A chapter in an occasional series of posts documenting a Spring 2021 road trip.
Continued from the post, Route 66: Diners, Twin Arrows And Trading Posts, (link here).
The van rocks and bumps as it grinds out of the dirt lot near Twin Arrows, Arizona. Lexi, my canine backseat driver is standing behind me, peering over my shoulder as we get back on Highway 40. She shifts glances between me and whatever we happen to be passing, tail swishing, nose twitching.
While Cora’s back at the motel, sleeping in, Lex and I are eastbound, on the way to Two Guns.
If you’re at highway speed and looking for it, Two Guns isn’t hard to miss. Unaware of the old stone ruins, though, they might flash briefly in the corner of your eye as an apparition from an era long past. You think to yourself, ‘What in the hell was that?’
It’s a momentary presence that flashes back to a scene from an old western; the climactic gunfight in the ruins of an old Southwestern town.
You might double back to confirm that what you thought you saw was what you really saw.
Highway exits? They’re like doors that lead to rooms off the main hallway. Exit signs convey the basics of what’s behind those doors. They tell you if there’s food: if there’s lodging; if there’s a gas station.
What exit signs don’t reveal are the sights, the stories and the lore locked in some of those rooms. Sometimes you just have to speculate whether or not there’s something worthwhile beyond the door.
But isn’t that the essence of a road trip? You see an exit sign, steal a glance off the highway and in the quickly waning moments before you’ve passed the exit, you either veer off or go on. In the case of the former you might stumble onto a rare find.
The latter? You’ll never know, will you.
In most cases you do pass by and press on. But the name Two Guns is compelling, a little bit mysterious, and very much Wild West. Hard to resist the urge.
The exit sign is simple.
Two Guns ↗
Nothing else. Nothing hints of the tales of Two Guns.
The recent history of Two Guns (recent being 1920) is a version of the usual story of someone trying to make a go of it along the course of once popular Route 66 in the barren Southwest. Just another rendition of the many narratives that stretch from Oklahoma to the Pacific Ocean; of dreams, plans, success, failure and a final surrender to the onslaught of progress.
That’s the unspectacular. The rest?