Arizona’s Roadside Attraction

After ten months of being on the road with my husband, we finally decided to get a little adventurous and stop by a few of the roadside attractions around this country of ours, time permitting. Our trip route from California to Florida was on Interstate 10 which is home to some interesting and bizarre roadside attractions as well as beautiful views of Mother Nature. I referred to Roadsideamerica.com to find many places that accommodate big rigs and are right off the interstate. We were able to plan the day’s trip with a lunch break stop at one of Arizona’s most notoriously bizarre roadside attractions; The Thing.

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Just before the Arizona / New Mexico border at Exit 322 is a multicolored  building boasting, in large white letters the non descript name of that which lies within its walls. As you enter the parking lot, a cement path directs you behind a structure one could believe was created by Dr. Frankenstein with a multi-material assemblage of buildings. Gravel and dirt cover a fairly sizeable area reserved for truck parking.

Upon entering through the main door, you are greeted by every knick knack made on Earth; chotchkies only Great Aunt Ruth would love, state branded souvenirs of all persuasion, as well as clothing, purses and handmade moccasins, oh and like the biggest display of fireworks for sale I’ve ever seen in one place, including a package that stood tallker than me with a price tag of $599.00… I loved it! After selecting a bumpersticker, Southwest Cookbook (for only 99 cents!) and a state magnet shaped like Arizona, we took our puchases up to the most polite and wonderful senior ladies who stood behind a waist high border of glass display cases chocked full of shiny jewlery. We also purchased 2 tickets (at only a dollar apiece) for admission to the answer of the dying question, “what is The Thing?”

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We were directed to take a door against the backside of the store and told to follow the yellow monster footprints

(cute touch to the building suspense).

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The opening of the door revealed a long shed of dated artifacts. I was immediately “oohing” and “aahing” as my camera clicked away.

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We followed the monster footprints into a second building which housed suspended glass cases of smaller items of eras gone by.

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As we exited the second building, I grew a little nervous, could the sweet elderly lady who told us The Thing was in building three have forgotten to say someone was going to jump out and scare us? Or could The Thing really be some toothless bearded homeless man they had employed and strapped with a machete? Either way, I slipped my phone into my back pocket, ’cause if I got startled and dropped my phone, someone was going to get hurt and it wasn’t going to be me! Of course I had my fearless husband enter the third building first as I held my breath.

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And this was it… what really was in the case? Had Wikipedia fooled us all with its answer? Was toothless homeless guy under the glass? Yes, I had my husband check first. After several seconds of him still being alive, I stepped closer and leaned over ever so slightly…

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And now we know Wikipedia is a credible source for information!

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The rest of the room has more large pieces of history behind chain link barriers.

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Check out whose ride this was!

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After exiting the third building (and still being alive, I might add), we followed the monster footprints to a door which led back into the shop. This was definitely something I’m glad we stopped for, just because it adds to the excitement of life on the road (and it only cost a dollar!). I’m hoping we may come back this way before Christmas, I have found several items I could purchase for gifts!

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