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Kanab, Utah

Louise Speaks:  Day 9:  Well our Utah trip is almost over so we are heading south and heading home.  We did find a few quirky things to see on the way home, but interesting as well.  Turns out Kanab, Utah is a cute town that you could spend a few days in.  But it was the drive to Kanab that we found the “Quirky” things.

100_8821The first stop was the Mysterious Concrete Totem Pole.  It is right along the highway behind a gated fence.  Apparently at one time it was a roadside stop as there is a pull off space off the highway and there are picnic tables behind the fence.  Something must have happened to have it fenced off now.  We actually drove by it the first time, but if you’re looking for it, it is pretty easy to spot.


Just a mile or so up the highway from the Totem Pole is the Moqui Cave.  Moqui Cave is located just five and a half miles north of Kanab on Highway 89, and is a museum of artifacts, fossils and history, depicting life in southern Utah spanning the centuries.  The cave’s history is as interesting as its artifacts.  A cool room in the back once housed a fully operational tavern, where those wanting to imbibe could hide their “devil’s brew” from prohibitionists.  The late Garth and Laura Chamberlain purchased the cave in 1951, rescuing it from years of disuse.  The Chamberlains, along with their five children who helped operate the cave, worked hard at making Moqui Cave a first class tourist attraction. That same goal has been continued today by Garth’s son and daughter-in-law, Lex and Lee Ann Chamberlain who live in Kanab.  Your imagination will be piqued when you enter the cool sandstone cave and see the large collection of dinosaur tracks that once 100_8825inhabited the area.  The cave also boasts one of the largest fluorescent and fossil mineral displays in the U.S.   Moqui Cave also has a gift store in a side sandstone chamber which features items for purchase, including Indian arts and crafts, kachina dolls, rugs, pottery and turquoise. We didn’t pay for the tour but we did visit the gift shop and were able to see the inside of the cave.  We were also told this was the location of many old films, as we found out later, the entire area of Kanab is knick named “Little Hollywood.

100_8831Finally we approached the small, quaint town of Kanab.  Once in town we could tell why Kanab is known as “Little Hollywood”.  It has several spots of actually movie sets.  Our first step was known as “Frontier Movie Town”.  It is a museum and gift shop that continues outside.  Behind the museum were some old movie sets.  When I say old I don’t only mean old movies or TV shows but old sets.  They were not even recognizable.  They were just facades and it looked like an old town or old parts of buildings…not a true movie set.

100_8836Back in town, we had to track down the “Worlds Largest Shopping Cart”.  We were told that it was in the Honey Marketplace parking lot.  It is actually right on the curbside on the street, and it is HUGE!  They turned it into a place to display plants and they set it right next to a normal size shopping cart so that you can see the difference in size.

100_8840While at the store we decided to get a few things and right at the door to the store is a talking truck.  It is so cute.  It looks like out of the movie cars except it talks.  It announces store specials, nutritional facts and it just welcomes you as you enter the store.

We also found the best RV park right in Kanab.  It had the best cable channels and the fastest internet that we had on the whole trip.  They had a community dog that loved to come over and visit Gracie.  Because today was a short day, it was nice to have an early day and be at a great RV park.

All in all I would rate the town of Kanab an A.  It’s a great town with lots to see and lots to do.  I don’t think I could spend a week here but I could definitely spend a few days here and have many things to keep me busy.

Thelma Speaks:


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Quirky Things in Utah

Louise Speaks:  Day 5:  Well it wouldn’t be a normal trip for Thelma and Louise if we didn’t add a few quirky things.  It just happens that a bunch of them were all in a row so that is how we started our day.

100_8478We spent the night last night in Green River, Utah which just happens to hold the Melon Festival and we just missed Melon Days by a week.  However, Green River is also home to the Worlds Largest Watermelon.  It is usually stored in an airplane hanger, but since Melon Days was last week, the watermelon was still sitting on Main St.  We did have to call the City Clerks office to find this out, but they were more than willing to give us directions and tell us where the melon was sitting.

100_8480Just down the street from the watermelon and right off interstate 70 is a huge Pile of Big Blocks.  This is a 44 foot high pile of giant concrete cubes.  A local blind man paid for this structure as he wanted to have a hand in creating something immortal.  You can drive directly to the structure but they recommend 4 WD vehicles and it is a dirt road and usually very muddy.  Since it had rained pretty heavily last night, we elected to photograph the structure from the freeway, which was easy to do.

100_8497Continuing west and south we head right into Goblin Valley.  This is actually a State Park so there is a $10 admission fee to the park.  What’s unique about Goblin Valley is that it is the film location for the movie “Galaxy Quest Planet.”  Once inside you will see why.  I was so impressed and taken by this park and the rock formations that if it hadn’t been so cold and on the verge of more rain I would have stayed longer.

