Tuesday, December 28, 2010
12:30 a.m. - Home!
Slept in, called the folks, and started unpacking into the washing machine.
Some trip stats:
Odometer Start: 291980
Odometer End: 295455 (Eye Heart Toyota)
3475 Miles total, 1st 1747 miles done in 76 hours, 2nd 1728 miles done in 59 hours.
Lowest fuel price: $2.70.9/gal.
Highest fuel price: $3.69.9/gal.
440 Images (about 1/3 make it to the Flickr Photo Stream)
8 Days (plus 1/2 hour of an 9th)
6.2 Minutes of Fame (although I'm sure there's a ratio-based metric to determine actual Minutes of Fame quota, in relation to 15 Minute avg. max.)
1:50 - Continental Divide. I love that the "no drinking" signs assume that truckers have a full bar set with martini glasses, cocktail olives, and swizzle sticks.
2:37 - Jackrabbit! Just sitting there, on the side of the road. I'm amazed each time I see one at how big they really are…
5:30 - OK, so the giant Roadrunner WAS at the rest stop I napped at, but not lit, so, drove 'round, fueled, and back to wait until daylight. Creepy Las Cruces thing - correctional facility and fairgrounds are at the same place.
7:00 - UP! Pics! Off!
7:15 - God a nod from a REALLY GOOD General Lee car - although Bo seemed to no longer be blonde, or Caucasian.
7:30 - Awww. Muffy. What'd they do to ya? Muffy and El Toro, NM 70
8:15 - White Sands, and more talk and checkpoint stops. Yes, I always get stopped.
8:40 - Alamargardo
8:45 -World's Largest Pistachio
WOW! Talarosa is COMPLETELY lined with luminaries! Traffic islands, curbs, the whole schebang - really makes the industrial parts look amazing.
2:30 - Texas!
Hereford - home of the Horrible Herd
3:54 - 295,000 miles - Happy Birthday Yet Again, Scout! (yes, dear reader, that would be 1000 miles in 24 hours…)
3:55 - 4:15 - Cadillac Ranch
6:40 - Oklahoma!
7:38 - Kansas!
8:30 - Moscow!
8:50 - Satanta has a teepee! On 56.
10:30 - Midway USA
Yesterday morning, room service with tiny little condiments. This morning, instant tapwater coffee and leftover French toast. And, if you're gonna have instant tapwater coffee, get the Spanish Espresso.
8:30 - Up! And searching for AA Batteries. Forgot what being in a crack community is like - motel had brilliant façade setup, just two rooms down from me. Only slightly exposed by the massive amount of NO TRESPASSING - NO LOITERING - NO SMOKING signs around the barred steel door they put in between the two 'rooms'… You could tell by the smell and the pole-thin androgynous person maniacally sweeping what was being made, and the piles and piles of bags inside the door attested.
8:40 - 10:40 - Salvation Mountain! Leonard wasn't here when I pulled up, but showed up soon afterwards. I almost didn't stop (as I'm shy…) but would have kicked myself if I'd have driven on… Drove around the Slabs a bit, too, spotted some of Rocket Bob's old vehicles. Did not locate East Jesus.
10:45 - Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. Not a selling point…
So, how does Leonard manage to be such a pure strong light in the middle of the desolation? Maybe it takes that contrast to inspire the need - or the true giving of the spirit.
11:30 - Crop dusters in this area (AZ) - still crazy. Turns, UNDER high tension power lines…
11:55 - White truck with diagonal green stripes and that wall is absolutely ridiculous.
The same people who complain would complain more if their winter produce either got more expensive, or disappeared, and don't put the two concepts together at all.
2:30 - Yuma! Coyote Ridge! I used to live here…
3:10 - Passed inspection. Yes, I always get stopped.
3:22 - 294,000 miles - happy birthday yet again, little pickup!
4:15 - Cartoon cactus country.
7:05 - In-N-Out - before I lose any chance of eating at one on this trip…
8:15 - World's Largest Cow Skull! Amando AZ.
DID YOU KNOW - the highway signs South of Tucson are all in metric?
9:50 - THE THING?!? And backing up is fun to do…
10:50 - New Mexico
9:00 - Up, packing, checking out but hanging out in the lobby. Had a nice conversation with the general manager of the hotel, and the valets washed the truck windshield. I think they may have finally taken me up on the offer to drive it around, too…
12:00 - 1:30 - Met with a producer over a stupendous French toast, thick cut artisan bread rolled in toasted almonds and corn flakes. More schemes they are a-hatchin'.
