An Old Relic Of The American Road Trip Is Disappearing

Love this article which traces the history of the roadside motels in America. The traditional mom and pop motels – once ubiquitous are slipping away without much notice, People bypass the old roads.

Fascinating read:

Crushing realities: The early travelers were Depression-era migrants who’d been pushed off their land by failing crops, relentless dust and heartless banks.

Struggling to find some sense of home on the road, these environmental and economic refugees searched for hope against a backdrop of unfathomable loss. They were heading to California, the land of hope. Along the way, cheap motels popped up to cater to the new wave of travelers across America,

After the war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, frustrated by the difficulty of moving military tanks across the country, promoted a plan that mimicked the German autobahn: the Federal Interstate Highway System. But the first of these four-lane highways would take over a decade to build.

In America, the new highways bypassed many classic motels, diners and gas stations such as those found on Route 66. I think another reason is the decline of the roadtrip culture sue escalating costs of gas, tolls and vehicle maintenance.

Our nation built highways because our truck roads were narrow,winding and sloping, Many lives were lost in horrific crashes.

The story in America in many ways mirrored our history. The NSE bypassed many small towns that led to its decline. The only exception I think is Bidor town which was once a popular rest stop due to Pun Chun restaurant. They are fortunate because the toll plaza is located near town. Today it is still bustling. Other popular stopover towns were Tanjung Malim, Kajang, Seremban, Gemas, Ayer Hitam. Batu Pahat and more.

Many family owned hotels known as Runah Tumpangan faded away without record or people documenting it.

The picture used in the article is the historic motel chain Wigwam which uses concrete tipi or teepee tents as rooms.

You can book one of three the surviving ones in San Bernardino, California here:

Pic by Agods. Remember, American friends, you can book a hotel anywhere in the USA via MyCen Hotels

#roadtrip #nse #highway #motels #wigwam #history #freeway #expressway #mycenhotels

The Slim River Rest House

At one glance, Rumah Rehat Slim River looks like a charming hippie commune from the flower power days. Only thing missing is a VW Kombi with psychedelic colours.

Unlike other government rest houses from colonial days, this one is relatively recent. The reception clerk told me it was built in the 1960s.

The motel-style chalets are on stilts, clustered on a big lawn with nice countryside surroundings as a backdrop. I think I’ll stay here for this part of the journey.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/1000 sec.

Sun Setting On A Rest House

The Tanjung Malim Rest House stands like a crumbling monument to an era long gone. There used to be a rest house in every town but only a few have survived or are still operating. Government rest houses are now mostly a British colonial day relic left abandoned and to fade away silently.

This one is unique as it is one of few with the original design from more than a 100 years ago. One of the last caretakers was a Hainanese. Not surprisingly, the rest house was well-known for the food he served.

During its glory days, this rest house not only served as a hotel (or motel) but also as a popular dining venue for royalty, other VIPs and room guests.

Now, the wooden structure is rotting away, the fittings stripped bare and creepers are encircling it in a slow strangle of death. Only thing that will probably remain is the eponymous Rest House Road it stands on.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f11, 1/320 sec.