Archive for October, 2007

Days 16 & 17: SC, NC & home!

Posted in Roadtrip on October 30, 2007 by roadsidenut

This post covers the final two days of this big Southern roadtrip. I logged over 6,000 miles and got close to 2,000 photos for the website. There were only a few interences: backing Sparkle into a ditch, some rainy weather, and picking up a stray dog. Little “you-you” is now being fostered by a woman in Savannah. I’m sure she’ll find a great home soon. This will be the last big roadtrip until the six-week jaunt to California in March. Until then, there will be additions to the website and Flickr from some smaller blog-less trips in the Northeast. Now, on with the final misc. photos.

I got to explore lots of small towns on this trip. Here are some interesting buildings from downtown Georgetown, SC:

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This arch is in Wilmington, NC. The former playground is now tennis courts.

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I went to Airlie Gardens in Wilmington to see the bottle house and wish I’d had more time to check out the rest of the place. There are beautiful gardens with artwork scattered throughout. More about the place here:
http://www.airliegardens.org/

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Kitty Dunes Realty inhabits a mid-century-looking building in Kitty Hawk, NC:

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One of my favorite places in Myrtle Beach, SC is Bark Park (aka Barc Park). It’s a 12-acre fenced area for dogs to romp around off-leash. There’s a giant pond, shade trees, picnic tables and benches for the humans, and some playground equipment for the dogs. It’s very clean and I have never witnessed any aggressive dogs. The park is owned and operated by the City. Although I can pretty much turn my dogs loose anywhere as they come when I call them, I wish more cities had places like this.

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Most “dog parks” that I have been to are really no more than “dog runs” (with questionable sanitation and too small for dogs to spread out and have their own space). I have my favorites around the country. One of them that comes to mind is the 42-acre Dogwood Park in Jacksonville, FL:
http://www.jaxdogs.com/

For a listing of dog parks, this website is a great reference:
http://www.ecoanimal.com/dogfun/

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There was lots of time for sleeping on the long drive home for some of us. Here’s Fixie in an unusual position:

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A new snack discovery (for me anyway). Grippie gives her endorsement of Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos:

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Lastly, here are a couple signs from North Myrtle Beach that caught my eye. This Preston’s sign appears to be a new one but it is still nicely done:

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This sign is from an abandoned course. Myrtle Beach has long been populated with dozens of mini golfs but most of them these days are the new elaborate type with mountains spewing molten lava, giant waterfalls, and such. I prefer the older more understated courses. There are still some old carpets and hints of what this course looked like behind an overgrown broken chain link fence. That and this sign will probably not be around for much longer.

Day 15: Georgia & South Carolina

Posted in Roadtrip on October 28, 2007 by roadsidenut

I had a very productivfe and satisfying day. The weather was perfect and I was in some big cities which gave me some very dense photographic material. Only another day and a half left of the trip but I’m ready to settle down and put my life back in order. I’m sure the dogs look forward to their usual routine as well. Lots of photos for ya today!

As if the one-way streets didn’t slow me down enough in Savannah, there was also a homecoming parade for Savannah State College which blocked off several roads. I was glad to have a good map to steer around all the various back ways to get what I needed but still it took more time than I would’ve liked. There are worse places to get jammed up though – it’s a beautiful and interesting town. In addition to the marching bands, hand-shaking politicians, cars with waving beauty pageant winners, there were also lots of fun-loving Shriners.

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The old Globe Shoe store is a beauty:

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Just a couple doors down is another old shoe store with yet more great terrazzo. Some day I’m going to go down all the Main Streets in the U.S. and shoot just this. Maybe start a new flickr ID “terrazzonut”?

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So I’ve gotta mention/show the Spanish Moss — okay, so it’s an epiphyte and all that but it’s so beautiful:

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I can’t decide if this is cute or disgusting. Tybee Island has one of those art project things around town with differently decorated sea turtles. Here’s this guy indulging in a banana split at the Sugar Shack:

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and another sea turtle pirate at the Crab Shack with a sleeping friend. It was a really busy place with mobs of people walking by and making noise. But this guy was just so used to it I guess.

