We arrived at our hotel in Connellsville, PA that Friday and spent the remainder of the evening watching my son’s favorite show, Ghost Adventures. The following day I’d planned for us to see the Pittsburgh Zoo but worried we’d never get back in time for the Weird Al Yankovic concert that evening. Rather than risk being late, I decided to let the kids sleep in and looked for things closer to do. I was surprised to discover our hotel was only twenty-five minutes from the Kecksburg UFO which I’d visited almost exactly four years earlier. This development inspired me to hold off on my originally planned story for Scary Monsters Magazine #109 and feature this locale in the next WEIRD USA column instead. Since I’m saving all the details for the magazine (which is your cue to subscribe to it) I’ll just share some photos taken that day…
After a busy day of running around Erie, Pennsylvania us Terror Daves had one more stop to make before settling in at the Tinseltown Movie Theater to catch a screening of Skull Island. Obviously we don’t need any warm-ups when it comes to seeing giant monsters but, thanks to one of Erie’s creative locals, that’s exactly what we got! Dick Schaefer managed to turn trash into treasure by converting old broken vehicles into giant bugs and there was no way Dave wasn’t going to figure out a way to add that to my already busy pre-birthday weekend itinerary.
Finally, after fifteen posts we’ve reached the conclusion of our 2016 Terror Dave Road Trip! Are you sick of it yet? Because at this point of our vacation we sure were…and of each other too for that matter. I was reminded of that while going through all the photos from those last couple of days and noticing how whenever we’d photograph one another in front of a dinosaur, we’d angle the camera so it looked like the other was being eaten. Talk about passive/aggressive photography!
We left Moab, Utah on the morning of Friday June 17th and began the long, seven hour drive back to Colorado. Fortunately, I discovered a dinosaur museum that was en route called The Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey. Actually, it could have been The Museum of Barney the Purple Dinosaur and we’d of still stopped there just to break up the monotony. Fortunately, this was a lot better than that.
On the last leg of our road trip, we stayed a couple of days in Moab, Utah where we could finally relax and get a vacation from our vacation. Naturally we still enjoyed many of the things this fun, tourist town had to offer but without having to adhere to any tight schedules or long drives. Consequently, our first afternoon there was spent lounging around the hotel, catching up on emails, going through photos, and watching AMC’s presentation of JAWS which was an exercise in futility thanks to all the commercials they smothered it with. Later we stopped in the heart of Moab for dinner at an Italian place that served the best ravioli I’d ever tasted. Up until that point, I found southwest cuisine to be rather lacking so this truly hit the spot. With renewed vigor, we drove to Arches National Park which was just ten minutes away. Next to Saguaro, this would be our favorite national treasure and we loved the fact that it was open 24 hours. We spent the evening checking out all the lookout points before watching the sunset.
I had a couple of big epiphanies during this road trip but the biggest was that I really want to live in Utah. I honestly never thought much about the State before arriving there but was immediately captivated by its natural beauty and geological wonders. Or perhaps it simply stirred a semi-dormant aspect of my childhood.
Utah is a time capsule with a direct link to a group of animals that I absolutely adored as a kid and am still fascinated with today. Although it wasn’t the primary theme of this trip, there was never any doubt once we got there that we were firmly in the land of the dinosaurs…and neither of us were complaining. Seriously, how many of us Godzilla fans can’t tie our love of Japan’s most famous export to the real giants that once roamed the Earth? And how can we call ourselves animal lovers while completely ignoring the ones from our planet’s past?
The drive from The Grand Canyon to Las Vegas was just over four hours, not taking into consideration rest stops. Places to refuel, however, were pretty sparse though Dolan Springs, Arizona sure offered a colorful one.
Just before crossing the Nevada State Line was Uranus Gas; offering travelers air-brushed photo-ops, snacks, and southwest souvenirs. They also took full advantage of their moniker by posting subtle taglines such as, “Got Gas? Uranus is Always Open.” At $4.69 a gallon, however, their prices were decisively less amusing and I couldn’t help but wonder if the name wasn’t also a reference to where they planned on sticking it to us long-distance drivers.