Six Pictures of 649 Miles

i want to continue on route 66, i like it there. we “get” each other. it’s been a lifelong facination that started with the coral courts motel and it being a mile down the road from my father’s office- the trip from beaumont to amarillo is 649 miles i took six pictures – the radio in texas’ so good shazam asked for a break and a glass of water

Amarillo, TX

i got into amarillo late monday night. i checked into the big texan steakhouse ranch and read the city’s wikipedia page. did you know amarillo was the helium capital of the world? or that america’s only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly facility, the pantex plant, which “maintains the safety and reliability of the nations nuclear weapons stockpile” is the major employer of amarillo?? or that the amarillo livestock auction holds a free-to-the-public cattle auction on tuesdays? – i got into amarillo late monday night.

there was a gift shop and i got a leather-scented candle for about the cost of a shrimp cocktail. mmmm leather candle: i thought it was really cool and different but it’s not as unusual a scent as i thought. it might remind you of ex-lover or that time i got the leather-scented candle at the cattle auction

the big texan steak ranch is a big cinder block tourist stop for bus tours of australians and Americans (capital A). it was on the food show man vs food because they have a 72ounce steak and if you can eat it all it’s free. my room cost about four shrimp cocktails. i watched the man vs food episode which was filmed there. if you’ve never scene the show, this portly jewish fellow, adam richman, goes places and fails eating challenges. it’s like watching dancer in the dark if bjork was laurie metcalf

this post is now about Stanley Marsh 3-
stanley marsh 3’s daddy, stanley marsh, was an oilman. SM3 owns a lot of things in amarillo, texas.  he rebuilt ozymandias. he put hundreds of fake traffic signs up around amarillo and named it “the dynamite museum“. and cadillac ranch? that’s him too

most of the amarillians, (amarillionians?) rolled their eyes when i asked them about him or his projects. stupid small ponders. stanley marsh 3 is the biggest fish of their whole life and they’re none the wiser

next stop: tucumcari

Tucumcari eleison on a highway in the light

tucumcari, new mexico. population 6,000. located two hours west of amarillo. the city’s strip of route 66 is relatively unchanged since the heyday, it’s free of the chains and big box stores and although a building (or ten) have fallen into disrepair, they add to the charm of the place because we like that kind of decay…

citizens of the world travel vast distances to photograph and experience our the mother road, our empire of vintage. and we, as the self-aware, appreciate Americana. often these places were built with care in the efficiency of yesterday when it was looking to tomorrow.

urban decay tourism might become a ten thousand dollar-a-year industry if a travel agent reading this prints some brochures that hail the slums of detroit as the “the ephesus of the industrial world”. but with the knock down of every overgrown drive-in that hasn’t shown a double feature since the 70’s, we move a little closer to tomorrow’s waste-empire of deserted big box shopping centers, that no desirable tourist will ever care about… aka the kind of decay we don’t like

at the border to new mexico the great plains end as the land opens for the mesas

the interstate passed tucumcari just south of town so their strip of route 66 is free of all things new and boxy: it’s a time warp

there’s a quintessential scene 1971’s Two-Lane Blacktop where The Driver (james taylor) and The Mechanic challenge G.T.O to a cross-country race: their small block ’55 chevy to his shiny 1970 gto. it was filmed at a gas station right outside of town.

above: me. right outside of town.


i’ve been encountering two kinds of motel owner/operators in my travels. those with the awareness Americana and their establishment’s place in it and those who own a motel. i’ve been staying at the latters because no one else does and i can make all the noise i want

the trading post-this is gary; he runs the trading post. rooster (right) works at the shop. they just unloaded a gravity gas pump that they’ll spend the next couple days restoring. that’s a big gun on gary’s hip. there are no recordings of the conversation.

it was five or six pm. he opened the shop up for photos and we hung out till it was dark talking about everything. he’s one of the aware and as a collector who knows other collectors is one of the city leaders trying to bring the official route 66 museum to tucumcari. they need to build a ten-thousand square foot building. gary’s really smart. i could wear all the tank tops and chew all toothpicks in the world to look a little tougher but they won’t help if i’m gonna keep walkin’ like a ninny. “you gotta widen your stance. you walk like a ninny”

mysti has a hurt paw but she still loves catch the most. she’d come running up to drop the tennis ball then go long for a pass.

