When Kurt and I left Joshua Tree National Park to return to our home state of Minnesota, we decided to revisit Route 66 with the miniatures and explore more of Highway 54.
Our first stop was in Amboy, California. Kurt had been eying Roy’s sign for a while. The Motel's sign was nicely preserved as well as the Motel’s lobby. The challenge was to find the right perspective. After spending a couple hours trying, we disengaged and toured the rooms and Kurt saw the light (literally) coming through one of the windows, it was perfect for the scene!
The Hackberry General Store in Arizona is a really neat place! Kurt quickly thought of a scene for the miniatures. There was an old Firestone sign with a ford pickup truck parked underneath. Kurt pulled out a miniature mechanic and a customer and placed them on the ground across from the garage.
A trip down Route 66 would be incomplete without a visit to our friends in Seligman, AZ. The folks there were one of the highlights of our Route 66 journey. It’s funny how we were able to pick up conversation where we left it, even after years had gone by. Out on the front step, between two tour buses loaded with Japanese tourists, Kurt photographed his miniature biker.
For the sake of preserving our miniatures, we chose to skip the Grand Canyon because of the high winds. Instead, we spent a couple days in Holbrook, AZ, home of the Wigwam Village #6. We love this place! A trip down Route 66 should include at least one night in a Wigwam! Kurt photographed a few scenes, in one of them he used a little guy polishing the hood ornament of one of the vintage cars parked in front of the teepees.
We usually rush through Albuquerque on our way to our final destination but it was mid-April (still cold in Minnesota) and severe weather was happening in the plains so we took our time. In Albuquerque, Old Route 66 is called Central Avenue and is lined with a lot of original signage. We picked a handful of them to document with the miniatures.
Between Albuquerque and Tucumcari, there was a sign that caught Kurt’s attention from the interstate. The Longhorn Motel sign is fully legible on the side facing east and pretty decrepit on the west facing side (from the winds and sun?). Back in 2011, Kurt had tried to pull off the scene of the weary traveler breaking down in the middle of nowhere and coming up to an out-of-service phone booth without success. This time around, the location and feel of the place worked out great for the scene.
We spent the night in Tucumcari, missed our moment for a sunset shot at the Blue Swallow Motel as we got wrapped up in a very nice conversation with visitors, no regret there. The next morning, we set out to photograph Teepee Curios and after a friendly chat with the owner, Kurt photographed his miniature cyclist.
Tucumcari was our last town along Route 66. We cut across the plains on Highway 54 and discovered the town of Nara Visa near the Texas border. Kurt stepped into an abandoned building to document a miniature figure sweeping the floor. On a nearby corner was a beautiful sign that still read "Ira's bar". In order to photograph the scene including the historic sign, Kurt had to step off the curb and share the road with semis as they rolled through town.
Our last miniature scene happened in the town of Conlen, Texas. A lonely cowboy named TEX was standing with his gun drawn and a hole in his pants!