I think the perfect roadside kitsch is a combination of authentically old remnants of past structures and cultures combined with an almost sideshow like willingness to exploit these remnants. Parking is always available and if you’re a city dweller there is something especially great about getting to talk to people who work and live in these areas.
I think part of why Wall Drug was fun to stop at but not as memorable was the lack of opportunity to really talk to anyone local. What made a small jewelry stand in Quartzsite, AZ so interesting and a stop at an old bar counter in Goodsprings, NV and Randsburg, CA so satisfying was the chance to talk to locals about where they come from and what they do.
On the Quartzsite trip me and my road trip buddies also stopped in Blythe, California at Courtesy Coffee Shop and at Shields Date Farm in Indio, California. We didn’t spend too long at either place, but they were both worthwhile stops.
Courtesy was worth the stop for the ambiance. We totally didn’t realize that there’s a nighttime mood lighting dinner menu side and a bright, cheery, family friendly diner on the other side of the building – we ended up eating diner breakfast in romantic mood lighting, whoops. What rebels.
Shields blew away my conception of dates. Thanks to a (generous, enthusiastic, date promoting) researcher at work I’d already had a chance to sample a couple different kinds of dates, but going to ground zero of datedom is an experience that further altered my feelings toward the fruit. There are so many kinds of dates that I’m starting to believe there’s one for everyone (I liked the honey ones best, and the date bread was also pretty killer.).
Now, where to next? I’ve got a full tank of gas and a case of the go-sies.