the pow wow-

there’s a lot of options for motels but this is where i stayed: the pow wow inn. a chinese couple own it. they own a motel. he was out of town so she worked from open to close everyday. the beds were uncomfortable and the heat sucked but the huge room cost two and a half shrimp cocktails a night, they didn’t care about my music or my plundering the complimentary craisens

in conclusion-

i hope this blog turns into an old shopping center. maybe i’ll have some new super-blog where people don’t ask me what IRL means and the banner will be a picture of a pretty fountain instead of some blurry photo i took of my shadow the night before i left. i’ll only walk with wide-stances and nail the auto-timer jump shot (below) every.single.time.

listening to: the stone roses’ your star will shine (1994)

nailing the tucumcari jump shot- a dedicated post

the tucumcari jump shot occurred as the sun was setting on the road up tucumcari mountain. the self-timer was set to a 10sec delay. the launch location was chosen with a test shot and a lot of skill. the jump was captured as “IMG_0495.JPG” using digital photography.

the photograph explores the relationship between timing and jumping. begging the audience to question the necessity and its explanation.

joee’s shirt reads, “richie edwards”, who is presumed dead.

UFOs over Albuquerque, NM

i stopped in albuquerque to visit a record shop. everyone there was happy to drop albuquerque knowledge on me since i knew nothing of the city. did you know the rogue mountains that spoon the city had indians hiding in them to rob travelers until seventy years ago? or that everyone at the record store’s seen ufos and it’s no big deal.

Gallup, NM

i arrived in gallop around 7pm and started driving up and down the route 66 motels looking for the right spot. it’s dark. in the peripherals i could see giant rocks shooting out of the ground but not clearly cause it’s dark. i hadn’t eaten. the hanger’s taking over | fuck this car | fuck that truck | how’s the la quinta inn gonna charge 9 shrimp cocktails for a night at their nursing homtel | fuck la quinta | I’m sick of all the music | why isn’t there some kind of new music I’m not sick of | I’ve heard all these notes before. why isn’t there some new note I’m not sick of | fuck notes | I’m hangry, that’s a buffet

the now-hiring sign and empty parking lot didn’t detour me from the buffet. i was sat at a dirty table. all the troughs were empty except one with some shitty chicken. i ate a couple bites of shitty chicken then left without saying anything or paying – i paid for it in the parking lot on my shoes. why do i do this to myself? i told god i’d stop eating at buffets if he’d save the shoes. i promise god i’ll stop doing shit all the time. they were good shoes. fuck that buffet.

el rancho-d.w. griffith’s brother, r.e. griffith, was a silent film actor who opened a chain of theaters in texas and a hotel in the desert. as the western genre was rising in popularity r.e. built a quality hotel in gallup, new mexico and lobbied to everyone he knew in hollywood that gallup was the place to shoot their western and el rancho hotel was the place for them to stay.john ford stayed there while directing the grapes of wrath, as did ronald reagan, spencer tracy, john wayne, jane fonda, joan crawford, mae west, lucille ball, rita hayworth, humphrey bogart,  katharine hepburn. it was in natural born killers when nearby route 491 was named route 666 (it was changed in 2003 due to christian protest and the native americans believing the road cursed- it’s where jim morrison saw the dead indian).

armand ortega-armand ortega grew up down the street from the hotel. his first job was pumping gas around the corner. on paydays he’d take his friends for burgers at el racho’s restaurant: they were fifteen cents a piece. later he began opening trading posts along the southwest highways and during the 70’s and 80’s when indian was chiq he and his team of salesmen were the goto guys for supplying department stores around the world with native american jewelry.

by the mid-70’s el rancho was in sad shape and up for auction. armand showed up won the auction and closed it for a couple months while he brought it back to the place he took his friends for burgers. while checking in he poked his head out of the office and walked over to say hello. i was so excited to talk to him; he thought i was funny.