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Speaking of snoozing, here’s one of my roadside pals asleep at the wheel. It’s usually Grip in my lap on these trips, alternating between watching scenery, sleeping, and nipping at big trucks that go by. Nik usually only takes this spot when he’s freezing (after swimming in cold water). But today I guess he found a sunny patch & couldn’t resist. He falls asleep in the most uncomfortable looking positions and held this one for quite awhile.

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This old Texaco is on the road between Savannah and Charleston. It looks like a fake set-up to me but it could be real I guess since it’s at a major fork in the road.

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This is how they do Halloween in South Carolina I guess, the Palmetto State:

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I had never been to Charleston before and it’s drop dead gorgeous. I’m coming back someday just to start a new Flickr ID and/or website called “really-old-buildings”. Here are some examples:

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I told myself I’d stop shooting these Montgomery-Ward buildings but this is perhaps the most nicely preserved one I’ve seen:

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There are lots of brick-walled courtyards which sometimes give you a glimpse of what’s on the other side:

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The buses are done up like street cars:

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And lastly, let me leave you with this delightful discovery in Charleston. You’ve all seen those giant inflated eagles and Uncle Sams on the roofs of car dealership but here’s a unique touch. I’m told there really is a Mama and that she’s in her 80s. I only missed meeting her by a few minutes and would’ve loved to get a posed shot with her underneath her likeness. Damn!

Day 14: Georgia

Posted in Roadtrip on October 27, 2007 by roadsidenut

The sun finally came out which made things a lot more pleasant and productive. I had a long haul through back roads across the whole state of Georgia so am feeling pretty wiped out. Let me get these photos up this morning so I can get a little nap in before hitting the road again.

Let’s start with a mid-century building from Abbeville: the Henry County Courthouse:

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Abbeville’s little downtown theatre, the “Archie”, is unfortunately closed as are many other theatres that I’ve seen on this trip:

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The facade is all that’s left of the Walker Theatre in Fort Gaines. The box office looks out onto a vacant lot. The owners are working towards making it an “open air” theatre with only one third of the building having a roof.

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The Blakely Theatre (in Blakely) is closed but undergoing renovation:
http://www.early.k12.ga.us/earlycounty/community_life.htm

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Here are a couple signs that caught my eye. This giant boot sign in Albany is abandoned (the shoe repair is long gone):


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Ashburn mixes humor and civic pride. In addition to its giant peanut on I-75, the town hosts this annual festival:

Day 13: Alabama

Posted in Roadtrip on October 26, 2007 by roadsidenut

It rained again for most of the day but I finally got a break in the afternoon. I managed to squeeze in the northern Alabama stuff I had to skip earlier in the trip and still stay on schedule. No hitches or glitches to report. I’ve got more photos for the blog today than for Flickr, so let’s get started!

I stumbled across this little mid-century “roundie” in Irondale and while it’s no architectural masterpiece, some folks might enjoy it. I don’t know what it was originally but for now, it’s a dentist office.

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Now if more modern businesses took this approach to signage, the world would be a better place. This giant calla lily and sculptural fence are from Birmingham:

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Miss Electra looks down on Birmingham from atop the Alabama Power Company Building:

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Here’s the first group shot of the four world travelers together (well, IF I’m keeping her). This was natural posing — not the greatest composition. But what’s noteworthy is that at least little “you-you” has learned that when the van doors open, you have to wait for the “okay” to jump out. That’s a step in the right direction even if she hasn’t learned her name or how to pee/poop on-leash yet.

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Are you hungry? Here’s a new one on me. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Southern delicacy: the moonpie. Personally, I think you have to be born here to enjoy these mushy and tasteless snacks. But I couldn’t resist sampling this orange version that I hadn’t seen before. It was better than the original flavor since it had a little more punch to it. A step above soft cardboard and I love the color. Hey, what do you want for 59 cents?

