I was looking at the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile schedule recently — as one does — and saw that that massive traveling hot dog is coming to Minnesota this weekend.
It'll be in Albany, for Albany Heritage Days on July 31. Which is a good 2 1/2 hour drive from Rochester. But it might be worth the trip if you're into that kind of thing.
I pay attention to this stuff, because back in July 2014, I had the chance to ride along in the Wienermobile.
The 67-foot, fiberglass hot dog pulled into my neighborhood with a parade of children behind it. I’m not exaggerating: A literal parade of children and their parents surrounded the Wienermobile as it pulled up to my house.
Who could blame them? It’s not every day a giant hot dog drives down your street, turns around in your cul-de-sac, then pulls up to your neighbor’s driveway.
This particular Wienermobile was helmed by Jennie and Jackson — two Oscar Mayer ambassadors who travel along the “Hot Dog Highways of America” spreading “miles of smiles” and sharing the Wienermobile’s history.
Walking up the steps into the iconic hot dog felt surreal and it was just as you might expect: Red and yellow seats with embossed hot dogs on them. A mustard floor. A ceiling that looked like a cloudy sky.
Jennie and Jackson had to go through Oscar Mayer’s Hot Dog High to do this. At the time, they'd been in the 27th class of hotdoggers — aka brand ambassadors. (But who wants to say "brand ambassadors" when you can say “hotdoggers?”)
I took a seat behind them as Jennie circled the city and I grilled Jackson on Wienermobile facts.
Q: How many Wienermobiles are there?
Q: How many miles are on this Wienermobile?
A: A little over 70,000. We typically put 30,000 to 50,000 miles on a year.
Q: How many parking spaces do you need to park?
A: We need easy in and easy out — and between three and four spaces.
Q: Can I drive it?
A: Unfortunately, no. You need to pass a special driving test.
Q: Have you ever been in a Wienermobile accident?
Q: Have you always known you wanted to drive it?
A: I briefly saw a Wienermobile when I was 5 years old. My dad and I passed it on the highway and I thought, “It would be so cool to drive that!”
Q: Can you rent it for a bachelorette party?
A: You cannot. But we occasionally do weddings for couples who are “just linked.”
Q: What's your gas mileage?
A: It’s comparable to a large SUV. The fiberglass body helps with fuel efficiency.
Q: What’s the weirdest activity you’ve done with the Wienermobile?
A: People like to pretend to eat the Wienermobile, so we’ll take those pictures.
Q: Have you ever driven it through a car wash?
A: We usually take it to fire stations.
Q: How fast does it go?
A: It’s road tested certified at 90 mph. It hauls buns.
Q: Have you ever driven it at 90 mph?
Q: No. Really?
A: No, really. But we did get to take it on the Indy Motor Speedway racetrack.
Jennifer Koski is associate editor at Rochester Magazine. Her column appears Tuesdays. Send comments to email@example.com.