Leaving town.

There are many ways out of Albuquerque, but this is my favorite. If you are going on a road trip you can kind of say goodbye to the city as you leave. Even if you are not, you can pretend.

This is what is left of Route 66 west of Albuquerque. Just a little over the rise in the far center of the photograph is where it meets I-40 and all points west.

There are little bits and pieces and parts of Route 66 that run along I-40, but not enough to really get anywhere. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t photographable. They are.

There have been a lot of reflective articles lately about photography. There have been a few concerning how it relates to social media. I’ve said on Storyteller that each has their specific place in the branding world, but do they?

I have never gotten even a nibble from anything that I post on Instagram, which is distributed to Facebook. Oh sure, I get a lot of likes. But, you can’t eat likes. I read Twitter mostly for NOLA Twitter and news. I really don’t know most of the local folks who post on Twitter. And, I read news at the source.

So, why do it?

A photographer/writer who I read and like, reckons that we waste 2.5 hours per day on social media. Think about it. That’s 17.5 hours per week, or 70 hours per month, or 840 hours per year.

That’s 35 days.

What could you do with 35 days?

I have to think about it for another ten minutes, but I think I may do that. There are plenty of ways to reach, find, and talk to me.

Or, I can stay around, not post and just read here and there.

We’ll see.

No worries, I’m not going anywhere here, on Storyteller.

Wowie Zowie. Look at the big ball of light. Wouldja? Oh wait, that’s the sun as it blasts its way through the windshield.

Yes, if you leave Albuquerque at around sunset, this is your view.

There are some big businesses outside of the city limit so you have an inbound rush hour of sorts.

The finished picture takes some explanation.

I tried to keep some details in the sun. Yeah, right. But, doing that made the surrounding everything very dark. It also added a lot of contrast which is no problem for me.

Of course, all of that created a lot of shadows and silhouettes. A lot of people don’t like that which is why HDR was invented.

I like shadows and silhouettes. If anything, I want to make them stronger and more defined.

It’s all a matter of personal taste.

For me, this is how it looks and feels if you are leaving Albuquerque around sunset.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay strong. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.

Route 66, West of The Sandias.
Route 66, East of The Sandias.

Well. I told you. I’m pretty much out of new local work.

Yes. It’s cooled down some. The temperatures never came close to yesterday’s predicted high. But, I think I just wanted a continued break. Or, you could call it an excuse. So, I did stuff around the house. I’m still trying to figure out how to cool the pool down. Nature, may intervene with that. Water is supposed to fall from the sky in the form of what appears to be a pretty big storm. We’ll see. Yeah, yeah. I know. A First World problem.


I dipped back into the big New Mexico project. I like this picture. It’s a road picture. Truly. In the old days, this would be called an overall scene setter. If it was printed on something like a magazine page, it would have to be used huge. It’s too bad that I can’t show it to you as big as it should be. Oops… that’s just WordPress. I could switch  formats within WordPress. There are some that really feature the main picture. But… it looks to me like it’s harder for you to comment or even like a picture. I’ll test it a little.

This picture. I made it on a crest of Old Route 66 west of the Sandias and Albuquerque. Route 66, around this area, is also called State Route 333. That’s good. It’s half of 666. That could get a little scary. Heh! The highway to the right is I-40. If you are traveling out this way, you have choices. You can take I-40 and blast straight through to Albuquerque, which to me, has always been a gateway to the far west. Or, you can meander around a bit, explore and take Route 66 into the city. You could get your kicks. You could actually take your time. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy yourself. Eat local food.

Stuff like that.

Here's looking at you.
Here’s looking at you.

Junk. New Mexican Junk. Sunday’s junk.

Unlike the junk in New Orleans, this junk isn’t so rusty. It is mostly sand and wind-blown. Sure, there’s some rust. But nothing like you get in the high humidity swamp that I call home. For now.

This place. It’s in Moriarty. New Mexico. You can see it from I-40 just east of Albuquerque. It’s owned by a very New Mexican sort of fellow called Archie. He owns a lot of land out this way. He’s also pretty much well-known throughout the area. Generally when he talks about the history of the region, he tells the truth. After all, he’s lived a lot of it. He knows some stories about nuclear development that are downright scary. You can see him in the third picture. I should also add that the last time I saw him was before my return to the swamp. A while back. I’m not saying anything more about that. Bad juju. You know?