100_8496In looking into Goblin Valley, the formations look like Goblins.  What is even more unique is that you can walk down to the Goblins and actually just walk around all the formations.  Can you just imagine how cool that would be to play hide go seek in here?  I would have loved to have walked into Goblin Valley and seen them up close…might be a trip to take the grand kids…I don’t care how old they are, they would love this.  They are actually holding a Halloween extravaganza on 100_8499 Halloween night.  This would be one of the coolest places to take your kids and just turn them loose.  It is in a small valley, and they could just explore to their heart’s content.

I have never seen the movie Galaxy Quest Planet, but I am willing to go see it just to see how they worked around the goblins.  This stop is definitely worth a detour…especially if you have kids or if you have a sci-fi addiction.

100_8512Continuing on our journey, we arrived in Hanksville.  Hanksville is famous for the Hollow Mountain.  This is actually a grocery store and a gas station, both of which are still open for business.  Behind the store is actually a residence where the owner of Hollow Mountain still lives in the summer.  You can see the door to the residence to the right with the satellite dish on top.  You really can’t miss it, as it is at a major highway intersection, and it is literally built right into the mountain.  It’s worth a detour just to see the inside of the store.

100_8514Apparently Hanksville is known for metal scraps.  Every business has dinosaurs or creatures made out of metal.  One old hotel went a step further.  They made creatures or sculptures out of every piece of metal you could find.  They used car parts, tools, farm equipment and much more.  It was starting to rain so we didn’t get an up close and personal look to see exactly what they are made of, but we were able to take pictures from the RV to see the weird “stuff” sitting along the road.

We were on our way to Capitol Reef, so these side attractions were something to break up the drive and in some cases make us scratch our heads and say what???  But thanks to Roadside America they keep our journey’s interesting and give us some quirky things to see along the way.

These are all worth stopping to see.  They are on the way to Capitol Reef so it is just a few miles out-of-the-way.  So if you have a quirky side and you want to make your journey an adventure make sure you stop…for sure at Goblin Valley State Park.

Thelma Speaks:

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Route 66—Day 13—Sapulpa,OK to Oklahoma City, OK

100_7371Louise Speaks:  Day 13:  August 8,2015.  After staying at a very nice RV park last night we discovered that Sapulpa, OK has a few quirky things for us to see.  For example there is the Mini Statue of Liberty, the Coke and Pizza display, and we can’t forget the Buffalo on the Mound. Yes like I said there were some quirky things around town.

100_0547Heading west on Route 66, our next town is Stroud, OK.  Here we had to look for some Alien Yard Art.  Turns out someone has turned their backyard into an art gallery focusing on ufo’s and other alien artifacts.  This was tough to find.  We had directions, but remember it is in the backyard so we had to go down alley’s to find it.  But leave it to Thelma and Louise, the Alien Yard Art was found.

100_0545We also found the Rock Cafe in Stroud.  Originally built in 1936 and opened in 1939, the Rock Café reopened on May 29, 2009 after extensive repairs by historic preservationist David Burke due to damage from a 2008 fire.  The restaurant’s cookbook, written during the rebuilding effort, was published in November 2009. In 1939 the café was initially operated under manager Miss 100_0540Thelma Holloway, and was a busy local Greyhound bus stop during the war.   Its neon sign was installed in the late 1940s.  Mamie Mayfield operated the Rock Café twenty-four hours a day in 1959 and retired at age 70 on July 14, 1983.  In 1999, a tornado heavily damaged Stroud, destroying the town’s 53-store Outlet mall and wiping out a handful of key local employers. The Rock Café survived, though its neon sign was damaged.   In 2001, the Rock Café was listed on the National Register of Historic Places,  qualifying it for matching grants and loans to finance its historic restoration.

100_7374When the first crews of the Pixie Cars movie were researching Route 66 they stopped at the Rock Café in 2001.  Restoration and repair of the 1999 tornado damage was not yet complete; the neon flickered briefly but failed to come to life. With a federal grant and a loan of $30,000 in matching funds, the Rock Café was restored with new heating and air conditioning systems, replacement of the original wiring, restoration of neon signage and a return of the building to its original layout.

100_0556Continuing west on Route 66, in addition to more and more gas stations, we were finding more and more hotels.  Some of the hotels have been made into other types of business, but you can see the historic hotel if you use your imagination,  Gas stations still seem to be the most restorable buildings on Route 66.  We came across the cutest vintage Phillips 66 Gas Station that still houses some pretty incredible historic cars in the town of Chandler, OK.  This is a great example of how they wanted to make service stations look like tiny cottages.