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But I did find some tastier items at Priester’s Pecans in Fort Deposit. Priester’s has this huge candy & gift shop and another location in Perry, GA. I’m a sucker for any kind of nuts. Suffice it to say, I scored enough goodies to last me the rest of the trip – and then some. They have a huge mail order / on-line business so you need not feel left out. I can whole-heartedly recommend the “pecan fiddlesticks”:
http://www.priesters.com/shop/dispProductDetail.cfm?Product_ID=106

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There is an overhead viewing area where you can watch the nuts being roasted and the candy being made.

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And I just love this display — who knew there were so many different kinds of pecans?

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Just a little further down the road is the Bama Nut Shop. How could I resist a place with signage like that? I got a huge bag of peanuts for the dogs. They love shelling the peanuts themselves and making a big ol’ mess.

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While we’re on the subject of nuts, I should mention the cute little figures scattered around Dothan. This town hosts the annual National Peanut Festival. Here’s a patriotic little group representing the various armed forces – and more characters if you’re interested here:
http://www.dcmi.com/peanuts/photo3.html

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The Byrd Drug Company in Troy is half pharmacy and half lunch room. It’s not the classic counter & stools ice cream parlor arrangement. But the counter and tables set-up still has an old-fashioned feel. The signage is great and includes a neon bird in the sign affixed to the corner as well as etched glass birds on the door.

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Burger Chef fans can add this one to the list of “survivors” (well, partially anyway). This sign/building are what’s left of the Ozark location.

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Getting gas down South is sure a lot more fun with these kangaroo and bunny stations. This “Hop-In” station features rabbits and bouncing colored balls on the pumps and inside the store. Sorry for the blur — I’m not sure what happened:

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And lastly, a couple signs to lead us out of today’s program. This cutesy billboard was in Luverne. I don’t think it’s advertising anything in particular (the other side was a painted American flag).

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This plastic sign from Birmingham is a knock-out. Apparently, this business is still in operation in some form as there was still an office inside the building. But I don’t know if they still answer the phone for you.

Day 12: Mississippi & Alabama

Posted in Roadtrip on October 25, 2007 by roadsidenut

It was much more of a soggy day than a bloggy day. It has rained now for three days and I have forgotten what the sun looks and feels like. It was all I could do to shield my camera from the water for the “real” photos for the website so I only have one photo for the blog today. The weather report looks a little better for tomorrow. The other thing that sucks about this weather is that I lose an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening of shooting time because the light is so bad.

Here’s today’s mini contribution then from Pell City, AL. A modern sign but a very nice effort to be different and artistic:

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The big event today I guess was when Nik went after some funny-looking ducks in a stream. The duck he singled out eventually won the game by ducking (is that how they got the name?) underwater when Nik would get close and then reappearing someplace 15 feet away. This taunting only made Nik nuttier and he didn’t give up til he was near hypothermic. The water was cold and he was in there for what seemed like 20 minutes. There’s not much I can do at times like this as he get so frenzied he just tunes my screaming out. I do my best to investigate the “wildlife situation” before letting him off-leash to run but sometimes critters turn up unexpectedly. He’s never gone after ducks before — so now I know better.

Day 11: Louisiana & Mississippi

Posted in Roadtrip on October 24, 2007 by roadsidenut

Lots of miles between stuff and it rained all day. So not the most productive day for picture-taking. But the stuff I went out of my way for was very much worth it. I only have a couple pictures for the blog this time.

The Joy Theatre in Arcadia, LA looks like it hasn’t been open in years. All the businesses in this little downtown have steps leading up to them. Very old Wild West to me but maybe it has something to do with flooding. Note the water spots on my lens: it was truly a sucky day to be shooting.

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I often get asked how I have the energy for this rigorous road-tripping pace. Here’s my secret: about three bottles of Diet Coke and at least one sugary snack per day. Preferably ice cream in summer and donuts in winter. Here’s today’s indulgence: a bursting with goodness raspberry-filled donut from Haskell’s in Monroe, LA. You know a donut will be good if it’s assymetrical or deformed in some way.

