15 July 2008
Get Your Kicks...
Sunday dawned quite early, and groggily by my standards...usually I'm up that early but as this was such a busy weekend, I'm not exactly sure how much more sleep would have been required to make me feel both rested and non-puffy-eyed (the 2 hour nap in the afternoon helped to make a dent) Rich told me I looked cute, but I'm not too sure...
Rich has been talking about shooting certain things on Old Route 66 for some time now, and we being here in Arizona happen to have some parts of the Mother Highway still intact and considered destination spots as the residents of these little places are fighting to hang on to their corner of America. One of these spots is Seligman...which by road trip standards, is right up the street from Prescott...and yes, I've never been (honestly, what was I doing here in AZ before Rich came along?)
This is such a cute town...full of Old Route 66 gems, including historic cafes and several curios shops...one which has a ton of new/old stock for decorations: Vintage original Maybeline make-up, Kodak cameras, car decals...advertisements for Coppertone and Film...you name it! And a lot of the old shipping boxes they came in, there were a million things to see...It smelled wonderfully old as well...I was in heaven. It also made me want to collect more things vintage...Only it's not that easy to find these things anymore.
We stopped to have lunch at the historic Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive-In...apparently the original owner died a couple of years ago, but he was quite a character...telling jokes and swiping customers wallets only to turn around and give out their change to other customers. I can't say that I missed that particularly...
I did miss drinking a vanilla malt though...but I made up for it by indulging in the wonderful crinkle fries instead. I know, a small concession for neither of us being able to drink dairy...and promised instead to make Rich and I some vanilla malts with Soy Dream soon instead.
There were so many wonderful signs decorating the cafe...I was dying to see them all lit up in their neon glory (neon has steadily been disappearing from Arizona for quite some time now...which is a shame. To loose all the things that distinguishes this part of American history because someone thinks its gaudy? It's very sad indeed.) There was so much to look at on the cafe...Rich pointed out a sign that made us both giggle...you see apparently they serve "Dead Chicken" and I was busy chuckling over the sign that said "Cheeseburgers...With Cheese..."
Seligman was apparently one of the places that inspired the sets for the animated Disney movie Cars...and true to the movie Cars, when they put the interstate highway through Arizona, the locals that were used to 9,000 people coming through daily, watched the traffic totally stop as they came into the streets and realized that the world was now passing them by...
In back of the Snow Cap Drive-In, someone parked a bunch of vintage cars and painted them to look like the cars in the movie...we loved it. There were also several vintage cars parked along the main drag in town, and in the businesses including 2 Edsels! I mean, whoa...where else are you going to find this many cars used purely for the enjoyment of display? I loved it!!
It really was like walking back in time for a bit...reliving a bit of nostalgia, for a time that neither of us were on the planet, but have heard about, read about, and seen pictures of. Almost instantly after you turn off I-17 to Old Route 66, you start to spy the Burma Shave signs. Now, I happened to know about Burma Shave, but Rich did not...and I watched him be a little amazed at the 5 sign rhymes and sayings. Amazement turned to delight as we both watched eagerly for the next set so we could read them outloud and laugh...they are located both in and out of the town all along the old Route 66. They are quite witty, and I was just floored that they still have them up (I suspect that they are reproductions...but, can you see the care that's been taken to make this a fun destination? Plus, if you click those links up there you can see how many years that Burma Shave was making these witty quips and what they all are...there were some great ones!) As we were leaving Seligman, Rich decided that it would be fun to stop every few feet and photograph an entire series...which had us both laughing and giddy...parking along the mostly deserted highway and running back and forth...yeah, this is the stuff we love...we're dorks, it's how we roll (I'll save that series for tomorrow)
This road trip was so entertaining...we had long meaningful conversations, sang songs and watched the world pass by, with no time-line holding us to a specific schedule. This kind of driving makes me want to drive and see more of the USA...I want to drive the parts of Route 66 that are left, and relive that part of Americana, before it's totally gone...it's disappearing, and with gas prices rising, we were both wondering how long it will survive. Most of these places rely heavily on tourists that want to see this part of American history.
I remember taking a trip with my sister and father years ago with found us touring Indian ruins in this part of the country. We were up towards the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert and there was signs for miles about "The Thing!" What was it? Come see it!! We didn't, and that still bothers me in the back of my mind...We saw the tepee village motel (a bunch of tepees that you could stay in for the night...let's go Rich!) Heck, when I lived in Flagstaff, which still has Route 66 running right through it, there used to be a wonderful hotel called Andy Womaks Flamingo Motor Hotel...It was breathtaking, with a larger than life neon flamingo...we always swore we would stay there someday. They tore it down and built a Barnes and Noble.
This kind of thing should be illegal...Were destroying American history for chain stores...were becoming homogenized.
It makes me sad to think that this part of our history may soon be gone, and the only way we'll be seeing it is in books and movies (I have a few books waiting for me at the library about the Mother Highway as we speak...I want to map this out) We talked about how most cars have DVD players in them, or most kids have iPods or GameBoys...which takes you out of the experience of a true road trip...the chance to talk and know your family, sing songs together, annoy each other, or just stare out the window and imagine life...thinking through the big things.
Then again, it may cut down on the ever popular, "are we there yet?!?!"
That phrase was not uttered one time on our trip on Sunday...Not once.