Day 1 (of 30): California to Tucson

The journey begins!  I’ve got four weeks to play in the summer heat.  This trip will be mostly Texas but there will be other “surprises” as well (a little bit of Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arizona).  Right now, I’m stuck here in Conroe, TX at a car repair waiting on tie rods for Sparkle.  So, I might as well make the most of it and get in a little photoshopping and posting.  I was actually stopped here for an increasingly noisy exhaust sound.  Turned out to be “donuts” (of all things!) and they also discovered the tie rods were shot (original, 450,000 miles, so no surprise).

So far, the weather has been mostly kind although it’s been ungodly hot and humid.  Actually, central Texas is bearable (80s) vs. Arizona and southern TX (110s).  Lots of clouds which is a mostly a good thing (pretty backgrounds) but irritating when you have to stand there waiting for them to blow away and not block the sun.  Clouds move pretty quick in Texas so it usually just means a few minutes of standing there.  But I’m a very impatient person with much to shoot and thousands of miles to cover so…

I drove through the night on Friday so I could start the day off across the border in Yuma, AZ.  Woke up to sun and no A/C.  I had to tough that out for a couple of days which nearly killed me and the dogs.  Nik is 15 so I was pretty nervous about him (older dogs don’t handle heat as well as the young’uns).

On with the photos!  Hello from Yuma.  Surely, the three light bulbs on the left (when they were all there) must have flashed hypnotically alerting you to pull in and stay there:



More from Yuma:



The Bow & Arrow Motel:



The Yuma Cabana Motel as I shot it last year:


Now, an EconoLodge — but at least they kept the sign as it was except for the top panel:



Neon’s gone & text was probably changed but still a delight:



The Mel’s Diner sign in Phoenix is looking pretty beat now.  The signs at the Bryan, OH and Fort Lauderdale, FL locations don’t look much better:


The former Aero Bowl sign in Phoenix is still hanging in.  Benign neglect…  Sparkle makes a cameo in the background:


The Watson’s Flowers sign in Mesa continues to lay on the ground behind the store, waiting for a miracle. It was nearly knocked over by the wind and destroyed shortly after this photo was taken in 2012:

Here’s hoping that the Mesa Preservation Foundation can help out and help raise enough money to get this one back up.  They recently acquired the local Dairy Queen sign and the Sally’s Fabrics sign and plan to build a little sign park in town.


One more from Mesa:  the Hambone Sports Bar & Grill:


Let’s end with this one from Tucson.  I don’t know what it was originally but I’m betting there might be porcelain panels under the vinyl coverings:




My parts should be here “any minute now” and then I’ll be flying off to Navasota.  It’s a nice sunny day and sitting here is KILLING me.  The dogs are crashed out and are happy anywhere.  There’s a lesson to be learned from them.

I’ll be back in July (hopefully not sooner!) with lots and lots of posts and glorious photos.  In the meantime, I put a few different photos over at Flickr from this “Day 1”, if you care to look:

Back on the road soon!
dj & the dogs

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