Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Image from the archive: Outside Jim Gray's Petrified Wood Co. in Holbrook, AZ.
Because this particular route (MN-SD-WY-CO-NM-AZ-CA) is now old hat to us, we haven't stopped at all our usual unusual spots. That means fewer fresh pics for the blog. I'll try to post more photos from the archives in the future.
Some of the things we've skipped this trip: Tinker Town, Stewart's Petrified Wood, Tiny Town, Rapid City Dinosaur Park, 1880 Town...
The day started out as a search for dried chile, including a trip north to Chimayo (above).
Breakfast at Tecolote. There's a recipe for the piñon pancake floating around the internet—untested by us, but not for long!
We also had a fabulous farewell lunch at Cafe Pasqual's—no pics, but damn, the cold green chile and avocado soup was AMAZING. (Quick shout-out to Tia Sophia's, too, where we ate only once this trip. For the record, they make my favorite red sauce.)
Dragged ourselves out of town around 4pm, and booked it to Flagstaff. Hit a lot of smoke from nearby forest fires:
Today (Sunday) is the last leg of our trip...
Friday, June 3, 2011
We didn't linger in Colorful Colorado. Stretched our legs in Cheyenne, busted a move, slept in Colorado Springs, and beat a path toward our penultimate destination...
Along the way, we ran in to some weather. (That's hail, folks.)
This was our second drive through Douglas, WY (pop. approx. 5,300), which bills itself as the "Home of the Jackalope." They have two nice fiberglass statues in town, and a very enthusiastic Chamber of Commerce. Got our jackalope hunting licenses (valid on June 31) and saw a female of the species (only the males have horns), but darn if they weren't sold out of jackalope baby booties-- the main reason for our visit! AND we were a day early for their annual jackalope festival. Oh well. At least we got to tour some old trains...
At a gas station, of all places. (But in SD, no surprise there.) Part of a huge display of the owner's private collection.
Prepare to see a lot more stuffed animals on this blog. It's love/hate.
Still in Wall, SD.
This store ranks up there with 1880 Cowboy Town as far as personal meccas go. It's part of a "Wildlife Museum" located in the back of a tchotch shop... The bear is a sentinel; the actual "museum" is a claustrophobic 200-ft-sq. maze of floor-to-ceiling taxidermy. The grand finale is a giant polar bear surrounded by clumps of dirty cotton "snow." Unconscionable.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
As seen at Wall Drug. (It's creepy, I'll admit— but I won't deny the fun of a fake revolver in one hot little hand, a trick lass-oo in the other... And Aaaannie Oakley is my name!)
After two years of driving past this place (a lovely olive green with red trim in daylight) and snapping photos from the car, we finally stayed at the Motel Welsh in Wall, SD. (Steps away from the infamous Wall Drug.) I was pleasantly surprised by the interior-- not too scuzzy for a mom & pop.
Had a wonderful experience at the Buffalo Ridge General Store and 1880 Cowboy Town this time around... We marveled at the spot a year ago when we first stopped in. Roadside America (my online travel bible) gives an apt description of the place here. (Watch the movie clips, too.)
Since our initial visit, I've spent a lot of time contemplating 1880 Cowboy Town, trying to figure out its "spin"—the why and how of its existence. The attraction is a minor obsession of mine, and inspired several print projects last year. What can I say? I'm a big fan of all the hand lettering. And, of course, the decay.
During our latest visit, I had the pleasure of talking at length with Dean, the octogenarian owner, and his son Brad. We must have been there for at least two hours. While J. browsed the fireworks selection (their main business—though you can buy buffalo meat and overstock from the seventies, too), I listened to Dean espouse on history, religion, politics, personal philosophy, his family, travels, and more. And yes, he’s been to Disneyland.
As it turns out, Cowboy Town is more than a tourist gimmick. Dean is a former South Dakota History Teacher of the Year—1990 or 1991. (And very modest about it, too.) He’s an educator at heart, and wrote all the text for the town's displays. He's also a big fan of Lincoln, and wants to add a log chapel with information on Lincoln's progressive religious views. He hopes to have his ashes scattered there someday. I like to think we’ll make it back for another visit before then...
At the Spam Museum in Austin, MN. 3,000+ cans of Spam that represent... something about Spam. Its omnipresence, I think.
Hormel's really on top of their marketing. They have a huge gift shop, and—clearly—a sense of humor. I'm impressed, but I still don't like Spam.