Cultural Mirages: Route 66 and the Mojave Desert

Feb 10-12, 2006

My fourth venture into the outback of California to record the vanishing desert-erata of the old California Route 66. A big turnout this year - 20 photographers and all with excellent portfolios showcased on Friday night. This year's itinerary: Friday at Tom's Welding, then to the train station for sunset, Costa Azul for dinner, followed by night photography at the Route 66 Motel (this is where I arrived) and some slide shows after hours. Saturday: sunrise, close-ups of the Route 66 Motel collections, then out to Newberry Springs for breakfast at the Bagdad Cafe and photographing relics from this famous cult film location. Then close-up photography at Mary's and her collection of Route 66 unique'ities. Onward to Pisgah Crater, a (geologically) recent volcano with its lava tubes and abandoned mining equipment. Lunch at the crater, next to spectacular overlooks. Continuing on to Amboy and photographing around Roy's Cafe, then to National Chloride's boneyards and salt pools, and back to Amboy for sunset/full moon photography. After dark, on to Peggy Sue's in Daggett for dinner, then back to the motel for some quick PhotoShop'ing of the day's haul of photos and a quick slide show. Sunday morning we're off to the final resting place for a vast collection of trucks and other oversize vehicles. Then breakfast at the Palm Cafe, pack-up at the Motel, and I was on my way home.

On the drive to Barstow, in the Central Valley...

...sunset near Wasco

That hood ornament again, this time under neon lighting

Ghostly relics...

Reflections in an old LaSalle

prehistoric gas pump flow meter

Grille Power

An evil spirit lurking behind the Route 66 Motel...

Burma Shave... classic

Reminds me of the Bates Motel

They couldn't go over 99 cents a gallon even if they wanted to.

Old milk container and trunk

Breakfast at the Bagdad

The funky piano at the Bagdad Cafe...

...clearly dated back a long time

At the old Whiting gas station... a commentary on desert lives

Behind Mary's place, photographers poke around for hidden shots

a photographer's cliche perhaps, but a nice cliche nonetheless

Hanging beads through a dusty window

A tooth'y jawbone - "Here, life is brutish. And short."

An ancient glass insulator from a power line pole

A well bucket suspended above.... sand

Carole Scurlock's photo of me, in one of the lava tubes at Pisgah Volcanic Crater

At Pisgah Crater, a stark connection with Nature

This baby chuckawalla was not a cooperative subject, but it's the first of these rare lizards I've found in the wild in 20 years - so he stays in the gallery

"...brutish, and short"

At the National Chloride boneyards

Lurid mirages

Rusting toppling tanker truck

Sun-baked salt - miles of it


Standing Tall

Forms and Colors in the BoneYards

Clouds in a pool of salt

The Moon, in a pool of salt

Hill Brothers Salt Works supports moonrise