Day 11: Grain Silos & Gas Stations (northwest Texas)

I saw a whole lot of grain silos and depressing feedlots.  Shot a lot of gas stations and theatres.  Not quite as hot as yesterday.  But it felt very dry and my eyes and throat are killing me.  This is how I felt last year in this area when there were brush fires.  But no brush fires around here that I know of.  The grass is noticeably crunchy and I’ve seen a few cactus.  So I’m keeping the dogs to manicured green grass which I seem to have great luck at finding.  Those sand spurs are nasty and I really don’t want to encounter any rattlesnakes.

Sparkle gave me some anxiety this morning — well, technically, all day.  She started up just fine this morning — but then after filling up at the gas station.  It took three cranks to start her.  That’s never happened before.  Always fires right up.  So, since it’s Sunday, I decided not to turn her off til the end of the day — no point in getting stuck somewhere and wasting a day’s shooting. Might as well be stuck near a mechanic on a Monday.  But tonight — I turned her on and off a few times.  No trouble starting at all.  After running solidly for about 12 hours.  Guess we’ll see tomorrow after sitting for the night.  Maybe it was just a fluke?  If all seems fine in the morning, I’ll still be cautious where I turn the engine off — and probably not often til I regain my confidence.  I also noticed that Sparkle seemed quieter than usual all day.  Usually when she’s in park or waiting at lights, in all the years I’ve had her, she idles with a pretty aggressive rev.  But today, not so much.  In fact, at lights, it almost seemed like I had stalled out she was so quiet.  So, I can only guess that there’s a connection between the quiet idle and the starting up.  But maybe not.  What’s a roadtrip without some stress, right?

On with the pictures.  It seemed like I was driving huge distances without taking many photos.  Mostly tiny towns with just a couple of photos.  But I guess I did just fine.  Same quantity as a normal day.  I think that blessed speed limit of 70 — which means 80 — really helps cover ground.  And no city traffic and stop lights holding me back.

The day started in Amarillo — so let’s start with this former Burger Chef — a rare example of the long canopy and the “kite” rooftop sign:


I don’t know what these A-frame buildings were used for originally — but I saw two of them in Amarillo and I think another one in Plainview:


Some bad news — sometime between last April —

and today — they painted over this sign.  Dammit!


Moving on to Plainview — there’s something fun and sad at the same time what’s happened to this store.  All that tacky turquoise…


One of my favorites from today — a radiator shaped sign:


Obviously, the Nu-Griddle part is new.  A cheap way to create a sign while unintentionally preserving the old one.  We need more of these less ambitious owners:


These cow statues in town are part of one of those community art project things with different businesses adding their unique paint jobs.  I love this blue Domino’s cow:


On to Muleshoe — a really sad, closed theatre:


From Lubbock:


I have a tradition of including at least one neon parking sign per trip.  Finally found one!  This one is from Lubbock:


A bowling alley turned antiques center:


And lastly for the night.  A house in Ransom Canyon — basically across the street from the Steel House (see tonight’s Flickr photos).  I find some other photos of it on-line tonight — with some people referring to it as the Mosaic House — but I don’t know if that’s the real name.  I can’t find any info about the place with my last trickle of energy right now:


OK — truly trashed now — gotta sleep.  Sorry if I’m less coherent than usual.  Tomorrow, moving southward in TX.  Would love to move on to NM by Thursday and be on schedule.

4 thoughts on “Day 11: Grain Silos & Gas Stations (northwest Texas)

  1. My 87 Beemer used to do that. Always started first try, then at some point it took 2 or 3 tries to get it started. Would do that for several weeks before totally refusing to start. Then it was a tow to the shop and a new fuel injection system.

    My mechanic told me to gas up when the tank is half empty, don’t let it run down to near the E. I used to only fill it when it was 95% empty. He said that’s very hard on the fuel injection system, even on new cars.

    Stopping to refuel every half a tank is a pain, especially when you’ve got places to go and things to shoot! But it may help Sparkle avoid a long stop at the repair shop. One benefit of refilling at the halfway point is that you don’t get sticker shock so bad when you only buy half a tank.

    • Hmm. Thanks for the info. I stopped today at a Chevy dealer and explained my symptoms — mentioning the possibility that maybe it was fuel injection. They looked at my blankly. I’m thinking maybe I don’t have fuel injection? They said maybe a fuel pump — but I just replaced that (my third one!) 20,000 miles ago. So… all they could say was keep on driving. I’ll be holding my breath in the desert. But really, she’s starting up every time, and running perfectly fine. Except TWICE today in relentless stop & go traffic, at a stoplight it felt like she was gonna stall so I gave her a nudge of gas and she was fine. I dunno. Guess I’ll keep on keeping on — but it makes me a little bit of a wreck.

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