Off! Outta LA, to do some WLT biz.
L.A. traffic to Cabazon - yes, stop-n-go, but an Art Car can make all of this OK. Construction truck yells "LOVE IT! The Kansas license plate makes the whole thing!"
5:00 - Cabazonagain! This time without rain, and some great lighting…
6:50 - Salton Sea!
7:45 - Niland! What a difference a few hundred miles (and a few hundred dollars) makes…
DID YOU KNOW… there's Spanish Satellite/Dish Network? I didn't. It's awesome..
Putzing! Trying to quell nerves…
1:00 - at studio. Yes, I'm early, but that's just what I do… Security guards exceptionally nice, asked about the Art Car, then directed me on a circuitous route to the Conan studio entrance (they called some buddies, wanted them to see, so the car had a bit of a parade.)
1:30 - 4:00 - Waiting, conversation with producer about final cut of models, talking with stage crew about attaching models to bases, people arriving and green room area getting crowded. Rehearsal, more waiting, hair and makeup, then it's time! Standing on a piece of tape waiting for the two large crew guys to open the curtains…
After 4:30 - ON! GREAT introduction, with a shout-out to Lucas, then I meet a very tall redhead who makes sure to say "Thank you for doing this!" as I walk over. Interview, commercial break, some more chit-chat with Conan and Andy, then hung out on the couch during Jimmie Vaughn. Went over to meet the band, say thanks, and back to pack things up.
WHEW! Back out into a downpour, and to the hotel to decompress.
8:00 - Picked up a nice dinner, a bottle of wine, and gonna watch Conan from a swanky Burbank hotel - whoop!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
9:00 - Mapping things out, still raining.
10:00 - coffeeshop with WiFi, but spotty enough not to be able to actually do anything, so am typing this. OK - gotta go!!!
1:00 - Giant Orange!
2:00 - Burbank! California! Hollywood Way! Here! I! Am! Valet stand never quite knows what to do when an Art Car pulls up - I gave them permission to drive it around the block a few times.
3:00 - meeting locals for dinner and a tour
3:30 - 9:00 - Amazing drive! Hollywood hills, LaBrea Tar Pits, Hollywood Bowl, saw the sights from the back of a Cruiser, then to a jaw-dropping Folk Art collection, and a nice meal in a (surprisingly crowded for a Tuesday) Zagat’s Most Popular restaurant…
10:00 - Conan! Super-extra bonus, he got the WLCoWSVoWLT name exactly right when reading off tomorrow’s guest list… Whoop whoop whoopity whoop!!!
8:30, 9:00 p.m., Rock shops and off
9:45 - Jackrabbit Trading Post!
Later - Twin Arrows - missed it 'till too late…
11:10 - Home of Andy Divine
1:40 - Nice conversation with a trucker (mac) and rest stop attendant (ed). Mac: "I've been seeing you since Flagstaff!"
1:55 - Roadkill Burro. First time I've ever seen that…
1:00 - California! (time zones again..)
1:05 - Inspection Station - yes, I'm always stopped, never just waved through…
1:30 - Eeeeek - $4.00 gas.
1:55 - Heart of the Mojave Desert. Decided to turn around and get back onto pavement.
Love the desert graffittee here… just stones piled on berms, spelling out names. Miles and miles and miles of names.
3:00 - Sheep Hole Mountains.
WHO KNEW? Depeche Mode doing the Rt. 66 song - a little rockabilly, a little goth. Me likey.
3:20 - 29 Palms, An Oasis of Murals
STUDCUTS. Barber shop. Yep, we've hit Marine Corps country.
3:50 - Desert Tortoise
3:55 - Flash Flood. Volkswagon Rabbit didn't make it.
4:40 - Claude Bell's Dinosaurs!
'tween 4:40 and 6:00 - horrible flooding, San Bernardino and Rialto. Wow.
6:00 - Sleepin' the Wigwam Way! I've just leveled up in the Roadside world.
