Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quest for Quirky Americana Pop Culture Landmarks II: Week 2

Day 8

We started out the day by jacking the car off the tree stump that Mike parked it on.... No damage to the car or the stump. We went out and about on the shuttle busses today. We were the typical tourist. They talked about this old mine that you could go and see. We got off the bus and walked only to find out that it had a 10 foot high fence around it. The fence also had DANGER HIGH RADIATION AREA signs on them. They used to mine uranium in the 1960's.

In the afternoon, we went back in the Canyon on the Kaibab Trail. The trail was a lot easier that yesterday's. The only problem was that it was the mule trail, and the trail was dotted with mule dung. As we were walking, we did our best to find Bobby and Cindy Brady... Despite our efforts, we were unsuccessful. We asked one Ranger where the Brady's camped and were the Indian's that they meet were. He had no idea what we talking about. The second Ranger was nicer and played along with the game and explained how the Brady's trip was impossible.

Tonight we are going to the free show in the ampitheater. We will let you know if we get our money's worth. Tomorrow we are leaving for Las Vegas and more of route 66, and visit the Flintstone's in Bedrock.

Day 9

We went to the Ranger show last night. It was quite interesting and educational. We found out more info on the Brady's visit. They filmed the shots of the Grand Canyon from Mather Point and the rest was filmed about 45 min. east at an Indian reservation.

Our first stop today was the Flintstone's Bedrock City in Valle, AZ. The Bedrock in Custer, SD was better. This place was also a camp ground. They had no grass and everything was dirty. In Custer the Flintmobile was and old VW bug and the guy drove it fast. Here it was an old golf cart, not known for speed. We ate at Fred's Diner, and much to our surprise, the food was good. The waitress was kind of mean, so we kept up the bedrock theme and tipped her three rocks.

We then drove the last part of route 66 on our trip. From Seligmen to Kingston, AZ. They did have some old stores on this part of the route , but most of them had been deserted. In Kingston, AZ they did have the "Historic route 66 zone" and had a bunch of old shops that were open. We stopped and got gas, took some pictures, and moved on. After driving route 66 from Chicago to Kingman, I can say although it was interesting, and nostalgic, the mother road is dead.

As we were driving to Las Vegas, Mike noticed a sign for an old abandon ghost town from the 1800's. We followed the signs, but could not find it. We found another couple also looking for it. The only thing we found was and old mine shaft.

Our last stop before Vegas was the Hoover Dam. What an enormous and colossal contraption. It was much bigger then expected. We walked across it and back. The water was so clear that you could see the fish swimming in it. The had an informational AM radio station that you could tune in on you car, but with all the electricity around the place you could not understand them.

We are now in Vegas and just got back from the all you can eat buffet. I think they lost money on us. We have not eaten a good meal in over a week. We are going to go gambling now, and then to see the show at the Treasure Island.

Day 10

We lost in Vegas. About $60.00, and the change that had accumulated in the car over the last week. We did see the Buckerner Bay Show at Treasure Island last night. It was a pyrotechnic spectacular. The second time we saw it we were a little on the close side. The heat from the fire was intense. Speaking of heat, the average temperature of the Mohab Desert that we having been for the last two days is 110. The humidity is very low and all of our nasal passages are dried out.

We stopped in Neddles, CA and got Peter's hair cut. The sign said free, but it was not. Gas in CA was $1.79 a gallon. five minutes away in AZ, it was $.99 a gallon. We found the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City, AZ without any problem. The town was very big for being in middle of nowhere. They race the speeds boats that you see on TNN here. MTV even did a spring break show from here.

We are now looking a cactus making a left hand turn. (By the way if anybody knows the song that the Brady Bunch was signing as they drove cross the county, email us!)

What we thought would be our last stop was the Pre-Historic Case Grande Indian Ruines in Coolage, AZ. We did the self tour. Not all that interesting, but it is believed to be the oldest structure in the USA. They have built a large steel roof over it, to protect it.

Being as it was 6:30pm and the temperature was well over 100, we stayed in the coolest spot we could find. The car. We drove to the Titan Missile Base in Green Valley, AZ and camped in the shadows of the missiles.

For some odd reason I-19 south of Tucson, AZ is labeled in metric. The mile markers and exits are all in kilometers's.

Day 11

Our first stop today was the Titan Missile Site in Green Valley AZ. We were the first ones in the door. That's what you get when you sleep on their door step. It's the only one of over sixty missile sites that is still around. They imploded the rest after the coldwar, or so they said. We saw a movie and had a tour of the above ground area. There was not much to see as everything was below ground. After we donned our hard hats, we walk down 55 steps and through several blast doors until we ended up at mission control. They gave a demo of what the steps they went through to launch the missile. The equipment was 1960 vintage, and we were quite surprised to see it work. After that they took us to the missile 9 stories under ground. However, they would not let us touch it. The other 59 missiles have been retro fitted to carry satilites to space. Awfully nice of the government not to let your $60,000,000.00 go to waist.

