Tag Archives: back roads travel blog

The History of the VW Beetle & The Rare “Zwitter”


History of the VW Beetle

Designed by Porsche under the direction of Adolf Hitler, the Volkswagen Beetle was intended to provide cheap transport for the working class masses of Germany. Though originally designed in the 1930s, introduction of mass production was impacted by World War II, meaning that the bulk of the initial production runs went to high ranking Nazi officials. The Beetle wasn’t produced in large volume until the conclusion of the War in 1945.

With its small size and rear engine, the VW Beetle was designed for economical travel of the Autobahn. As it eventually gained popularity in the United States, it was seen by many as a compact, great gas mileage alternative to the flashy, large sedans that were popular in Mid-Century America.


 What is one of the Most Rare Volkswagen Beetles & What Makes it Rare?

The Volkswagen Beetle that has come to be known as the Zwitter was only produced from October 1952 through March 1953. It’s short production run makes it particularly rare. You can tell you are looking at a Zwitter if it has the split rear window of the early models, but has the redesigned dashboard more commonly seen in the oval rear window version of the Beetle, as opposed the dual glove compartments of the regular split window models.

1953 Zwitter Photo by Willem Aart Van Dorpen
Photo Copyright – Willem-Aart van Dorpen – Bé’s 1953 Zwitter. This amazing car was featured in the January 2011 issue of Ultra VW magazine.

What happened to the VW Zwitter?

The Zwitter ceased to be when Volkswagen did away the split rear window in the Beetle. The manufacturer replaced the split window of past Beetles with the singular oval window in 1953 to improve rear view visibility.

Has Anyone Seen THIS Zwitter?mike wolfe american pickers 1953 VW Zwitter

Back in 2011, you may have seen this one on Mike Wolfe’s Facebook page. He was the proud owner of this unrestored 1953 beauty for a brief period of time between buying it and sending it on its way to a new owner. In case you’re wondering, yes, he still misses her!

Read more about the history of Volkswagen, from Hitler to 1967, here at Pre67VW.com.






Woodstock Vintage Lumber Brings New Life to Reclaimed Lumber

The once prevalent hard wood forests of the US were heavily logged without replanting in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those hard woods that were once the bones of ships, barns, Victorian homes, manufacturing facilities and other buildings are now scarce, many of the remaining forests protected from logging. We are fortunate to have companies like Woodstock Vintage Lumber to thank for salvaging those woods and offering them a second life in furniture, beams, flooring, mantels & more.

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With custom design services, Woodstock Vintage Lumber works with clients to create works of art built from pieces of American history that fit exact specifications to meet their home and business decor needs.

woodstock vintage lumber salvaged vintage home,  woodstock vintage lumber, two lanes, mike wolfe, american picker, vintage home decor

More than just furniture, Woodstock Vintage Lumber allows you add history to your vintage home decor with counter tops, floors, mantles and reclaimed wood plank walls.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Need beams? At Woodstock Vintage Lumber, antique beams are reclaimed using a socially responsible process. They restore the lumber to the highest standards of quality while retaining the unique look created by nail holes, weather checks, saw kerfs, and knots — all natural traits that allow the wood to tell its story in your home or business.

Want to see some of the work that Woodstock Vintage Lumber has done for us? See the work they did for our Country Living Fair booth not long ago on Two Lanes Blog here and check out the Woodstock Vintage Lumber Blog for a peek at the work they’ve done at Antique Archaeology Nashville at Marathon Village

See more of Woodstock Vintage Lumber’s work and learn more about their history and ordering process on their website.





J. Augur Design – A Chance to Own A Piece of History

Sometimes what we are supposed to do in life finds us more than we find it. Judy Augur of J. Augur Designs is a good example of that. What started out as a venture into the curating and reselling of vintage clothing has turned into an unexpected business constructing new, hand made, one of kind bags from some of the many vintage textiles she has been able to collect over the years. A woman after our own hearts, Judy Augur now spends her days giving new life to fabrics that many people may mistake as being past their days.

