Highway 12 brings you to Darwin. A tiny town with a mighty big landmark. The World’s Largest Ball of Twine is housed in a gazebo in the town park. It’s 12 feet across and weighs a whopping 17,400 pounds. Francis A. Johnson began winding the twine in March 1950, and spent four hours every day for the next 29 years adding to it. When it was completed in 1979, the Guinness Book of World Records declared it the “biggest ball of twine.” There may be imposters, but Darwin’s is still considered the “largest ball of sisal twine built by a single person” and the only one to be featured in Weird Al Yankovic’s song “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.” Take a tour of the nearby museum and snap a bunch of selfies while you’re visiting.

You’re only about 10 miles from Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area. Before you head home, stop into Central Counties Coop in Litchfield or Red Rooster Foods in Dassel to grab some snacks and your Road Trip! scratch tickets, then head south. Greenleaf Lake Recreation Area is a little hidden gem with sunnie and largemouth bass fishing and some perfect picnic spots. The Minnesota DNR, using lottery proceeds, is working to restore this high-quality forest using prescribed burns to control invasive species, and planting and seeding native plants. Kick back for a while and enjoy a perfect summer day on a road trip to central Minnesota.