Category

Texas

Texas

August 30, 2019

New Mexico – Day 14

New Mexico is our destination this day. We’re heading to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Neither of us have been to New Mexico before. Today will be a first.

Charly got tired of her jeans and tank top and changed in to a dress. My first impression was, “TRASH THE DRESS”. Trash the dress was something I did a few times in my photography studio. You take a nice dress and then you go wild and turn it in to a piece of art.

“That’s a nice dress,” I complimented her before asking her to do what I was thinking.

“Thank you,” she said with a smile.

“I’d really love to trash it,” I said with a straight face.

“Ha, ha,” she said, “I bet you thought you had me. I’ve seen what you do with your trash the dress shoots. I’m down with that.”

“So, does that mean you WANT to trash it?” I asked.

“Of course,” her voice raised in tone and pitch, “I’ve always wanted to do that.”

“Okay, next stop,” I said.

MidPoint Route 66

We stopped at MidPoint which is Adrian, Texas. We met “Flo”, the lady who is the inspiration for Pixar’s Cars character. However, it wasn’t long before Charly started asking when we were going to trash the dress.

“Hold your horses,” I said.

She asked, “Why are we waiting?”

“We need to find a place suitable for painting. We just can’t pull out paints and start painting in the middle of town,” I explained.

I did a 360 looking around town for a suitable place.

“Hey,” I asked the lady at the cafe, “do you think anyone would mind if we did a little art project over by that abandoned garage?”

MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked - New Mexico Day 14
MidPoint Cafe Where the REAL Flo Worked

She looked at me suspiciously, and before she could say anything I added, “We’re going to paint on her dress. We’ll do it off to the side and we won’t get paint on anything except her dress and perhaps some might drip in the dirt.”

The lady, still looking suspicious, said, “I’ll check with the owner.”

She came back and said the owner said it would be okay as long as we don’t disturb anything.

I asked Charly to take a walk from New Mexico to Texas for the before photo. (Hmmmm… maybe I have this backwards… ah, just assume were going West to East.)

Let's Trash This Dress!
Let’s Trash This Dress!

It was now off to the dirt area by the garage to “trash the dress”. Before I knew it Charly was handing me the dress while draped in a towel.

“What in the world are you doing?” I asked, and then added, “I’m sure they would have let you use the bathroom in the diner to change.”

She just shrugged and said, “It’s no big deal. If I moved this towel…”

I stopped her there, but she continued, “… it would look like I have a bikini on.”

Getting Ready to Trash the Dress
Getting Ready to Trash the Dress

“You just stay hidden while I trash this dress. Didn’t you bring something else to change in to?” I asked.

“No, this will be okay,” Charly said, “it’s only for a couple of minutes.”

“A couple of minutes? For me to create a masterpiece dress? And, the paint has to dry too,” I explained.

“Oh… I didn’t know it had to dry too,” Charly said in a low tone, “I think I’ll go put my other dress on.”

Charly made her way over to the car, which wasn’t far. She changed in to another dress in the car and then went in to the cafe to wait for the paint to dry.

Meanwhile While Not in New Mexico

“What can I help you with,” the waitress asked Charly.

“Just a Coke,” she said, “I’m waiting for the paint to dry.”

The waitress gave her a glare and raised her eyebrows, “That’s a first.”

Meanwhile outside I was busy painting. I pulled out some big paint markers and started on the dress alternating with spray paint and markers.

As soon as I was done, I went in to the cafe, “Hey, it’s done, and with that dry heat it shouldn’t take long for it to dry.”

The Final Product - the Trashed Dress
The Final Product – the Trashed Dress

“Okay, change in to something else,” I said, “We don’t want to risk getting paint on the interior of your car. We got our pictures.”

Hello New Mexico

Shortly after entering New Mexico we found a yard full of old cars. The owner gave us permission to wander around and take some photos.

“Brent,” Charly yells, “Does this car clash with my dress?”

“Yeah, a little,” I said laughing.

Does This Car Clash with My Dress? - New Mexico
Does This Car Clash with My Dress?

“Hey, Brent,” Charly, like a kid in a toy store, yells, “Help me push this car over.”

Pushover
Pushover

I was more worried about it falling back on her. I ran over to make sure things were safe.

“Gosh,” she exclaimed, “You are a worry-wart.”

“The last thing I want is for one of us to spend time in a hospital,” I said with concern.

August 23, 2019

Cadillac Ranch Rocks – Day 14

Cadillac Ranch Rocks! I could visit this place often. I’ve seen so many photos and read so much about this place, and NOW I get to visit it. I’m well prepared for the visit.

Before leaving on this trip I made a stencil that says, “WWW.ROUTE66PHOTOGRAPHERS.COM“, and packed it in a bag with some masking tape. The other day, I stopped at Home Depot and bought a few cans of spray paint – black, white, and blue to match the logo my daughter designed.

