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Sep 23, 2019
A Route 66 road trip has been one of my dreams, especially after seeing the cool photography of fellow photographer Seigo Saito. So when I realized a work trip to Oklahoma would include three free days, I decided to drive as much of the historic Mother Road as possible.
I covered more than 250 miles of Oklahoma's Route 66 in a day and a half, driving as far north as Miami and as far west as Bridgeport. I didn't crawl into bed until 2 a.m. during both trips, but the amazing photography was well worth the loss of sleep.
THE FIRST NIGHT
I began my Route 66 road trip after wrapping up a Bassmaster Central Open tournament in Tulsa. After a quick bite to eat, I found where Route 66 runs through the city and discovered a beautiful lighted sign. The setting sun colored the horizon, adding to the visual appeal of this beautiful image.
Route 66 runs through Tulsa, Okla., and the city celebrates that fact with a beautiful lighted sign. Click the image to see more!
I absolutely love nighttime photography, so after grabbing that shot I headed north along Route 66 to see if I could locate any old motels, gas stations and the like.
Much of Route 66 is simply driving. It didn't take long to realize there is a lot of nothing between the towns, but it was a peaceful drive and I just continued forging northward.
Seigo told me about the landmark Blue Whale in Catoosa, but the park was closed by the time I reached it. A really cool, abandoned trading post is right across the street, but a huge billboard stands just yards away - so that was a bust.
As I drove through Chelsea, however, I struck gold with the abandoned Chelsea Motel. The building was ramshackle, and the paint on the old neon sign was flaking.
It was perfect.
One of my tricks of night photography is to use LED light panels, and I had one small panel with me. The street lights illuminated the building, and I used the LED light to bring out the backlit old sign.
The result was a beautiful image of one of the iconic motels that once served travelers.
I also took a really cool shot of a Mother Road mural in a pedestrian tunnel in Vinta, and then found a couple of perfect abandoned buildings in Afton. One had a rusted truck next to it, hiding in the dark, so I once again employed my LED panel and added the truck to the scene before moving on to Miami (Oklahoma, not Florida).
I rested and worked on photos the next day, and then hit the road at 5 a.m. the following morning for a full day of driving and documenting the cool things along the portion of Route 66 west of Tulsa.
I hit iconic places like the Rock Cafe (which has great coffee) and found amazing old service stations, a cool round barn built in the 1890s and wrapped up at sunset in Bridgeport to shoot the famed Lucille's Service Station at sunset. The photo of Lucille's is the lead image in this blog.
I crawled into bed that night at 2 a.m. after more than 20 hours on the road, and I couldn't have been more content.
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