Day 10: More Louisiana

Posted in Roadtrip on October 23, 2007 by roadsidenut

A rainy and miserable day so I did what I could with the camera. At least we missed the tornados (I understand they were here last week). Lots of really economically depressed areas here in northern LA. I’m usually comfortable hopping out of the van anywhere to take pictures but there have been a couple places that gave me pause. My shiny white van makes me look like I might have money I suppose but my grunge-wear is hopefully a give-away that I ain’t got nuthin. I usually have big muddy footprints on me from playing with the dogs. And I usually wear my oldest jeans and t-shirts on this trips.

I’ve started the backtrack towards home though I’m taking a different route. Another whole week to go. I’m pretty wiped out from the intensity of this schedule and try to imagine what next year’s two six-week trips will feel like. That’s gonna be some gas bill on the credit card. On average, I go through a tank and a half per day, at about $50 per tank, that’s… I’m afraid to do the math.

On with the photos!

The day started with copying Milks’ Roto-Sphere index cards. Note each card contains the date shipped, the company they went to, and some “specs” information. I’ll sort all of these by location when I get home. Right now, they are sorted by sign shop name.

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Lots of sign photos for ya. You can’t drive around Bossier City without wondering which signs Milks created or inspired. Here’s an example of what must’ve been a fun animated neon piece (the plastic box sign surely was added later):

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This one is also from Bossier City. It’s on top of a new made-to-look-kinda-old Mexican restaurant (Posado’s, a chain). I believe this “sign topper” is old and repurposed – probably found in a junkyard or taken from a building about to be demolished. I have seen a number of these cylindrical things with neon rings around town and asked Milks if they had a name (he doesn’t think they did).

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Here’s another example from Bossier City on top of a recycled-many-times-over-looking sign:

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And another one on a rusty/crusty sign in Shreveport that has vertical stripes:

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Speaking of stripes, here’s another oldie (the “Pin Stripe”) with a funky building in Shreveport:

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Here’s an abandoned sign from Shreveport. Its shape qualifies it as “googie”. There! I used the word that makes my skin crawl but in this case its accurate. the word “googie” is used way too loosely for just about anything. I also cringe at the word “retro” which is used to mean old when it really means fake old. They are both fun words and I think people just want to use them. Can we just be simple or stuffy and say “vintage”, “old”, or “mid-century”? Enough with my pet peeve!

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And for some non-signs… Shreveport has some nice Art Deco buildings although they are not in great shape. Here’s the Salvation Army building:

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and an anonymous gutted building across the street:

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Also from Shreveport, this must’ve been a gas station at one point. Great hand painted signage for “Era’s Turkey Leg”:

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And now for some possibly big news: I may have acquired a new dog. While I was in Logansport, LA, I spotted this obviously lost and bewildered dog on the main street (which isn’t much since Logansport is not a big town). I saw her almost get hit twice. Luckily, she was friendly and came right up to me. I asked around and no one seemed to recognize her. It was pouring rain and she was drenched and shivering. So. I popped her in the van, much to the objections of my dogs, and pondered what to do. I could turn her into a shelter or I could keep driving. Knowing what most rural shelters are like (concrete floors and usually full with long-term residents), I decided to bring her along on our journey. She seemed sweet with dogs and people and, worst case, I have a friend upstate with a shelter that is always looking for small dogs with good temperaments. But I just might end up keeping her. She’s obviously an Australian Cattle Dog — the stocky, short-legged type with a docked tail. She reminds me of a little bear cub. She’s super kissy and just lays there in the back of the van. When they other dogs bark at people and motorcycles, she just lays watches (course that could change). I can’t quite place her age — something I’m usually very good at. She seems puppy-like with her big paws and general dumbness. But she has some muscle and sense about her. Must be young at least and maybe still growing some. She’s already clinging to me with adoration after less than 12 hours. My troops seem to be adjusting quickly since she’s so mellow. I’m calling her U-Turn for now (“you-you” and “u-ie” for short).

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