Up Early to See How Cadillac Ranch Rocks at Sunrise

After looking up the time for Sunrise, I sent Charly a text:

WE ARE LEAVING AT 5:30AM

In return she replies:

YOU’RE CRAZY

My reply was simply:

THANK YOU FOR NOT USING “UR”. LOL

She wasn’t happy when I knocked on her door at 5:25AM and announced it was time to go. But, we were in the car and on the road by 5:45AM which is the best I could hope for.

Driving Past It

We drove past it. I knew that when we got to a landmark that was beyond Cadillac Ranch. A quick U-Turn and we were headed back towards Amarillo. I stopped just short of what the GPS said should be Cadillac Ranch.

“Can you see where it might be?” I asked Charly.

“Uh, no. It’s OH-DARK-HUNDRED and I can’t see anything out here,” she said sarcastically.

“You’d there there’d be a sign or something,” I said while scratching my head.

“You’d think,” Charly said dully.

“Well, LOOK around. We’ve got to be close,” I demanded.

A little behind the car was a cattle gate. I stopped the car, got out, and walked towards the gate with flashlight in hand.

At the gate was a hand painted sign that read, “Got Paint?”

“Hey, this must be it!” I yelled back towards the car, but got no response.

Walking back to the car I rapped on the passenger window, “Hey, I think this is it.”

Charly got out of the car and simply glared at me.

“Here carry this,” I said giving her a bag of stuff to carry, “and this,” as I gave her a second bag.

“I’ll never be your beast of burden,
“I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting,” Charly starts to sing.

“You sing the next line and you’ll be walking a lot further,” I said.

“Oh, yeah… I just remember what the next line says. Nevermind,” Charly embarrassed said.

“I’m surprised you even know those lyrics. That was before you were even born,” I said happy that she stopped. That would have been really awkward.

Reaching the Cars

Once the cars were in sight, I asked Charly to stand by the cars while I set up a few strobe lights.

A Flash in the Dark - Cadillac Ranch Rocks
A Flash in the Dark

The eastern sky was just starting to lighten. Charly took my flashlight, and did what every child does when they get their hands on a flashlight…

Ghoulish Flashlight Trick
Ghoulish Flashlight Trick

I must have shot a couple hundred frames. I was having fun, but the real purpose was to leave my mark, however, it was too dark to tag a car. Plus, it had rained and the cars were wet.

Once the sky lightened (I can’t say the sun came up, because it got cloudy quickly), I found a car to tag. As soon as the paint hit the car, the dew caused it to bead up and roll off.

“Dang,” I said, “it’s too wet!”

Charly took off running down the road.

“What the heck,” I thought, “It’s a good thing I have the car keys. Oh, crap… what if she has a hide-a-key. … No, I would know if she did.”

She returned a few minutes later with an entire roll of paper towels and started wiping off the car.

“Okay, I take back every bad thing I’ve ever said about you,” I said to her.

“There!” she announced, “Now try painting.”

My Tag Left at Cadillac Ranch
My Tag Left at Cadillac Ranch (Cadillac Ranch ROCKS!)

Charly didn’t act impressed, but I think it is pretty cool.

Back to the Car

The walk back to the car made me think how glad I was we got there before sunrise. Lots of people were heading to see the interesting artwork in the Texas plains.

Walking Back to the Car
Walking Back to the Car

We reached the gate and I shot one last picture of Charly before we headed west.

Charly Points Out the Not-so-Obvious
Charly Points Out the Not-so-Obvious

I pulled out my Route 66 sign and Charly pointed out, “Hey, it kind of looks like those Cadillacs back there, only you need more of them and they need to be turned sideways.”

Laughing I replied, “But then it wouldn’t be ’66’, it would be ‘666666666666’.”

August 23, 2019

A Day of Rest – Day 13

A day of rest is needed. What does 7 days without a day of rest do to you? It makes one weak. (That’s an old Sunday School joke.) It’s time to take some time and rest, go to church and spend the day kicking back. People of lost sight of why it is important to take one day a week and rest for your labors (or in Charly‘s and my case, our play).

Heading Downstairs for Breakfast on a Day of Rest

I knocked on Charly’s door and asked if she was going downstairs for breakfast. We entered the elevator and Charly immediately began to push every floor button.

“What are you doing?” I asked with some irritation in my voice.

“Pushing all the buttons so it will stop on every floor,” she replied as if I hadn’t seen what she was doing.

“I see that,” I said, “Now we have to wait for the elevator to stop at each floor.”

About then, every light on the elevator control panel turned off and the door opened again.

“What the… ” Charly said in confusion.

Again, she punched every button. The door closed, and then the lights all turned off, and the door opened again.

