Taking a Trip on Route 66

The evening of Monday 26th June saw a presentation by Dave Mead entitled “The End of the American Dream”. Dave had just travelled down from his North Yorkshire home where he had spent the day sheep shearing so it was quite a change to be presenting images from America. His subtitle for the talk was “Dave does Route 66” and that was basically what the evening was about. He had a two week trip on the road but couldn’t cover it all in the time so just did the 1000 miles between Oklahoma City and Kingman, Arizona.

Dave started with a short history of the road together with some of his experiences driving along it. Throughout there was a constant stream of excellent images and soon the journey began. It was clear from the shots that most of the towns on the route have seen better days and some have even become ghost towns. At the start of the trip the weather was unexpectedly bad with rain, then freezing rain and then snow. However the low temperatures often gave a frost which made some of the images more striking. There were lots of shots of dereliction, some in colour and some in black and white, which were very evocative and atmospheric. There were houses, old gas stations, motels and in the early part of the journey grain silos. The overall feeling was one of vast spaces where the new economy of the present world has cast such places adrift. There were very few people to be found and reflecting this there were very few people in the images. There were various unusual sights such as the art installation “Cadillac Ranch” where a series of Cadillac cars have been placed almost vertically in the ground with their bonnets buried. It is now a famous site and became the title of a song by Bruce Springsteen. There were also concrete wigwams for a motel and a house made of petrified wood. By the time Dave reached Kingman he was in desert lands and there were some stunning landscape shots to finish the evening off.

In all it was a fascinating evening with wonderful images which really gave a feel of the journey and landscape Dave experienced, and his full commentary complemented them.  You can see some of his images at  http://www.davemead.co.uk.

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