Photo Of The Day: Ghost Town Gas Station

The road trip: that iconic form of travel that lets us explore at a different pace. If you have ever crossed the country on four wheels, you know the role that gas stations play, both for keeping your vehicle going, and for strong black coffee and snacks. If you are lucky, there’s even a good diner attached. But as more and more people fly to complete their trips, is the iconic middle-of-nowhere gas station a thing of the past?

For today’s Photo of the Day Flickr user smallscreen gives us a great look at a piece of Americana, a ghost-like gas station in Chloride, Arizona, that’s reminiscent of a time where gas was 35 cents a gallon and people were cruising in old Chevrolets.

Do you have an interesting look into your travels? Add your photos to the Gadling Flickr pool to be chosen for the Photo of the Day feature.

[Photo Credit: smallscreen]

The Southern Road: The Perks Of Gas Station Food

The South has its highways, but in order to get to some places, you have to take four-lane or two-lane roads. That’s where you’ll find gas stations. And in many gas stations, you’ll find food.

Up north, hardly anybody I know eats food from a gas station, unless they’re starving and it has a Subway attached. Down south, gas station food is its own form of cuisine. If you’re fortunate, you can score breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in a good gas station, which may also have its own booths and dining tables.

At bare minimum, a gas station worth its salt (or fat) will serve breakfast – primarily a biscuit. This is usually a chicken, country ham or sausage biscuit. It is as far from Grape-Nuts as breakfast can get. I had resisted the biscuit breakfast until I was on the road from Birmingham, Alabama, to West Point, Georgia.

I passed a gas station that offered “Hot Biscuits & Full Breakfast, Live Bait, Hunting and Fishing Supplies.” Inside, I bought plain biscuits. They were fine, and flaky, and filled my mid-morning needs. But I knew there was more out there.

I found gas stations that featured barbecue, gas stations with fried catfish (many proudly displaying a “raised in the USA sign”) and gas stations with fried chicken. I found gas stations with a head-spinning, rainbow variety of frozen drinks that actually scared me.

I really struck gold at the Dodge’s Chicken Store in Lexington, Tennessee. It isn’t technically a gas station, but a restaurant with an adjacent gas station. The signs offered the trinity: chicken, barbecue and catfish.

Inside, people were jostling each other to get up to the counter. The variety was enormous and the prices divine: $2.99 for a pulled pork sandwich, $5.99 a pound for barbecue, $2.59 for a slab of catfish. There was corn on the cob, fried corn on the cob, hush puppies, mac and cheese. And, there were fried hand pies, a little bigger than a McDonald’s pie.

Since I knew I’d be eating a big lunch, I asked for a small piece of catfish and a sweet potato pie. The counter girl looked disappointed: “Aren’t you going to have any sides?” she asked. It was a perfect snack, and a terrific example of gas station food.

Desperate TSA looking for new colleagues at gas stations – promises free X-Ray vision and benefits

After advertising on pizza boxes, the TSA at Reagan National Airport have now resorted to advertising at D.C. area gas stations. In their ad for part time security officers, they promise a career where “x-ray vision and federal benefits come standard”. Perhaps I’m overreacting, but using x-ray screening equipment as a job perk seems rather tacky.

I’m also surprised that four months after the pizza box ads, the TSA is still having a hard time filling positions in a country where unemployment is such a hot issue.

On the official government jobs site, 100’s of positions are listed with the TSA – but the entry level position of Transportation Security Officer is listed at $29,131.00 – $43,697.00 /year – and that starting salary may have something to do with the trouble finding enough candidates. Still, if you are out of work and you fit the requirements, the TSA would love you to come and help them enjoy their x-ray perk!

Road tripping to be easier this summer with lower gas prices

Fill your tank, cut down a redwood and kick a polar bear in the ‘nads … gas is likely to stay cheap this summer! So, let the environment be damned, load up the Hummer and take the longest road trip of your life.

The Energy Information Administration has great news for motorists: gas is expected to hang around an average of $2.23 a gallon this summer (more if you live in New York or California, I imagine). Peak driving season – late in the summer – could see a rise to more than $2.30, but it’s still a far cry from last summer’s insanity … when the average gallon would set you back $3.81.

What’s behind this embarrassment of fossil fuel riches? A barrel of crude is likely to cost about a third of what it did last summer ($53 versus $147), and U.S. crude oil production is supposed to come back up – by 440,000 barrels a day.

But, it pays to have a backup plan. Howard Gruenspecht, acting administrator of the EIA, concedes that an early broader economic recovery could lead to more pain at the pump, though you’d probably be able to afford it.

An EIA spokesman was on hand to confirm, “We’re not in the crystal ball business.” If they were, they probably wouldn’t be talking about fuel prices anyway.

Photo of the Day (6/2/07)

Lima Gas Station
I like yellow, but this gas station found in Lima, Peru was painted in too much yellow. The opening lyrics to Sesame Street popped into my head thinking it might be Big Bird’s house and those poor guys in black and yellow… I’m usually one for the company and team colors, but again my eyes are screaming Peru! Way to be on the lookout caffeineguy.