“Ugh,” she grunted.

After pushing every button, the same thing happened. The door closed, the lights all turned off, and the door opened.

I started laughing.

“What so funny?” Charly snapped.

“This elevator has met your kind before,” I smugly said, “Whomever programmed it knew your kind and set it up so you can’t push all the buttons.”

“We’ll see,” she said as she pushed them all again.

Same thing happened.

“UHG!” she said as though this was inconveniencing here.

This time she only pushed 3 of the 4 floors. The doors shut, and the elevator continued down to the lobby only making 1 stop. The 4th floor button then reset as we boarded on the 3rd floor.

“Pretty smart elevator,” I smiled, “if you ask me.”

Pushing All the Buttons - A Day of Rest
Pushing All the Buttons

Stepping Out

After breakfast, we stepped out and went to a local church. On the way home, we had to stop at lot with an old truck.

“Hey, have you ever noticed old cars look like the have faces,” Charly asked. “Like on Cars.”

“Often,” I answered. “Go stand over there and make a face like that old truck and I’ll snap your picture.”

Charly Imitating an Old Truck - Click to read article at the Smithsonian.
Charly Imitating an Old Truck

Finding a Place for Dinner on a Day of Rest

Normally, I wouldn’t go to a restaurant on the Day of Rest. Travel is an exception except when staying with family. I take Exodus 20:10 seriously when it says we shouldn’t make other people work either. At times I feel almost apologetic and want to tell the people at the restaurant, “I’m sorry for making you work on the Sabbath.”

“We’re in Texas. Let’s see if we can find some Tex Mex,” I said to Charly.

“Tex Mex?” she asked.

“Texas Mexican food,” I said thinking it makes sense to me.

“I didn’t know there was a difference,” she said.

“Even in Mexico, Mexican food is different wherever you go. Mexican food in the U.S.A. varies by region – California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas… they all have their style of preparing Mexican food,” I assured her. “Google it.”

“I believe you,” she said.

“No, ask your phone where the nearest Tex Mex restaurant is,” I said while recognizing my ambiguity.

Tex Mex

Charly found a place and talked me through the turns. We entered in and it was very reminiscent of a Mexican restaurant.

“Good choice, Charly,” I assured her.

Waiting for Some Tex Mex
Waiting for Some Tex Mex

Charly looked like a lovely senorita with her peasant top and pulled back hair. I swung around to the neighboring booth and snapped a shot.

For a Sunday night, the place wasn’t very crowded. However, I am glad we had a place to eat.

My Dinner
My Dinner

Did You Know???

Did you know many of the photos in these blog entries have links to related sites and information?

That’s right!

When you hover over a photo, it your cursor changes to show it is a link, click on it to learn more about that topic.

August 20, 2019

Lone Star State – Day 12

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Lone Star State, as people call it, is a wonderful place to visit. They once attempted to secede from the Union, but they hold strong to the ideals of being a sovereign state (as all states in the United States should) and that the Federal Government should not trample the rights of the state as long as the state holds fast to the U.S. Constitution. This makes its citizens proud to be part of such a strong state.

Charly and I first noticed this with the theme of one star wherever we would go. You see this on belt buckles, shirts, hats and decor. Yes, Texans are proud to be Texans.

Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel
Lone Star State Theme on Route 66 Motel

“Oh, Brent,” Charly said with excitement, “look at that patriotic motel.”

I spun my head around and saw that Lone Star State them decorating a motel’s exterior.

“Now, that is Texan,” I exclaimed.

“It’s American too,” Charly said.

“Yes, but they call Texas the Lone Star State for a reason,” I said as I began an explanation of how Texas once threatened to leave the United States in defence of their sovereignty.

Surprisingly, Charly listened and was interested.

“That’s really interesting. Can we stop?” She asked, and immediately followed it with, “Can we spend the night here?”

Charly jumped out of the car and ran to a door. I surveyed our surroundings.

“Charly, I think they are closed for the season. There’s not a car or soul in sight,” I pointed out.

“Oh, bummer. It’s so cute,” she said.

I convinced her we should move on.

Earlier

I almost forgot to mention…

Earlier before we reached Texas, Charly wanted me to stop. She got in the car and asked me to take a photo of the long road in front of us.

“screeeeeeech,” was the sound from the tires.

“What the… ” I yelled.

Charly put her hand out the window and waved.

Carly Burning Rubber
Carly Burning Rubber

She burned out heading down this lonesome stretch of Route 66 leaving me coughing in the dense tire smoke.

Soon I saw brake lights, and she waved for me to catch up. With my camera gear, I jogged towards the car. It seemed like a mile.

“Okay, that was uncalled for,” I yelled.

“Come on old man,” she yelled back.

