About a year ago, I had the pleasure of making one of my kitschiest dreams come true: I climbed aboard the Oscar Mayer wienermobile and interviewed two women whose job was to drive the wienie-on-wheels around the country. (Their professional title is "Hotdogger.")
This morning, the dream became a super fantasy when I – along with my partner and kids – went for a spin in the wienermobile from our house in Walker’s Point to the East Side – including down the well-populated Brady Street and Downer Avenue – and back.
We did not tell the kids that we were taking this ride, so when the 27-foot wienermobile (that's 60 hotdogs!) pulled up in front of our house, they freaked.
We had just seen a vintage wienermobile at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit a few weeks ago. But seeing one driving down their block was even more exciting.
At first, they just thought it was randomly driving past our house. They started yelling and jumping up and down, "The wienermobile! The wienermobile!"
And then it stopped. In front of our house. They all looked at me and were silent for a split second, their eyes as big as hamburger buns.
"Climb aboard!" I said.
They scrambled into the massive motorized hotdog, squealing like little pigs in high tops.
The inside seats six and the decor is very frankfurter-inspired, including a ketchup-and-mustard-themed floor. There's an awesome sound system and they played different versions of the famous Oscar Mayer jingle for us during the cruise. (And the song will now be stuck in my head for the next week.)
We rode for about an hour with hotdoggers Alex "Atta Dog" and "Sizzlin’ Steven" (all the hotdoggers take professional dogging names), who were really fun and conversational hosts. Alex told us they have to get the wienermobile washed at fire stations and Steven told us he was pretty proud of the hotdog name he picked until he met another hotdogger named "Stevie Bunder."
"His name totally one-upped mine," he said.
Alex handled the wienermobile extraordinarily well despite its size. We all took turns sitting in the front seat, or "shot bun" as she called it. And we all strapped on our "meat belts" whenever the wienermobile was in motion.
High points of the ride were driving past Cafe Hollander’s populated patio and Milwaukee landmarks like the art museum and the clocktower. But the best part of all is seeing how people – young and old – react to the wienermobile. So many wave, smile, give the thumbs up and snap photos. It's pure joy.
"We have to remind ourselves we are never going to be this popular again," said Alex.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.