A Fun Secret Hobby

18 Nov

From time to time, I like to share new ways to enjoy the history and culture of the American West. Can you identify the figure in the image above? I spotted this one while driving through Gallup, New Mexico last year on old Route 66. If you are a Southwesterner, you probably recognize it as a loose rendition of a roadrunner, and this sign is on display to lure weary travelers into a motel along the Mother Road.

Road Runner Motel

Road Runner Motel

Some time ago, I figured out it was great fun to shoot photos of neon signs at night. The advent of digital photography makes this hobby even more tantalizing, due to immediate results in case a do-over is in order. When attached to motels, neon signs usually indicate some sort of funky retro-decor or history related to the structure. One of my favorite signs is in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Since one must drive over Rabbit Ears Pass to enter the town, the significance of this neon art is readily apparent.

Rabbit Ears

Rabbit Ears Motel

I’m not sure what I will do with these photos, if anything, However, it is a fun challenge to photograph them. I plan to take advantage of the long hours of winter darkness to shoot a few more in Denver this winter. I’ve had my eye on an especially attractive Cheshire Cat sign at a veterinary office nearby, which must look dandy at night.

Keep in mind that neon signs can look good in lighted areas as well. Notice the “Lowell’s” sign at Pike Place Market in the previous article about Seattle.

Joyce Lohse, 11/18/11


Posted by on November 18, 2011 in Western Travel, Writing Life


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2 responses to “A Fun Secret Hobby

  1. Zachariah

    January 11, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    After just coming back from a long, hard trip through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri, this post struck a chord with me. Neon signs are some of the most beautiful sights at night along the road, and some of the only things to ward off highway hypnosis for me.

    • joyce4books

      January 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

      Especially the old ones, which can be an art form in themselves, and a reflection of a time past. Thank you for your thoughts.


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