"Mother Road" Memories

by JB Barger 7 months ago in art

As another day slowly races past

"Mother Road" Memories
Route 66 Roadside Relic

Heading West on a desolate stretch of aging Arizona asphalt, the famed Route 66 Museum known as Cool Spring's Station offers some unique sights and sounds for those who venture a visit, especially during the "golden hour", with this vintage American classic pickup standing proud against the brilliant kaleidoscope of colors from the Sun setting over the mountains in the background.

The photo was captured with an older model LG V20, utilizing the manual controls, with settings adjusted to brighten the foreground while still keeping the details and colors of the clouds and sky.  Unfortunately, I don't recall the exact ISO, or shutter speed, yet it was one of my initial attempts at manipulating these settings.

Being an enthusiastic amateurish photographer who normally works with video and drone content, attempting to capture a quality snapshot-in-time with only the bare minimum of equipment became an unofficial challenge to myself...resulting in a new addition to my list of hobbies.

This specific photo stood out from all of the other's which I took, on this particularly special day, as I attempted to capture some lasting memories on my final day as the Curator and Caretaker at Cool Spring's Station...I was rather happy with the results of this impromptu photo taken just before I drove off into the Arizona sunset.

Post-production was performed with a couple of simple adjustments within the LG smartphone, and the Instagram app too, as I slightly tweaked the exposure and highlights, as well as the shadows and saturation prior to sharing this photo on my Instagram feed.  Without too much editing this photo came to be what it is now, capturing this small piece of the magnificent display provided by Mother Nature herself.

On the original alignment of Route 66, as one heads West out of Kingman AZ, roughly 16 miles from town and in the middle of the harsh and inhospitable Mojave desert, Cool Springs Station can be found at the base of the climb which is the beginning of multiple curves spanning treacherous pitfalls for anyone who's not on high alert. Reaching Sitgreaves Pass, on the crest of the famed and historic Black Mountains, is only after successfully traversing the 66 turns from the pictured truck to the breathtaking top...this is where the landscape becomes more jagged and dramatic, as if it had been mined and weathered many time's over, and this is also where one quickly realizes that the hair-raising drive is only half over. 

The 4 mile section of Route 66, between Cool Spring's Station and Sitgreaves Pass, served as the set for motion pictures and Disney productions alike, with Cool Springs Station being a major influence and inspiration-(as can be confirmed by the facade at the Disneyland ride by the same name) for the 90's blockbuster animation "Car's".  There's much more to this story, including an attempt by Disney to secure the exclusive rights to Cool Springs Station with a contract stating that the expiration goes "until the end of time", which was the verbiage that caused the landowner to refuse the deal.

Speaking of movies, the exact site of Cool Springs Station was actually utilized in the Jean Claude Van Damn cult classic "Universal Soldier", as documented at the website found at this link:


The current owner is a fella named Ned, who in the early 2000's rebuilt the original structure which had deteriorated to little more than the still standing two front canopy collumns, completed his rehabilitation project in 2004.

The historical significance of this location, along with the invaluable services which were offered to the westward traveler's who were fleeing the dreadful conditions of the Depression and Dust Bowl era's, is that upon their arrival to this austere pit stop traveling families could replenish their spirit's while topping off the fluids of their petrol fueled landwagon's. The modern-day conditions of this section of the Mother Road lead one's imagination to the sheer terror and determination which must be been in the heart's of each and every weary gypsy caravan that ventured to this final hurdle before reaching the eastern border of the State of California.

With so many historically relevant event's, combined with the emotional energy which can be physically felt while visiting this magical location, my intention behind this photo is to share the sense of nostalgia and classic beauty of an almost forgotten slice of the American Dream...here on the far side of 'Bat-country', where the burro's and big horns roam and play.

JB Barger
JB Barger
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