I dig quirky places. If Studly Doright ever gets to retire I’m going to insist on a leisurely tour of offbeat destinations.
On our way home from Texas early this month we stopped at a gem of a place just this side of Pensacola. It wasn’t my first stop there, but Studly had never experienced the Oasis Travel Center before. It’s part convenience store, part gift shop, part fast food kiosks, and part diner.
The VW bus pictured above serves as the establishment’s front entryway. Then once inside one’s senses are assailed by all manner of funky fun: yard art, a pirate ship, unique tshirts, and college fan gear.
The diner, though, is the grooviest.
Dubbed the “Derailed Diner,” it’s designed to look as if a train has come barreling through the side of the building, complete with the resulting rubble.
This entrance opens directly into the diner, and every now and again the signal crossing activates with light and sound.
The inside of the diner is an eclectic mix of kooky memorabilia.
One can dine at the Derailed Diner lunch counter:
Some of the stools are a bit on the wild side. There’s a John Deere tractor seat and a saddle,
a pair of airplane seats,
and a motorcycle passenger’s seat, complete with fender and saddlebags.
Away from the counter are regular tables, but there were also tailgates with small TV sets in the spirit of drive-in movies.
The train motif continued inside, as well,
Many tables are decorated to represent various states. We sat at the Kansas table where Dorothy’s ruby red slippers served as salt and pepper shakers, while a Wizard of Oz game under glass added to the theme.
Everywhere one looked there was something to spark the imagination.
I was curious about the origin of this certifiably quirky place, and one of the waitresses directed me to this sign:
If you ever find yourself on Interstate 10 between Pensacola and Tallahassee, look for the Oasis Travel Center. The restrooms are clean, the food is good, and the people are friendly.