One of the reasons I enjoyed Rt. 66 so much was because of the spontaneity we were afforded on that stretch of road. Unlike our other stops, we had no pre-approval to film anywhere along the highway. Sure, we had a few ideas for locations, but we were truly counting on our own charm and good luck to be able to shoot anywhere. Luckily, the staff at Pop’s were gracious enough to let us record our visit.
It was about noon and our first real stop of the day. We were all starved and grateful for a break from rest stop food, and the heat, as we rolled into Pop’s.
If you’ve seen any of our short videos, it’s the place with the massive soda bottle out front. The metal frame buzzes loudly with the sound of electricity during the day, almost as if straining in anticipation for the moment its switch is flipped, and it can illuminate the night. There’s likely a metaphor to be found here; possibly, something about feeling boxed in and yearning to light out across the land – or maybe just some sexual innuendo. It’s been a long work week, so I’ll let you fill in the blanks. But I digress.
Aside from the bottle out front, Pop’s is known for carrying a ridiculous number of sodas (pop, to our regional readers) for sale. If it’s made inside this country, or even outside, they likely have it. I’m not much of a soda drinker myself, but even I was taken by temptation to try some of the more interesting flavors and fill up a six-pack of bottles.
As the cast and crew meandered up and down the aisles, I was more interested in the food. Pop’s is definitely an Americana type eatery. Riding across the country, we encountered our share of hotdogs and hamburgers, but what made Pop’s stand out was the toppings. I wish I could remember the name of the hotdog I ordered, but I do remember is was massive and had so many toppings the thing required three bites at a time to make any progress. I was a happy man.
Typing this entry, I already know it sounds like a commercial, and I’m ok with that. I loved Rt. 66, and I’ll unapologetically be a cheerleader for any of the attractions we stopped at. Sure, the Mother Road has its tourist traps, but it’s also living history, and for modern adventurers, it’s just about as close as we can get to experiencing an era before superhighways.
If you ever have the chance to ride its length, jump on it. And do yourself a favor: take it slow, and ride a motorcycle. Feel the hot sun on your shoulders and the grit in your teeth. Lean into those crosswinds and cruise through the towns. Eat locally. Talk to folks. You won’t regret it.