Oct 23 – Mountains, Mementos & M(n)eon lights..

Wednesday was a good day for shooting.

Started with a trip up the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in Sandia Park on NM Highway 536, on the way to the Sandia Crest and a stop at Tinkertown. A very interesting and eccentric collection of, well, stuff. Throw-a-way items to hand-made and painted plus a collection of circus items and objects from around the world. Mrs Ward was very kind to me and allowed me to hang around the place and a very nice interview.

TinkertownTinkertown  TinkertownTinkertownSee all the images from this days shoot.

From there I went up to the Sandia Crest for an awesome view of the world. I swear I could see the Capitan Mountains from there. About 150 miles to the south. They are at about 10.2k ft and I was at 10.7k ft. Great scenery on the way down to I-40 and then east to Clines Corner.

Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia Mountains Sandia MountainsSee all the images from this days shoot.

Stopped at Clines Corner.  Just an intersection of I-40 (use to be Rt 66) and 285, nothing else but a place to stretch your legs and wander the store. A gas station and souvenir shop is all that is there now. So I spent some time giving you a view of all the ‘stuff’ you can shop for. NM shot glasses, Indian jewelery and pottery – some signed, fudge, boots, hats, shirts, kitsch and on and on. Restroom was the best part.

Clines Corner Clines Corner Clines Corner Clines Corner Clines CornerSee all the images from this days shoot.

On across the state to Tucumcari and the nicest motor inn on Rt 66. Blue Swallow Motel and 100% refrigerated air! I guess you have to be of a certain age to understand and appreciate refrigerated air and I’m of that age.  They have kept this place in terrific shape, all the neon’s, car ports and nice rooms. It’s an acquired taste, but if you like to enjoy a bit of history of the old Rt 66 this is the place.  A word on Rt 66 in a bit.  Even though you had a room, it was like a camp site.  Chairs outside and people hanging around and chatting.  If you are ever in the area, stop, enjoy and spend the night. The room I photographed was the last of the evening and the people staying the night let me shoot the room before they moved in.

Blue Swallow MotelBlue Swallow Motel Blue Swallow Motel Blue Swallow Motel  Sandia Mountains to Clovis, NMSee all the images from this days shoot.

Then down to Clovis for the night, but before turning in… found a drive-in restaurant from 1952, neon’s and all, Twin Cronnie Drive-In. Met the owner, Walter Bradley, Frm. Lt. Governor NM ,  now Government and Legislative Relations   Dairy Farmers of America. He and his son run the business.

Sandia Mountains to Clovis, NM Sandia Mountains to Clovis, NM Sandia Mountains to Clovis, NM Sandia Mountains to Clovis, NMSee all the images from this days shoot.

A word about Rt 66. Even though it always had some tourist traps along the way, it was never like it is today and that a bittersweet feeling. Seems like everything now is plastered with ‘historic Rt 66’ signs. We understand that things change, life moves on and all that but the old memories that seem the best. Like Key West and the sundown party or Santa Fe and the Governors Square. Both were laid back and in some cases a bit of dirt road and most anyone can kick back.  Now everything is paved over and $$$. So Rt 66 has changed but that change has brought the sweet side to it.  While to us/me it seems too gaudy, all those ‘this is historic Rt 66’ signs have saved the locals. People come from all over the world to see Rt 66. Bus loads and they want something to take back home that has Rt 66 on it. What could have been – and was for a while – the death of a lot of area from I-40 going thru now has business and a chance to make a living. Enough, gotta get down the road.  -30-

About Ed Zirkle

Photojournalist and mostly nice guy...
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