Sunday, March 1, 2009

Every Trip's a Pleasure Trip!

While my family didn't go on many vacations (I think I can count them all on one hand) - we did manage a road trip to Walt Disney World in 1974. We travelled from New York to Orlando via Domenico bus (mostly because my dad didn't drive) with a bunch of strangers, who we never saw again. What I remember most about the bus trip is that the driver had a meltdown somewhere along the way, that we stayed at a motel called the 1776 Inn (because it cost only $17.76 a night) ...and that we stopped at a wonderful store called Stuckey's along the way! Stuckey's was a roadside souvenir shop that specialized in sweet, sticky pecan snacks and fun things kids could play with in the car. What I remember most about Stuckey's is that my family purchased four things there...
1) A monkey bank carved out of coconut
2) Issue #134 of The Amazing Spider-Man
3) A small bottle of Orange Blossom perfume (for my sister) that came attched to a seashell4) and a Yes & Know puzzle book with Invisible Ink pen!
So of course, upon the occasion of my recent road trip from California to Orlando, I needed to recreate as much of my 1974 experience as possible. This time we drove in a Hybrid (oddly enough, we came across only ONE other Hybrid during our entire two week trip - proving how out of step the rest of the states are with California). We searched high and low for a Stuckey's along the way, to no avail. It seemed like Cracker Barrel Country Store has taken over the roadside stop business and unfortunately the iPhone does not come with a "Stuckey's Finder" app (though the Starbucks Finder came in VERY handy).
Once in Florida, I was sure that we could find a Stuckey's, so I consulted the interweb and discovered there were actually THREE off Route 10 that we somehow missed. Damn! We'll just have to hit on them on the way back. While in Florida, I searched everywhere for Orange Blossom perfume, but the souvenir shops seemed more concerned with stocking alligator carcasses and aborted shark fetuses than perfume.
So after spending 8 days in Orlando, it was time to hit the road back to Burbank - and hopefully to Stuckey's! Finally, we found one - in Florida - but it was basically just an Exxon station that sold some wonderfully retro-packaged Stuckey's products.
I was disappointed, but did manage to buy some Peanut Brittle...
A Pecan Log Roll...
And a Yes & Know puzzle book!!! Complete with magic Invisible Ink pen!!! Hours and hours of "BY-YOURSELF ENJOYMENT" ® I was very happy, but hoped we'd have a more fulfilling Stuckey's experience. Oh well, there were TWO more Stuckey's on the way home. They've got to be better than this one. So we hit the next Stuckey's, also in Florida, but close to the Alabama border.
This one was even worse since they seemed to specialize in Confederate flag memorbilia and right-wing bumper stickers. Ugh. But they did have coconut monkey banks - but I was too disgusted to buy one.
The third and final Stuckey's was in the state of Texas and right out of THE TEXAS CHAINSHAW MASSACRE. On a dirt road with nothing else around. There was a little old lady behind the counter who we named "Maud Frickett" for some reason. There was also some provocative graphitti ("Show Your ____")  in the men's room accompanying a "glory hole" with eyelashes drawn around it. We suspect that Maud drilled the hole and dressed it up with the eyelashes to attract potential customers. I wish I took a photo of it, but this recreation will have to do.
I guess, as Stuckey's once proclaimed, "Every Trip's a Pleasure Trip!"
A not so "happy ending" to the Stuckey's saga, if you ask me.

6 comments:

Dark H. said...

I loved Stuckeys as a kid. I think my mom bought that same orange blossom perfume and I LOVED the smell of it. I also loved the very sickeningly vermont maple candies which I would eat watching my ViewMaster Star Trek discs.

Ned said...

The demise of "Stuckeys" saddens me. In my youth, there was one every five miles on the Texas Interstate. Plus, when you'd drive from Texas to California- somewhere in New Mexico or Arizona was "The Thing". You'd see signs for "The Thing" for hundreds of miles. I never went to see it, whatever it was. I heard it was Bonnie and Clyde's bullet ridden car. Probably not the real one. Today's blog was very funny, and a little sad. Like Thomas Woolfe said, you cant go home again.

doug said...

Hey Ned - we stopped to see THE THING - only we didn't want to pay $1 - so we just looked it up online...

http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/thing.htm

Ned said...

Doug, thank you! It's all coming back now. I was drugged at the time, but I saw it in the '70s. What a gyp. And it was Hitler's car, though I think they claimed Bonnie and Clyde's was there too. Good you saved your dollar.x

Angela said...

I LOVE your blog. It really brought me back. Thanks.

Angela said...
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