Vintage Roadside loaded up the wagon on Thursday and headed south. The occasion was the Mrs. Vintage Roadside annual family shindig.
Never ones to pass up the opportunity for roadside entertainment we marked The Oregon Vortex as our "must" for the trip down. After enjoying a fine lunch at the Myrtle Creek Dairy Queen we headed for Gold Hill. Since it was a weekday and our summer has been more like early Fall, we thought we may have the place to ourselves. We couldn't have been more wrong - the place was packed! Upon entry we realized this was not Confusion Hill in California. The focus here is on an educational, guided tour throughout the grounds. They do have the "original" Mystery House however you don't get the opportunity to walk up the walls:-( One of the highlights of the tour is the collection of photos in the gift shop which display unexplained light "vortexes". Another neat item in the gift shop is a world map showing visitors (represented by pins) from all around the globe who have visited this season. It's clear that the appeal of a great roadside attraction is universal. If you find yourself in Southern Oregon traveling along I-5 make the time for your 45 minute guided tour. Places like this are constantly disappearing so support your local mom and pop roadside attraction.
Thursday evening found us arriving in Klamath Falls. Our route took us down Biehn Street. At one time this was a major entry road to the city. Along a stretch of just a few short blocks are some surviving examples of classic roadside architecture. You can spot two examples of the gas station with attached tourist cabin court and a little farther down are the remains of the wonderful Rock-Wood Motel. The motel has lost 2 of the 3 sections which formed a "U" around the central building but it appears someone is working to preserve the remaining structures.
Across the street from the Rock-Wood stands this sign which at one time would have glowed with neon.
Downtown Klamath Falls has some fantastic buildings and appears to remain vibrant. Many of the early 20th century buildings still display their fading Hotel signs. Below is an example - The Arcade Hotel proudly offering "Modern Heat".
At one time an auto showroom, this fantastic Egyptian-themed building appears to be undergoing a slow (and hopefully steady) restoration. The front of the building seems to be freshly painted so hopefully the owner can maintain their momentum. Egyptian inspired buildings were all the rage after the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922 and only a few examples remain.
Another fading sign for the Hotel Cascade. The selling point here was that every room had a bath. At this time guests were used to sharing the bathroom "down the hall" so a private bath would have been quite the luxury.
One of the nicer uses of a historic building we saw was The Creamery. In addition to serving good food and their own microbrews they've maintained this historic sign. Stop by if you're looking for a good lunch. Another suggestion would be to eat at Blondie's (a classic drive in with real ice cream milkshakes) and quench your thirst at The Creamery. Or just eat twice - Blondie's is a must.
We had a wonderful weekend catching up with family. It was great to see everyone and also to have a chance to see the entire family display their mastery of Dance Dance Revolution! How some of us missed the opportunity for dance as a career I'll never know. (I'm talking to you Jason.) So to all the family - thanks for a great weekend. Maybe next time we'll miss the world-famous midge hatch/plague:-)
Sunday found us heading north on Highway 97. We had planned on a stop at Thunderbeast Park, a classic roadside dinosaur park, as being the crowning photographic achievement of the trip. As everyone who has visited this type of attraction knows these were real dinosaurs that were turned into brightly colored concrete shells by a comet. What some may not know is that the path of this comet was used for the routing of major (tourist) highways - which explains why the majority of these parks were next to heavily trafficked roads.
As we approached we could see the roadside sloth/beast was still standing tall so we swung onto the shoulder of the road. OK, so pieces of him are starting to fall off but he's still mighty impressive. We could see rising above the fence another of his life-like brethren. This one a startling, realistic orange and yellow. Only one problem with taking photos of this classic herd - the numerous no trespassing signs and locked gates blocking access to the parking lot. Our request to photograph the dinosaurs from outside the fence was met with a resounding, extremely firm, no dice. We here at Vintage Roadside just can't understand buying a famous roadside attraction and then allowing it to slowly rot away..... R.I.P. Thunderbeast Park.
We spotted this great motel sign along Highway 97. The place looked well kept and might be worth a stay if you're in the area.
We spotted this along Highway 99 between Eugene and Corvallis. Being fans and collectors of roller skating memorabilia we thought perhaps we had found the ultimate headquarters for Vintage Roadside. However upon closer inspection of the building we decided it might be just a touch more work than we'd like to restore the building. Hopefully whoever buys it keeps it open for roller skating.
Close to home we stopped to get a photo of this great Dairy Queen sign. While the building is newer it's nice they made the effort to hang on to their older sign.
That ends this Vintage Roadside roadtrip. Next up Long Beach, Washington the first week of September.