I jumped in the car and before I got the door closed she was off again.

We crossed over I-40 and were on a stretch of Route 66 on the other side.

“Hey, I want to get a shot of Old Route 66 and I-40. Pull over,” I said excitedly.

Catching Air
Catching Air

As soon as I got out of the car and shut the door, Charly was burning rubber again. This time, catching air as she headed down Route 66.

“DANG YOU!” I yelled shaking my camera in the air.

Again, she stopped, but this time she put the car in reverse and backed up to where I was standing.

“YOU TURKEY,” I shouted, “My turn to drive.”

Charly laughed and said, “It’s my car.”

“Yeah, but if you get it impounded I’m not bailing it out,” I said, “or you for that matter.”

“You wouldn’t leave me in jail,” she said confidently.

“Wanna try me?” I glared at her.

She ran around to the passenger side and said, “Okay, you can drive.”

That was our excitement for the day.

Dinner and a Free Steak in the Lone Star State

There’s a place on Route 66 in Amarillo where if you eat a 72 ounce steak within their time limits it is FREE. We caught a complimentary limo from our hotel to the restaurant. (Note: I would like to their website and mention their name, but when I attempted to go to their website Norton Security produced a warning that the site was not safe and a threat to my network security.)

Waiting for our Table
Waiting for our Table

Charly wore the same dress again.

“Didn’t you wear that last night?” I asked.

“Yes, but that wasn’t a fancy place. This is a steak place, it’s fancy,” she said.

I started to laugh and replied, “You don’t know Texas, do you? I bet if I wore a tie they’d cut it off.”

We enjoyed a great steak, but neither one of us went for the 72 ouncer.

August 14, 2019

Texas Panhandle – Day 12

Texas Panhandle was someplace I always wanted to visit. It’s just a small portion of Route 66, but like Texas, everything is BIG. Top of my list is Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, Texas.

Charly?” I asked, “Why are you wearing the same dress as yesterday?”

I’m thinking it is a cardinal sin for a woman to wear the same dress 2 days in a row.

“I didn’t wear it very long, and I am running low on clean everyday clothes,” she informs me.

“Everyday clothes? What are ALL those suitcases in the back of the car?” I ask trying to clarify my confusion.

“Oh, that’s wardrobe for photo shoots,” she tells me.

“So, your wardrobe, as you put it, isn’t everyday clothes?” I ask trying to understand.

“No,” she said in a tone as if I were completely out-of-touch.

Leaving Oklahoma and Entering the Texas Panhandle

It wasn’t long before we came across Slug Bug Ranch. This was unexpected for me. I knew about Cadillac Ranch, but Slug Bug Ranch?

A few VW Beetles half buried with graffiti beconned us to stop. An old abandoned structure nearby was home to vandalism and who-knows-what-else. At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but soon other tourists arrived creating more of a safe atmosphere.

“Charly,” I began, “why don’t you put on some of that wardrobe, as you call it, and we’ll take some fun shots amidst this trash.”

Had I been asked to do that I would have said, “No way.” I normally don’t ask someone to do something I wouldn’t do myself, but I’m a 60-something man with a potbelly and I’d be afraid I’d trip on some of this garbage.

Before long Charly came back from the car with a slinky outfit.

“Seriously? You’re going to walk through here barefoot in that?” I said with my eyes bulging out of my skull.

“Yeah, why not?” Charly retorted, and added, “I’ll watch for broken glass.”

It wasn’t the broken glass I was worried about. It was EVERYTHING ELSE.

Charly's First Outfit - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s First Outfit

After snapping the first frame, I realized this portion isn’t as dirty as I initially thought. Charly’s elegance amidst the graffiti created a dichotomy in the image, and once seeing that, I was ready to shoot more.

“What else do you have that isn’t everyday clothes?” I asked hoping for a wardrobe change.

Charly soon returned wearing a poet’s shirt… okay, she called it a “dress”, but I’ve seen shirts that cover more of the legs.

Charly's Poet Shirt - Texas Panhandle
Charly’s Poet Shirt

Having Fun at Slug Bug Ranch

We were having fun at slug bug ranch in the Texas Panhandle. I would get the shot I like and then Charly would be off changing in to another outfit. I often dreamed of being a famous fashion photographer taking photos of models in unsuspecting places. Couple this with driving Route 66 and I felt like I was on top of the world.

Slug Bug Ranch is a takeoff from Cadillac Ranch. One being east of Amarillo, the other being west of the city. Graffiti is encouraged at both locations. (Vandalism, however is NOT.) If you do visit, bring a couple of cans of spray paint to leave your mark. However, be warned, your mark will only last until someone paints over it with their mark.

So, bring a camera to photograph your artwork.

