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It's the photojournalist life for me (sung to the tune of Barnacle Bill the Sailor). Sure, some aspects of this "alternate lifestyle" can be considered stressful, but the Pros outweigh the Cons by a measured mile, from my pretzeled perspective. Last Wednesday's photo shoot for Street Rodder magazine was a typical example: Twenty four hours of warm fuzzies that left my jaw and eyeballs aching (from laughter and sleep deprivation, respectively), and my spirit content as a snoozing infant.
SGE regular Jim Lindsay had alerted me to the breaking news from his Willamette Valley, Oregon stomping grounds a few weeks back: A local (Albany, Oregon) 26 year old lowrider truck guy that Jim and his contemporary Sid Campbell had been mentoring had just finished his first (mostly) traditional rod build. The result was of a very high quality, while remaining legitimately grassroots. Jim sent me a photo, which I pitched to a couple of magazines. Brian Brennan at Street Rodder bit (perhaps due to some baiting from my mentor Tim Bernsau), and the feature was a go. Knowing my photographic skills to be less-than-extraordinary, Bernsau suggested we bring in Chris Shelton for the heavy lifting. This was a double win for me, as I had been itching to meet Shelton for some time, and my byline had never appeared in Street Rodder.
Shelton - who lives on some godforsaken lump of dirt out in the Pacific Ocean called Camano Island (off the northern Washington coast) had another shoot lined up in Eugene, Oregon, so he was happy to double his money on the long haul south with our shoot in Albany. Shelton joined us immediately following the Eugene shoot and we proceeded to crash every alleyway, shop bay, and parkway in Albany, shooting up the place like a couple of drunken cowboys. "The kid", his family, friends and mentors, all followed the action intently, as we slogged through rain and mud for four hours. We finally celebrated with a late dinner at a rowdy side-street bar (thanks Mark!) where we ran into yet more hot rod loonies. Then Shelton and I holed up in a nondescript Albany motel until the wee hours, trading notes on the characters who populate this wacky business, and the hilarity that ensues. The cars never fail to inspire us, but it's the people that ultimately get us where we're going. People like the McClintons, Lindsay, and Campbell. Salt of the earth.
The following morning, Shelton went north and I went south, stopping only at the Canyonville rest area (above), I-5's finest roadside break facility. Big as a state park and just as pretty, it's clean, has ample parking for autos, semis and RVs (complete with hookups and camping spaces), and features enormous sparkling state-of-the-art restrooms. Weary travelers leave so refreshed, most cruise straight into Canyonville and drop money. Someday (if we're lucky) all rest areas will be like this motorist oasis. What a wonderful world that will be. In the meantime, be on the lookout for a shiny black coupe in Street Rodder this winter. (Scotty shots)
MEANWHILE, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF PLANET EARTH:
BACK ON THE HOME FRONT:
SQUIRREL AND TOOLBOX
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN
A couple of graduates from the esteemed Scotty Gosson School of Motorsports Photography. You too can be in the thick of the action, for only $20 per 1/2 hour lesson. www.click.com. Hurry!
PS: Please buy this stuff, so I can pay Mr. Landlord. Otherwise, I'll be breaking into abandoned cars for shelter, like a common squirrel. Thanks.