Icons: Google Map Pins and Mid Century Motels

Mapping America's motels

Even with a resurgence in retro-chic motels, finding great vintage properties along good riding routes is a challenge. Hopefully you can help.

Wigwam Motel Holbrook, AZ

In 1961 there were 60,961 motels operating in America.  Today the number is much, much smaller.  The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) no longer distinguishes between hotels and motels (it used to be known as the American Hotel and Motel Association).  However, according to the AHLA there are 33,000 properties that are considered small businesses with upwards of 20,000 of those being limited service franchised operations. And included in the balance of the 13,000 are the myriad of small hotels, inns and B&Bs. So you can deduce that independently operated motels only make up a small fraction of the difference.

My goal is to identify, research and map out approximately 100 retro-chic motels. Why 100 when I am only riding 50 days? Because there is a good chance there will be no rooms at the inn (so to speak) when I start planning the trip. I also have to do this visually.  Once pinned on my virtual map, I can start to imagine a route.

Austin Motel, Austin TX

In the days, weeks and months ahead I am sourcing magazine articles (everything from RoadRunner Motorcycle Travel and Touring to Vogue), books, the motorcycling community and even asking moteliers of retro-chic motels who they recommend.  And fortunately moteliers, like motorcyclists, are always helpful. For example April at the The June Motel suggested I include the Austin Motel in Austin TX, and Lisa at The Cadillac Motel said that ‘any list isn’t complete unless I include the Magic Beach Motel in St. Augustine FL’.  Done.  You can find both on this site now.

So the process of mapping motels and populating The Motelorcycle Chronicles begins. And this is where you can help. If you have ever stayed at one of the listed motels, have a memory that you would like to share, know of a great ride around one of the destinations or would like to recommend your favourite retro motel(s), please do so! I’d be happy to include your suggestions and credit your contribution.

Now to finding and adding those icons.



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