Can't You Read The Sign?
Ramah is a tiny little town on HWY 53 southwest of Grants, New Mexico. In and of itself, it is not a place worth traveling too but it is on the way to some more noteworthy destinations such as the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary, El Morro National Monument and the Bandera Ice Cave.
Ramah is part of the Navajo Nation and that means you had better read the signs. If the sign says that the speed limit is 20mph (and the signs do say that), it is safe to assume they're not messing around, especially if you "ain't from around here". Additionally, if the sign says "No Trespassing", it is not a suggestion and, with the police station, courthouse and jail all less than half a mile away, I highly recommend shooting from the safe-side of the fence.
This abandoned farm house is at the edge of town and behind a barbed wire fence with a locked gate. Word to the wise: don't climb through the fence.
All photos shot with a Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
Rescued From Obscurity
Not the town of Seligman, Arizona. It's as obscure as ever and probably more so now than when these photos were shot.
It's the photos themselves that have been rescued. In the past five years, I've moved across the country twice, broken some eggs, made some omelettes. One of the causalities of all this upheaval was almost all of my fine art photography portfolio. Gone without a trace. But then a minor miracle happened and I discovered that an old incarnation of the original Dry Heat Blog was still live on the interwebs and on it were many of my photos that I thought were gone forever. Sadly, these are not the high-res print files but they are at least good enough for viewing here on the current Dry Heat Blog.
These images were originally published on March 1, 2009 after a road trip from Albuquerque, NM to Las Vegas, NV for the annual WPPI convention.
Lots of good Route 66 stuff on the way!
These photos were shot on a Canon 50D with a Lensbaby 2.0 and edited with some fancy Kubota Actions that I purchased at WPPI.
So, uh.... what happened here?
If there were one question to sum up the area known as Meadow Lake, it would be, "What happened here?" You could look in any direction and ask this question dozens of times. For starters, there is a man-made lake that was built who knows when or why and was closed for reasons that remain mysterious. Aside from that, run down, abandoned, gutted and often burned mobile homes are strewn across the desert like forgotten dominoes, but right next door could be a beautiful and well maintained home.
And then there's this house.
By any standard of measure, this house would've been considerably nicer than most anything else in the area. For one thing, it's actually a spacious site-built home but then there's also the enclosed courtyard and the in-ground pool. No one up here has an in-ground pool.
And then one day, the whole thing went to hell. From the looks of things, I would guess ruination day was around ten years ago.
As I approach the entrance to the courtyard, the ground is absolutely covered with every manner of thing from the house. There are clothes and shoes and toys and trash..., soo much trash. Aside from this small stuff, furniture is cast about all over the place. There are several couches sitting in the yard.
I tried to find a news story that could explain what happened but came up empty handed. It looks to me like the residents of the house did not salvage any of their belongings after the fire. As you can see in the photos, the house was completely destroyed, and these people just walked away.
Or did they?
It's possible, likely even, that they didn't survive the fire. It's also possible that the fire was not an accident, making whatever happened here a crime as opposed to just an unfortunate event.
Why was nothing cleaned up? Why was nothing rebuilt? If they survived, I would assume they had home-owners insurance but you know what they say about assuming. Where did they go and who owns the land now?
So many questions...
What happened here?
All photos shot with Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
Not Really Here Or There
An easily overlooked stop on the Turquoise Trail road trip, Cerrillos is literally a living ghost town. At least six or seven people still live here and they even put up historical markers providing interesting information on the town's ancient buildings.
Most tourists will want to visit Madrid, which is just a few miles to the south. Madrid has fun things like restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops and is welcoming to visitors so long as they spend money don't stray off the main road. Should one decide to venture off the road with pavement, the hills suddenly have eyes and you could easily be cursed by a stray dog, disappearing through a portal to the nether world, never to be seen or heard from again.
And then there's Cerrillos.
There's nothing for tourists to do here so the whole town has eyes. Everywhere you go, someone is watching, possibly living and possibly not, but they'll let you know if step out of line.
The ghosts of Cerrillos are surely unimpressed by flashy jewelry and pretentious enlightenment so, if that's your bag, just drive on to Santa Fe.
All images shot with a Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
The historic marker was on around on the back end of this house but I didn't go back there due to the extremely shady looking fellow who was crawling around on the train tracks. I wanted to know, but I didn't want to know that bad.
The last time I photographed this abandoned house in Golden, NM was about ten years ago. In fact, my profile picture for this blog (the one with the guitar) is from that trip and was shot right there on the front porch.
The house was abandoned then too but didn't look nearly as dangerous as it does now. As you can see, there are cinder blocks piled up on the bottom step and the entrance to the porch is blocked to deter looky-loos like myself from getting too close. The house looks like it could fall down at any moment.
Anyway, while photographing the house the first time, a man named Leroy suddenly materialized. I don't remember if he said that he owned the house but he did say that he was the (likely self proclaimed) Mayor of Golden. He bent my ear for a long time, going on about all kinds of wacky shit - but he never said "You're trespassing" or "get off my porch" so I waited him out and he did eventually leave so I could get my photos.
It didn't occur to me at the time but I guess it's possible that Leroy may have been an apparition and, of course, my apologies if I've offended anyone who knows Leroy, (now the former?) Mayor of Golden. He sure is chatty though, isn't he?
St. Francis de Assisi Church and Cemetery
This church was built in 1839 and has been through a few renovations. I have found photos on the internet showing the church in all white and with slightly different exterior styling. That being said, it is once again in dire need of some maintenance. I didn't photograph it, but there is a sizable hole opening up in the exterior adobe wall on the west side of the building.
Unfortunately for me, I arrived about 20 minutes before mass was to begin. So, while I'm trying to go exploring, the parking lot is filling with cars and a steady stream of people are walking through the yard to enter the church. It probably would've been better to show up on a weekday.
All images shot with a Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.