100_0560Just about 10 miles down the road you reach the town of Warwick, OK and home to the Historic Seaba Statation.  It is actually a bikers museum that salutes all the bikers that have spent time on the “Mother Road” aka Route 66.  Two biker buddies buy historic filling station, open motorcycle museum on State Highway 66, where travelers from around the world drop by.  That’s the short version of how two biker buddies ended up owning an old filling station on a lonely stretch of Route 66.  Today, Seaba Station, is a 5,000-square-foot brick building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a motorcycle museum that houses about 75 vintage motorcycles.

100_7391 100_0567The long version:  About 25 years ago, Tim bought a 1953 James motorcycle, similar to the one his father rode. Then he bought another interesting old bike. And another and another.  Before Tim knew it, he was a collector. A self-proclaimed “motorcycle addict” who grew up with one hand on a throttle.  Tim had raced motocross, three-wheelers, four-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and about anything else that had a motor and off-road knobbies.  He worked at motorcycle shops and eventually got his own dealership, Performance Cycle on Historic Route 66 in Bethany.

One day about 15 years ago, Tim answered an advertisement for a used trials bike, a specialized machine that 100_0568is light, nimble and powerful enough to hop boulders and perform other radical maneuvers. “He bought it,” recalls the guy who sold it to him — Jerry Ries, a science and physical education teacher at Crutcho School in northeast Oklahoma City.  The two men competed together in trials events, Ries said, and “we’ve been friends ever since.”

100_0569As Tims’ collection of vintage motorcycles grew and was refined into a line of mostly racing models, he and Ries thought about the unused space on the second floor of Tims’ dealership. They had always talked about putting a museum up there.  However, for years, Ries had been intrigued by a building he often passed in a blink of a town on Route 66.  The place, built in 1921 by John 100_0572and Alice Seaba in the then-busy town that boasted rail lines and three cotton gins, was a filling and service station selling DX Nevernox gasoline and offering a modern rock two-seater outhouse featuring some of the first automatic flush toilets.

One day, Ries noticed a For Sale sign on the old place.  He thought, this would be a pretty neat place for a 100_0573museum.  Three years ago, the two, who point out they “aren’t exactly rich,” bought their dream.  Ries would be able to show off his carpentry skills and Tim would have a place to display his motorcycle collection.  Ries retired from teaching and dived in, with Tim pitching in when he could spare time from his business.  The building came filled with antiques from the previous owner, so 100_0566the men sold most of the inventory, some of which is still for sale in a small room. The men restored much of the original layout of the building, reopening a covered porch area.  Inside, they removed foam that was sprayed on the arched ceiling and replaced it with finished wood, which is highlighted by exposed steel trusses over the main showroom.

100_0563Some people stop by for the building or the service station or Route 66, like we did or for the memorabilia inside.  Some stop just to see the outhouse.  Most drop in for the bikes.  Tim says the biggest comment you hear is, I used to have one of those as a kid.  And, of course, there’s the highway. Historic Route 66’s the magic lures visitors from around the world.  Some people actually fly into Los Angeles or Chicago, rent cars or motorcycles and hit the Mother Road. The Seaba Station visitors’ log is filled with notes from people across North America, from Japan, Australia, Switzerland and on and on.  Even in this short part of our trip, every stop we run into someone from another country.  We feel like the foreigner because we are from the States.  This is a definite stop and it seems like both the remodeling and the collecting are on going, so who knows what you will see when you stop by.

100_7393Our last stop before reaching Oklahoma City is the town of Arcadia, OK. home of the Big Round Barn.  The Barn is a landmark and tourist attraction on historic Route 66.  It was built by local farmer William Harrison Odor in 1898 using native bur oak boards soaked while green and forced into the curves needed for the walls and roof rafters.  A second level was built 20150808_122111and is used for community gatherings and even weddings.  The town of Arcadia developed and prospered with the arrival of the railroad and in the 1920s the newly commissioned Route 66 was aligned through the town, passing next to the Round Barn. Over time, the barn became the most photographed landmark on Route 66.  With the reduction of traffic along Route 66 following the arrival of the interstate,  Arcadia and the barn popularity  declined.  In 1988 the 60 foot diameter roof collapsed. A team of volunteers  worked to rebuild the structure, and restoration work was completed in 1992.  Today the old barn is a tourist attraction and visitors admire the architectural and engineering details of America’s only truly round  barn.

100_0586Also in Arcadia, OK is the Worlds Largest Pop Bottle, and it even glows at night.  This is a recent addition to things to see on Route 66.  It is a soda pop shop with over 600 flavors of soda. Like root beer? POPS has over 80 varieties. Or cream soda? Find more than 50 flavors.  The attraction starts with a 66-foot soda pop bottle, including the straw, that makes POPS an instant icon.  At its base is an ultra-modern gas station, restaurant, shake shop, gift shop, convenience store and event venue.

We finally made it to OKC, and it was time to stop for lunch.  What an exhausting morning.  We have been on the road for about 5 hours and have traveled 110 miles, and the day is not done.  We feel like we are running out of time….lol

Thelma Speaks: