by Ben Willmore | Sep 25, 2013
Hi gang! This past week, we’ve continued eastward, through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. We made a fun stop in Auburn, Ohio to visit the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, which is just loaded with old cars. Walking in to the first level showroom, you feel like you’ve walked into a scene from The Great Gatsby, with art deco decor and restored cars from the 20’s and 30’s. I actually wished we had hours to spend in this place because there is just so much there. To quote their website:
MSNBC News named the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum one of the “Top Ten Gearhead Destinations in the United States.” It is easy for visitors to see why the museum has received such high national praise. This automotive mecca exhibits over 120 cars ranging from 1894 to 1999 and automotive displays on three floors. The museum has the greatest and most extensive collection of Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg automobiles in the world, and features the largest exhibit of Duesenberg automobiles on public display in the world! This is a destination that you and your family can not miss!
Unfortunately, we only had a very limited amount of time to visit the museum because we were having bus alternator issues, which made it so we had to get plugged in at an RV park ASAP. The museum is definitely on my list of places to revisit though! (The image at the top of this post if from the museum as well.)
A scene from the Auburn Museum.
As we continued eastward, we stopped at Ohio’s only National Park, Cuyahoga Valley, so that we could check it off our list. To be honest, the place seemed more like a state park or a national historic site rather than a national park. It was nice, but not spectacular by any means. The historic buildings are pretty cool, and there was even a gas station for me to photograph. We did one short hike to the park’s waterfall and it was just ok. Coming from places like Yellowstone, Glacier and Grand Teton, I suppose we’ve gotten a little spoiled this summer! It was a nice stop nonetheless.
This historic service station at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
As I mentioned above, the bus was having alternator issues (basically, the thing was fried), so we were covering ground pretty quick to get to a town in New York where it would get worked on. Crossing Pennsylvania, I hit one more vintage service station before the downpours started, making it a straight run to New York after that.
I stopped to photograph this one on our way through Pennsylvania.
We dropped the bus off in a small town in NY to get work done. I’ve been accumulating a list of things that need to be done on the bus, so our “bus guy,” Joe, should be busy for a while. Instead of staying on the bus while Joe is working on it, Karen and I took the Mini down to her parents’ house in New Jersey and we’ll be based there for a few weeks (though we’ll be flying out for various events.) There were two vintage service stations on my list in New Jersey, so I did take a day to go and photograph those. You can see them below.
Jersey Service Station
Another NJ service station.
It wasn’t two days after we arrived in NJ that I had to fly out to teach at a corporate training event in Ft. Worth, Texas. I spent two days teaching, but in my off time, I took my rental car to check off even more of my service stations! In the past two weeks alone, I’ve shot service stations in at least seven different states! If you missed my last post, there are loads of photos there too.
More to come!
A service station near Ft. Worth, TX.
Another Ft . Worth shooting locale.
by Ben Willmore | Sep 20, 2013
One of the great things about having a house on wheels is that, like the birds, you can head south for the winter. So as the rest of the country starts donning winter coats and salting the streets, we’re still in flip flops. After leaving Atlanta last week, I made my way south to Florida, where the bus will likely stay for the winter. My first stop was in Jacksonville, but I was able to capture two Florida service stations on the way.
The two service stations I shot in Florida
I only stopped in Jacksonville to pick Karen up from the airport there. She was arriving back from NJ where she was photographing her best friends shiny new baby. From Jacksonville, we moved on to Cedar Key, and that’s where we hung out for a few days. A lot of our fellow full-time RVer friends had spent the winter in Cedar Key last year and we heard some great things about it. We fell in love with the place pretty quick, with its beautiful sunsets, super laid-back vibe and quaint RV parks. Our park was right on the water, and since it’s on the west side, the sun sets over the gulf. Next door to our RV park was the “Low Key Hideaway,” which is another inn/RV park that happens to have a very cool tiki bar, and very cool owners. When we return to Cedar Key in January, we’re going to stay there for a week.
Some iPhone shots Karen got at our Cedar Key RV park
After spending a few days in Cedar Key, we continued south to the Clearwater area. Karen’s parents have a house there and they were flying down to spend a few days. I also needed a place to hunker down and get a lot of work done, as we’re leaving the country on Saturday and I have LOADS to do before then! But that brings me to the whole “leaving the country” thing. I will be teaching for just under a month on a cruise ship that departs from Lisbon, Portugal and sails around Portugal, Morocco and Spain before turning around again and heading across the Atlantic, where we will disembark in Miami. I’m not sure what my internet scenario will be like over the next few weeks, but I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated! More to come!
by Ben Willmore | Sep 18, 2013
If you keep up with this blog, you probably know that I love all things vintage. This week has been full of vintage things so I’ve been pretty darn happy! I’m going to start with the cars. I absolutely love the design of the classic art deco style cars, but it’s hard to see many of them in the same place all at once. When I learned about the Sensuous Steel event, in Nashville, TN, I knew I had to go. The problem was that the bus was in Minneapolis. Well, I wanted to see these cars so bad that I got on a plane, went to the show, and flew back the same night! Ya know… just a 1,000-mile day trip to Nashville. No biggie.
