*with apologies to Ed Ruscha.
For the last few weeks, I have again been driving/riding a lot up and down Florida highways, specifically routes 19, 24, 27 & 98. The one way distance is about 150 miles and most of it is on the main north-south artery along the west coast of Florida, reaching from Tallahassee in the north to Tampa in the south. The trip through the northern portion is through the rural counties of Levy, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson, and then into Leon and Tallahassee. The ‘big’ towns along the way are Chiefland, population 2,185 and Perry, population 6,669.
Even though the interstate highways have siphoned off major portions of its traffic, the route remains important, connecting the Gulf of Mexico with Lake Erie. However, the economic impact of the encroachment of the interstates can be seen to this day and it is one of the reasons I have always found this route so fascinating. Old, unused, or converted gas stations, stores, and motels are in abundance along stretches of the route. Our recent recession has not helped either.
So, for a couple of weeks I have been concentrating on photographing old gas stations, and some new ones, from the moving car, going at speeds of anywhere from 45 to 65 mph..
Once I really started to look – because I was concentrating on photographing – the number of closed or underused stations were a shock to me. In the slide show below, you can see some of them. Even more shocking was the number of broken down and closed old motels that were sitting unused by the side of the road. On my next trips, I will concentrate on them.
On a technical note: I had to make photos move rather quickly because at a slower speed the video was too large and would not completely load to my flickr photostream.