Category: Roadside Stuff

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

Stumblin’ Upon Some Backroad Petroliana

In October of 2018, I spent some time bumming around on the Bonneville. My meandering route took me down through Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky before I started making my way back east to New York through West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Not having a set route or a plan is my usual road trip vibe. I leave home with a general sense of where I want to go or things I might want to visit. But, other than that I try to leave myself wiggle room to add and subtract along the way. After all, it is a big gorgeous world out there. You never know what wonderful thing is waiting for you around the next corner.

Not long after visiting the husk of the Underwood & Petty Service Station in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, I had to slam on the brakes and pull a quick U-y to get a good look at this building:

I can’t say for sure whether this was an actual business or just the trappings of a collector-type. Looking at the details on the building and the “fire door” sign through the window, maybe it did operate as a store of some type. Whatever the case may be, it was nice to stumble across it.

Sadly, I have no stinkin’ idea where it is. I’d be only too glad to share the location. For now, it’ll have to remain a mystery.

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

Metal Gear Garden – York, Pennsylvania

While navigating my way around York, Pennsylvania to look for murals and ghost signs, I rode passed a metal garden which had giant flowers made out of gears and things. 

Something about the Gear Garden felt reminiscent of the PennDOT Sculpture Garden in Meadville, Pa.  – another great stop. Perhaps the idea of making something lovely out of throwaways is the connection.

I bet the flowers look especially lovely on a bright blue day.
Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Roadside Giants Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s leg of the Lincoln Highway has some interesting sights peppered along the route. For reasons unknown to even me, I especially love riding along it’s western half.

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor established a group of 5 roadside attractions called Roadside Giants for people to stop at and enjoy.

This 1921 Selden pickup is just a walk across the parking lot of Shatzer Fruit Market in Chambersburg.

I previously wrote about this Chambersburg peach-covered gas pump at Shatzer Fruit Market in the post: Tales of a Second Grade Nothing

In October, I was able to stop and see the awesome giant quarter near the town of Everett.

I’ve now seen two out of the five giants. Seeing the rest will keep me thinkin’ ’bout the Lincoln.

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Everything doesn’t always come up sunshine and roses when you’re road tripping and looking for something you read about or might’ve heard of in passing.

Sometimes a pin on my map for a Mail Pouch barn will turn up a pile of collapsed wood where a barn used to be. Or maybe I can’t actually find what I’d saved or it’s missing. And sometimes a thing sounds much cooler than the reality of it. When you turn up for a visit… sad trombone. It’s a roll of the dice.

Luckily the journey almost always has some value to it so there’s that. You might happen upon something else in the area that makes up for the letdown. Sometimes you’ve gotta make lemonade.

Recently, I had my hopes up for the Shoney’s Big Boy Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t read anything about it, I only had the name and address. Based on the name, I imagined a restaurant with memorabilia-covered walls and statues and nicknacks. I envisioned a place where I could grab a bite to eat and use the restroom and I was excited by that. So when I turned up and found…

Well, let’s just say my fantasy was a bit aggressive. Instead of a tchotchke covered restaurant, I pulled up to Big Boy on a stick, a couple of yellowing newspaper articles, and some pushpins on a corkboard marking the spot where something used to be. ::womp:womp::

I suppose if I had known it was solely a memorial marker of the Big Boy genesis, the Parkette Drive-in, maybe my imagination wouldn’t have gotten away from me. If I had known what was waiting for me, would I have felt disappointed? Maybe not. Them’s the breaks.

The silver lining in this situation was that I serendipitously saw a Mail Pouch barn on the way, so I’d traded one good thing for another. Lemonade.

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

A Yeti, an Art Gallery, a Kickass Road – This must be Ranchita, California

In December of 2016, I was in California taking a week-long riding trip. I flew to LA, rented a bike and wandered about. While heading towards Borrego Spring on Montezuma-Borrego Highway, I passed a Yeti in Ranchita. Often people will ask me how I find such things. In this case, it was pure serendipity.

So was this little roadside art gallery. You just never know what you’re going to find out there in the world, do ya?

One of the patronages of St. Maurice is to the Brotherhood of Blackheads. I myself have not-so-great skin, but damned if I’m joining a club about it.

Saint Maurice

A place of subtle old fashioned
virtues an escape from …
present into a softer more
gentle way of life and opening
up to light and the weather
a sense of real luxury
the kind that cannot be
measured by monetary standards
a level of tranquility
a sweethnes[sic] of tone
an uncomplicated
round for the ongoing

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