Time Traveling

Road trips have an appeal that goes way back in America’s history (in fact, you could take it back to the pioneers, if you wanted to), but traveling by automobile created an entire subculture in the early 1900s that’s still enshrined in our collective vision of roadtripping today.

There’s a museum in Amarillo that’s devoted to road trips by auto, bus, van and trailer. Its earliest example of hitting the road dates from 1936—a perfectly-intact Alma trailer that needed no restoration. Owned by trailer-travel buff Jack Sisemore, the Traveland RV Museum makes you yearn for the road.

Amarillo Dreamin' by Jann Alexander © 2013-6599
Amarillo Dreamin’ at Traveland by Jann Alexander © 2013

Further north, there’s 2000 miles of Route 66 to time travel along, with so many roadside attractions restored, diners open 24 hours, motels offering vacancies and neon signs lit that there’s even an iPhone app (Road Trip 66) dedicated to helping you navigate your trip. Ron Warnick is one of many time travelers who blog, photograph and advocate for Route 66; his Route66News.com will take you back in time.

Vanishing Austin_Motor to Don-Mar by Jann Alexander © 2013
Motor to Don Mar

Roadside oddities abound for time travelers who don’t mind taking a fork in the road, when they come to it—as recommended by Gunnar and Sherry on their Eccentric Roadside blog. For some authentic diner fare on your travels, you can plan your trip to take in Travel + Leisure’s Best American Diners or just count on Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood-fame to lead you right to some down home cooking well away from any interstates (after all, they didn’t exist at the start of the road trip era). Get your taste buds salivating by scanning a classic diner menu shared at Eateries, Dives and Juke Joints—from a time when a milkshake cost a quarter.

There’s so much more to explore when you’re time traveling, like vintage collectibles, postmodern design, deco influences, old neon, classic advertising, whatever’s retro that you can see, hear, touch. The more than 99 images in my Vanishing Austin series are a tribute to time traveling—it’s a photographic record of what fits into that retro niche in Austin, and of course, of what’s vanishing pretty fast around town.

For time travelers who seek it all over America, there’s no shortage of retro action to explore. 

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