Over the last 5 or 6 years there have been several occasions when I’d been traveling and thought, “oh, well, while I’m in the neighborhood I’ll just swing by,” in reference to the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Though I was closer to the city than I would have been at home, each and every time that I’d considered and even worked towards that pit stop, something derailed my loose plans. I never made it.
In the summer of 2021, I decided to drive out to the museum specifically. Unfortunately the universe decided that it wasn’t a good idea and left me stranded in a gas station waiting for a tow and I never got there.
Life is mysterious and unfolds in its own time. The fickle hand of fate gave me a shove in the fall of 2022. I finally made it to Cincinnati where I got to tour the beautiful collection at the American Sign Museum.
The signs are buzzing, clicking, ticking, chasing, blinking, spinning, humming feast for the eyes and ears. As a lover of this type of advertising, a wave of nostalgia washed over me as I took in the Americana gems. That nostalgia wasn’t necessarily directly for the objects but for a place in time or a version of myself. Maybe even a feeling that is hard to come by, like innocence, true wonder, an unburdened mind, or what can now be identified as unbridled possibility.
The Coffee Pot or sometimes referred to as the Koontz Coffee Pot after it’s 1927 builder, is roadside American royalty. Calling Bedford, Pennsylvania home, the Lincoln Highway giant is a whimsical treasure. It handily earns it rightful place on many a “must-see roadside attractions” lists.
As the elder Griswold would say, “It’s a beaut, Clark.”
There was a time when I wanted to see the Coffee Pot so badly but it seemed just too far out of reach. Sitting at my computer, I’d plot out whether I could ride my motorcycle out to it and back home in a single day. The pot holds court some 330 miles away from where I live. Sure, an out-and-back ride was doable, but it would be a long highway drone for a short visit. At that time in my life, I kept coming to the conclusion that the price was just too high. And so, I never made that single-day, coffee pot-focused trip.
Fast forward a couple years, and what was once fantasy became reality. I visited the Coffee Pot for the first time in 2009.
Life is funny. At times it seems like you can manifest your wishes and whims into reality in an almost subconscious way. All of the little gremlins at the controls inside inch us ever closer towards those desires and experiences we seek.
I’ve seen the Coffee Pot quite a few times now. As a matter of fact, when I am passing Bedford, I don’t seem to be able to resist stopping to see it. In some strange cosmic twist, this mimetic architecture gem has become almost something of a touchstone for that corner of the world. Did I even pass through the area if I didn’t see the Pot?
Even I cannot say for sure why the big pot has had such an enduring hold on my interest. Except perhaps… that it’s just awesome. Can you ever have too much of that in your life? Maybe these periodic visits are just to top off my cup when it’s running low.
Here area few snaps from Coffee Pot stops over the years.
October 20222 at The Coffee Pot. It still looks beautiful in the autumn morning light, though the signs of aging are starting to accelerate. There is significant peeling starting around the structure.
Passing through on my way back to New York. You can see some eruption is starting on the paint surface here.
The ole pot looking spiffy in its silver coat.
Nary a peel to be seen during this winter visit to Bedford.
The first encounter. It’s been over a decade now since I first made my way out to The Coffee Pot and I’ve loved each visit since.
Visit the Coffee Pot
714 W Pitt St, Bedford, PA 15522
Muffler Man: Big Chip from the Inside Scoop – Coopersburg, Pennsylvania
Looking for some place to road trip to? Why not pick a place that combines two magical options – ice cream and a muffler man?
Say hello to Chip, the ice cream scoop wielding giant who welcomes you to The Inside Scoop in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. This place is a roadtrippers trifecta. Roadside giant, delicious ice cream and a fab neon sign to boot. What’s not to love?
Zipping along on I-40 East, I saw the white geodesic ball of Area 66 come into view. “What the…?” escaped my lips as it drew closer.
There was nothing that would have stopped me from exiting the highway to get a look at this nonsense. Besides, my fingers were frozen in my leather gloves in the chilly January air. The temperature hovered in the low 40’s that morning. Warming them up was the perfect excuse for a stop.
It was still early in the morning when I pulled in. The UFO museum inside was not yet open. But I did get to walk around and take in this curious sight.
As I walked around the lot, I wasn’t sure that even if the museum were open that I’d have payed to take a look. But, I love that such places still manage to pull in enough curious customers to exist.
Between you and me, UFO-stuff freaks me out. I think if I ever saw a flying saucer or an alien, I would just die immediately.
One interesting point of note is the Ford Arizona Proving Ground sign at the entrance to Area 66. You can see on Google Maps satellite view that the proving grounds, which now belong to Chrysler, are still an active site. I wonder if Area 66 was once the entrance or if these folks just picked up the sign when Ford moved along? Or… maybe it was aliens.