9-ish, Drive 'rounds
9:40 - Stuckys! On 66… would it be completely sacreligious to my Roadside buds if I admitted that I don't 'get' the thing about 66? The SW has marketed it well, and it has a catchy jingle, but I suppose I'm just a Hwy. 50 gal myself…
10:02 - Ears popped, turned down radio
Came up on an older couple in tucumcari (can tell by the size of the car vs. size o' lil' whit heads, and the requisite Kleenex Box and Pillow in rear window) and saw that they passenger was in the 'takin pictures' position…
So, looked over and waved, and the driver (yes, a lil' old man) had about 20 facial piercings. Not lip or eyebrow, but facial. I Heart the American Road.
Noon - Noon Fifteen - Clives Corners - Old stop postcards!
Noon- Noon-fifteen - (bouncing between time zones, so just reporting what the phone says…) - 3 stops to find a TV Guide so I could have my public Steve Martin moment (I'm SOMEBODY! - phonebook scene from The Jerk). FINALLY! Found one, but no late-0night listings. Had to content myself with talking to the 9 people I talked to in parking lots along the way.
ZUZAX! Exit 178, NM Hwy 40 - that's gotta be a bazillion point score…
12:45 - passing by the World's Longest Tramway
Fancy car-wavin' day - Porsche in Albuquerque, and Provost tourbus and following crew bus with full-on curtains-aside faces-against-glass waving. Thanks, Whoever is On Tour!
Mile 135 - Rt 66 Hotel and Casino, may have the World's Largest Gravity Fed Gas Pumps for signage.. just across from the Rt. 66 bridge we visited at the Society for Commercial Archeology conference back in Aught Eight.
2:30 - Continental Divide
3:00 - "Ft. Courage - Take Pictures of Past - Don't Miss It"
3:20 - Arizona! And Painted Pony Indian Trading Post
3:30 - Largest Teepee in the Southwest
4:05 - Truck turned 293,000 miles! While going 82 MPH.
4:30 - Painted Desert
5:20 - Wigwam Village #6, TeePee #9. Tchotchkes, and some AMAZING sunset shots, then dusk and illumnated teepees and horses.
6:30 - Wine and cheese and smoke salmon, sleepin' the Wigwam Way, watching Grease and lounging in a log frame bed.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
8:10 - OFF! Slight smattering of snow, and some great sunlight breaking through the fog...
8:40 - forgot phone at home of Bob Dole, have to go all the way back to the Grassroots Art Capital of Kansas
Noon Oh Five - stopped by multi-award winning campground, at town with the World's Largest Prairie Dog and giant Buffalo Bill Killing Buffalo sculpture
1:50 - passing through home of the World's Largest Cow Hairball, got a triple espresso to go...
3:15 - epiphany - waterparks will be the gooney golfs of the future. I know what I mean, will explain later...
3:16 - ROADSIDE/KANSAS ENTHUSIASTS QUADRUPLE WHAMMY!!!! An historic World's Largest Book, flanked by a Boy Scout Liberty, AND a Madonna of the Plains, with the starting line of the International Pancake Race all on the same property.
3:22 - LOVE LOVE LOVE it - Hwy 54 here is named Pancake Boulevard!
3:35 - Oklahoma
5:35 - Hwy 54 and TX 807 - Tex! has suspicious crotch hole...
7:00 - Bluebird Motel closed, but neon still there... Palamino instead!
9:45 - typing this.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I arrived home from a trip to find a message saying "Yes! Conan loved it!" So, the WLCoWSVoWLT will be traveling out to LA in December to be a part of the show...
Conan's new show has been a hit, and he's had a track record of having quirky offbeat items as a part of the new format. He's also brought back Andy Richter as a 'sidekick'. Tickets to the show are already sold out through December, so the audience approves heartily.
Corn Palace is a husk of its former self
Roadside attractions like the kitschy South Dakota building are drawing fewer and fewer visitors every year. Many owners face the choice to revamp — but how? — or shut down.
Its green-and-yellow onion domes and spires tower over Main Street, an otherwise unremarkable avenue of low-rise buildings. Golden husks and hundreds of thousands of colorful cobs — held in place by more than a ton of nails, wires and staples — blanket the exterior. Inside, the enticing aromas of popped corn, candied corn and raw ears of corn float down hallways lined with old photographs of the World's Only Corn Palace, as it is described in fliers and on billboards.
But times and tastes have changed since the Corn Palace gained fame in 1892, and there is concern about dwindling visits to the attraction, which is key to the economy in this southeastern South Dakota town of 14,500.