We get to Ludlow, a small speck of buildings in the middle of the Mojave Desert, just off I-40, two and a half hours from Los Angeles. We arrive just before sunrise, which is according to plan. We opt for breakfast at the Ludlow Cafe, an authentic old-style Rt 66 cafe echoing an era some fifty years ago when the entire town was moved a quarter mile to the west when Interstate 40 was completed. (For some very obscure reason the interstate highway commission couldn't be bothered to place the offramp near enough the town, so the town itself moved.)
It's a striking visual of a desert community struggling to hold on within just a few hundred feet of the old town's corpse.
Old Ludlow, barely 100 yards east, slowly crumbles in the desert sun.
But -- and this is important for our day -- the ruins of the old town are perfect fodder for my Nikons.
Leaving I-40, we head east along Route 66, which parallels the highway for six miles more or less, passing through the previously mentioned ruins. We pause in this area for me to grab some shots by the early morning light.
It's a strange and somewhat eerie sensation with the quite active roar of 40 in the air and the sound of a freight train rumbling by. Your ears and eyes don't quite agree on where you are, conveying to your brain the conflicting visuals of a dead town with the sounds of a busy town. I finish up with a few shots of the ruins and of the train -- just to make peace with that part of my brain.
Then we're off again.