Classic Gas Museum!

Classic Gas Museum, Highway 68, Embudo, New Mexico

One of my favorite rules of the road trip is pull over often! Roadside America is a destination in itself! The teardrop is a little harder to pull over on a moment’s notice, but I take it pretty slow. No need to speed when your home is the road!

Cruising the scenic “high road” to Taos, also known as Highway 68, I spotted rows upon rows of vintage gas pumps and then a sign: Classic Gas Museum. This I had to see!

Old Gas Pumps

The proprietor, Johnnie “In Rust We Trust” Meier, has been collecting Route-66 era gas station memorabilia at this location for about 15 years, in tribute to the glory days of cheap gas, cold sodas and gas station attendants who would not only pump your gas, but also check your oil, inflate your tires and wash your windshield, all in the name of good customer service.

Cold Cokes! That vintage freezer actually works!

You can’t buy gas at the Classical Gas Museum, most of the pumps have been out of commission for decades, but you can get a cold soda out of a vintage freezer. Some of the memorabilia is for sale, but there are no price tags anywhere. I get the feeling that if you want to buy something, you have to talk Johnnie into parting with it and the price reflects how good a home he feels like you’ll give it.

Inside the Classic Gas Museum

Vintage Car Products. Too cool!

I’m always interested in where collectors get their stuff. Johnnie said most of the more than 100 antique gas pumps at the museum came from farms. On a few rare occasions, I’ve come across old analog pumps at gas stations way out in the middle of nowhere. The kind where the numbers flip on a reel. Still no attendant (unless you’re in Oregon or New Jersey!) but the old pumps have no credit card reader so you at least have to go inside and exchange pleasantries with the clerk.

Credit card what?

I’m too young to remember the classic gas days, when road tripping was as American as apple pie. It seems these days we’ve traded customer service and conversation for credit card convenience. Me, I’d rather go back to the good ol’ days, gas prices, cold cokes and all…

Classic Gas days, where the glass must always be full! :)

In the market for your very own vintage gas pump? Johnnie’s email is johnniev@roadsideculture.com.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently traveling the backroads from New Mexico to Alaska, writing and living out of a tiny Teardrop camper. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at www.marycapertonmorton.com.
This entry was posted in New Mexico, Photography, Road tripping!, Uncategorized, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Classic Gas Museum!

  1. Pat Bean says:

    I remember when service, air and water for your vehicle were free. Seems a long time ago, but then I’m an old broad.

  2. I’ve got a question for you. Been wondering this awhile.

    While you’re on road, do you ever get nervous that people might break into your car or trailer? I like road tripping a lot, but I’m paranoid people will break into the car if I leave my dog in there (only when it’s not hot), which I sometimes do for quick stops. Or my camera & laptop.

    Maybe I’ve lived in a city too long…

    • Yes, it is something I think about. Less so, if my dogs are in the car. They are good, sweet dogs, but they wouldn’t stand for somebody messing with my stuff. I take precautions — I never leave anything visible and try to park in well-frequented areas, where there’s usually somebody around — but there’s only so much you can do. Prepare for the worst, expect the best and don’t worry too much until you have to! After all, it’s just stuff. Losing your dog is another matter! Would your dog really let somebody taken him/her? Mine would throw an absolute fit!

      • Sound advice. Thanks.

        Your teardrop has AC, right? That’s a nice plus for your dogs if you have to leave them behind.

      • AC?! Haha no. It has a popup skylight and windows on both sides so it has great ventilation. It doesn’t get hot the way a car gets hot, even in the sun. Pretty nice dog house, I think. ;)

      • My bad! For some reason I thought it had AC. I wonder if you could find a battery-powered one to use on a scorching day. Might be handy in emergency situations.

      • Amarillo, TX – the classic Cadillac Ranch is out there (I drove by on my cross country trip). It’s a bit of a trek for you, but since you seem to be on the hunt for roadside stands, that’s a can’t miss!

  3. sandy says:

    I hate to tell you how many of those things I remember!

  4. OMG!!! How many classic things there are.. I never seen these old gas containers. Very Good.

  5. These photographs would make a great calendar…..they are AWESOME!

  6. Rachael says:

    I love this post. I really dislike riding in cars. I think it might be a British thing. There’s little joy left in driving our crowded roads. But when I am in the States driving feels so effortless. And it is little gems like this Gas Museum that make a road trip fun. When the kids have flown (a long way off I hope but it will happen) my other half and I plan to do a North America road trip. This will be a must.

  7. Maribeth says:

    I just found your blog. Awesome. Regretting I did not live this lifestyle while I was young and could. Hubby and I who are (too fat, too old, and too poor) to do all of the great stuff you are doing but we are getting out and about and seeing what we can. I hope you are an inspiration to the next generation to leave the “vices” of our current society behind and see this beautiful planet of ours.

  8. What an awesome find. I love places like this. Great shots.

  9. Astrid says:

    Cool pics, looks like an awesome place to visit!

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