On the same Vegas trip that we visited Calico, we also stopped in Goodsprings, NV for lunch – now that was a cool town! People still live there and there is a great restaurant/bar with all the old timey saloon atmosphere you could hope for. The bartender was great to chat with and the food was pretty good. I had an Irish coffee because I wasn’t driving and I was still in Vegas weekend mode. It was more Irish than coffee, but I’m not complaining. Plus, if you’ve ever played Fallout: New Vegas, you might recognize Goodsprings as the town where your character first wakes up. The saloon and general store in the game were modeled on their real life counterparts, and it’s a lot of fun to geek out and pretend to be in a postapocalyptic wasteland.
Everytime I drove between Southern California and Las Vegas I wistfully looked at the signs advertising Calico Ghost Town and wished we had time to stop and take a peek. Last Vegas trip my dreams became reality! It was sort of a disappointing reality. It was July and well over 100 degrees, which was sort of exciting to experience in a masochistic way. The little shops and town were cute, but they looked more touristy than ghosty (I know, I’m writing about my love for tackiness and I complain it’s too touristy?!). I don’t regret the stop, but I probably won’t be back.
Pecans are awesome. You know what is more awesome than pecans? A giant squirrel hawking pecans! My entire motivation for going to Berdoll Pecan Farm in Cedar Creek, TX was to take a picture with Pearl. She was a sweetie, and their pecans were delicious (their bathroom also has collages of squirrel pictures – winwinwin). I bought a bag of Texas Trail Mix, which consisted of four different types/flavors of pecans. I also tried their tasty pecan coffee. I wish I’d bought a bag of beans to go instead of just the cup of coffee.
Roadside dinos seem to be a little more traditional as far as giant fake roadside creatures go, but give me a squirrel over a dino any day.
Me and Pearl became buds.
Squirrel-a-palooza in the bathroom.
High kitsch. There is something about a tacky roadside attraction in the middle of nowhere that is part of what makes America great. You drive out on a road trip to see what beautiful natural formations Earth cooked up and then you take in the constructed dives and palaces of humanity.
I enjoy visiting iconic locations like Mount Rushmore or the Eiffel Tower, but there is nothing quite like a dusty or colorfully gaudy roadside attraction held together by remanents of memory and local gumption.
I’m gonna do a week of roadside attractions and history exploitation, starting with:
Wall Drug is probably the king of campy tacky tourist delights. Not my favorite, but fun to visit for a “ride” on a jackalope. When you drive west through South Dakota on I-90 you can’t miss the dozens and dozens of billboards that count down your arrival to this giant strip of tourist-oriented stores. I think the exciting anticipation the billboards ramp up is more exciting than the place itself, which is a statement that can probably be applied to most general things in life.