Friday, August 8, 2008

Another relaxing day. We slept in and chilled most of the morning. Of course, the Wood Family's version of chilling increasingly resembles a line of three laptops wirelessly surfing Facebook, email, or news. A little sad, but that's how we roll. Leaving at 11, we drove east toward the interstate (stopping in Alamosa to shoot the deco KALQ-KGIW radio building) and then north to Manitou Springs. Our stop was the Town and Country Cottages, a comfy spot next to a tiny stream and a heated pool. Light drizzle lowered our interests in a swim but didn't restrain our desire to take a walk under the trees.

That evening, we visited the Castaways, a former tiki restaurant recently transformed into a pirate fantasy. Happily, the remaining tikis, recorded jungle sounds, and dark lighting work well for both themes. I'd read about this place a while back and was somewhat nervous about the quality, but I had a sumptuous (though gluttonous) meal of peal-and-eat shrimp, prime rib, and a volcano drink followed by a Suffering Bastard, which was so potent that I couldn't finish the thing. Oh, and have you seen those Free Credit Report ads? The first one cracks me up:

They say a man should always dress for the job he wants.
So why am I dressed up like a pirate in this restaurant?

Well, the folks working at Castaways all dress as pirates. Could anything be cooler?

Later on, the rains departed, and Jenny and I hit the road looking for cool neon signs. Researching a book we wrote on mom-and-pop motels, we were directed to the Colorado/Manitou Springs area as a neon mecca. And indeed this place is a goldmine for early to mid-century Americana. We spotted a few less than last time, a common lament as classic architecture and signage gets harder to maintain. But my favorite, the Chief Motel with its animated feathers (here's my YouTube video of the sign), glowed from blocks away. I was so excited to see this sign (and still a little buzzed from the drinks) that I didn't even mind when Jenny backed our car into a crazily placed pole. No major damage later, we returned to our cottage and called it a night.

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