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Constructed by hand, using vintage finds like canvas dating back to World War I and World II and old Navajo weavings, J. Augur bags offer consumers a chance to own a piece of history.

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Back road travel friendly they are large enough for you to carry all the things you really need but small enough to keep you from bringing along all those things that you don’t.

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Maybe it is because Judy Augur uses fabrics that have already seen a lot of life, but something about them just beckons you to grab one and take it along for a ride.

mike wolfe, antique archaeology, leclaire, american pickers, vintage tee, vintage fashion, j. auger,


Not surprisingly, we at Antique Archaeology are a little partial to her current selection of rooster designs. Take a look at J. Augur Designs here online to see which are your favorite.


Homer Tate – Curator and Creator of the Macabre

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Homer Tate’s Wolf Boy. Photo: 2015 by Meghan Aileen

Objects become collectible for so many reasons. Sometimes, it is simply their rarity. Other times, we are drawn to the collecting of things that remind us of a different time or of the inspiring life of those who originally created them. Homer Tate’s oddities fall into all of those categories.

Born in the late 1800’s, Homer Tate was a man that lived a conventional life, holding traditional jobs. He was a miner, a sheriff, a farmer, and eventually the owner of a motel and gas station in Arizona. Maybe it was the people he met and things he saw while running a desert gas station and motel that inspired him to completely change the course of his life.

Photo of The THING courtesy of http://www.delange.org.
Photo of The THING courtesy of http://www.delange.org.

In 1945, Homer Tate moved to the city of Phoenix and took up the pursuit of art. He didn’t take up the pursuit of traditional art, however, painting or sketching. He became both a curator and creator of oddities of the macabre. Working with papier-mâché and dead animal remains, he created mythical creatures like the Wolf Boy, one of 26 mummies found in a cave in Peru that you may have seen on American Pickers. He eventually opened Tate’s Curiosity Shop to display his many oddities. A flyer promoting the establishment claims the shop contained, “The world’s best manufactured shrunken heads–a wonderful window attraction to make your mother-in-law want to go home.”

Perhaps one of Homer Tate’s most famous curiosities is The THING, the papier-mâché mummy with the mischeivous grin. It was originally purchased by Thomas Binkley Prince and immediately turned into a tourist attraction, advertised by billboards for miles around. It was the kind of thing you probably begged your parents to let you to stop and see while on long driving vacations in the family car. Like many roadside attractions of yesteryear, it was displaced by an interstate. The THING was relocated and has undergone an ownership change, but has continued luring travelers from their paths to see it beneath the glass of its coffin since the mid twentieth century.

Thanks to his decision to spend his life in the pursuit of these oddities and art, we can easily think of Homer Tate as the man who ventured off the path of conventional and then lured the rest of us into following him, if only for a few brief moments while traveling.




The Man Behind The Great Sea Serpent Of Nantucket

tony sarge, american pickers, nantucket sea serpent, mike wolfe
Photo Courtesy Of Nantucket Historical Society

Who doesn’t remember the excitement of waking up to The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television every year as a young child? There is something fascinating about those creatures floating high above the streets of NYC. They are like visions from a child’s fantasy brought to life. I used to imagine that someday I would walk those NYC streets holding one of those ropes, trying not to float away, but secretly wishing that I would.

The man we have to thank for those childhood imaginings is Tony Sarge. It was Anthony “Tony” Frederick Sarge, the man credited with being the father of modern puppetry in North America, who introduced the first giant, helium filled balloons into the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the late 1920’s, just a handful of years after the parade began, but one of the most famous moments of the awe inspiring parade actually began on Nantucket Island.

