Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Necessary Thing.

West of Amarillo, TX
Morgantown, WV.  4/3/13:   When you travel the Interstate system as much as I, you appreciate whatever comfort the road can offer.  While it's not my intention to upset "sensibilities," I do want to point out what's sensible.  Rest Stops are sensible.  After all, there's no coincidence in states choosing to warn you as much as two miles in advance (I've seen four miles) of an upcoming rest stop and in going further to warn you that the next one is between 40 and 90 miles more.  Forewarned, much are you good for?

  Beyond that, I've found a kind of competition..particularly in the western build stops that are out of the ordinary.  The one above is a showcase of Texas' leadership in energy production; oil, solar and wind.  There are picnic tables, a dollop of history and a great view to boot.

  But when you get right down to it, you stopped for basically one reason, and the "facilities" are worth it.

  Check the tile work in the men's room there.  That's art, above and beyond expectations..pleasant to see, nice surroundings for a few minutes, not what you'd think of finding out there among the hills and the long-haul trucks.  I usually stop there just to look around, if nothing else, and I am assured on good authority that the lady's room is every bit as nice.  I wouldn't know, of course, but I wouldn't doubt it, either.

  This one is at Clines Corner, New Mexico..50 miles from any large city.  Clines Corner goes back to 1934, a veritable oasis at the intersection of I40 and a back country approach to Santa Fe.  It's a small town all by  itself; a Truck Stop, Gas Station, Restaurant, Gift shop and more of the kind of facilities you don't expect to find out there.  The place has its own name on the map.

   I never pass Clines Corner, if for no other reason than to say "Thanks for being here."  
Clines Corner Men's Room


Eastbound near Amarillo
  Ironically, the one above is right across I40 from the one that started this discussion..but on the eastbound side of the road. 

  I40 either runs on..or parallels..old 
Route 66, and this one is a sort of museum dedicated to the old road. Look at the Art Deco motif.

  The idea, of course, is to get you to stay out of the car a little longer so you really can "rest" or take a break.  You get a cup of coffee and check the decor.  Pretty soon, you find yourself humming Bobby Troup's old tune about where to get your kicks.  

  Oh, sure..even in the rest rooms.  Notice the signs from the old time gas stations that used to populate the highway.  Remember the Disney movie, "Cars?" 

  If that doesn't rest your mind awhile, nothing will.

  I used to think these rest stops ought to be relabeled "Stop and Go."  Maybe not so much after you've been to one like this..more like "Stop and Gawk."


  One of Arizona's Governors got in big trouble awhile ago an economy move..she elected to close every other rest stop on the state's big roads.  Now, in a state full of retired people, that didn't go down so great.  For awhile there, traveling through Arizona required careful planning, particularly for those over, say maybe, the age of fifty.  

Texas Pass, AZ
  The one above stays open--and combines the "necessary" with fabulous views in three directions; west toward Tucson, south to Mexico and east toward New Mexico.  Texas Canyon and Pass are the stuff of legend from the pioneer days and the rock-bound summit is unforgettable.  This is another one of those you don't pass up, no matter what.
  Before you get there (going west), there is this one in Cage, NM, which combines local architecture with desert views and desert warnings.  I have been there often and have never seen a rattlesnake, but I always watch where I step.  No need to rile the locals.


  I think I could do a book on Rest Stops I Have Known and Have Been Glad to See.  If you know one or two I ought to go out and collect, leave a note..who knows where the trail might lead?


   And, of course, sometimes you just plain go out, stop and rest.  That's good, too..and you sure can't beat nature's artwork..either.

   I love it.