Monday, May 30, 2011

Signs of the Times: A Road Trip Retrospective

The American landscape is both beautiful and unpredictable.  My sister, my 13-month-old nephew and I found this out after we planned a two-week adventure across country to visit my brother-in-law; he is engaged in Military Police training before his unit is deployed to Guantanamo Bay.  We set out just as Missouri, our ultimate destination, was being ravaged by tornadoes.  Moreover, our itinerary had us driving directly through the threatened areas of Oklahoma. 

Astute problem solvers that we are, we decided not to continue the trip as planned, but instead explore the American Southwest - namely Arizona and New Mexico. 

We had already decided to travel along as much of the old Route 66 as was practical.  Our adventure along Route 66 began in the Barstow area and I immediately began snapping photos of the cool wacky tacky signs that had starting cropping up along the roadside.  The major stops along our route included Oatman, Kingman, Seligman, Williams, The Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, Holbrook, The Painted Desert/Petrified Forest, Tucson, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Quartzite (all in AZ) and Gallup, Albuquerque, Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces (NM).

The Painted Desert

Sedona, AZ

The Grand Canyon

Instead of boring you with an endless travelogue or  countless photos of geological formations, I thought I'd share a compilation of the Southwest's best roadside signs and dinosaurs (that we encountered).  Forgive my proto-novice camera abilities; it may seem impossible to take a bad picture of The Grand Canyon, but I managed...

Wigwam Motel #6 - Holbrook, AZ

Juan "El Payaso"

"Dead Chicken" is actually the best item on the menu.

Burma-Shave signs are alive and well along Route 66. 

I captured Fred at The Flinstone Campground - just barely...

A taste of the Southwest.

I'm pretty sure this dinosaur is on the cover of a vintage roadside book that I have

Dinosaurs were EVERYWHERE!!

Who knew the Indians were so kinky?

The El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, NM was built by D.W. Griffith's brother
and hosted just about every Hollywood star of the 1930's and 40's. 

A cigar store-style Indian covered in turquoise.

Is that a skateboarding, pink dinosaur in a helmet?

Hotel Congress was built in 1919 in the "Pueblo Deco" style and was the
last hideout for John Dillinger and his gang before they were captured.

Easter Island in the middle of Tucson

This camel was a wheeler-dealer

Thanks, Petula.

The biggest surprise of the trip - the Southwest is more than giant, metal-lizard wall art, retirees and turquoise jewelry; active Route 66, unfortunately, is trading on little more than life-size cut outs of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Elvis and Betty Boop...


Mr. Tiny