|Monday, September 4,
Whew. Made it all the way from Tulsa to Albuquerque today, taking full advantage of knowledge gained on past trips to bypass especially dull sections of the route.
Started today in bright sunshine, but within half an hour the eastern Oklahoma weather gods realized I was on the road again and sent another thunderstorm to accompany me. Their power seems to extend no further than Oklahoma City, though, as the rest of the day remained sunny.
Saw no visible scars from the May tornadoes, though on both sides of Oklahoma City I passed through areas which had been battered while I, in between, pondered the prospect of spending time in a bathtub with the mattress over my head. Because I'd been pretty thorough on the last pass through western Oklahoma and eastern Texas, I didn't have many stops; instead I looked for new things to photograph along the route.
Usually I keep a 35-70 mm zoom lens on the camera, which offers a perspective similar to the naked eye. This time, to encourage me to focus on details of the broader picture, my default lens is the 70-210 mm telephoto zoom. Instead of photographing abandoned motels, now I'm taking close-ups of their signs...
Another goal of this trip is to pass through towns at different times of day, hoping to find a picture that wasn't there before. This approach proved especially fruitful west of Amarillo, which on past visits I've reached just as the sun was going down: the lighting at Cadillac Ranch and Glenrio's First Motel in Texas was much better than before, and I was able to take a 20- mile scenic loop across eastern New Mexico which had previously been reached in near-pitch darkness.
By Tucumcari the sun was setting, but I pressed on for another two hours to Albuquerque. On the last trip I had been especially impressed by Route 66's path through Albuquerque, the 18-mile Central Avenue commercial strip; now I wanted to photograph it at night. Traveling over Labor Day weekend has worked perfectly, with much less traffic in all of the urban areas.
Today's radio highlights: an ad for a Tulsa tattooing/body piercing place with telephone number 622-OUCH; a hysterical (in both senses) anti-evolution sermon by a spiritual descendant of the men who condemned Galileo for "defying the Bible" by claiming the earth revolved around the sun; and two sidesplitting interviews from the 1996 elections on NPR's This American Life.
In the first,Dan Savage, a leftist gay activist and sex columnist from Seattle recounted his experiences as a delegate to the county Republican convention; in the other, a Hispanic Californian described his efforts to help Pete Wilson's immigrant-bashing with a campaign to encourage all Mexicans and other minorities to leave the United States. Mr. "Daniel Deportado" (a pseudonym, perhaps?) explained that the cause would be helped if Anglos would stop sending out such immigrant- friendly signals as dancing the Macarena and using Spanish words like "Los Angeles." Entering New Mexico, I heard 45 minutes of the Dr. Demento show for the first time in at least 15 years...
Tomorrow it's off across western New Mexico and most or all of Arizona. It's after midnight (Mountain time) and I'm tired. Later...
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