Charly Dancing - Texas Panhandle
Charly Dancing

I just kept the camera in one place for a while, and Charly would perform as if it were her stage. Other tourist looked on, taking pictures with their phones and selfies with Charly and me in the background.

Charly Getting Silly - Texas Panhandle
Charly Getting Silly

Soon Charly started getting silly, and I figured that was the sign that she’s getting bored. For the life of me, I fail to understand older men who fall for younger women. They are children, for Pete’s sake… in spite of being the age of majority. In any event, her silliness was enough to make me want a change too.

“Hey, Charly,” I yelled to her and pointed to another location, “let’s move over there.”

That's Just Plain Silly - Texas Panhandle
That’s Just Plain Silly

Charly held her pose and stuck out her tongue to which I said, “Now, that’s just plain silly.”

She giggled and informed me her lip gloss was strawberry flavored.

Let the Fun Begin

Charly returned as I was setting up for the next spot. This time, she looked like some sort of SciFi vigilante.

“Now, that is a cool outfit,” I remarked, “I’d call that everyday clothes.”

We both laughed and Charly entered this trashed room.

“Show me what you’ve got,” I said unsure of how to suggest she pose.

Before I knew it her foot was in the air and leg stretched out in a manner that would leave me crippled for life.

“Do that again,” I said because I wasn’t ready for the shot.

Action Hero Charly - Texas Panhandle
Action Hero Charly

Seeing the room already in disarray, I suggested she act like she just kicked over a three tiered table.

Take THAT! - Texas Panhandle
Take THAT!

“Take THAT,” she yelled as she went in to a fighting pose.

That Was Fun

That was a fun start to our Texas Panhandle portion of Route 66. We’re ready to move on. We’ll still be in the Texas Panhandle, just not at Slug Bug Ranch. We’re finished here.

Slug Bug Ranch – Texas Panhandle

Note

It is important to note to the readers that we did NOT enter these locations except where it was obvious the property owners allow access. Thus, no fences were climbed, we did not go around any barricades, and we obeyed all visible no trespassing signs. These images with Charly are COMPUTER ART using photos taken from legal vantage points as the background.

We do NOT condone trespassing or vandalism. This is strictly a fictional story. Or, to put it another way, “Don’t try this on Route 66 — or at home.”

October 9, 2017

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it? Well, let us list them.

Superlatives

What are the superlatives of Route 66 as Paul and I saw it?

Well, let us list them.

Best & Worst

Friendliest

The friendliest state was New Mexico.  I’ve never been to New Mexico before, but every single person we met was friendly.  We’re not talking about the tourists, but the people who live and work in New Mexico.  They score a 10 out of 10 for being friendly.

And Not So Friendly

California.  Yup, California.  I had one guy walk up and call me a “scum bag”.  Okay… that’s a first.  While we met friendly people, many of the businesses there could use a course in customer service.

Biggest Surprise

The biggest surprise along the way is the Los Angeles Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is right on Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
A Family of L.A. Dodgers Fans Visiting the Temple Grounds

Best Food Superlatives

This is a very tough one.  I found it not too surprising that the beast meals were comped meals.  I guess when you are providing a complimentary meal to two journalists, you want it to be the best.

That isn’t to say the non-complementary meals weren’t good (well, some weren’t), we noticed a trend.

Burgers

I love a good burger.  The best burger is a tie – Santa Fe Grill in Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner in Kingman, Arizona.  Their onion rings… the same – a tie.

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Mr. D’z Diner Staff

copyright 2017 db walton - Superlatives
Santa Fe Grill Burger

Mexican Food

Best Mexican food was at Jerry’s Cafe in downtown Gallup, New Mexico.  The food was good, authentic and they are the friendliest people you’ll meet.  If you like sopaipillas with honey… mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.  This is the place.

copyright 2017 db walton
Sopaipilla

copyright 2017 db walton
The Staff at Jerry’s Cafe, Gallup, NM

Funniest Place

The funniest place on Route 66 is in Seligman, Arizona – the Snow Cap Drive-in.  Just ask for half a cone and see what I mean.  You don’t go here for the food, you come here for the entertainment.

copyright 2017 db walton
Inside the Snow Cap

Saddest Place

I remember the Oklahoma City bombing vividly.  Any news like that is sad, however, I was not prepared for the emotions I felt when I visited the site. Consequently I cried a lot while visiting this memorial.

