Tag Archives: neon signs

Regrouping in Winter

Blue Goose

The Blue Goose - a favorite neon sign cowboys would try to ride back in the Yellowstone glory days

January has always been a time for me to clean out my desk and my brain as I turn the calendar and make plans for a new year. How timely that the Denver Woman’s Press Club invited Cynthia Morris to coach a group of us through the process of focusing on plans and writing notes to hold ourselves accountable for ideas which will make 2012 Our Best Writing Year Ever. The regrouping, re-evaluating, and re-purposing continues as the calendar begins to fill, and I begin to feel the creative juices flowing once again. Watch for magazine articles, presentations, and inclusion in a history compilation coming up very soon.

In the meantime, the search for fun continues during my quest for ways to reach out and touch Western history. The Western National Stock Show provided a step back into cowboy and cowgirl culture and an up close visit with some of the most beautiful livestock around. It was the perfect time to duck into Denver’s Buckhorn Exchange, established in 1893, for a truly decadent meal and a cold beer. Our heads swiveled to take in all of the artifacts surrounding us from the days when Buffalo Bill elbowed his way to the bar, which, by the way, boasts the #1 liquor license in Colorado. Vegetarians be warned. Animal heads of all sorts cover the walls, gazing with glassy eyes upon diners enjoying carnivorous delicacies from the menu. The third element of historic fun in the dead of Colorado winter can be found at the annual Post Card Show at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. The search is on for new images for future projects and re-purposed old ones, specifically an e-book from my original self-published book, A Yellowstone Savage. As my mental batteries recharge, everything is reevaluated. Useless baggage be gone as I move forward unencumbered with a new outlook and a clean(er) desk.

Joyce B. Lohse, 1/20/12


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A Fun Secret Hobby

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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