Sunday, December 7, 2008

Roadside America

Anyone who has read my blog regularly will know I hold a somewhat bizarre fascination with offbeat attractions. But, when it comes to the weird, wacky, and wonderful, no one does it better than the U.S. From giant dinosaurs and whole miniature towns to the world's largest ball of twine, America's two-lane highways and winding back roads are dotted with all kinds of oddities. Call them tacky or call them kitsch, but without these weird and wondrous sights to break the monotony of the long "are we there yet?" roadtrip, in my opinion, getting there wouldn't be half the fun it is.

One of the quintessential icons of roadside America is the classic diner. In the mid-twentieth century as cars began to be mass-produced, so too were these fabulous aluminium gems, whose metal bodies and neon signs quickly became a symbol of modernity. Fortunately, as I discovered, the diner of popular imagination can still be found – even in the form of a thoroughly retro Denny's Diner (pictured above). These catching eateries are the place to stop when you're craving a cholesterol-laden hearty American breakfast. Not only are they cheap places to refuel, but decked out in over-the-top retro style with everything from vintage gas pumps to classic Coca Cola paraphernalia they are loads of fun.

Then when it's time to rest your head, you needn't confine yourself to a boring hotel bed. Lining the roads around countryside America is a plethora of weird and wonderful motels. A throw back to glory days of 1950s when taking a drive was still in style, these cool motels use gimmicky architecture to lure customers. For the ultimate in kitsch you can even try bedding down Fred Flintstone-style in Bedrock City Campground on the Grand Canyon Highway in Arizona. Sadly, I didn't get to personally try this out, but this slice of Americana is worth sleeping in just for bragging rights alone. As Fred would say "Yabba Dabba Doo!"

5 comments:

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Great post! I love places like this, especially in the western U.S. where there are fantastic national parks combined with kischy roadside attractions. Real diner buffs are a little iffy about Denny's because they're an imitation of an honest to goodness American diner from the past, but when you're on the road, they're awfully good. I have an eccentric roadside blog I hope you'll check out:
http://eccentricroadside.blogspot.com/
Cheers! Gunnar Johnson

Kim Wildman said...

Hi Gunnar, Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog - I wish I had known about it before I did my roadtrip across the US! I have to agree with you that Denny's isn't the greatest example of the classic diner (I actually refused to eat in this diner for that reason), but was impressed that they'd gone to such an effort to replicate this tradition from a bygone era.

joshua said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sharon

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Kim Wildman said...

Hi Sharon. Thanks so much. It's always good to get feedback and of course it's nice to know that people actually enjoy what I write.

Fida said...

You're not alone with your weird love for wacky things. And I agree... the yanks are the best...