I wasn’t sad for the slain, I was sad because of the evil that exists in the world today.

copyright 2017 db walton
Sad Reminders

copyright 2017 db walton
Jesus Wept

Happiest Place

Oh, there are lots of happy places along Route 66.  It depends on what you’re in the mood for.  For me, it would be the nicely restored Corvairs this couple have.  Or, maybe it was the fun people we met along the way.  Well, it could have been the tongue-n-cheek humor in Uranus, Missouri.  Therefore, there are MANY happy places on Route 66.

copyright 2017 db walton
The Axe Hole at Uranus

copyright 2017 db walton
Young Couple Enjoying Frozen Custard

copyright 2017 db walton
Fully Restored Corvair Monza Wagon

Road Conditions

To say there are superlatives with road conditions on Route 66 is an understatement.  Hence, I’ll just share a few of photos that tell the story.

copyright 2017 db walton
Cobblestone Brick

copyright 2017 db walton
A Dead End Section

copyright 2017 db walton
A Big Drop Off (this was actually closed to cars)

copyright 2017 db walton
Washboard and Potholes

copyright 2017 db walton
Unexpected Road Closures

copyright 2017 db walton
Winding Mountain Roads

Hotels and Motels

We stayed at many great places.  All of the hotels who provided complementary lodging were clean and nice.  I can’t say that about all the paid rooms.

It’s best in this category that I thank those who comped us roomes:

  • Comfort Suites in Rella, Missouri – Clean and friendly staff and right on Old Route 66
  • Enlight Inn in Joplin, Missouri – Charming Cottages, I want to go back.
  • Fairfield Inn in Tulsa, Oklahoma – Clean
  • Broadway Inn in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Off the beaten track, but close to everything
  • EconoLodge, Elk City, Oklahoma – Elk City is the middle of nowhere, but here’s the place to stay.
  • Quality Inn, Tucumcari, New Mexico – Treated us like family (in the good way).  The pool was ultra clean!
  • Holiday Inn Express, Gallup, New Mexico – Another clean hotel on Route 66
  • Ramblin Rose, Kingman, Arizona – Best Value for your money near the Grand Canyon!  Clean too!
  • Hilton, Pasadena, California – Best place to stay in Pasadena.  Service is top-notch
  • Special Mention
    • Fairmont, Santa Monica, California – Amazing view.  It’s a couple blocks off Route 66, but you can see it from the rooms that face south.

Not So Good

On the not-so-good side, I would not recommend Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois.  And, I would not recommend Budget Host Inn, Williams, Arizona.  The Motel 6 in Normal, Illinois, is filthy, and the Budget Host Inn in Williams is very over priced for what you get (or don’t get).  Don’t be fooled by Budget Host’s “free breakfast”.  It was a gallon of milk sitting on the counter, two sugary cereals and a couple of boxes of mini doughnuts (boxed, store bought kind).

More to Come

There is more to come.  Check back often for updates as we review our trip.

Thanks to Sponsors

Also, a very heartfelt thanks to all those who sponsored our trip…

  • Bay Photo Labs
  • Republic Wireless
  • Warner 5 Color
  • Walworth Animal Hospital
  • Alien Skin Software
  • Anthropics Software
  • ACDSee Software
  • Topaz Labs
  • On1 Software
  • Nataliacha Doodley Do
  • Fine Art by DB (Yeah, I personally put a lot of my business money in to this trip)

October 6, 2017

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share. The lessons learned are categorized below. We hope this serves as a guide to others.

Lessons Learned

After a trip of this magnitude, we have lessons to share.  The lessons learned are categorized below.  We hope this serves as a guide to others.  (Note, some of these are specific to photographers.)

copyright 2017 db walton
Route 66

Lesson 1 – Bring Less

We over packed.  The next time I will bring less.  For example, I brought things from home that I’ve never touched.  If I would have needed them, I could have stopped at a store to purchase them.

I planned for 14 days of clothing.  However, most hotels had a self-serve washer and dryer.  Next time I’ll bring 10 days of clothes (just in case).

Lesson 2 – Give More Time

30 days to do 2500 miles isn’t enough time.  Give more time to your trip.  Perhaps one way is to break it in to several small trip.  Of course, that would be more costly, but we honestly missed quite a bit.  We planned for about 100 miles per day.  I think 40 miles per day would have been much better.

Lesson 3 – Have a Back-home Support Person

We had one.  It was my wife, Elizabethe.  She handled all of our lodging and would text us where we would be staying and the confirmation number.

Lesson 4 – Rent a Car

Don’t take your own car.  We put 7500 miles on the rental car.  Rent one with unlimited miles.  If you have the time, drive to and from on Route 66.  If you have the money, drive one way, and fly home.

Lesson 5 – Visit Museums Early

If you plan to visit museums along the way, plan to visit early in the day.  Most of them are closed by 5pm (or earlier).

Lesson 6 – USPS Offices Have Shorter Hours

If you need to mail postcards or letters, visit the Post Office between 10 and 11am, or 1 and 2pm.  We found most Post Offices closed when we arrived.  11am to 1pm, they were out to lunch.  After 2 pm they might be closed for the day.  Before 10am, they might not be open yet.  As a result, you only have a couple of small windows of time.

