A weekend trip to Chihuahua, Sonora, and Baja California, Mexico – concentrating primarily on some mountain drives in Sonora. Here is the first part: a quick nighttime dash from San Diego to Columbus, NM, then crossing over to Palomas, Chih., then heading west and south to Hermosillo, Sonora.

Not actually in Mexico. here is an Arizona sunrise, somewhere around Benson.

Some clouds over a Sonora mountain landscape.


the third day of the Gila River trip, in which I return from New Mexico back home to San Diego.

Campfire from the night before. I don’t remember why we decided that Frosty the Candle Snowman had to go, but we certainly sent him off to Valhalla in style.

An old alignment of New Mexico state route 32 yields this tilted, decrepit junction assembly. It dates to the late 1960s or so.

This grassland – just east of Springerville, AZ – burned in the Wallow Fire just a few weeks after I took these photos. But, it will grow back, as that is how these things tend to go.

Sunset through Telegraph Pass, just east of Yuma on I-8.


A trip to New Mexico, essentially following the Gila River all the way. Part features the first day, and the morning of the second – driving from San Diego to Lake Roberts, NM.

Adventures in terrible light-post placement. There are only two known 1957-spec interstate shields in Arizona. (The other one is on this exact gantry, facing the other direction.)

Extremely pointy flower in morning light. Highway 90 between Lordsburg and Silver City, New Mexico.

Heading north from Silver City on state highway 15.


Over the holiday weekend, I took a trip that concentrated heavily on US-50 from I-15 in Utah to Carson City. This batch barely gets us there, as we head up the US-91 corridor (approximately) from San Diego to Utah, and then turn west, stopping in Ely, Nevada for the night.

those that click on the large versions of the photos may notice… new camera! Larger pictures for your enjoyment. When my D50 died at 99872 exposures, I upgraded to the D5000. This trip served to field-test it in a variety of conditions.

Pointy rocks and high clouds, by the side of the Kelso-Cima Road, which is a very old US-91 alignment. Before they built the road in the 30s that would be upgraded to I-15 in 1962, a somewhat more indirect highway followed the railroad between Cima and Kelso, and that was US-91.

US-50 in western Utah. 1am on a foggy night. As there was no place to pull over, I stopped the car in the middle of the road and set up the tripod next to it. No cars came in the six or seven minutes I was stopped. Indeed, no other vehicles between Hinckley, Utah and Majors Junction, Nevada – over 100 miles!


not featuring any photos from Union County – this was the return trip of over 1200 miles, in time to even show up to work in mid-afternoon!

We are on an old US-70 alignment, and here is the obligatory photo of the curves warning sign with the treacherous mountains in the background.


a visit this 4th of July weekend to sunny Union County, New Mexico. Just a brief dash of a trip: 2500 miles in two days driving, and then two days spent there being lazy and taking pictures of bees.

Sunny Union County is inhabited by huge bees.

Little house on the prairie.


And, finally, we have the third part of the trip – from Antelope Canyon to New Mexico. Daniel Brim and I, driving a cargo van… always fun exploring narrow old roads in a big old vehicle like that!

Navajo Highway 5056
Here’s a 1950s Indian road sign! Complete with peeling numbers on some of the oldest engineer grade (does not fade to green) scotchlite I have ever seen. They invented the stuff in 1950 and this is not much newer than that. 18×12 inches; somewhere in southeast Utah near the Four Corners area.

Utah U. S. highway 191
This might very well be a meteor in daytime! I just noticed this when I was processing these photos – note the smoke trail in the middle. I have the photo from 1 second before, and 4 seconds after, and they show nothing – but this one definitely has that black streak, which I believe to be a smoke trail from a very bright meteor.

Colorado U. S. highway 160
Behold the birds. Pagosa Springs, Colorado has this lake, fountain assembly… and swans!


photos from the canyon itself!

A note about access … the canyon is only accessible via guided tour. It is on Navajo land and the tribe runs the tours. As far as I know, there is no way to get in just by yourself.

There are two types of tours: a $30 for half an hour where they rush you through the canyon with 10 other groups (total 100+ people in there – it gets crowded) so you can see the beams of light as the sun makes its transit across the sky, and a $50 one where they do the rushing and then give you another hour to explore, with the guide being a helpful resource as opposed to actively herding you. I of course recommend ponying up the extra $20! Ask for the “photographer’s tour” option when you book.

I cannot remember which guide company we went with, but I believe all the money just goes to the Navajo Nation so there’s no point in shopping around… they are not in competition and offer identical services. Here is one:

during the photographer’s tour segment (when the general population has been herded out) all the tour guides from all the companies are very friendly and accessible and helpful in pointing out places to stand to take good photos, and rock formations. And of course they carry shovels and are always happy to load the sandfalls! Did I mention I highly recommend the photo tour?

(I have no idea how to get in under the full moon if that is your gig, but I am sure if you inquire with one of the tour companies, they may be able to assist you in that endeavor.)

and one more thing to note: make sure to bring a fast (f/1.4 or f/1.8) lens, or one with image stabilization (Nikon VR, Canon IS, dunno what Pentax, Sony, etc call it but they all have the option)… my exposure times in these photos ranged from 1/20s to 1s at ISO-400 using my f/3.5 VR lens.



Photos from late August of this year, when Daniel Brim and I drove from California to New Mexico … in a moving van. Always fun doing three-point turns on narrow old alignments. We stopped at Antelope Canyon along the way – and this set will not include any pictures from there, as it ends just as we get there. The next batch will be the canyon itself.

California U. S. highway 466, California state route 58
Part of the collection of someone who wishes to remain anonymous. Well, the signs are visible to anyone from the public right-of-way, so you can go find them if you want! This style of directional sign, complete with glass reflectors, was used on high speed thoroughfares from 1933 to the early 50s.

Nevada U. S. highway 91, Nevada U. S. highway 93, Nevada interstate 15, Nevada state route 167
Nevada state route 167 branches off of old US-91. The road is lit from the side by a truck stop immediately behind us, that serves Interstate 15.

Nevada U. S. highway 91, Nevada U. S. highway 93, Nevada interstate 15, Nevada state route 167
The truck stop, now with actual truck.

Arizona U. S. highway 91, Arizona interstate 15
The Virgin River Gorge – Arizona interstate route 15. Whereas old US-91 went around it, I-15 was blasted straight through, saving about 30 miles.

Utah state route 59
Fires in Los Angeles result in skies like this in Utah.

Utah state route 59
One from Dan, from the same general vicinity. His pictures can be found here. Go look, as his are generally like mine, except more awesome.


More from my New Mexico trip of November 2008, including some actual New Mexico this time.

Colorado state route 17
On the mountain pass between Chama, New Mexico, and Cumbres, Colorado – both states call this one highway 17. The sky was dark blue, just after sunrise – the snow is that bright, and there is just that little atmosphere, at 10,000 feet.

New Mexico U. S. highway 64, New Mexico state route 325
Sunset over the plains of northeast New Mexico. Old US-64 (now state highway 325) near Capulin Volcano.

An undisclosed location in northeast New Mexico, home to my friend Dale. Certainly no old signs to be found anywhere.


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