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Throughout the state of Washington, Highway 99 pulsates with neon and aging Mom and Pop businesses along a north-south axis. In Seattle, 99 adopts the name “Aurora Avenue” - features a fairly awesome array of aging neon signs, many that stay lit until morning. Your best bet is the “Way West,” a cloister of wooden paneled kitchenettes under the glow of impossible colors and drizzly clouds. Parts of the Way West have stood since 1938. In the intervening years, you could wash away the road dust in a diner and tavern. For a while, they called this spot the Bobilink, named after owners: Bob and Irene Lincoln. Grab a room and you’ll walk a few steps into a hidden garden of well-tended greenery and rooms like reveal themselves like secrets in plain view. Turning the key, you’ll enjoy the timewarp, flashing on Fonzie's apartment in Happy Days: Wood-paneled walls, modeled brown shag carpet, and a Magic Chef stove ("with uniburners!").
|Marco Polo Motel
|Pine Lodge Motel
| Seal's Motel
On the other border, where Spokane still keeps the fires of the 1974 World Expo warm, check out the Pine Lodge Motel. Driving onto the crumbly parking lot, you’ll notice plastic sheets covering the windows and, perhaps, the Beatles crooning from a tape recorder through an open door. A fellow works on his bike while two rough looking dogs stand guard. Catching site of a stranger, their ears batten down. Nearby, a pidgin coasts down to the pockmarked pavement, catching a free drink from the rainwater filled-potholes.
All text copyright Andrew Wood. Photos copyright Jenny Wood and Andy Wood.