Saturday, September 29, 2012

Buck up lil camper.

It just takes one moment to make you snap out of it.The aforementioned guy who brought me coffee had some very encouraging words when I stopped by to give him a thank-you postcard. Just as I was starting to turn into a whining windbag someone snapped me out of it without even knowing.

After my last post I drove to the centre of Claremont, OK,  I bought a large coffee and went antique shopping. I didn't buy anything but I hadn't really intended to. I then headed west expecting to meet up with the  Will Rogers Memorial Museum. I somehow didn't find it, instead I kept driving. A friend once told me if I get down to crank the music and sing. So I did just that. Before I could settle into driving I found an abandoned drive-in. I am a sucker for abandoned things I haven't photographed before and a drive-in is on that list. It did have a no trespassing sign but I couldn't resist. At one time it had a clam-shaped parking lot.

Oklahoma boasts the longest stretch of the original Route 66 remaining in the country. I would add it has more remaining neon signs then any state east of it.  I am happily pulling over every ten feet to snap a photograph.

I stopped to eat at Ollies Station Restaurant just outside (or maybe still in) Tulsa, OK. I ordered a chicken fried steak burger, onion rings and a Dr. Pepper.  I'm not a huge meat eater but I keep seeing it on the menu. The same thing with fried green tomatoes and I tried them so I decided I needed to try it too. I don't think I would order it again.

I brought a little book called Road Trip USA, Route 66 with me and it lists old motels still in business. They have been looked after and now they are part of the history. Or so I figured.

 I hatched a plan. I would stop at the next motel listed and photograph it and it's neon. Then I would offer to trade my postcards of their establishment, which I would make and print overnight, for a room. So, with a package of Arizona Neon postcards, a Barter Van magnet and my laptop ready to display the images I just took of the motel, I marched up to the office with a smile on my face and my "I'm confident but not threatening" stride. The majority of owners of these kinds of places live in their homes attached to the motel. Bob walks out and I start in about my proposition. To my astonishment he's not buying it. It was of no cost to him and there wasn't a single room rented!

With nothing to lose I start making small talk with him and he tells me he's looking after the place while his friend is in India for a couple of months. Bob lost his job at a mechanics shop recently and is having a hard time getting another one. Looking around the town of Stroud, OK, I can see why. It's mostly storefronts from what I can see. It's raining out and it's getting dark so I ask about the price of the room. It's $42+tx, something like $48.50, but he'll give me something for free. I don't want anything but a room so I thank him and start to gather my things. Bob speaks up and says what's the best I can do. I begin to explain my proposition again but he's clearly not the least interested in my cards. I offer to pay the price with no tax. He ups it $.50 and we make a deal.

I know I can't keep staying in hotels but I caved. Although last nights experience wasn't what I wanted, it still gave me time to work on my photos from the day. Since plopping my butt down in my room I have been editing photos and writing this post. All while eating junk food and watching ghost stories while it pours outside once again. I'm wondering now if I should have bought a crappy little car and stay in motels with the money I'd save on gas. I'm not done trying my bartering with motels idea though. I still think it could work.


  1. That's a beautiful nighttime shot! Glad you've found some "Retro Roadmap worthy" motels to stay at, so many of the old ones have turned awfully sketchy or are now section 8 housing.

    Keep up the good work, you're doing great!

    1. Thanks Beth. I also appreciate your comment about Travels with Charley. I actually have that book with me and will have to re-read it soon. Maybe when/if I have my next blahs.

  2. All you can do is ask, at best they say yes!

  3. That's right; it's worth a try; :0