Rachel and Bret’s Wedding
I’ve been working on sorting out all the myriad activities, events, and emotions surrounding Wedding Week in Albuquerque while meanwhile dealing with current activities, events, and emotions and planning for a major vacation trip. (Life is so relentless!) Conclusion: there’s no way to sort it out in any sequential way, so I’ll continue the random approach.
THE ROAD TRIP
Madeline, the newlyweds Amanda and Jedd, and I headed out for Albuquerque the Saturday before the wedding in my Prius. The trip was two days of driving each way, but all of us are still friends. We and our luggage fit remarkably well in what is essentially a pretty small car, and we had books on CD to keep us entertained. Also, while we drove Jedd read the entire owner’s manual for the car and informed me of several features I was not previously aware of. I love a curious mind!
On the way out, we stopped for the night in El Reno, Oklahoma, just west of Tuscon. My friend Jane and her son Ryan and his two dogs were driving to the wedding on the same weekend, and we met in the hotel and went out to dinner at a Montana Mike’s steakhouse that had refrigeration in the dining room. Temperatures outside were in the 90s, but we wrapped up in whatever sweaters and blankets we could scrounge from our cars.
Cadillac Ranch Amarillo, Texas
The highlight of the road trip for me was our visit to Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo, Texas on our way home. This iconic piece of public art is an essential part of any Route 66 (now I-40) journey that passes through this part of the country. I love public art, and this one is so deliciously democratic! As we approached on foot several hundred yards off of the frontage road that provides access to the site, we were shocked to see all the litter strewn on the ground. But as we got closer we realized that this was very specific litter: exhausted spray paint cans and lids of every color. Legalized graffiti! And yet, those cars are in somebody’s field, so the thrilling sense of the illicit can be conjured up by the rebel artist wishing to make his mark. It was a windy day when we stopped, so we had to be careful to avoid the cloud of spray paint as we approached. My interest, of course was in photographing the cars. I later realized, after doing some online research into the site, that many of my images had already been done by numerous others, often with far more dramatic skies to enhance them. We were there at very close to high noon – not optimal for the best light, as any photographer knows. But I still love my pictures. Stopping here on the way home after an exhausting week made the journey feel more like a Road Trip and less like a long damn drive. I still have the dream (fantasy?) of driving the Mother Road across the country, camera at the ready. There was so much we saw as we zoomed home that I need to go back to explore and photograph. It’s been done, I know, but there’s a reason for that.
From Roadside America.com
…Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3’s fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza).
Cadillac Ranch is visible from the highway, and though it is located on private land, visiting it…is tacitly encouraged. In addition, writing graffiti on or otherwise spray-painting the vehicles is also encouraged…. The cars are periodically repainted various colors (once white for the filming of a television commercial, another time pink in honor of Stanley’s wife Wendy’s birthday, and yet another time all 10 cars were painted flat black to mark the passing of Ant Farm artist Doug Michels or simply to provide a fresh canvas for future visitors. In 2012 they were painted rainbow colors to commemorate gay pride day.)