Day 2: Grey Day in TN

No snow or rain but not a speck of sun all day long.  I’m counting on Texas to turn up the heat and blue skies for us.  So prepare yourself for bleak and dreary photos.  And I’ve got a ton of ’em.

No Sparkle news which is a good thing.  I’ve been thinking my tight-turn thing (see yesterday’s posting) might be something to do with steering & not tires at all.  Maybe my next oil change I’ll have done at a real garage instead of my beloved Jiffy Lube so they can have a look-see.  For now, no noises, no problems — just a little funny feeling when I turn super tight with the steering wheel cranked all the way to extremes.  So in those situations, I’m just going real slow & easy.

Dogs are all good.  Settling down some.  Some big fields and hills for a decent amount of running.  Nik spending more time snoozing at the back of the van & less time trying to steal my soda bottles.  Grem sleeping more instead of scouting for any reason to bark.  Grip & Fix, my seniors, are easy-keepers.

Let’s get cracking.  Some real downers in here but I feel it’s my obligation to inform you.  And motivate you to get out there and shoot more and often.   Let’s start with this little heartbreaker in Wytheville, VA at the start of my day.  A mom & pop hardware store — picture tells it all.  That way everywhere now.  Store owners of a certain age, retiring or passing on, with no kids interested in carrying on the biz.  These plastic letters are installed over vitrolite:

In Abingdon, VA — I’m glad this motel has kept its sign — but barely.  They’ve replaced this nice font and corrugated plastic with modern crap.  And botched up the pine tree.  I’m gonna give them the benefit of a doubt and assume there was wind damage or something and not some desire to update.  But covering up the sign’s nice poles makes me suspicious.  And they’ve lost the nice little boxes as well.  Dammit!

Horrible photo from 2003, on an equally miserable day, but you get the idea of this sign’s former look:

It’s taken me a few years to find this one in Abingdon.  Still a car wash — but now they’ve covered up some of the bubbles with a sign for another business that shares the lot.  This photo shows it a couple years ago when it still had neon:

Another from Abingdon.    Not sure what’s happened here.  Vandalism?  The letters are okay on the other side.  Though the sign could really use some paint.  And the message read that it was opening in spring.  Let’s hope.  The place is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — but as we all know, that doesn’t mean much.  Things can still wither and die or be demolished.

A few more from Abingdon.  Finally, some good news.  Well kinda.  The motel which was in Chilhowie is gone but at least the sign was saved & restored & relocated.  This is over at RC’s Storage where the now restored Robert E. Lee Motel sign is:

Autel is old sign speak for “auto motel”.  Here’s this bit about the restoration of this sign:
I’ve been a big fan of Pal’s for years — but never actually eaten anything there.  They have these modern but wonderful buildings with the giant food around Tennessee — and a couple other special ones.  Click on the city at their site for photos of each one:

So, anyway, someone recommended their “cheese rounds” so I thought I’d give them a try.  Not bad!  Like a tater tot but better.  A nice crisp shell, and a contrasty soft middle.  Wish there’d been more cheese though.  But still a great little snack on a miserable cold day.  Lousy blurry photo because I forgot how fussy Dee is about close-ups.  She takes them much too literally and decided to focus on the bag instead of the food.  Must remember to do wider photo and then crop.

From Bristol, TN.  Last time I passed through, I remember speaking to the jewelry store owner and telling him how much I loved his sign and the display windows and all.  And now, obviously, he’s gone and so’s the store.  At least the windows & terrazzo are okay & the sign is probably safe behind this new one.  Here’s what I hope is still underneath:

A couple ghost signs from Bristol.  This one safely tucked away in an alley.   Out of the sun.  And probably not public enough that the locals will feel compelled to “restore” (repaint) it and ruin it:

And this mysterious one.  Looks like tobacco?  And looks like it’s a nice one — if only a skilled restorer could remove that white paint:

Happy to report that both of these signs’ businesses are still open.  I’m sure these twins have been well-documented at Flickr.  But maybe less so the plastic sign — which I find the nicest — so I’ll give that one the close-up:

I made a promise to myself last weekend after going to reshoot two Phillips batwing stations in NJ — and finding them both gone — that I’d start shooting all of them, everywhere, no matter how shabby.  This one’s in Bristol:

The Twin-City Drive-in in Bristol — still open, whew!:

What’s left of the Woodzo Drive-in in Newport, TN.  That’s the ticket booth in front.  This is the best view possible now what with shrubbery & all:

More from Newport.  I don’t know what this used to be.  Maybe restaurant — since it sits in the middle of the semi-circle of cottages now known as the Shamrock Apts:

Ugly as hell now — but you know from the blue butt that this used to be a Tastee-Freez like the guys at this page:

Still in Newport.  A funky-fun car wash:

Who knew — I didn’t — that tombstones could be fun — at White’s Monument Co:

I don’t think I’ve seen a Colonial Bread sign like this before.  It’s at an outlet place in Knoxville.  From the motor-box below, you know that it used to spin:

And last one!  Also Nashville — Mack’s Pest Control:

Tomorrow, should wrap up Tennessee & sprint across Arkansas.  Hopefully, get to that Texas sunshine.

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