Monday, August 29, 2011

Birthday Pow Wow at The Wigwam!

(photo by Wigwam Route)

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you're sure to have realized that wacky tacky is defined in large measure by the reckless ingenuity of 20th-Century America.  From roadside architecture to flagpole sitting to marshmallow creme, industrialized America used its unique blend of innovative spirit, disposable time/income and constitutional freedom to create a trail of googie glory of from sea to shining sea.  The Wigwam Motel (est. 1949) in San Bernardino, CA is my "amber waves of grain" and it's enough to have me weeping through a spirited rendition of "America the Beautiful," or at least "This Land is Your Land."  You might remember that we have featured the Wigwam Motel in a previous blog post but when our friend Benny told us that he was planning his birthday party there, we decided that any time is a fine time to go sleep-y in a tee pee.  We briefly questioned our decision as on our drive out to the party the freeway traffic headed inland was disturbingly light.  Glancing across to the other side of the road, miles and miles of cars were backed up in their desperate race to the coast and cooler climes. 

Jennifer & Birthday Boy Benny

Our group filled every available wigwam and
anybody who had a vintage auto was obliged to motor in. 

Benny's ride

The festivities began with a no-holds-barred game of netless, vigilante volleyball.  It was a veritable version of the old west where rules were made on the spot but were really made to be broken.  I'm still not sure who won because every player proclaimed him/herself a victor.

It looks pretty tame but photos cannot convey the
cheap shots, gnashing of teeth and trash-talking. 

Mary enjoying the sunshine - it was over 110 degrees by 11 o'clock in the morning!

As the sun slowly sank over the peaks of the wigwams, the
temperature dropped and the party really got started.

A smorgasbord of party foods, grilled favorites and German-style veggies was laid out and "cleaned up" just as quickly.  Swimmers kept right on swimming and music wafted over the grounds of The Wigwam.  Fortunately, the motel's slightly-industrial surroundings allowed for all-night revelry and and our party didn't seem to disturb the neighbors.

The Legend with his jar of store-bought moonshine?

The amazing Miss Monica Marie -
genuinely nice and a swell dancer!

Ashley & Eva in a "candid" photo

With so many well-dressed attendees, one found wonderful clothing at every turn.  I got just a couple shots of some fashion accessory do's.

      Mary & Eva's matching, tooled-leather sandals                     Jeff's pow wow-perfect necktie

Dancing lasted late into the night/early in the morning.  For the first (and probably only) time in my life I didn't go to sleep until 5 o'clock in the morning.  It has probably become glaringly-apparent to readers and anyone who has met me but to state the obvious, I am SQUARE.  I am like an eighty eight-year-old man;  I like to have dinner around 4:30 and most nights I am contentedly snoring by 9 o'clock.  But a party is a pow wow and I didn't want to be the first brave back in his wigwam!

                 Sergio & Linda "Queen of the Mambo"                    Richard & Kitty

Mary takes a lesson

Why is it that on work days I have to drag myself out of bed but on mornings when I have every right and reason to sleep in, I wake up bright and early?  Even after dancing all night, I awoke with the sun.  I blame a pitiless, internal alarm clock and the neighborhood roosters - seriously.

You are now rethinking your very harsh judgment of San Bernardino
and planning your wigwam retreat aren't you?  Aren't you?

When we left, the thermometer reading was 115.  As we made our way home, there was a nearly-40 degree drop in temperature; we're thankful for wigwams with air conditioning but even more grateful for ocean breezes.  Thanks Benny for getting the gang together for a heap-good party!

Wigwam Motel #7
2728 W. Foothill Blvd.
San Bernardino, CA


Mr. Tiny

p.s. There is a little contraversy as to the exact location of the Wigwam Motel.  The motel's website lists a San Bernardino address but many books and websites site Rialto as the home of the motel.  Rest assured, if you ever find yourself on Foothill Blvd in Rialto/San Bernardino, you will not get lost; the Wigwam Motel will be the ONLY motel made of giant teepees.


  1. Sounds like it was a great time! Sorry we missed it.

  2. I want to go to the Wigwam hotel!!

  3. OH how fantastic does that look!! What a shindig, and such an amazing place. Wish it wasn't so far away!

  4. Lauren - we really did miss you guys!
    Dizzy Dame - if you're ever in the area it is definitely worth a stop.
    Tasha - the oldest surviving wigwam motel is in Cave City, Kentucky - a little bit closer! I'm planning on making it out there one day. We could have a crazy blogger meet up in Kentucky!