Anyway. He’s friendly. Call ahead. Let him know you are coming. He’ll let you have the run of the junkyard. He’ll ask for a donation, but that’s to be expected. It’s mostly to support the wonderfully restored or pristine cars in the car barn. After all, how much of this old junk can he sell? Some of the oldest cars and trucks — Model-Ts and before are almost melting into the dirt.

A word about this page design. I had grand plans of making a newspaper page-like design. Like the kind I used to do. Very clean. Large leading picture. A very nicely organized group of sub pictures. Yeah. Good luck with that. Maybe if I could write code, I might be able to do something. But, no way within the confines of this page template. I could make smaller pictures. But, I couldn’t align them. If I did, one picture dropped below the group. And, of course, I couldn’t wrap the type. I probably shouldn’t worry much about it. Storyteller is really about pictures. Not page design.

Oh well.

If any of you have a better idea, please let me know.  I could use some better ideas.

Some kind of truck.
Some kind of truck.


Piles of cars.
Piles of cars.

I-40, west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I-40, west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Another little collection.

I decided to post road trip pictures because some guy that I read sometimes said that young people don’t like road trips. I’m not buying that. While younger folks do like living in more urban settings and not needing a car to commute around doing daily living stuff, road trips are a whole other issue. That’s traveling. And, it’s sort of fun. That said, these pictures were made during the act of traveling. They are a little rough technically because I didn’t set out to make these kinds of pictures. I just saw them and did whatever it took to make the picture. At the time.

These pictures are all western. I think that comes from my youth. That’s where my family used to travel. Long road trips from Long Beach, California to Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. Many years later, when we evacuated after the storm, I thought that it would be a good idea to relocate — briefly — to New Mexico. At least in The United States. So, driving through the west feels like a road trip to me. That’s not to say that we haven’t driven all over the place in the south. But, it doesn’t feel the same. For one thing, you can’t see forever. The trees along the sides of the roads make it feel like we are driving through tunnels. To me.


As usual, the captions are underneath each picture.

This picture was one of my usual drive-bys. You can see a little motion shake. I told you these were a little rough. The highway is I-40. The road where the truss steel arch bridge is located is a bit of Route 66 at Rio Puerco. This is west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Speeding trucks. I-40 west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Speeding trucks. I-40 west of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I-40 as it enters Albuquerque, New Mexico. Eventually, it crosses over I-25 very near to where this picture was made. Just like New Orleans is a giant rail yard, Albuquerque is a giant truck stop.

I-40, east of the Arizona - New Mexico border.
I-40, near The Continental Divide.

I keep writing that this picture was made near the Arizona-New Mexico border. Not quite. It is well east of Gallup, located on The Continental Divide. For me, growing up, reaching this place meant that we finally reached the west. Looking back that strikes me as being pretty funny considering we drove from the West Coast. Far west of this place. But, there were surfers where I came from, not cowboys.

Old Route 66.
Old Route 66.

This must be Route 66. The sign says it is. This picture was made near the Laguna Pueblo area. It’s out there. In the middle of nothing. Well, almost.

1-50, Utah.
1-50, Utah.

I-50 east. In Utah. I was taking a break from driving, when I happened to look behind me. This is what I saw. That’s a Wal-Mart truck. Wal-Mart is everywhere.

Whiting Brothers sign, i-40 East of Moriarity, New Mexico.
Whiting Brothers sign, i-40 East of Moriarty, New Mexico.

Whiting Brothers. For those of us of a certain age, Whiting Brothers was a great place to stop, gas up, cool down and maybe have a bite to eat. I’ve been reading that phrase… “of a certain age” a lot lately. Uh oh.

A couple of things.

While these pictures are starting to emerge from my files, I haven’t done much too them in terms of post production in terms of making them look a little more contemporary. You are seeing them as they came straight from my research.

