I'm having FUN now!
On my way to Tucson, I stopped at one of the abandoned parts of old Route 66, in Ludlow, California, just east of Barstow. Ludlow isn't necessarily vanishing... it still has a cafe, gas station, garage, etc., and caters to the locals as well as the truckers that pass through, but right next to the thriving businesses lies a reminder of the pre-Interstate days when Route 66 was the only highway crossing the United States.
This little section of Ludlow has (or should I say "had") everything the traveler would have needed: A cafe, garage, gas station, RV park, and a motel. Now the shells of those once thriving businesses bake in the desert sun, waiting for progress to spread from LA to Flagstaff, and from Flagstaff to LA, to meet in the middle, clear the debris and start anew.
From Ludlow, it took another two days to get to Tucson (remember, I'm taking my time to "smell the roses"), and find my way to the "home base" of my Silver Wings series. We're still working on getting permission to photograph at the Davis-Monthan AFB "Airplane Graveyard" in Tucson, but I won't be short of subject matter while I'm waiting. Ben Cooke, one of the team members at Arlene Howard Public Relations got me something almost as good as the Graveyard itself. Ben was able to get me permission to shoot at Aircraft Restoration and Marketing (ARM), a yard right next to the Air Force Base, who specializes in restoring or scrapping decomissioned military aircraft. As I pulled through the gates, the local country radio station was playing a new song by Gary Allen titled, Watching Airplanes. How's that for good timing? You can hear the song on his website, www.garyallen.com.
ARM has have numerous planes on site ranging from the huge C130 cargo carrier to little reconnaissance jets and the famous Air and Sea Rescue Grumman Albatross. And, Linda, who manages the site is so helpful, she is willing to let me wander the grounds on my own and doesn't mind if I climb onto and even into some of the aircraft.
Of course, they require that I sign a waiver releasing them from liability if I hurt myself, but that's a no-brainer. Between me and you, if you knowingly walk into an area where you might get hurt, and you do get hurt, you've nobody to blame but yourself. As they say on the farm, "If you're man enough to wrestle a bull, you're man enough not to cry about it when he stomps the crap out of you."
So, with my hardhat on my noggin, and my cameras in hand, I'll be getting up tomorrow at the crack of dawn to make the most of the desert's beautiful sunrises.
Let's go shoot some planes!