Unexpected Arizona

I thought Arizona would be flat, and mostly brown.

I was wrong.

We woke up early to begin the long drive to Tucson from Holbrook. I wasn’t really looking forward to it because I thought the landscape wouldn’t be very interesting.

Around an hour into the drive is when we learned that Arizona has mountains. Really tall mountains.

The mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like little hills in comparison.

We drove up and down these huge mountains.  Through the snowstorm at the top, then back down to calmer weather and then back up again into the snow.

It definitely was not the boring drive I was afraid of.

Rocket Garden

NASA, and anything space related, especially vintage, is something we both really like. So a weekend trip to Florida to visit the space center at Cape Canaveral seemed like a good idea for our fifth anniversary. Neither of us had ever been before. It was the end of September, an escape to someplace tropical and warm before the cold winter months began. 

My grandma told me she lived nearby for a few years before moving back to Michigan and would often see the rocket launches from her house.  My grandpa was a NASA engineer.  I wish he was still around so I could hear all his stories that I never got to hear.

Rockets from various eras of the space program sit in the Rocket Garden, towering over the space center museums. It’s crazy to see these giant things, and realize the amount of fuel needed to leave our planet.

The Motel From a Dream

Staying in normal chain hotels is pretty boring.

Although it can be a bit of a risk to stay in some random motel, it always makes for a more interesting story and a more fun experience.

It was summer 2018, and I was looking for a place to stay on a last minute weekend trip to Cocoa Beach Florida to visit the space center. As soon as I saw a picture of this pastel castle, the opportunity to stay here could not be passed up. It went along perfectly with what my brain had dreamed up retro Cocoa Beach would be. The reviews were mediocre, but we’re not picky. The price was pretty cheap, but not the cheapest on the list.  Right where I like it. From the photos online, it looked like my dream motel.

This Motel is called Fawlty Towers, and I couldn’t find any more information on it before booking. But later on during our stay, I read that it had once temporarily became a nude motel in hopes of increasing business.  I couldn’t find any info on if clothing was still optional, but everyone I saw there kept their clothes on. whew!

The motel formed a square, where every room had a back door that faced the courtyard with a pool.  Palm trees covered the property and it was like a quiet little oasis.

At night, the courtyard pool felt a little like an alternate reality. I loved it.

The room was nice enough, with all the things you’d expect a motel to have.  It was clean and the bed was comfortable.

This crazy motel makes the list of top favorite places I’ve ever stayed.  I would definitely stay here again on another trip to Cocoa Beach.

 

 

The First Time I Saw the Desert

I’d never seen the desert before, but I’ve always wanted to.  It seemed like such an intriguing  landscape, so different from the dense green rolling hills I was used to. Where palm trees weren’t a strange sight, and cactuses grew naturally.

One day I discovered some cheap flights to Las Vegas, and suddenly a week long desert adventure was being dreamed up. Five hours to the other side of the country was the longest I had ever spent in a plane. I loved every minute of it; seeing the landscape change before my eyes.

 In the rental car we explored the desert world for the first time. The land was so flat, with no tall trees, you could almost see straight across to the other side of the city.  Mountains stood tall in the distance, surrounding Las Vegas like a wall.

I stared along the palm tree lined streets, having never seen more than a few palm trees before.

I continued to stare out the car window as we passed all the famous casinos.  Strange to see them all in person. Only ever seeing them in movies, it almost felt like they didn’t actually exist.

Nestled around the shiny sparkling casinos, run down motels and other attractions lay as ruins, providing quite a big contrast.

Even the houses matched the desert color theme.

The seven days in the desert were off to a good start.

There are Dinosaurs in Holbrook

The little, almost ghost town, of Holbrook is off of the old route 66 in Arizona. We spent the night there in the Wigwams Motel and had fun exploring this old retro town on a cold and windy winter afternoon. 
I was surprised, and overjoyed to discover all of the dinosaur statues that are just hanging out around town. They are the perfect addition to a town that looks like it’s straight out of the 1960s.
 
Many of the dinosaur statues live at the Rainbow Rock Shop and were apparently built by the owners of the shop over the course of 20 years.  The other statues once were part of a museum and got relocated to different places in town when the museum closed many years ago.
 
Holbrook is very close to the Petrified Forest, where many actual fossils and dinosaur bones have been found, so these statues are a reminder of the giant beasts that once roamed these lands.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Holbrook was a fun little town to explore, with all its roadside dinosaurs!

An Antique Store in Detroit

Just outside the middle of downtown Detroit, in an old abandoned brick building just off of a main road, is the coolest antique store I’ve been to.

It was a cold November day, right before Thanksgiving. We were spending the day wandering around my old homeland before heading to dinner at my brother’s house. We decided to choose an antique store to go to, and it ended up being the best choice.

It was filled wall to wall with interesting items as most antique stores are, but the ceilings were also filled. With old lights, chandeliers, and even windows and chairs!

The store was called Detroit Antique and Props. Apparently they either currently, or at one time rented theater props out as well as selling antiques.

The whole store, but the attic in particular held furniture and building materials taken from all the abandoned and crumbling places that fill the city. Bathroom sinks of every color, industrial lights of every size; anything could be found in there.

There were lots of things we wanted, but all that came home with us were two small cameras, since not much else would fit in our small carry-ons that were already stuffed full with a weeks worth of winter clothes.

We often think about coming back to this interesting little place we stumbled upon.

Under the Blue Ridge Parkway

Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we discovered a trail during a stop at an overlook.  The trail weaved through and around giant boulders, and followed the path of the Blue Ridge Parkway, underneath the busy scenic road.

This stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway road is the Linn Cove Viaduct, which wraps around the base of grandfather mountain and was the final piece of the parkway to be completed. The viaduct structure was needed to avoid cutting into the rocky base of the mountain and disturbing the natural habit.

One of the things I love most about exploring the mountains, are the interesting places we stumble upon, like this trail we never knew existed.  I can’t wait to go back and follow the trail further.