We actually found one that wasn’t a Post Office in spite of the building bearing the words, “United States Post Office”.  (Location:  Beverly Hills, California)

Lesson 7 – Don’t Trust Models

We had arranged for a few models to meet us along the way.  In spite of much advanced planning, they flaked.  While my professional experience is that most models aren’t professional these days.

So, if you make arrangements to meet a model, don’t be surprised if they flake on you.

Lesson 8 – You Won’t Need Certain Lenses

That’s right, you won’t need certain lenses.  You want the widest angle lens you can get without going to a fish eye.  My 15-36mm was the lens I used the most.  I wish I had my 24-70mm (it was in the shop), however my 50mm came in handy.  I brought my long zoom lens (70-300mm) but it proved to be useless for this type of trip.

Leave the long telephotos at home.  Bring the wide angle lenses.  The wider, the better.

Lesson 9 – Lots of Cards

Bring lots of memory cards.  I had enough, but it was close.  I shoot 32GB cards and filled about 3-4 cards per day.

Lesson 10 – Lots of Batteries

Bring lots of camera batteries.  My battery pack allows for 3 batteries.  There were days when I had to swap them all out for recharged ones.

You should also have a 12v charger just in case.  This way you can charge them in the car.

Also, don’t forget your charger AND don’t forget to charge your batteries at night.  You might want to bring an extra charger or two too.

The most important lesson learned is this – when you venture far from the car, make sure you have spare cards and batteries on you.  As a result, if you do not, you’ll kick yourself because you left them in the car.  This only happened to me once and I learned my lesson.

Lesson 11 – Don’t Trust Google Maps

That’s right – don’t trust google maps.  This lesson learned is a result of relying on Google Maps which ran us in circles because a freeway off ramp was closed.  Other times it lead us to empty fields with no hotel for miles. (They guy at the hotel, when we finally got there, said it happens to a lot of people.)

A good way to verify it is to turn the satellite image on so you can see what buildings are in the area.  However, the best way is to carry a paper map along with a good Route 66 guide book.

Lesson 12 – Buy It Don’t Bring It

If you can buy it, don’t bring it.

This doesn’t apply to everything – mostly consumables.  Don’t bring a lot of snacks from home.  You’ll be stopping for gasoline and potty breaks, buy the snacks then.

Bringing too much fills the car and makes the trip less comfortable.  As a result you should plan to pickup a snack when you stop for gas.  AND, don’t buy too much.  Just one item at a time.

September 18, 2017

Sunrise Tagging

Nothing like a little sanctioned vandalism first thing in the morning.  Sunrise tagging is the thing to do at Cadillac Ranch where 10 Cadillacs are buried with their butts sticking in the air.

Nothing like a little sanctioned vandalism first thing in the morning.  Sunrise tagging is the thing to do at Cadillac Ranch where 10 Cadillacs are buried with their butts sticking in the air.

Sunrise Tagging

Nothing like a little sanctioned vandalism first thing in the morning.  Sunrise tagging is the thing to do at Cadillac Ranch where 10 Cadillacs are buried with their butts sticking in the air.

copyright 2017 db walton all rights reserved
Before the Sunrise

copyright 2017 db walton all rights reserved
After Dawn

copyright 2017 db walton all rights reserved
Sunrising

Heading West

We’re heading west to Tucumcari, New Mexico.  On the drive I talked to my cousin Kimberly Little (author of several books).  Her and her family live near Albuquerque and we’re hoping to meet when we travel through town.

We stopped at the midway point of Route 66.  It’s just east of the New Mexico State Line.  There’s a diner and a gift shop next door.

The lady at the Sunflower gift shop was the inspiration for Flo in the movie Cars.  We took a picture with her and she signed a postcard I bought.

copyright 2017 db walton
Me, Paul and Fran (aka Flo)

Tucumcari

We got to Tucumcari sooner than we expected.  We gained an hour because we went from Central to Mountain time.  While having an extra hour sounds great, we’re beat.  The day has worn us out.

Our motel Quality Inn is VERY clean.  While it’s a very old hotel, it has recently been going through updates.  My room as new carpet and is one of the cleanest rooms I’ve ever stayed in at a motel.

The staff here has been great too.  I HIGHLY recommend Quality Inn here in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

copyright 2017 db walton
Room at Tucumcari Quality Inn

The pool was nice an refreshing giving it reached about 100 today.

copyright 2017 db walton
The Pool at the Quality Inn in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Old Cars, New Friends

I spotted this place with a bunch of old cars, mostly Ramblers, behind a chain link fence.  The sign warned it is private property and guarded by a dog who will bite.  There was a phone number on the fence.  I was about to call it when a man in a big pickup truck pulled up and his front plate read, “Rambler”.

