Abandoned Interstate

Not often do you get a chance to walk on an abandoned interstate.

The highway that runs through downtown, that has tiny lanes and even tinier on and off ramps, that is always backed up with traffic, is being completely rebuilt with hopes of being greatly improved. And once it got demolished, I couldn’t help but go for a walk on what used to be one crazy road.

In the center divider, years and years of debris from so many accidents were scattered all around.

I’ve driven this road so many times.  It was strange to walk where it used to be, and imagine what it will become.

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Just Off the Desert Road

Just a few turns off the interstate, in the vast open desert, abandoned towns and buildings sit.

Free to explore, there are no fences or barriers.  No one else is even in sight.

The sun was setting over this forgotten little campground. A place where people probably spent many fun summer vacations, now overgrown on a cold day in early March.

There are so many little things to discover in the desert, just off the interstate.

Chloride Ghost Town

In north western Arizona, about an hour and a half outside of Las Vegas, is the little almost forgotten town of Chloride.

Chloride was once a busy mining town with over 5000 residents, but over the years that number steadily declined to around just a few hundred and Chloride was on it’s way to becoming a ghost town. For whatever reason though, this town was never completely abandoned and still has a couple stores, a restaurant and a motel.

It’s a picturesque dusty little town, full of eclectic desert character. We stopped at the general store for some snacks to fuel us on our way to the Grand Canyon.

Chloride was a fun place to stop.  I’d love to spend more time there exploring one day.

Two Guns Ghost Town

Just off of interstate 40, formally the old route 66, is Two Guns Ghost Town.
The land where this ghost town now sits, holds many stories.
A group of Native Americans were killed by an enemy tribe that set fire to a cave where they were hidden.  After that tragic event, the area is now known as the Apache Death Cave. Years later the beginnings of a settlement started to appear as construction began on a railroad and bridges over the Canyon Diablo where the Apache Death Cave was. But this new settlement was a town of outlaws and bandits. Reportedly a group of men once robbed a train, stealing close to $200,000 and then buried it somewhere near the canyon rim.  It has never been found.
Eventually a man named Harry Miller, who referred to himself as Crazy Chief Thunder, began the major construction of a town he wanted to call Two Guns.
The town included a small zoo with mountain lions, snakes, and other interesting creatures. He also apparently sold the skeletal remains of the Native Americans who died in the cave nearby.
Crazy Chief Thunder skipped town eventually after shooting a guy to death with whom he’d had a disagreement.  The man’s widow kept the town going and opened a gas station, tourist store and campground. Unfortunately the gas station burned down in the 70s, and Two Guns slowly declined into a ghost town.
Now it sits, right next to the interstate, just some lonely graffiti covered buildings in the middle of the empty desert.
The setting sun was casting extreme shadows over the crumbling buildings as we arrived at the ghost town one chilly February day. The wind was tearing across the flat open land. No one else was around.
The desert is such a strange and mysterious place.

Just (2000 Miles) Down the Road

The interstate in my backyard, if followed long enough, will eventually lead to the small town of Holbrook Arizona.
It’s a little town that the old route 66 used to run right through until it got bypassed in recent years by the construction of big interstate 40. Holbrook also inspired the little desert town in the movie Cars.
The people behind the scenes of the movie Cars apparently spent some time in this cafe, planning out the movie.
(For some reason we didn’t eat there?!!)
We rolled into the town of Holbrook on a chilly late February afternoon, after spending the day wandering through the Petrified Forest. Old neon signs lined the streets, and big dinosaur statues guarded the many little gift shops scattered around.  I wanted to walk around and explore the shops, but it seemed everything was closed. There was nobody around, except for a random car passing by here and there. With the cold wind blowing through, Holbrook felt like a bit of a ghost town. Or at least on its way to becoming a ghost town.
I dreamed of what it might be like, in the hot summer weather, and what it had been like many many years ago.
I still find it amusing, when I listen to the cars on the interstate behind my house, that this little town lies way down the road. And then I dream of racing off, back to the desert.  It’s just 2000 miles down the road!

 

 

The Lost Beach

Cape Lookout Island.  Only accessible by Ferry, and with no paved roads.  It was once a home to a small fishing community but is now owned by the National Park system.
A short walk away from the tourist area, down the lonely shoreline, and remnants of the island’s past begin to appear.
Barnacle laden debris from the houses burned down by owners who refused to let them become acquired by the government.
And maybe parts from an old car that became engulfed in a sandstorm, only to appear again some time later.
Conch shells, still inhabited by their original owner can easily be found in the shallow waters.
 
This beach is different than others. A beach forgotten.
 
 
 
 
 

A Walk Down Heidelberg Street



Heidelburg street, in East Detroit. 

I had seen many pictures of this house and when I found out it was in Detroit, my homeland, I had to go.


I didn’t realize how big the Heidelberg project really was. It consumed the entire street. 


The abandoned houses in the surrounding neighborhood stood intimidating against the cold grey winter sky.  I’d seen rows of abandoned houses plenty of times before, but this was much larger than that.  Many of the seemingly abandoned houses were not quite abandoned though. There were signs of life inside, even if the roof had fallen in.  

It was one of many neighborhoods that got left behind. Forgotten as the rich parts of the city grew.





Tyree Guton started this project in 1986 when he returned from the army and found the neighborhood he grew up in, in shambles.

The goal of The Heidelberg Project is to bring communities together, and improve lives through art.

It was easy to see that this project brought a whole mix of different people to this neighborhood, who might have otherwise stayed far away.











It was a cold day, but as we walked around the sun began to come out and warm the street where people were working to rake up leaves, and as the artist continued to work on his never ending art project.