but it's a dry landmark!" Stops along Arizona Highways
by Chris Epting
I am writing this from room 326 of the Hampton Inn on North Scottsdale Road in Tempe, Arizona. What brings me to Tempe is baseball's spring training season (our favorite annual family getaway) and a few book signings for Roadside Baseball.
I am also here writing about something I worked on, the brand new, Web-based, free road trip planning tool sponsored by the Hampton Inn hotel chain. "Hidden Landmarks" is an interactive pop culture database that allows users to easily navigate specific topics and regions, explore themed "Road Trips" and lots more. While a number of the locations in the database can also be found in my books James Dean Died Here, Roadside Baseball and the soon-to-be-released Marilyn Monroe Dyed Here, there are hundreds of new ones from baseball to movies to offbeat Americana. For the first time ever, you can access the full realm of American Pop Culture from your computer.
Here are a few interesting
places I have visited during my travels in the "Grand
Many baseball fans today love to take ballpark tours, visiting as many as they can when they hit the road. But beyond the big, shiny major league parks are many little gems like this. Warren Ballpark is actually the first professional ballpark in Arizona, and many great teams have played here over the years (including the New York Giants in 1913). Opening Day was June 27, 1909, and the locals got to see the Bisbee team defeat El Paso, 8-3. In 1994, the City of Bisbee placed a marker here to underscore the historical significance of the place. Today, the field is run by Bisbee High School, and it's where the school teams play. To arrange a visit, you can contact the school directly at 520-432-5714.
ARIZONA METEOR CRATER
This classic Route 66 inn was built in 1902, and is probably most notable for being the place where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon on March 18, 1939. The legendary Hollywood couple had been married earlier that day in Kingman, Arizona, and on the way back west decided to stop here and spend the night. Today, the Oatman has 10 rooms, available for just $35 per night. All except for the famous honeymoon suite, which goes for about $55.
THING? (2631 N Johnson Rd;
take Exit 322 south of I-10 between Benson and Willcox,
Those are but a few of the weird, wonderful sites out in the Arizona desert. To discover more, check out Hampton Inn's new "Hidden Landmarks." Also, I'm in the midst of a new pop culture road trip book and if you have any suggestions, drop me a line.