Thursday, August 19, 2010

Shell Shocked

Unexpected things always come up when you are on the road, they can range anywhere from a broken shock that isn’t, a good deal on a motel room, to a long drive off the highway expecting to see something that is not there once you give up driving and turn around, this trip was no different in the respect that we found a few unexpected things.

On our first day heading out to New Mexico we took a different route than we normally do, we headed out across the desert rather than down 10 through Phoenix, there were a lot of miles of nothing that was actually rather interesting, we did see a tennis shoe tree followed by one growing socks, I am not sure what this is all about but it did catch our eyes long enough for us to pause for a picture.
Tennis Shoe Tree
Tennis Shoe Tree-Amboy, CA
This stretch of highway gives you few options for pit stops but did give us a spectacular view of landscape and old buildings, one café that was obviously closed we took a break in front of, I accused Cindy of appearing to be breaking in but you know how curiosity gets to you sometimes, you just have to peek inside to get the full view.
Sometimes You Have To Peek Inside
Peeking Inside Closed Cafe
We made our way to Needles California with me fully expecting to see Spike, you know Spike that would be Snoopys Brother I sure wanted to tell him that Snoopy said Hi since I had seen Snoopy not too long ago, you all remember The Snoopy Incident don’t you? Well needless to say I didn’t see Spike but when we pulled into the gas station/ tire shop/ convenience store a man who obviously worked there walked out to greet us, he held his hand up for us to stop and pointed to a parking space saying we could park there, I pointed to another that was in the shade of the large Shell sign and said I’d rather park in the shade thinking to myself that it was about 400 degrees outside, he said that would be fine and continued to walk around the van, Cindy did her best to not run over him while she attempted to park, once she parked and we got out I found him looking underneath the back of the van:

Me: What are you doing?

Shell Guy: I heard a noise when you backed up.

Me: What kind of noise?

Shell Guy: A loud clunk.

Me: Really, I was inside the van and didn’t hear a thing.

Shell Guy: It’s your shock, look under here it’s completely collapsed.

Me: OK if it’s collapsed then why is the shock still working? (I grabbed the wheel well and lifted the van a bit to bounce it to which it stopped just as it should)

Shell Guy: See look at how it bounced you need new shocks, I can see where your spring has been hitting the axle.

Me: You know how old my shocks are?

Shell Guy: Can’t tell by looking at them so there is no telling.

Me: Just had them installed less than three thousand miles ago, they are brand new and working properly.

Shell Guy: Well they must have only put standard shocks on it when they should have put heavy duty; look at how the back is squatting under the load you are carrying.

Me: Heavy-duty shocks? It’s a mini van for God’s sake and that heavy load is my suitcase, I will give my mechanic your recommendation OK.

I think this must have insulted him because he walked away and never spoke to me again, I suppose you really cant trust a guy in shorts and flip flops with a Shell shirt as his only credentials to know everything about shocks and mini van weight limits in the middle of the desert, but I do wonder how many service jobs he sells to people who are easily spooked into thinking they just may break down before they reach the next town?

Have you ever run into any dinosaurs along the way? I mean real dinosaurs like really big ones with teeth bigger than the new shocks I just put on the van, OK enough about the shocks!! There is a stretch of the road with dinosaurs we have seen a few times in the past and we actually stopped to visit them this time but when I took out the camera they became camera shy or either Dixie barking scared them off, Yes I know they were not real but the experience of getting out and laughing for a while was.
Running Dinosaur
Dinosaurs On I-40
Have you ever spotted a sign along the way that just got your interest? Well a ways out of Flagstaff on our way home we spotted a sign boasting an Arizona information center and also underneath it was a sign that read Museum, I am always interested in this sort of thing and we were needing a break so we followed the signs to the correct exit, made a right hand turn, we followed the road passing an old motel that had very few cars in the large lot despite the advertisement of twenty nine dollar rooms, driving a bit further we still saw no information center then all of a sudden there was a sign pointing our way to the right, I hit the blinker and made a right hand turn and a ways down the road I still saw no museum or information center but what looked like an RV park and a fork in the road, I almost made a u-turn right there but saw on the right fork a sign pointing ahead for the information center, I followed another that said “Straight Ahead” then another that said “Don’t Stop Now” then another that read “You Are Almost There” and there it was on the right hand side of the road a large pad locked gate with a closed sign right under another sign that read “Museum open 8AM to 4PM Monday through Friday” and it was now Wednesday at about 10AM so why would I expect them to be open?

