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Thread: Route 66: ghost towns

  1. #1
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Default Route 66: ghost towns

    In the second series of images on the trail of John Steinbeck's novel Grapes of Wrath, the desolation continues with ghost towns in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico

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    “Highway 66 is the main migrant road,” wrote Steinbeck. “66 - the long concrete path across the country, waving gently up and down on the map, from Mississippi to Bakersfield - over the red lands and the gray lands, twisting up into the mountains, crossing the Divide and down into the bright and terrible desert, and across the desert to the mountains again, and into the rich California valleys."



    2 / 16
    Through the 50s and 60s tourists flowed along Route 66 to California and from the coast in search of the American heartland. The great heavy sprawling vehicles were thirsty for fuel, wore through their tyres and broke down in the heat



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    Texola, Oklahoma: Today all that’s left is a string of dead or dying towns over hundreds of miles of the old road through Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico



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    The Last Stop bar, Texola, Oklahoma: Some towns are little more than ageing retirement communities alongside rotting main streets dotted with the corpses of crumbling art deco gas stations and abandoned motels



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    A fading mural, proclaiming McLean “the Heart of Old Route 66” over a depiction of Elvis, a Chevy and roller skating waitresses at the height of the rock'n'roll era, covers much of one wall on a tumbledown shop on the main street



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    McLean’s main street is littered with the wreckage of abandoned filling stations from the 1940s forecourts where gaggles of attendants once swarmed around the latest cars



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    A long-abandoned car mechanic workshop sits in a concrete landscape being slowly reclaimed by weeds



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    Just off the main street, the once-charming Avalon theatre built in the 30s stands in a block of derelict buildings



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    Elsewhere, the colours may be brighter, but the story is the same



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    A couple of blocks back from the rotting heart of McLean, life goes on. There’s a school and a part-time mayor. But the hospital, opened only in 1964, is gutted. The numbers of residents is dwindling and those who remain are mostly elderly



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    “66,” wrote Steinbeck, “is the path of a people in flight, refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership, from the desert’s slow northward invasion, from the twisting winds that howl up out of Texas ...”



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    The pumps are long gone but still standing on the forecourt is a rusting white 1968 Pontiac Catalina, a popular “muscle car” of its day



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    At its height, the town had a newspaper, a post office, a Methodist church and “the first and last motel in Texas” as well as several cafes and grocery stores



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    Steinbeck’s fictional Joads passed along this way when the likes of local oil baron Stanley Marsh were young



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    “As people get older and there’s nobody to move out here and take over the housing, then when you don’t have enough people to keep the water system going, the sewer system,” says Tommy Loveless. “Eventually they just die out ...”




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    Mostly people only come off the Interstate as darkness falls for a night at one of the soulless strip malls that have replaced the old towns with generic motels, fast-food joints and vast self-service gas stations


    Route 66: ghost towns | World news | guardian.co.uk


    The Grapes of Wrath revisited | World news | guardian.co.uk
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i remember as a child, our family would take Route 66 from San Diego as far as it would go, and then on to Virginia. I have such wonderful memories of that time.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    i totally wanna go explore!
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    i know!
    when i saw these pictures, i had the sudden urge to grab my camera and go on a road trip.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
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    Really? Y'all want to see all that stuff?
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    Elite Member Mivvi21's Avatar
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    Fascinating. I would love to go and explore every last bit of route 66. It's a bit of history that I would love to see in person.

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    Route 66 runs right through my mother's home town of Wilmington, Il. Even though the town and population have been in decline for a few decades now, it's still much better off than those in more rural areas. Whenever I visit I'm fascinated and saddened by the sight of all the crumbling, once-beautiful deco buildings. It's like they're just aching to be restored, but there isn't the money for it in those small towns. So they're just left to rot and decay until they're eventually demolished or just fall down.

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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    ^^^
    i know!
    when i saw these pictures, i had the sudden urge to grab my camera and go on a road trip.
    Same here! I'd like to visit those places. There's something about deserted towns that is interesting.

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    Elite Member darksithbunny's Avatar
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    My parents do this kind of stuff. I fuss at them because they are getting older. I just know one day I am going to notice they didn't call me for a few days and then a call will come from a state trooper in some state telling me they found my parents. They go exploring stuff all the time. Just get a freakin GPS dammit so I can find your ass.

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    It's weird and sad that it takes a newspaper in the UK to do such a moving pictorial that is part of a story every American should know--and probably doesn't.

    I know the shit towns of California's central valley pretty well myself. Now it's the Mexicans who are the Okies. It's always someone.

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    remember Cadillac ranch? i remember going by it when we were young, and they didnt have grafitti on them.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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    Silver Member Hummus's Avatar
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    I've been to a ghost town named Oatman on Route 66, it is in Arizona. It is pretty cool, lots of original buildings. But it is occupied, they sell little trinkets from the stores and put on gunshows in the street. There are donkeys everywhere in town and signs posted to not feed them. Oatman is a great place to visit.

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    Gold Member thunder&lightning's Avatar
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    i would like to go to pick up bits and pieces of objects to collect and make crafty stuff with or just to keep.
    another year i claim of total indifference.

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    Now that's a road trip!

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