Always a kid at heart, Sarge was an illustrator, puppeteer and Nantucket toy store owner. Nothing tells the story of the man behind the balloons quite like the Tony Sarge hoax of Nantucket Island. It was the Summer of 1937, and the island was buzzing with tales of giant footprints on the beach and sightings of a Sea Serpent swimming in the sea. Sarge himself can be credited with the buzz. The prankster had alerted the town press to the giant “creature” that would be floating at sea. The elaborate publicity stunt was a success. By the time the sea serpent washed up on the beach, off target of its original destination, the national news wire had picked up the story and the whole country had its eyes set on the Nantucket beaches. That Fall, Tony Sarge’s most famous balloon to date took to the air over the streets of Manhattan while Sarge, no doubt, looked on with pride and a lot of laughs.


tony sarge, american pickers, nantucket sea serpent, mike wolfe
Tony Sarge’s Sea Serpent Post Card Courtesy of Nantucket Historical Society

See more photos of the Sea Serpent of Nantucket here. 



Get Outside!

June is National Great Outdoors Month


Few things are as American as the State and National parks that represent our natural heritage, and June is a whole month dedicated to exploring them! What started as Great Outdoors Week by Presidential Proclamation under President Clinton in 1998 has been expanded to a month long event through the support of Presidents following him. Full of events like National Trails Day, National Get Outdoors Day, the Great American Campout and more, there is no lack of opportunities for you to hook up your trailer (if you’re lucky you have one of these 1952 Airstreams) and get outdoors!

Find events near you here.


great outdoors month antique archaeology


Chris Stapleton – Travellin’ Man

Photo Courtesy of ChrisStapleton.Com

“I’m just a traveller on this earth
Sure as my heart’s behind the pocket of my shirt
I’ll just keep rolling till I’m in the dirt
‘Cause I’m a traveller, oh, I’m a traveller
I couldn’t tell you honey, I don’t know
Where I’m going but I’ve got to go
‘Cause every turn reveals some other road”

At a time when country music just isn’t what it used to be, Kentucky bred Chris Stapleton is a breath of fresh air, especially for those of us that are looking for soundtracks of ramblin’ lives.

Anyone who loves to be on the road knows there are two kinds of travel. There’s hitting the road to escape and there’s hitting the road to think it through and get back to yourself. Chris Stapleton’s Traveller is a definitely a two lane travel tunes kinda album, but it may not be for those who want to just get away.

An infamous vagabond, who arrived in Nashville to almost immediate songwriting success, Chris Stapleton didn’t even carry a cell phone because he didn’t want to be reached. His career has been a journey and there have been a lot of unexpected turns along the way. After his first single was released and didn’t achieve its expected radio success, he did what any true vagabond would do. He hit the road.

On a road trip across the country, in a jeep that he wasn’t sure would make the trip, with his wife who is always by his side, he was inspired to write the majority of his first solo album, Traveller.

Everyone loves a good travel tune. What you may or may not love most about Traveller, though, is that isn’t an escapist’s travel tunes. It is the tunes you take a listen to when you need think it through, think back on what was, and figure out what’s next. Chris Stapleton didn’t just cover a lot of miles on a road trip across the country. He contemplated the whole journey he’s taken up to this moment and he somehow managed to put it into beautifully written and beautifully sung words.

Whether you put the album into a CD player and cruise an hour down two lane backroads while it’s playing, or you sit and listen to it from your own home, there’s no doubt you’ll find yourself time-travelling while the stories unfold. That is exactly what makes it Two Lane Travel Tunes, whether you leave the comfort of your own home or not.

Download the album and check for tour dates near you here. 

Give the tunes a listen below.

Featured Image Photography of the album art by Meghan Aileen.


 New Antique Archaeology Tanks, Tees & More!


Antique Archaeology Spring/Summer 2015 LookBook

With vintage styling that captures the spirit of two lane travel, the Spring/Summer line of Antique Archaeology apparel has arrived. Whether you prefer tees or tanks, (or even our first ever mechanic’s shirt), we’ve got something for you. Black & white or color. Front designs or back designs. Flat front or pocket tee. We’ve thought not just about your style, but also about your lifestyle with this collection.

Check out our LookBooks below for style inspirations using our newest designs.

Every design is available in all sizes in our new online store here now.