Southern Pacific

The only place approaching a town between Yuma and Phoenix or Tucson, Gila Bend (pop. 2,071) is regularly the “Hottest Spot in the Country”—a title of which it is so proud that, more than once, it’s been caught inflating the numbers. First settled as a main stop on the Butterfield Stage route, Gila Bend doesn’t offer much relief for the senses, though it does have some photogenic old motels and all the gas stations, restrooms, and restaurants you could reasonably expect to find in the middle of the Arizona desert.

One place to eat is the Space Age Restaurant (401 E. Pima Ave., 928/683-2761), downtown off exit 115. Marked by a flying-saucer-shaped sign, it’s part of the Best Western Space Age Lodge motel (928/683-2273, $80 and up). Both are essential stops for any Jetsons-age traveler, though the refurbishment after a fire has diminished the 1960s Space Age charm.