, today, Big Tex is back and bigger than ever.

Fair officials had planned to reveal the redesigned cowboy colossus on Friday with the opening of this year's fair, but high winds forced them to drop the big curtain a day early.

Big Tex has been redesigned numerous times since he first appeared at the fair in 1952, and as the previous version was totaled in the 2012 disaster, officials took the opportunity to give him yet another makeover.

He has a new face and a new posture, and at 55 feet tall, he's a full 3 feet taller than before. He's also free-standing now, eliminating the need for guy wires.

Plus, he'll have a new voice after the fair let the previous vocal artist go, many say unfairly, soon after Big Tex's immolation last year. Bill Bragg had provided Tex's voice since 2002. Officials say the new man behind the voice will remain a secret.

Perhaps most important, though, Big Tex now has a fire-suppression system.

Having attended college in San Marcos, Texas, I was fortunate enough to live just a couple of blocks from the legendary Aquarena Springs, famous for its live mermaid show, while the park was still operational.

I even had the pleasure on several occasions to sit in its submersible auditorium and witness the underwater ballet of breath-defying swimmers, performing the same subaquatic stunts that made the park nationally famous when it opened in the 1950s. Having friends in the show, I even got a couple of unauthorized behind-the-scenes tours and got to meet the famous Ralph the Diving Pig, the world's most celebrated swimming piglet.

I regret never taking the opportunity to work their myself, but at least I can say I'm still friends with a couple of genuine merpeople.

Sadly, the show was closed for good after my alma mater, Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State), purchased the property in the '90s and turned the park's focus to ecological preservation and education. The underwater theater itself, long out of use, was finally demolished last year. Maddeningly, they don't even use the name Aquarena anymore. ... Continued

In a freshly renewed effort to vanquish the demon known to the ancients as Procrastib'el, I've been spending my evenings this past week wading through the years of photography I've accumulated on the road.

I've been avoiding it for quite a long time, deliberating with myself on just where I should begin among the countless subjects I've had the pleasure of visiting these last few years. With no clear answer in sight, I finally decided just to cannonball my way into the middle and start posting. Please enjoy these first few, totally random subjects:

Chris Barbee's Bowling Ball Yard Art: A folk artist's obsession with bowling balls.

Volkswagen Spider: A huge, German-engineered arachnid.

The Grave of Mister Ed: A horse is a corpse, of course, of course.

Recycled Roadrunner: Officially titled "The Roadrunner," a 40-foot-long bird made of junk.

The World's Largest Steer Skull: Entrance to an Arizona steakhouse, natch.

Camp Scott: The site of the still-unsolved 1977 murder of three Girl Scouts.

See video

Back in the 1950s, General Electric sponsored a campaign encouraging folks to upgrade their houses with fully electrical appliances. Houses with an electric clothes washer and dryer, an electric refrigerator, electric waste disposal and all-electric heating earned the title of Gold Medallion Home and sported a fancy metal plaque with the designation.

On one of my past road trips, I came across an original metal sign advertising the movement with its "Live Better Electrically" tagline. Having recently dug it out of my closet, I decided to follow the sign's advice and upgrade it with a bit of lighting.