When driving or hitchhiking from here to there — say from Albany, Oregon to Olympia, Washington — along Interstate Highway 5, a good citizen must make a refreshing stop at Pilot Travel Centers.
Inside the graciously appointed neoclassical “Highroad to Heaven” exterior design, punctuated by a mid-1970s colorway, you will find every important consumable item ever made by hardworking, underpaid “crafts people” from the United States, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, and various parts of greater China.
Of course, not all items are edible. Some, like the laser-guided disco ball and radar detector, are practical gadgets meant for enhancing your travels. While others, like the ceramic dragon or the glow bead necklace, are just so gull-darn cute you’ll have to display them on your car’s dashboard or hang them from the rear view mirror — testify!
At the dispensable beverages island, Martina Clover swirls mocha-flavored slushy with grape-flavored RC Cola into a 20-once cup of crushed ice. In love! We’ll never meet, except for a brief eyeball-to-eyeball conundrum. Back up her image to spank drive.
A metallic ping, followed by a brief pause, and then the hollow tones of a magnified voice:
“Shower customer 47, your shower is ready; please proceed to shower number four, after gathering the following items: A) one of five fragranced soaps on a rope B) any of our lovely terry cloth bath towels, and C) either a winged serpent or a holly jolly elf tattoo kit (to be applied to the skin upon full completion of the mandatory toweling off process (for your reference, please see inset instruction posted to the right of each shower stall)). Shower customer 47, your shower is ready; please proceed to shower number four. Thank you, and enjoy your respite from the rigors of the long road.”
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K. Shawn Edgar | 35682-1 | 390-23 | 0009-084369