It was totally worth it though. The cars were stunning, and I learned that seeing them in photos doesn’t do them justice. You really need to be able to walk around them and see all those sexy curves! The show was located at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. I was also able to visit the Lane Motor Museum, which had some cute smaller cars, so that was a bonus for the day.Unfortunately, my phone’s battery died early on, so the only other shots I have are on my DSLR and I haven’t off-loaded those yet.
One of the beautiful cars at the Sensuous Steel show.
So back to Minneapolis: One of my personal projects has been to go around the country shooting vintage service stations. Here is one of my more popular images from that series:
I have an entire database of service stations that I want to shoot and they literally span the country. My goal is to travel around, shooting as many of them as I can. After we wrapped up Photoshop World in Las Vegas, we returned to the bus in Minneapolis and I started checking off a bunch of stations on that list.
The map that goes along with my vintage service station database. I have just a few dots on it!
We spent a few days in Minneapolis, where there were a few nearby stations, and then we began moving eastward, stopping in Des Moines and continuing east from there. I am, of course shooting these stations with my DSLR, but I’ve been loving the immediacy of being able to create images on my iPhone and immediately share them with you all. So without further ado, here are the stations that I’ve shot this past week:
This one was in Carver, MN
Station in New Ulm, MN
The mushroom station in Dassel, MN. Karen calls this one the 1-up station because of the mushrooms in Super Mario Bros.
Great looking Shell station near Cedar Falls, IA
Waterloo, IA station
I was bummed that this station had many broken down cars parked there and the sign had been removed. I’ve seen photos of it from a few years ago when it looked much better.
Phillips 66 station near Massena, IA
Wasn’t expecting to run across this Sinclair station… Found it by chance!
An IA Phillips station
Was bummed to find that the station I was searching for has been destroyed. Someone told me about this station in the same town… So I didn’t leave I empty handed!
Station near Colo, IA
This was a bonus station I found that wasn’t in my database! (Near Colo, IA)
Station in Sully, IA
Love the look of this one and just wish they had pumps from the 50’s instead of 70’s. But, they still serve gas here!
This one is more a restaurant that happens to formerly serve gas.
by Ben Willmore | Oct 29, 2012
Hi gang! It’s time for the good ol’ Monday travel update. This past week has been all about my vintage bus. If you’re familiar with me and this blog, you know that I live full-time in a motorcoach/bus and am also restoring a second, vintage bus (that I will eventually live in). You can read more about the project at the Creative Cruiser site. You’ll also learn there why this post is titled “Take 2.” This past week, I picked up my vintage bus at the shop where it was stored in Chattanooga, TN and started driving it to the shop where it will get its new interior put in. The bus has a brand new engine and transmission but the interior is completely gutted. The next shop, Paradise Coach, is located in Coburg, Oregon, so needless to say, I’ve got quite the drive!
Early in the week, I flew out of Portland, Oregon to pick up the bus. When I arrived at the Chattanooga shop, there were a few things that needed to be dealt with (like a new battery) but I was able to get on the road relatively quickly. I decided to take a more southern route to avoid any intense weather during my drive. You can see the route below. The rest of the post is a visual depiction of my journey so far. These are all iPhone shots, but I was photographing the vintage gas stations with my DSLR as well and will be processing those soon.
My general travel route. The white dots are vintage gas stations that I want to photograph.
Here’s the vintage bus during a rest stop in Alabama.
After my first day of traveling, I crossed paths with two RVing friends, Shonda and Michael, who are also full-timers like me. It was great to catch up with them as we hadn’t seen each other since Mardi Gras 2011!
Sunrise from the Alabama RV park.
There were a handful of vintage service stations along my route that I’ve been wanting to photograph, and I love getting my vintage bus in there too!
Here’s another one, in Mena, Arkansas. As you can see, I’ve been using the iPhone’s new panorama feature a lot lately!
This one is in McAlester, OK.
One more, in Skellytown, TX.
I stayed at this funky motel in Tucumcari, NM. They even had retro stuff in the rooms!
As you can see, I covered a lot of ground in the first few days! It wasn’t until I reached Tucumcari, NM that I had any kind of mechanical issue. I’m not sure why, but the bus lost a lot of power and I was only able to go 55 instead of 75. I’m hoping this is a simple fix, like a fuel filter and will look into it first thing in the morning. While I flew out to pick up the vintage bus, Karen flew over to visit her family in NJ. Now, she had to extend her stay because of Hurricane Sandy so I might make it back to Oregon before she does!
Hopefully, I’ll make it to Coburg in the next couple days and will report back with a new update next week! More to come…