No Vacancy – Why I Love Mom-and-Pop Motels

Photo copyright of Vincent David Johnson.
No Vacancy – The Desert Inn, Shoshoni, Wyoming. ~ Photo by Vincent David Johnson
A few months ago I posted up an article about how “No Vacancy” signs are disappearing from American roadsides and apart from nostalgia one could easily admit these signs aren’t the useful tools they use to be. Even on my go where the moment takes you road trips, I still find myself checking in from my smart phone.
Luckily most mom & pop motels that are still around got on board with the Internet and finding one that isn’t owned by Marriott, or Wyndham can be somewhat easy, albeit scary. However, with exception to a rare fleabag motel most of the smaller one location motels I’ve found from Gallup, New Mexico, to Cooperstown, New York have been worth the stay, worth the price, and more so quirky in way you don’t get from big chains. 
As much as Lost Americana is about fading rural America, I’m also eventually trying to make it about traveling to these places. In person I encourage folks to stop and think about driving for their next vacation, or make their next vacation a road trip.
I encourage you all as well, get off the interstate, take the slower way on Google maps. Stop in these great little towns and eat at places who’s names aren’t familiar to you. One of my all time favorite places to visit was Shoshoni, Wyoming and the Yellowstone Drug Store, which was basically an old school soda fountain that I’d bet hadn’t changed since the 1920s. I visited Shoshoni for the first time since Yellowstone Drug went out of business and it was sad. The town seems a shell of itself without it.
I posted this up just after reading an article about how the vacancy sign is disappearing across America and it reminds me of how hard it is to find these small individually owned motels in small towns.
I can go on and on, but let me end by saying make your next vacation one that’s about the journey and not the destination.
See America.