Once you get off the interstates and onto the backroads out west, the towns are smaller and farther apart. And each one has at least one motel, showing their age by the style of the signs out front and the rooms out back.
The main street in Laramie, Wyoming had the motel above and the one below, within two blocks of each other. It would be hard to figure out which one to pick, but maybe the Gas Lite would have won because of the proximity to a restaurant, but the spelling of “Lite” kind of soured me on it.
The sign at the Thunderbird Lodge, farther up Main Street, made me want to stick around till dark, just to see if that neon still lit up. It would be an amazing sign if it did.
About a thousand miles away was this motel on Highway 93 in Idaho. Not close to anything else, but boasting the only gas stations within an hour’s drive, they didn’t have to sell much for customers, I imagine. A long day of driving, a quick meal at the local burger joint, and the beds in this place would probably be just fine for the night.
As these smaller cities and towns get hollowed out, I wonder how long the motels will hang on. They are part of a bygone era, when families piled in the car for summertime road trips and people got off the interstate highways to see the real America. They are still hanging on, but for how long, who knows?
Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business.