by Ben Willmore | Nov 5, 2012
If you know me at all, you know that my life is pretty much one big road trip. Well, that’s been especially the case during the past week or two. I just finished driving my vintage bus from Chattanooga, TN to Coburg, Oregon, where it will be getting its new interior installed. Right now, the engine/transmission is all new but the interior is gutted. By the time it’s done, it will have a modern/streamline design look to it. The bus is now at Paradise Coach, in Coburg, and what’s nice is that this will probably be the bus’ last stop before it’s completely restored. I’ve had the bus since October, 2009 and the restoration project has had a lot of setbacks. You can read the whole story on the Creative Cruiser site, but lets just say that the bus has traveled over 8,100 miles during its restoration alone.
This is a map of travels my vintage bus has taken during its restoration alone! It’s gone over 8,100 miles, and we haven’t even begun living in it!
When I finally arrived at Paradise Coach, I handed over the keys to Larry, who will be in charge of creating the bus’ new interior.
If you read my last post, you saw a lot of iPhone shots from the stops that I made during the trip. I love to shoot vintage gas stations, and there were several of them on my route. You can see a few of those shots below. I only had two breakdowns during the course of the trip and they were both due to the same thing… some loose tubing that will eventually be fixed permanently. No big deal at all. I had anticipated some breakdowns because the bus has just been given a new engine and transmission. I knew there was bound to be a few kinks to work out.
My vintage bus at Twin Arrows, a famous stop along Route 66.
The bus at a vintage Skelly service station.
I was really eager to shoot the bus at this vintage Conoco station, but I was pretty bummed to show up at dawn and find that the neon lights had been turned off!
The timing for my Oregon arrival was pretty good, because Karen had just flown in from New Jersey. While I was driving the vintage bus, she was out visiting her family on the east coast. She drove down from Portland to Coburg to pick me up and get another look at the bus. She hadn’t seen the bus in a year and a half, and she thinks it’s adorable.
Karen and I both returned to the current bus in Portland, and plan to stay in the area for the next few months. We’ll also travel to Coburg/Eugene to keep up on the vintage bus project. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Oct 1, 2012
Hey gang! This past week has been jam-packed with photography, and as a result, this post is going to be very photo-rich. In fact, I’m going to make this more of a “photologue” type of update. Here goes:
In the beginning of the week, we moved on from Seattle and headed toward North Cascades National Park. Now that I’ve knocked off all the 50 states, I’m trying to visit all the national parks as well. North Cascades is just south of the Canadian border and is full of snow-capped mountains. There is one main road that goes right through the park so we took that and made various stops. I’ve got to say, even though the drive was gorgeous, the area didn’t “sing to me” photographically. Now, that’s just me. It could be completely different for you.
I took the above pano from the Washington Pass overlook on the east side of the park. I still have to fine-tune it. We parked the bus a few miles outside the park entrance in a tiny town called Marblemount. From there, we would go exploring. We also attempted to enter the park on a more primitive road, but the washboard bumps ended up being too much for the Mini. It wasn’t a failed journey, though, because we found this nice waterfall on the way (shown below) and we ended up spending a while shooting it.
In the shot below, Karen demonstrates how to shoot a roadside waterfall when it’s cold out. She parked the car next to the falls and is sitting on the heated seats! Her tripod is set up on the ground next to the car.
The next stop in our travels was Ellensburg, WA. I wanted to photograph a vintage gas station there, and we ended up over-nighting in that area as well. The town is really nice. There are lots of old buildings with character that are also well-maintained. The station I photographed was part of the Red Horse Diner and you can see me shooting there in the photo below.
The Teapot Dome Service Station is another building that’s been on my shooting list for a while, and it’s located in the town of Zillah, WA, which is about an hour south of Ellensburg. When we arrived in Zillah, we literally had to track the building down. When we arrived at the first address, we saw this:
It was as if the darn thing got up and walked away! We later learned that it didn’t actually walk away… it was rolled away, and moved to a new location closer to downtown. We finally found it and spent about an hour shooting this little gem. Karen shot the image below, and she captioned it “Where is Ben?” Can you find me in the shot?
I shot the image below with my new fisheye zoom lens.
We continued south to the border between Washington and Oregon and then spent a few days exploring the Columbia Gorge area. There is lots to shoot in this area and it’s one of those places we’ll probably revisit again and again. During this visit, we focused on waterfalls. Both of the falls we shot were located inside John B. Yeon State Park, which is on the Oregon side of the gorge.
The first of the waterfalls was Wahclella Falls, and it was about a mile hike to get there. The whole area is beautiful, with vibrant foliage and moss-covered trees. Karen shot the pano below of me shooting the falls. Because of her angle, it’s hard to tell how big the waterfall actually is.
In the shot below, I have Karen in the frame to show the scale of the waterfall. In this one, you CAN tell how big it is!
The second waterfall we photographed was Elowah Falls, and it was a .8 mile hike to get there. This one was much taller and narrower, with nice moss-covered rocks to use as a foreground. The fisheye shot below is of Elowah Falls. (As is the header of this blog post)
Finally, we spent a bit of time exploring the towns along the gorge. There are lots of nice little restaurants, wineries and breweries. It was great to wrap up a day of hiking and shooting with a wine tasting or a local beer! Our next stop will be the Portland area, but we’ll most likely be making day trips back to the gorge area to hit some waterfalls we missed, including the spectacular Multnomah Falls. More to come…