24 July 2015

The Mother Road

Our trip to Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch was bookended by stops on Route 66 in San Bernardino County. Our end destination was the Route 66 Museum in Barstow (which is well worth the trip!). On the way up we kept our eyes peeled for anything interesting to stop and photograph. 

As I mentioned in the Bottle Tree Ranch post, in was an uncharacteristically humid and therefore cloudy day, which made exposures a little challenging. Nonetheless, it was so exciting to hit the road on a new adventure. I'm looking forward to revisiting many of the places we saw that day (including Barstow's 1911 Casa del Desierto railway station, which I did photograph... but the roll was devoured by my 65-year old Brownie camera in an incredibly violent way that, weeks later, makes me shudder to think about).

And because Bobby Troup's "Route 66" is one of the most well known and often covered road songs, here are links to two of my favorite versions to enjoy while taking a look at the photographs -- by Yo La TengoDepeche Mode. Enjoy.

The 1941 El Rancho Barstow. It is currently for sale. 

All three of our car doors locked in unison as we approached the Cactus.
The seedy exposure of this photograph pairs nicely with that of the residents of this motel.

Truthfully, the Casablanca is not technically on Rte. 66. Nor is it "open", despite what the sign says.

Barstow's Skyline Drive In, alive and well.

All photographs © Monika Seitz Vega, 2015.

21 July 2015

Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch

One of the most unique and interesting places I've ever visited, Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch in Oro Grande, CA, is a "must stop" location for travelers from all over the world. 

We visited Elmer's late last month, on an incredibly hot and uncharacteristically humid morning. The weather didn't stop us, nor did it stop the dozen or so other visitors we saw during our visit, including a Japanese couple interviewing Elmer for a televised segment. Elmer Long inherited the property and the eclectic collection when his father passed away, and what he has put his heart into to create is absolutely not to be missed.

Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch is located at 24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, California, 92368. Admission is free, although he does accept donations. 

All photographs © Monika Seitz Vega, 2015.

06 July 2015

The Star Theatre

Oceanside's Star Theatre, built in 1956, is celebrating the competition of restoration of its magnificent marquee, the largest and oldest operating neon sign in all of San Diego County. A sign dedication ceremony will take place this coming weekend.

In February 2012 I shared some photographs of the Star aside this caption:
"Located on Pacific Coast Highway in Oceanside, CA, the Star opened in 1956 and has maintained more or less in one variation or another -- church, movie house, Pussycat theatre, live venue -- since. It's a cute corner theatre which originally held just under 1,000 patrons. In the late 1990s the theatre was vacant, I remember passing by it countless times on my Vespa journeys from San Diego to Orange County and back, the bright yellow marquee [dark and] blank, until one day it wasn't anymore (if memory serves, I believe a Van Halen tribute band was passing through town and was going to rock the Star). The stars and the marquee are wonderfully colorful and stand out amongst the other buildings in downtown Oceanside." (Please click here to see those original photographs.)

In anticipation of the restoration of the Star's marquee, and in excitement for the new life that has been brought to the theatre via the Star Theatre Company, here's a look back at a 2012 photograph of the Star that I took with my Brownie Hawkeye camera. I am looking forward to visiting it again soon to see those stars shining brightly.

© Monika Seitz Vega, 2012