Yabba Dabba Dork!

BRC6 FBFlintstones…Meet the Flintstones. From a page right out of history comes Flintstones Bedrock City. For a whopping $5 per person, you and your entire family can play for an hour or for the day in this nostalgic theme park situated at the crossroads of US-64 and US-180 in Williams, AZ, and what more appropriate place for a prehistoric village than nearby one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon!

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One of the last remaining vestigial locations of the beloved and famous Route 66, while the Mother Road was decommissioned in 1985, there are still patches and spots where idling tourists can get their kicks, including Bedrock City. Officially licensed by Hanna-Barbara, this Flintstone cartoon attraction encompasses all the stupidity and frivolity that made once made Route 66 glorious. From papier-mache Fred and Barney to their cement houses, this is a delightful side-trip must whether you have children or not. The decor is lumpy and the paint is loud. Welcome to 1960s Vintage America. Flintstones Bedrock City is as visually iconic as it is culturally classic.

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While the park does pay homage to one of the greatest cartoons dating back to when my parents were kids…the Stone Age…here is where the reverence stops. This is not a museum, so don’t treat it like one or you’ll be bored out of your gourd. In order to have a gay old time, you’ll need to be somewhat self-entertaining. Be silly. Be ridiculous. The park is completely hands-on and is a fun place to let your inner child play pretend for a couple of hours. Remember what it’s like to be a kid again:  Cook a meal in Betty’s kitchen. Take a nap in Fred’s bed. Get your hair done at the beauty salon. Ride the trolley under the giant volcano. Oh no! Don’t get thrown in jail!! And if you get tired of beating feet around the town in the Arizona sun, take a load off at the local theater where the season’s blockbuster is, of course, actual Flintstones cartoons. They even have a giant dinosaur…that you can slide down. It’s a brontosaurus. And you can be Fred on his way home from work. You’re a star in your own Flinstsones show, and if a Yabba-Dabba Doooooo! doesn’t escape your lips at some point in your visit, go back to the beginning and make yourself a new episode. Flintstones sounds and dialogue even play over the PA system throughout the park to authenticate your own personal narrative. What a deliciously dorky thing to do on vacation!

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This park is a great side trip for Grand Canyon visitors who want a laid back day off from heat and hiking and also provides on-site accommodations for families traveling on a budget. Surrounded by the Kaibab National Forest, visitors may find that the area is sparse. However, sparse doesn’t just mean empty, it means quiet, but still convenient. Located about 30 minutes away from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, the Bedrock City grounds offer a low-dough tent-site campground and RV park, which is nearby to a few convenience stores, unlike other campgrounds in the area which can be several miles from the main road. There is a grocer on the premises for campers as well as a small diner in the gift shop area, which is all decked out in Cave Man Revival. The diner is fairly inexpensive, offering the good ol’ 5-cent coffee and a breakfast of eggs and omelets or a lunch of burgers. They also offer snacks and ice cream novelties. The attraction is a 30-minute straight shot from Downtown Williams where there are restaurants, shopping, and other touristy things to do after you put the cat out for the night.

Click any photo below to enlarge.

 

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX

West Texas. I could leave the rest of this page completely blank and there would still be more to see than what the Panhandle has to offer. If I’m gonna drive it, it’s usually going to be at night where you can at least watch the red lights of the oil derricks bobbing up and down….uuuuuup and downnnnn….upppppp an….OK maybe that’s not such a good idea. Luckily, there’s a lovely little piece of Historic Route 66 along “The 40” to break up the monotony, and that little gem is, of course, Cadillac Ranch, which should be a Bucket List stop for anyone traveling east to west….and bring your spray paint. Yup! I said it.

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Traveling west, about 10 minutes outside of Amarillo, if you look to your left, you’ll see a line of…..something….poking up out of the ground in the middle of a field that is in the middle of nowhere. Pull off the freeway and motor on over to the south frontage road. You’ll come to a pull off and a gap in the highway fence decorated with a couple of trash cans and dumpsters. “You Have Arrived” as the GPS Lady says. Yep. That’s it. There’s a sign on the fence that says “STATE OF TEXAS PROPERTY. GRAFFITI PAINTING OF ANYTHING ON THIS SIDE OF FENCE IS ILLEGAL” You might be the only one there…for a minute. You get out of your car, look around, maybe hide the spray can under your coat and reconsider what you’re about to do. Don’t. I mean, don’t reconsider. The sign is old, and on my recent trip, I noticed that some wisenheimer had sprayed the word NOT in front of “illegal”. So, really…spray. Empty the whole can if you want, but make sure you take plenty of pictures because some other bucket-lister will be along behind you in an hour or so and will cover your handiwork with his…or her…own *cough* Sorry 😉

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Layers upon layers upon layers. That’s a YUGE paint chip!

So, what IS this thing?? That’s it…It’s just a thing. It’s art. We don’t ask questions of art. OK, sometimes we do. It’s a public art installation of 10 Cadillacs buried nose down in the dirt that was erected in 1974 and represents the evolution of the car’s body features from 1949-1963. You can read all about it here. It was actually put in place to “baffle the locals” as the artists put it, so you can sit there and read about it and ponder its existence, or you can get out of the car and have some fun. If you find yourself looking up at a rainbow Caddy with nothing to contribute with, cheer up. there’s a home improvement store right off the freeway just as you cross the city line into Amarillo. Pit stop. Pro Tip, though, mind which way the wind is blowing, and leave your leather jacket in the car. If you get any on your clothes, you can show everybody the pictures and say that you had to 86 that shirt because it accidentally got 66’d.

If you like the pictures you see here, visit the full gallery at LivingDedGrrl: Cadillac Ranch.

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