Welcome to Smile, Arizona
Weary travelers on the long, dreary stretch through Arizona on Interstate 40, now have a little oasis of psychedelia in the desert. You will find the hip township of Smile, Arizona just across the Arizona state-line, coming from New Mexico. (Its precise location on IH-40 is 12 miles north of the Indian Route 12 intersection.) Friendly Thomas Brooks is the current Mayor of the unincorporated township of Smile, Arizona, which he founded in 1995. His only companions are his two pet iguana’s, Banana and Louie.
Although his trailer is the only structure within the city limits, Thomas has big plans for the future. “I want to eventually build a SMILE museum and an air-conditioned reddi-whip music bar,” Brooks states emphatically. “Right now I have a kick ass sound system from my days as a roadie for Mike Love’s Beach Boys. Sure, I stole it from him, but he DID steal SMILE from the Beach Boys, right? So, its karma in a way. Anyway, I can blast my Smile bootlegs at 120 decibels here in the desert. It’s truly a religious experience.”
Just what does Mayor Brooks do in the middle of nowhere? During the day, Thomas is a ‘desert sculptor’. What is that? “I’m working on a project which is so grand in scale it can only compare to Mount Rushmore! You know the Nazca Lines in Peru? These natives did artwork that you could only see from an airplane. Well, I’m working on an American version, which celebrates the music of SMILE! It’s a surprise, so I can’t tell you what it will exactly look like. Plus, I have my pilots license from my old days as a crop duster and I can give rides to the tourists so that they can see the Smile Monument in all its glory!”
The neon ‘open’ sign, is a beacon of hope and reddi-whip for the weary traveler along the long stretch of highway. Thomas has crates of reddi-whip, which he is always willing to share with travelers at no cost. “Sit a spell and enjoy the music,” Tom says. “Smile, Arizona will never turn into a tourist trap! Sure, I’ve got bumper stickers and t-shirts for sale, but they just cover the cost of my refrigeration for the reddi-whip.”
So, the next time you take that road trip to Vegas, stop by Smile, Arizona and tell Tom “hi!” You’ll be glad you did.