On a recent car trip from Santa Fe to Silver City, a discussion among car mates led to a debate on whether the best journeys are made through flight or automobile.
For me traveling in a car is by far the best option. Think about those many moments through long stretches of empty land. The funny stories you tell. The jokes and memories of previous trips always seem to be retold.
Then there are the quiet moments when everyone is tired, and only the sound of a classic song is heard in between static and the attempts of other radio stations trying to take over.
You get to experience small towns with all their charm and funkiness, like Holbrook, Arizona, home to the Wigwam Motel. Located on Route 66, the hotel is composed of 15 freestanding, concrete teepees. These structures, the hotel rooms of your oddest dreams, can be seen by travelers just off the historic highway.
As you drive by, you can imagine America in the 1950s, classic cars and rock roll fill the imagination.
The Holbrook-based hotel is one of seven Wigwam Villages built in the 1940s and 50s. The tall white structures have a simple, red zigzag line above the doorway. Inside is a bed, fridge, toilet and sink.
You’re missing the amenities of today’s chain hotel rooms. There is no pool or fancy rooftop bar. You don’t need it. Staying in a teepee is far more memorable.
What else are you missing 40,000 feet in the air? You won’t have a chance to discover The Thing, a mysterious sci-fi figure located inside a roadside gas station in Arizona. Pay the cashier $1 and you’ll make your way through dusty hallways with “historic” paraphernalia such as a Rolls Royce once used by Adolf Hitler. At the end of your journey is The Thing.
Even if you never leave your car, you’ll experience what it is like to make it from state to state with wind in your hair. The unforgettable smell of farms and street vendors. The welcome signs to places you never imagined existed.
There will be places that make you feel blessed for everything you have. There will be places that make you dream of what you may have one day.
Moments like these make long road trips the kind of thing that makes you feel so red, white and blue. Our country is filled with places and people that are waiting to meet you and to share their culture and lifestyle. These experiences will be missed if you visit flyover country by flying over it.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on February 8, 2017.