Bumble Snake Picture of the Week

This week’s image is the last in our Route 66 Car Show series, and coincidentally, it’s also a significant motorsports TV holiday. Much like how fans spend Thanksgiving and New Years vegging out on the couch watching football—today is wall to wall car races.

Bumble Snake
Bumble Snake – An unidentified yellow car that was on display at the Route 66 car show in Kingman, Arizona.

The day starts in Monaco and the Formula One Grand Prix. It’s not the fastest F1 race, but all of the glitz and glamour surrounding it makes it the year’s biggest spectacle. Although I love watching the cars parade through the streets, I’d die to attend a progressive dinner that stopped for new courses on each of the yachts moored in the harbor. Next on the schedule is the Indianapolis 500. It’s the World’s Greatest Race according to the promoters. I suppose it is, much in the same way that McDonald’s is the World’s Greatest Hamburger. Then after a couple of ribs off the bar-b, the evening show is the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte.  Although it’s not NASCAR’s premier race, it is the longest of their season as it transitions from day to night.

TV races are the bastard red-head step child of sports, and die-hard fans always had to work to see them. When I was a teenager, we bought tickets to see the ‘500 on closed circuit at the Grauman’s Chinese theatre. We’d pay 10 or 15 bucks to see a low-res TV image blown up to movie screen size. You couldn’t tell one car from another, so what we experienced was paying money to listen to the radio broadcast while watching a bad Nintendo game. At least it was live. ABC sometimes showed Monaco a week later on its Wild World of Sports, but it was a heavily edited highlight reel that shared airtime with the Bocce Ball finals. As for Charlotte, nobody showed hillbilly racing on TV, except maybe Daytona. Racing wasn’t crucial to broadcasters until they found out that motorsports draw more viewers than any other sport except for horse racing.

Watching the shows is so much better now. First, it’s live on the network channels with some timing overlaps. Having a TIVO takes care of time conflicts. More importantly, by recording them, you can turn 16-18 day of binging into a 6 hour evening by zipping through the commercials. If I start around 2:00 pm, I usually catch up to the live broadcast with 20 laps to go.

In all seriousness, Memorial Day is really about remembering the men and women that fought and died to defend our freedom. We can do that on Monday, which is Memorial Day proper. But, it has to be done in the morning, because we need to get home in time to catch the sportscar race at Lime Rock.

This week’s featured image—oh yeah. It was one of the cars on display at the Route 66 car show in Kingman. It didn’t have any name badges on it, so I couldn’t tell who manufactured it. It looks British, so maybe it’s an MGB. If you look closely on the front, the owner didn’t bother to wipe off the squashed insects it collected on the drive from Seligman, so maybe it’s a bug-eyed Sprite. I called this image Bumble Snake because of the bright paint scheme. You can see a larger version of Bumble Snake on its Web Page by clicking here. Next week begins a new month, and we’ll show off some images from another Arizona place.

Until next time — jw


Bel Air Picture of the Week

Kingman Club neon sign.
Kingman Club – What could be a better sign to hang over a brand new micro-brew.

You’ll have to bear with me this morning; I’ll be a bit out of sorts because for the next few days because I’m on my own. Queen Anne’s girlfriends left for Newport Beach to pick up sailors, and Anne begged to go along. I know she’s only going to spoil their fun because she’s the only one that has a husband at home. Her trip has disrupted my morning routines. I had to make coffee for myself, no one warmed my socks in the microwave, I had to go outside and fetch the paper, and I made breakfast for myself. Isn’t that awful? I’m going to get even by driving down to the Sun City West Library and flirt with hot chicks. But before I go, I want to tell you about this week’s picture.


OK Used Cars antique sign.
OK Used Cars – There is a dealer on Kingman’s section of Route 66 that sells restored cars. They use this classic car dealer sign to advertise.

The third image of our May series of Cars as Graphic Art comes from our Kingman visit at the beginning of the month. The model for this shot was a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop, and you can quickly tell that from the unique chrome strips and pattern of colors. This year was a milestone for hot rod Chevys because this was the car that started the trend of performance family sedans. 1955 was the first year (since 1918) that a V8 was a Chevy option, and it came in three flavors, including the Super Power Pack rated at 190 hp. I like this year because it was before American Car Manufactures overdosed on tail fins and chrome, so it’s style is more sedated.