Two. The scary thing. I don’t seem to be able to make many new pictures right now. I don’t know why. I’m not going to worry about it just yet. Like a baseball player who gets into a hitting slump, the more you worry about it, the more you don’t hit. And, the more you don’t hit, the more you worry. If it keeps up, you are sent to the minors or released. We don’t want that happening, do we?

I wrote about Seligman, Arizona, a few days ago.  I realized then that you haven’t seen enough of the place. So, today’s post will be a little long and full. Thirteen pictures, I think. There’s no overall picture and that’s too bad. But, my detail pictures should give you a sense of the place. It’s quirky. It’s a little weird. It suits me. Listen to Ry Cooder when viewing.

I found these chairs in Seligman, Arizona. I know, I know. Where the hell is that? Seligman is one of the last true Route 66 towns left in America. It’s located just off of I-40, east of Kingman and west of Williams. It’s almost a ghost town. But, not quite. It is a great rest stop for people traveling on I-40. It’s also a place that I’ve been passing through for well over 45 years. It started when my parents took us to the Southwest. And, I’ve driven through it from time to time since. People come to Seligman from all over the  world. I’ve heard tourists speaking every kind of language. It’s a funny kind of place. I’ve stopped there when the entire town lost power. I’ve been there when the entire town lost water pressure. And… yet, I’m always drawn to it. 

When I lived in New Mexico, I realized that Albuquerque is really a giant truck stop. That’s not a negative statement. It’s just the  understanding that while the city has spread out in every direction, the crossroads of I-40 and I-25 are located there. Old Route 66 ran through the city not only east and west, but depending on the year, north and south. How did that happen?  Prior to 1937, Route 66 took a longer, less direct Route through santa fe to the north and Los Lunas in the south. I-25 stretches from I-10 at Los Cruces, New Mexico to I-90 at Buffalo, Wyoming. That makes it major north-south corridor. And, I-40? Well… it is the third longest east-west highway in the country. It stretches from 1-15 in Barstow, California to Route 117 in North Carolina.

That’s the long way of saying that Albuquerque, New Mexico is not only a major truck stop, but a major crossroads.

So. This picture. It was made on I-40 east in Albuquerque a mile or so before the intersection pf I-25. For me, this is the trickiest of my drive by shooting style. If I drift a little into the right lane, I’m squarely in the back of that big rig, The best I could do is steady the camera on the dashboard, point it and press the shutter release button and let the camera do the rest.

Okay. This is too weird even for me. I often write about a road called Paseo de Volcan. Or, Exit 149 off of I-40 West, just west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was my go to place for certain kinds of pictures. When the so-called “super moon” phenomenon occurred last year, that where I headed. When I left New Mexico that’s where I head to make my last few pictures. It was called Paseo de Volcan because about five – six miles from I-40 you come to some lump-like mountains which are actually long dormant volcanoes. Not to worry, the last time they erupted was some 30,000 years ago.

None of that is weird. But, it here it comes. I left New Mexico for the much greener swamps of Southeast Louisiana on July 7, 2011. I Googled this morning to make sure that I had the spelling right. I found this. On July 8, 2011, the state saw fit to rename the road Atrisco Vista Road. By July 9, the new highway signs were up on I-40. Sheesh. I didn’t realize that I have so much power. I’m not sure that even if I do that I want it.

The three pictures for today are from “my” road. One is of the “super moon.” The other two images were made on July 5, 2011. I was very lucky that night. My eyes, brain, and heart were working. And, the light… the light was just right.

When I lived in New Mexico, I used to make a lot of pictures on Route 66. It was an easy “go to.” After all, old Route 66 runs east, west, north and south in Albuquerque. Yes. It’s true. The pre-1937 Route 66 comes down From santa Fe in the north and can be traced down to Los Lunas in the south where it turns left on the map and heads west. After 1937, Route 66 was made a little more direct east-west highway, and ran along what is now Central Avenue. That’s the short story. There’s a lot more.

These pictures were made for a piece of a book project and were made from Albuquerque, west to Seligman, Arizona. As they say, all art is about the maker. Although these pictures might not look it, they are personal to me. They bring back memories of my childhood when my parents liked to travel to The Southwest on vacations and holidays. Some of the landmarks from my childhood are still landmarks for me today. Some are gone. Some are changed. Sort of like life, eh?