The even funnier thing here is that we were now on the back side of the parking lot of the motel we passed when we first got off the interstate, we watched and waved at several other people who were doing the same thing we had just done, they sheepishly waved back and made their u-turns and headed back to town, I am sure this little town had a whole lot to offer but my first impression said it was time to get back on the road, we got into the van, crossed the parking lot, made a left hand turn and were back on the interstate before the others had even gotten back to the main road.
Rainbow on the road
Rainbow On The Way Home
You always have to make random stops along the highway because there is always something interesting to see or learn but along the way be sure to watch out for dinosaurs and lost tennis shoes as they make for an interesting day, and also expect to get shocked at the shell once in a while or to make more right turns than you want when one left will get you out of there, take chances and enjoy the ride because there just may be a rainbow where you least expect it and all in all the side trips are really worth the adventure.


  1. Awesome pics, especially the dino.
    I love you you can see the pack of Marble lights in Cindy's hand in the pic.

  2. Intersting post...all kinds of surprises...glad you didn't need shocks!

  3. Loved this post! I have always wondered about the odd tennis shoes...that you find along the road!
    Glad that you made it all in one piece and that both of you are well.
    Maybe I've watched too many horror movies to stop at any Motels! LOL!!!!
    Big hugs to you both!

  4. Jimmy! I love trips like this. Thanks for taking us along with you. I took a trip across Kansas once and stopped to see the six-legged cow (tragic) and the world's largest concrete prairie dog.

  5. How cool you can use the computer and drive at the same time! Actually I hope Cindy was the one driving while you were blogging. Love the pictures and the tale of your usual interesting adventures. I think the next post of one of your trips should be titled Jimmy and Cindy's Excellent Adventure!

  6. OMG..I have to agree with Susie. The next post of one of your trips should be titled Jimmy and Cindy's Excellent Adventure! You could make a vlog series out of them!

    I was cracking up at the part about you and the Shell guy. OMG...did he actually think you were fool enough to believe him? Good for you, Jimmy!

    Love the shot of Cindy peeking through the window. I would have done the same thing!

    Super fun post, my friend!

  7. Good Morning Joe, Thank You Sir funny what you either miss or catch in a shot Ha Ha

    Hey Suzie, I knew the shocks weren’t necessary since I just had them replaced and had been riding in the vehicle :^)

    Thank You Alice, And I’d have to say that Motel looked like one of those from the movies Ha Ha

    Betty, I saw a two headed cow once in Ft Sumner NM, it is amazing what you can find on a road trip.

    Hey Susie, I actually did the blogging while I was at the motel, just took pictures while we were riding, some while I was and some while Cindy was Ha Ha

    Jimmy and Cindy's Excellent Adventure! That can be our life story title :^)

    Hey Ron, I actually got to where I was messing with him to see if he was actually looking at anything, he tried to get me to see marks on the axle LOL I think if it had been hitting that hard we would have felt it, my shocks were just installed and the ride is still smooth.

    It’s pretty cool looking at the old places like this Cindy enjoys it as much as I.

  8. hehe! I needed to smile/laugh today...I especially am glad for the "shock" part....hilarious!
    Yes...interesting stops for sure. They make the trip- don't they?
    Happy weekend to you 2!

  9. Hey Dawn, Yes these type of experiences sure make a road trip interesting, I bet if I had held out I could have gotten a "One Time Deal" on a set of shocks :)

    A Great weekend to you too.

  10. Sure bet it was hard to set out for home and leave that precious grandson.

  11. Hey Ms.A, Yes Mam it was hard but knowing he is well and being taken care of makes it some easier--will be spoiling him as much as we can :)

  12. I love getting off the beaten path and exploring.
    Looks like yall had a fun time and glad to see you wasn't fooled by the shock man or that yall weren't eaten by the dinos.

  13. If I have a choice I always take the alternate route to escape the Interstate. I appreciate the option of being able to pull to the side of the road and gaze or take a picture or just relax.

    There is one place that I am determined to stop at when I pass it again. It is a little cafe with a sign that says 'One Egg, Toast and Jelly: $1.49' I am just dying to ask how much it is without the jelly.

  14. Hey Heather, I guess we have been on trips enough to not be out foxed by shockmen or eathen by dinos Ha Ha sure do love stopping to visit them though.

    Yes Sir Jerry, I like taking those routes myself, Let me know the price difference without the jelly, I just may have to go there too :)

  15. It's amazing what service station people will try to get you to buy that you don't need. Good for you that you knew enough to know you didn't need them! I wonder how many innocent people they actually take to the cleaners on that one?

  16. Yes Peg, I wonder that same thing simply due to the location of this place, out in the middle of the desert with few options can cause you to give in and buy something you don't really need, that just aint right in my opinion.


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