We drove back up I-19 still trying to figure out why it was labeled in metric. The only thought was that we were close to Mexico which Peter wanted to go and visit. Luckily we talked him out of it, because we didn't want to have the Customs officials tear apart the car. Not that there was anything illegal in the car, except for the four day old mayonise that probably would have scared them away anyway.

We drove for a couple of hours and ended up in Tombstone AZ. a silver boom town that had over 20,000 residents in it's day. It was the town that "demanded and had a man for breakfast everyday" We saw some recreation gunfights that go on daily. It gave new meaning to bad acting. We took our picture in front of the O.K. Corral, site of the world famous shoot out at the O.K. Corral that took place on 10/26/81 (1881 that is) it lasted 30 seconds and in the aftermath 3 dead, 2 wounded and Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp where unscathed.

The wildwest and lawlessness still run supreme in Tombstone, as judged from the prices that they where selling the souvenirs for. The main drag of Allen St. is still pretty much untouched. The road is paved but that's about it. Most of the buildings are from the 1880's and are on the National Landmark registry. Since everyone in town was walking up and down the streets telling you to come see their re-enactment of the shoot outs, we felt it only fitting to drive slowly down the center of the street with the theme song from the Brady Bunch playing as loud as The CD player would go. To add to the excitement, we sang along, and Peter hung out the window with the camcorder going.

Our next stop was the worlds most purposely mysterious attraction "THE THING" in Benson, AZ. It's behind a Dairy Queen and cost $.75 to get in. They had three buildings to walk though. The first building had some old cars with a sign that read "this antique car was really THE THING" next to an old Rolls Royce the sign said "This car was believed to have been used by Adolph Hitler...THE THING is we can't prove it. Next to each car was a sign that had a reference to THE THING written on it. The next building had different carvings and other antique items claiming to be worth millions, but we did not see any security. They also had signs making reference to THE THING. The last building housed THE THING. I was curious how they kept THE THING such a big secret all these years. I thought some one would slip. After seeing THE THING, we are going to keep with the tradition and not embarrass our selves by telling you what we wasted our $.75 on.

Peter and Mike were in total disbelief over our next stop. They did not believe we wasted so much time to go and see it. It was the rock shaped like a toilet in the City of Rocks state park in NM. It was a very large toilet, that despite our efforts, we could not climb. After looking at it from many directions, quoting Mike "this looks nothing like a &$#@!# toilet." The park turned out to be quite nice, with a cool breeze blowing by. We contemplated sleeping there, but with no showers, and flies as big as the blizzard stain in the back of the car, we were on our way.

Day 12

Our first stop was the White Sands National Monument in NM. Well known for its wildlife, white sand made mostly of gypsum, and the filming of movies in its dunes. Also, the home of the Trinity Site which was ground zero for the first atomic bomb test. Although the site is only opened two days a year: the first Saturday in April and October. The best thing about the place was that it has been the only National Park that we have visited that has not been overrun by foreign tourists. Gee, I wonder why?

We did get out and walk on the dunes, the sand was hard-packed and easy to walk on. It was cold to the touch so we did not burn our feet. We found this odd as the temperature was well over 100. The sand blows so much, they have to get out a snow plow and plow the roads clear of sand on a daily basis.

Our next let-down-of-a-stop was Roswell, NM--the home of UFO's, and the site of the alleged Roswell incident in 1947. For those of you who don't know, a "flying saucer" may or may not have crash landed in Roswell in July 1947. All this depending on who you talk to. We found out that the crash site just north of town, well at least the sign leading us in the right direction. The sign said that they where charging $15.00 for a tour of the site. We never found anyone to take out money, or the site. We did find a family from Texas looking for the same thing and a small parking area that had some trash in it. Being as the 50th anniversary of the incident was three weeks ago, we deemed this to be where all the UFO nuts came, and quite possibly the crash site.

(It was not out mission to debunk or uphold the alleged incident that may or may not have taken place but--judging from the people working at he Burger King--we believed not only did they land, but they have been breeding for the last 50 years.)

As we where driving to Texas, we saw a signed for a Dairy Queen that had a road side attraction. Being as we wasted $.75 at the last Dairy Queen when we stopped at to see THE THING, we figured what the heck, we'll stop. We pulled in and the only thing we saw was an old broken down bar in the back parking lot. We went in and asked what the road side attraction was. The two people did not know, nor did they know that their signs had been offering a road side attraction. They did have small cones dipped in chocolate for $.99. Quite a deal! Almost better that a road side attraction.

