Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Seligman's Snow Cap: Historic humor on Route 66

Route 66 holds a place in American culture nearly as revered as that of another, more mythical road, the one made of yellow bricks. And one of the most beloved stops along Route 66 is the Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona. In this monument of kitsch, a straw is not a straw, a bottle of mustard holds more than just a condiment, and you'd better not ask for a napkin.

I visited the Snow Cap with my family back in 1998, on our way from San Diego to Lake Powell. Pulling off I-40 and onto the business loop—old Route 66—we passed by the Roadkill Cafe and stopped at the Snow Cap. We had no trouble finding it; the old Chevy painted in garish colors, the sign announcing that they sold "Dead Chicken"... the place hardly blended in. When we saw the sign that said "Sorry, We're Open," we knew we were in for a treat.

Sure enough, it became evident that "Dead Chicken" was not the only thing on the menu. They featured a special of Gags, a side of Jokes and a freshly baked loaf of Cornball Fun. When I ordered a small cup of coffee, I got a thimble-sized cup. When one of my nieces asked for a napkin, the server asked "New or used?" If you requested a straw, you were likely to get a handful of real straw.

Owner and founder Juan Delgadillo was the one behind the gags, including the mustard bottle that shot out a yellow string that looked just like the real thing. He opened the Snow Cap in 1953, and shortly thereafter began serving fun with the french fries. Though I read that Delgadillo passed away in 2004, his sons have kept his spirit alive, so don't miss this historic landmark of humor if you're visiting the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona or any of the many other sights in the vicinity.

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