1955 Cheverolet Bel Air
Bel Air – A 1955 Chevy Bel Air two-door hardtop. 1955 was the first year since 1918 that Chevrolet offered a V8 in a family sedan.

I picked this week’s picture for several reasons. Firstly, the composition gives the viewer all of the information needed to identify the car, and it fits neatly within the art world’s Rule of Thirds. Next, although the white section seems flat, the subtle gradation shows the fender’s top curve. Finally, I like how the white on the body is not the same as in the chrome insert; that’s the way it came from the factory. You can see a larger version of Bel Air on its Web Page by clicking here.

OK, now that I’ve finished my Sunday chores, I’m ready to paint the town. I still got it ya’know. All I have to do is flash a big smile, raise an eyebrow, and confidently say, “so, how you doin’?” It gets them every time. Now I need to find where Anne hid my false tooth. I hope you enjoy viewing this week’s post and please come back next week when we’ll show the final image in May’s Kingman series.

Until next time — jw

Caddy ’58 Picture of the Week

Today is mother’s day, and I thought about writing something snarky about the holiday because during my morning routine of The Online Photographer I read about Anna Jarvis—the woman that worked tirelessly to get the second Sunday in May set aside for all families to honor their mothers. The twist in Anna’s story is that she spent the rest of her life trying to get Mother’s Day abolished because it had become too commercialized.

Evelyn Moore Witkowski
Evelyn Moore Witkowski – She was a middle child of six and a mother of four. Happy Mother’s Day mom.

I did think about my mom today because Queen Anne and I would drive to Kingman—if they were in town—to take them out for lunch or dinner. Father’s Day was much easier because dad’s birthday, mom’s birthday, and my grandmother’s birthday were only days apart. We’d get a three-fer on that visit, but there was only one honored guest on our Mother’s Day visits.

I got my mom a can of rubbing compound this time. Since she’s gone now, she doesn’t need any more gifts, and I need to touch up Archie’s Arizona-Pin-Stripes. I’ll do that while Anne is at lunch with her friends. They found a restaurant that’s giving away meals for moms today. We don’t have any kids, but Anne will do anything for a hamburger.

I need to spiff up the cars because I feel guilty after looking at all of the show cars in Kingman last weekend. (See how I did that: Mother’s day-Kingman-car show?) I really shouldn’t go to automotive events. For weeks afterward, I fantasize how it would be nice to have a project car. This week I even spent time Googling prices, and what I found out is that they’re expensive.

Fortunately, at my age, moments of clarity set in before a used car salesman grabs my wallet. To be honest, I don’t have the skills or tools to do a full restoration myself. I would have to hire someone or spend lots of time and money at Harbor Freight (then wait until that peculiar odor dissipates). Besides, when I change the oil on our cars, I have to take Anne’s cell phone, so I can summon her to get me off the ground. But, wouldn’t it be nice to drive a ’53 Buick Skylark ragtop down Main Street on a warm Saturday night with my best girl smacking gum in my right ear?

Tail fin of a 1958 Caddilac
Caddy ’58 – Although they’re not as tall as those on the 1959 version, there’s still plenty of space on this canvas to reflect the yellow hot-rod next door.

I’ll resign my self to being a car show spectator and taking artistic pictures of them—like this week’s featured image called Caddy ’58. The 1958 Cadillac isn’t prized like the ’59 version, with its two-story tail fins and bullet brake lights. Although these fins aren’t as tall, they still provide a large enough canvas to reflect the yellow hot-rod parked in the next stall. I thought about having a contest and give a print to the first person that identified the car’s make and year, but I remembered that I already gave away the answer in the image’s name and title of this post. So instead, riddle me this, what make and the year is the yellow car reflected in the caddy’s fin?

You can see a larger version of Caddy ‘58 on its Web Page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing this week’s post and next week; we’ll show another image from our Kingman visit.

Until next time — jw

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