Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Thing?

The Thing? Exit 322.

What the hell is it? That was the question we pondered as we saw billboard after billboard along I-10 in the southern Arizona desert advertising "The Thing." In case you could not guess, this type of gimmick that promises total randomness in the middle of the desert is what The Lone Coyote lives for. There was no question about it. Once we hit Exit 322, we were stopping.

We hit Texas Canyon, home to some very wild and other worldly rock formations. The rest area was closed, unfortunately, so I did not get to take any cool pictures there. Shortly after exiting the canyon, we saw it the magical exit. The Thing?! What is it??

Uh, it looks like a gas station in the middle of the desert with a big gift shop and an attached Dairy Queen. Inside we found the typical tacky desert souvenirs--animal carvings, jewelery, "rattlesnake eggs," cheesy T-shirts, and Mexican jumping beans. At the back was a huge metal door to nowhere with a $1 admission fee. It took some convincing to get the Mrs. to agree to enter, but I prevailed.

The lady took our money and told us to follow the yellow footprints through the other buildings. Other buildings? These yellow tracks were supposed to be made by Bigfoot, I guess. There was no turning back. We went through the heavy door and entered the first of several open-doored bunkers. That was about the time we realized we had forgotten the camera. It was in the car. After some consideration we concluded there was no way to exit, get the camera, and re-enter. So, sorry, no pictures from here either.

The buildings were full of completely random, and kind of creepy, stuff. There were the "one of a kind" wooden sculptures of people being tortured, a collection of ancient guns including one from the Ottoman Empire (supposedly), and some strange creatures that appeared to be made from tree roots. Then there were the collections of "artifacts," which included old cars, including one that was supposedly Hitler's, a buggy that Abe Lincoln once rode in, and random old household items. Then there was the more "ethnic" stuff--an ancient Chinese stool, Native American baskets, and random pottery.

In the last building one can find out what The Thing? actually is. I will not spoil it, in case you are ever driving along I-10 and want to find out. You can Google it if you are really curious. Let me say you'd likely never guess what The Thing? really is. The whole experience was totally awesome in its randomness, even if it was a bit creepy. I love America.


Doctor-to-Be said...

Lone Coyote -- I really enjoy your musings. I am glad you are still finding time to write, even in these ridiculously hectic days of your training. And thanks for sharing your discovery of The Thing!

Bostonian in NY said...

I'm betting the thing is el chupacabra...or manbearpig