Trip Wrap-up & Day 30 in NM

Here it is the final post from June’s trip.  At this point, on Day 30, I was racing towards home with one day ahead to sort out my life and then head back to work in SoCal.  But I managed some stops in Albuquerque and Gallup on the way home.

Before the final sampling of photos, here are the “stats” about the trip.  I put another 12,519 miles on Sparkle’s odometer (nearly 500,000 now).  That’s an average of about 417 miles per day.  I took more than 4,000 photos.  I spent $2231 on gas (about $74 per day).  Granted, Sparkle only gets about 17mpg but when you’re traveling with four dogs & you need the space for clothes, human/dog supplies & other stuff, you gotta suck that up.

I’ve got all of the 29 days’ photos up at my website ( which is my life’s work.  This blog is just a little diversion, a way to share photos that are usually not worthy of my website and document these trips.

I’ll get Day 30’s New Mexico photos up this weekend.  But all of the Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Texas, and Memphis photos are all up.  So, if you have a favorite state or topics (signs, mid-century modern buildings, Art Deco, bus stations, giant fruit or animals, gas stations, etc.), you might want to go see what’s new.  You can also use the search box below the yellow bar on the left at any page to search by cities to see things from all sections for them.

Now then — on with some of the final day’s photos.  All from Albuquerque.






The remaining photos from this post are all part of Carlos Garcia’s collection.  About half of his signs are from auctions from around the country, the other half is from Albuquerque with a few from other NM cities.   He’s a controversial figure in that some people believe that he gets his signs “too soon.”  That is, working out deals with the business owner or building at maybe the 9th hour instead of catching the sign just before it was about to hit the dumpster.  I’ve spoken with him a lot and it seems that every sign has a story and was truly about to come down “soon”.

He is working on a sign park of some sort in ABQ that should open to the public next year as part of the Glorieta Station development.  I’ve seen some of the artist illustrations of the plans.  In the meantime, the majority of his signs are displayed inside his event and storage space.  Some are at the back of a parking lot waiting for restoration and/or the sign park.  In any case, he’s happy to have lookie-loo sign-lovers come see his collection by appointment.  And then make judgments for themselves whether he’s to be loved or hated for this collection.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle: suspicious that at least some of the signs could have stayed up a few more years but happy that someone got them before a new business owner might repaint them with their name or add plastic letters to the panels which would be just as bad as the scrapheap.  I’ve seen that happen waaaaaay too many times.











Let’s end with one sign that’s now part from Carlos’ collection.  The Arrow Motel in Espanola, NM (first photo below is mine from 2012).  The motel was condemned years ago and demolished last year.  Everyone worried over what would become of the sign.  The city had no plans for it.  Carlos talked to the owners over the years and finally worked out a deal.  They only gave it or sold it (I can’t remember which) to him with the condition that he restore the sign to its original glory.

Well, the sign community, including me, was horrified by that…. ruining the historic patina…  but… anyway, here was the sign in June getting the full rust-removal and original paint colors.  The sign has since had the neon installed and the animated arrow is working again.


I hope you enjoyed the daily samplings from this trip.  I’ll be back soon enough with the next mega project.  Combing my website for all the changes over the past year via the Google Street View maps in the descriptions at my website.  Demolitions, repaints, removals, remodeling.  And then posting here the tragedies (mostly) and surprises (a little bit of positive news, let’s hope).  It’s going to my idea of “fun.”  During that, I’ll also make a few little North/South Calif. trips as a break over the next six months or so.  Then, it’ll be time to plan next year’s summer trip (Florida, Alabama, Georgia & more).  The cycle of life, DJ style.

Now, don’t forget to take a peek at other photos from this trip (different from the one’s posted to this blog) over at Flickr.  And then when you’ve got a good chunk of time, venture over to the website for the “real deal” (approaching or exceeding 3,000 – haven’t counted lately – packed pages of buildings, signs & statues).

Happy trails!
dj & the dogs – back home in paradise


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