He was on the phone, but he opened the gate, and beckoned us in.  He motioned as if to say, “take pictures”.

We did, and later he got off the phone.  He was so nice.  He invited us to have a bottle of water or soda, and let us take photos of whatever we wanted to photograph.

I had to get a picture of this AMC hood ornament.

copyright 2017 db walton
American Motors Hood Ornament

I never knew AMC had hood ornaments.

We had a fun time visiting with him.

Lots of Thanks

A lots of thanks to day to…

  • MoLight – for great lighting products that can be used on location
  • Bay Photo Labs – We had fun placing Bay Photo stickers where allowed
  • Republic Wireless – great coverage today!
  • Quality Inn – for a couple of very nice rooms for Paul and me, a nice clean pool for us to refresh ourselves in, and great recommendations for dinner (Dell’s Diner)
  • Danny – for the cold bottle of water on a very hot day.

 

May 27, 2017

Casting Call

This is sort of a casting call. Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66. You don't have to be a professional model. In fact, you don't have to be a model at all.

This is sort of a casting call. Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66. You don't have to be a professional model. In fact, you don't have to be a model at all.

Casting Call

This is sort of a casting call.  Paul and I are looking for people to photograph as we travel Route 66.  You don’t have to be a professional model.  In fact, you don’t have to be a model at all.  (Although, models are always welcome!)  Also, you could be a guy with a very cool car and want pictures of your car.  That’s cool too.

For models, we encourage you to dress for where you plan to meet us.  If you plan to meet us at a 50s diner, dress in 50s attire.  But, you don’t have to play dress up for the shoot.

If you’re a car or motorcycle owner, you can have your picture taken with your car (or motorcycle) or just the car/motorcycle by itself.  This is a chance to make your car/motorcycle famous… and possible you too.

How This Works

Here is how this works…

  • Look at our travel plans at http://route66photographers.com/dates/
  • If there is a day and location that works for you to meet up with us, contact me at brent@route66photographers.com and let me know the day and location.
  • In your e-mail, include the following:
    • Your name
    • The best phone number to reach you at (and let us know if you accept text messages)
    • A picture of yourself so we’ll recognize you
    • A short paragraph of why you are meeting us at the Route 66 location.
  • When the day gets close (1-2 days before) we will contact you and let you know if we are running ahead or behind schedule.
  • You must be flexible on the time of day.  We are driving from Chicago to L.A. over a 30+ day period.
  • When we meet, you’ll have to sign a release.
  • We’ll take a few pictures (it won’t take very long).  We’ll shoot until we get some good usable photos
  • That night, you’ll see your picture on our blog, social media pages and/or in our vlog.
  • We’ll e-mail you copies of the pictures we publish.

copyright 2017 db walton - casting call
Standing on a Corner in Winslow, Arizona

We Cannot

  • We cannot photograph minor children without a parent signing a release.  And, we cannot photograph minor children without the parents being present the entire time.
  • We cannot offer financial compensation for your modeling.  This isn’t that type of venture.
  • We cannot guarantee we will agree to meet up with everyone.  Schedules are very nebulous for our tour.  We will not leave you in the lurch if we say we will meet you, but if we have to cancel, we’ll do so at least 24 hours in advance.  (We’d expect the same from you.)
  • We cannot provide “copyrights” to the images.  That would involve legal fees and involving lawyers.  But, we will give you license to share whatever files we send to you on social media, your personal website, and e-mail them to friends and family.  If you want prints, we are partnering with Bay Photo Labs.  You’ll be able to order professional prints at www.dbwalton.com.

Summary

In summary, this casting call is simply… we want to meet you and photograph you as we take this epic journey.

February 17, 2017

Before Decommissioning

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning. The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66. It's worth watching...

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning. The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66. It's worth watching...

Before Decommissioning

This video shows portions of Route 66 before decommissioning.  The video is an hour and 45 minutes long, but it presents a good overview of Route 66.  It’s worth watching…

I like how this video presents the people and communities.  While it is from the 1980s, it presents the importance of Route 66 and it’s place in history.  Imagine riding a bus for a week while traveling from Chicago to L.A.  Today, people fly.  Back then people couldn’t afford to fly, so they took the bus.

Bloody 66, Mother Road, and other nicknames have been given this highway.  Because you cannot drive it end-to-end any more, few people get off the Interstate to drive it.  That’s why we’re driving it.

Our Tour

Our tour will be spread out over a month.  We know many of you will never get a chance to drive Route 66.  For this reason we want to provide you with a virtual road trip along Route 66.

Paul and Brent plan to stop at every significant attraction – man made or natural.  Come night time, if we have access to the Internet, our pictures and videos will go online.  Our blog will post here along with links to our videos and social media posts.  We will also Tweet updates as they happen — signal strength permitting.