We're sitting in our camp site and we believe that a pole cat--more commonly know as a skunk--has let loose in the area. (Will keep you posted.) After watching the video of when we left, we have come to the conclusion that some body had taken the hubcap off as we where getting our stuff ready to go....WE WANT IT BACK.

Day 13

We had some surprises at our first stop today. For the first time in our travels to road side attractions, the people in the town knew what we were looking for, and could give us directions. Sounds too good to be true? Upon our arrival at the historic ghost town of Old Abilene, TX we found it to be burned to the ground. To be par for the course on this trip, it had not burned down recently, but 20 years ago. It had been turned in to flea market, and that went belly up. It's now a old parking lot filled with old washers and driers. So goes the travels of the un-informed...

If you read our itinerary, you may have noticed that we were to stop at the truck on a stick somewhere in NM. We had no idea of it's location, and were unable to find it. While driving though TX Peter did find a truck on a stick by a gas station. It was not the one we were looking for, but it was a truck on a stick.

Upon our arrival in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we checked in with our sleeping arrangements and went off to Delay Plaza--the site of the shooting that killed then President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Our first stop was the grassy knoll, where we saw an Abraham Zapruter (sp?) look alike with his 8mm camera taking pictures. We walked around, into the street where the fatal shot hit Kennedy . We stood where the umbrella man stood. We went behind the fence where some say a shot may have been fired.

We went up into the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. It was a neat museum. They would not allow us to take pictures. We looked out the window where the shots where fired. After seeing the Zapruter film and walking the site, Preston believes that there was more than one gun man. Mike believes that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, and Peter wanted to know what the big debate was all about. As we were leaving we drove the fated route of the presidential motorcade with the Brady Bunch blaring while screaming "back and to the left".

Our only scheduled TV site visit this trip as the South Fork Ranch from "Dallas". It's now a horse show ground. They've added more buildings and a set of bleachers. After a fine dinner from our host, Brian, we went to the Forth Worth Stock yards. Kind of an old historic area where they use to bring the cattle to slaughter. The stock yards is also the home of the White Elephant Saloon. For you Walker, Texas Ranger fans this is the bar known as CD's on the show.

While driving around the Dallas Fort Worth area, we utilized the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes. Usually reserved for car pools, but they're for anyone who has three or more people in the car. Being as we meet the requirement, we used them. This enabled us to move around Dallas with lightning speed, However it also enabled to drive pass our exits with the same speed. This allowed us to see more of Dallas then we had planned...

We stayed at a friend's house, his name is Brian. Here is his two cents about our trip.

The Travellers have come and gone. They arrived in Fort Worth on Monday afternoon and were VERY glad to get to take showers. I got to see some of the video they've been shooting - they're not kidding about driving around blaring the Brady Bunch theme! (Of course those of you that really know Preston already figure that out.) The family station wagon does have a lovely assortment of ???? on the floor. Fortunately, they bought one of those car air fresheners on Sunday, so the "fragrance" wasn't all that bad, but I would have hated to experience it before the air freshener, especially with the 100 degree temperatures we've been having. Well, that's all from here. I'll be flying to Philadelphia on Friday night to be in town for the Grand Arrival back on Newtown Square on Sunday. Have a great rest of the trip guys!

Day 14

Two weeks 6,645 miles, 336 hours and 15 States (18 states if you count the ones we have been in twice). Peter is working on proving that you can live by junk food alone for two weeks. We don't think that there's a candy bar out that he has not tried. Mike, with Preston's help, is trying to win money by playing the instant lottery in ever state that we visit. To date we are out $15.00 bucks.

Enjoying the hospitality of Brian in Fort Worth, we got a late start. Our one and only visit was the death site of Bonnie and Clyde in Gibland, LA. It's south of town on highway 154. Upon our arrival we found the marker had as many, if not more, bullet holes in it than Bonnie and Clyde's car. Most of it was unreadable.

Due to the excellent map reading abilities of Preston, we had a lovely tour of the Louisiana Bayou. Due to our late start and our tour of every back road of Louisiana we are sitting here in the bathrooms of camp hurricane conditions. Well known for its mosquitoes, luckily or unluckily on our part the mosquitoes were washed out in the flood along with our tents.

Being as this was a boring day, we will take this time to thank our sponsors. As we drove along in our finally tuned car from Don Kelley's Automotive we were rapidly taking pictures with our photography equipment from Photo Express in Newtown Square. We were able to end our tour of the Bayou by utilizing the GPS system from DeLorme. We are now going to upload via our Bell Atlantic Nynex cell modem, to Nicholas Iacona. Nick has been a vital part of this trip, in making sure that all our updates to the web page which he designed are done in a timely manner. Look for us on Bourbon Street we will be the ones leaning against the post :-)

No comments: