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Gila Bend — Space Age Dining

We stopped at Gila Bend for only one reason ... to eat breakfast at the Space Age Outer Limits Restaurant located adjacent to the Best Western Space Age Lodge Motel. This Gila Bend landmark has a flying saucer on the roof so it’s hard not to miss. The restaurant lobby is filled with cool space souvenirs and has an impressive 3-D mural of a space ship that looks suspiciously like the Star Trek Enterprise.

Before eating we wandered around the dining room admiring the paintings and photographs hanging on the walls, many signed by astronauts including Alan Shepard and other fly boys such as the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. On the back wall, iconic images from the U.S. space program ranging from Mercury flights, spacewalks, lunar landings and the Space Shuttle formed another mural. We learned that the recent restoration after a 1998 fire has diminished some of the restaurants original 1960s kitschy Space Age charm.

After breakfast we headed next door to the motel lobby to check out the murals on the inside of the 28 foot-wide flying saucer.  You can click on the photo above to see the interior.

Gila Bend was first settled as a main stop on the Butterfield Stage Route, and is regularly the "Hottest Spot in the country" … a title the town is apparently so proud of that more than once they were busted inflating their temperature reports.

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Give me the clear blue sky over my head, and the green turf beneath my feet, a winding road before me, and a three hours' march to dinner.

— William Hazlitt —