Thursday, August 7, 2008

Today was a mellow day, waking late and catching up on some reading. We decided to stay at the Water Wheel until the check-out deadline, even grabbing a tasty breakfast of waffles, biscuits, and fruit offered free to guests in the lobby. My only brief excursion was closer into town to photograph the Long Holiday rotosophere sign. Only a tiny number of these amazing devices with rotating neon spikes work anymore, and this one doesn't spin or light up. But it remains a terrific example of googie-era signage as compared to many of the boring marquees that make up today's commercial landscape. That being said, my favorite part of the visit were the two pugs who bounded up to me, first barking and then demanding to be pet. The look of one dog staring at me mournfully as I began to drive away was nearly heartbreaking.

At noon, we unpacked our trunk (again), allowing some stuff that was still damp from the Mesa Verde monsoon to dry under the warm sun on the pavement. Satisfied, we began the short jaunt to Monte Vista. Vienna took the driver's seat and played a cool selection of tunes burned onto CD for the occasion. Silvery clouds and black bands of rain lined up in the distance with bright sunshine pouring through from time to time as we headed south. It's such a nice feeling to wake up late and know that you're arriving early to your next destination. Upon our arrival, we spotted a couple of places that demanded our photographic attention: a drive-in theater relic and the surreally named (and painted) Shy Clown Nite Club. Soon thereafter we grabbed our room at the Movie Manor Motel.

Our destination was one of the two remaining movie-motel combinations in the country (the other one is in Fairlee, Vermont). That's right: The motel is laid out so that every room looks out onto a giant movie screen, with speakers in each room for sound. Truthfully, the effect is less amazing than you'd imagine. Watching a movie through the giant bay window of your room at the Movie Manor is akin to watching a slightly blurry big screen television in your neighbor’s living room, and the occasionally crackling audio doesn't compare well to your typical home system. Heck, I wasn't even all that thrilled by the selection of Hell Boy II. No matter. There's just something cool about connecting so many disparate strands of roadside Americana in one place: cars, motels, movies, and easy access to junk food. Another great day on the highway.

All text copyright Andrew Wood.
Photos copyright Andrew and Jenny Wood.