Wrapping up Day 2 of the Vintage Roadside Portland to Tulsa road trip, we're happy to be coming to you live from Las Vegas with another 500 miles under our belt. We're excited to begin the Route 66 portion of our trip and will start Day 3 by taking a look at some of the great work being done by the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program along with a selection of preservation success stories.
Today started out as a perfect road trip day. We knew where we needed to end up at the end of the day, but had no specific route planned for getting there. A huge part of road tripping fun is picking a road you've never traveled before and seeing what you'll find. Today we found a mix of beautiful scenery, roadside oddities, and - near and dear to our hearts - 1950s and '60s motel signage.
Our first discovery was a roadside "shoe tree" just south of Susanville, California along Highway 395. If you happened to see a car veer wildly off the road at this point, yes, that was us and we'd like to apologize - but it was our first shoe tree! The tree displayed a wide range of shoes from the classic Converse Chuck Taylor to a somewhat puzzling and apparently recently removed cast. (I do think the cast breaches protocol as it wasn't a "pair".)
Our next sighting was a roadside giant named the Washoe Valley Prospector. We'd been looking forward to visiting the Prospector since seeing him posted on our friend Debra Jane's Roadside Architecture website but had forgotten he was located on Highway 395. Originally built for a casino, the 20+ foot fiberglass giant now resides behind the Chocolate Nugget Candy Factory. Although he's starting to show a little wear and tear, he continues to delight. Here's to hoping giant fiberglass statues will always be a part of our roadside experience.
After the Prospector, we hit a long scenic stretch before passing through a couple of small towns near the Nevada border. In Walker, we found a great boomerang sign at the West Walker Motel. Looking like something from a 1950s postcard, the West Walker was neat and clean with vintage clamshell lawn chairs outside each room.
Another of the small towns we visited today - Bridgeport, California - had a wonderful collection of architecture, vintage neon signs, and friendly people. We're huge fans of neon signs and always appreciate the effort involved in keeping them functional over the years. The Motor Motel sign below was in fantastic condition.
We enjoyed Bridgeport so much that we decided to give lunch a go at the Sportsmen's Inn, drawn in by the large neon sign on the roof. Inside was a treat with huge, blue vinyl booths and some very nice wood paneling which we learned was a relatively new addition following a kitchen fire last year. The food and staff were great, but we had to call it a day after we found ourselves singing along to the Olivia Newton-John soundtrack.
Bridgeport is also home to the circa. 1880 Mono County Courthouse. The building was in wonderful shape and we spent quite a bit of time walking around and enjoying the details.
On our way through Lee Vining, California we stopped for the neon sign below. The sign is mounted above the canopy of a former 1950s era gas station now serving as the motel's office. Many of the gas stations from this time period have been either abandoned or demolished which makes it nice to see one that's been adapted for current use.
One of our favorite stretches of road today was SR 120. The scenery along the entire 46 miles is spectacular and well worth navigating what the road signs amusingly refer to as four miles of "Rolling Dips." We'd recommend speeds of around 40 mph for this section as we tried it a little faster and the entire contents of the car shifted during flight.
We'll see you tomorrow in Arizona!