It’s as American as Apple Pie in all its neon-lit glory, evoking our collective cultural memory of 1950s road-tripping, film noir fugitive hideouts and the golden age of kitsch. The motel is as much a part of the American open road as the gas station and the roadside diner, an indispensable amenity to the roving motorist; the comfort of a flickering sign in the black of night promising “vacancy”. But what’s the story behind the omni-present American motel? Today, we’re hopping in our digital Cadillac for a little drive down memory lane– first stop? Our planet’s first ever motel in sunny, central California, to learn the essentials– like, why call it a motel in the first place?