Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Gas Museum

As we were headed toward Taos on our way to visit the Earthship Landing Zone, we passed an amazing pile of gas station memorabilia and a sign that said “Museum”. Intrigued, we pulled in and started to take some pictures. Before long we were greeted by a man who appeared from the back of the property. Surrounded as we were by the thousands of pieces of old gas stations and other automobile paraphernalia, I said “Wow! Nice collection! How long you been doing this? ” “Bout two weeks” he fired back, chuckled and wandered off towards an old Coca-Cola cooler that was sitting on the front porch.

Reaching in to the cooler, he wrestled around for a few seconds and came back up with a small wrapped package about the size of an ice cream bar. I had noticed the sign out front, in addition to saying “Museum”, also said “Moon Pies”. Having not seen a Moon Pie since some time in the 60’s, I assumed the sign was just part of his collection. But lo and behold, here he was clutching an honest to goodness Moon Pie! As he unwrapped it to eat, I couldn’t help but notice the Moon Pie almost looked like it had been around since the 60’s, but he happily began to munch on what had been one of my favorite treats when I was very young and before my Mom realized they probably weren’t the best snack food in the world.

His collection was incredible, and included everything from vintage gas pumps to oil cans and posters, and even an old typewriter of the same make and model I remember my Dad banging away on a few hundred years ago. With obvious pride he showed my brother-in-law Simon and I around the museum which was packed so tight you get barely get down the aisles. Out in the parking lot sat a nearly complete, although quite dilapidated small diner on wheels. Everything was still there, from the 50’s style bar stools to the sink and stove, and even some of the pots and pans. Johnnie, as I found out his name was, was planning on doing a full restoration this summer and selling some ice cream out of it to go with his Moon Pies.

Simon bought a small trinket, and I made a donation which I found out Johnnie gives to the local Humane Society each year. As we drove away, I realized that someday all the paraphernalia of the fossil fuel powered automobile age will end up in a museum. Perhaps Johnnie is just a little bit ahead of his time.

To enjoy more photos of the Gas Museum and New Mexico CLICK HERE to visit our photo gallery.

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