Saturday, December 5, 2009

And then we got engaged...

By Julie
(See our little Christmas tree on top of the Pumpkin?)
We decided to start a new Christmas tradition. We will now "make a day" of going to get our Christmas tree, starting with a big breakfast on Christmas china before going to the tree farm to cut down our tree. We had already decided this before David proposed at our breakfast table that morning. :) So now when we celebrate getting our tree and settling in to the Christmas season, we will also be able to celebrate the anniversary of our engagement.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Murphy's 11.28.09

Eatz.... the Cheers of Chattanooga. What a great place, Murph himself was inquiring about the Bus and very nice, his father even got up from his breakfast next to glowing sex and checked us out. Glowing Sex was in the corner (that is a Christmas Story reference, see the right hand side of the picture of the restaurant). Breakfast was great, service was great and by far the BEST bacon I have ever had, and I have eaten a lot of bacon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More from Saturday 11/28/09
by Jules

On top of Lookout Mountain.

When we stopped for this picture, David told me to jump out and snap this picture while he stopped in the road. When I inquired about the safety, due to the two bums that were staring at me, David said "The police are right over there - how dangerous could it be?" (They were cleaning up a car wreck a couple blocks down.) When I repeated what he had said we both laughed and I took the picture anyway. God takes care of children and fools, right?

This was the last stop of our trip. What a great time. I can't wait to do it again soon - and who knows where we'll go next!
Saturday 11/28/09
by Julie

We had an amazing breakfast at Murphy's at the bottom of Lookout Mountain. (See David's future posting with the menu and food pics.) David declared it the best bacon he's ever eaten. David is quite the "Bacon Connoisseur", so if you dig on swine too, give Murphy's a whirl.

While we were there, a gentleman came over to us and said "Ya'll must be the ones that have that VW... I just had to come over and tell you, I traveled from one side of this country to the other and back again in one of those back in the 70's and 80's." He and David entered an animated discussion of the vehicle, and I tuned out during the engine discussions when something was said about a pancake engine and I was reminded of my breakfast that was going cold.

Everywhere we went we got thumbs ups and double peace signs from folks as we passed by. I couldn't believe how much attention it received. However, coming out of Publix that night I realized looking at the sea of cars (most shiny, dark, and new) in the parking lot just how much the Pumpkin really does stick out...

David instructed me to stay in the car with the door locked on this photo shoot. The shot below is the view to my right...

The view of the beautiful Tennessee river from the winding road going up Lookout Mountain.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday 11/27/09
Bellbuckle and Wartrace, TN
by Julie

I don't think coffee is what the good Lord intended for us to serve him...
The really funny part of this sign (to me) is that I don't think they meant for these two signs to blend. It was a Christian shop with all of the signs and music and "spiritual gifts" one could ever need, and then there was a coffee shop in the back. I think the coffee shop was an afterthought, perhaps when the shop wasn't getting enough traffic on it's own.

Friday, 11/27/09
Bellbuckle, Murfreesboro, and Clarksville (McDonald's)
by Julie

Bell Buckle Cafe, Bell Buckle, TN.

Murfreesboro, TN
David is the small man in front of the sign...

I'm a big fan of freedom of speech, but I can't help but feel like these parents are ruining McDonald's for this poor child...

Friday 11.25.09

by Dave

After a huge breakfast with the Knott Clan, Jules and I hit the road... first stop (after stopped a million times to take pictures of signs, tractors, and cars) in Clarksville and Murfreesboro was the Bell Buckle Cafe in Bell Buckle, TN. Home of the Bell Witch, Bell Caves and the Webb School.

The food was awesome, I had meatloaf, fried okra and cheesy potatoes. Then a cup of coffee and another fill up and off to Wartrace and the final destination... Raccoon Mountain and Lot 25.

Before we could get there, I was profiled and pulled over by one of Decherd, TN's finest. A lad of 22 at best who claimed not to be able find my registration on the computer.... this after he slowed down to get behind me and run my tag. If I had actually been amused, I would have asked for a picture. But I was cold, tired, violated and ready to get back on the road!

Clarksville, TN
by Julie

I (Julie) drove past this sign for years and never noticed it. Then, one year when dragging David with the entire Knott family to see The Grinch ice sculptures at Opryland Hotel, we decided to stop for donuts right next door to this hotel. :) I still did not see it, however, David about fell out of the car, noticing it immediately. It was this sign that started his fascination with Googie architecture, and this sign showed up in one of his paintings. Therefore, I claim it was due to my inspiration...

David has decided it should be his personal life mission to have this sign put on the national register of historic places... I agree.

I love this photo, because it shows the shadows cast by the neon bulbs.
Chattanooga and surrounding area
by Julie

Nickajack Lake outside Chattanooga

Below Lookout Mountain, TN

Taken beside the mobile home park sign shown above...

Nickajack Sunset

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday 11.25.09 Reference Pictures

by Dave

One of the reasons we got the Great Pumpkin was so that we could travel around and I could lug all of my painting and computer gear around and be free to travel the backroads. I have begun a series of paintings based on Googie Architecture signs, which are signs that popped up along main thoroughfares across the US in the 50's and 60's. Think neon, Route 66, the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign and the Jetsons. This journey, I am stocking up on reference photos to get through the winter with as we go to Paris, TN for Thanksgiving with Jules' family.

I actually had no idea what Googie Architecture was until I ran into a guy at a show that I was doing about a year ago. I had one of my sign paintings on my hand-out and told me to look it up. My initial interest in sign art has come from many places. As a boy, I grew up in a printing business and around people who hand painted signs, I even dabbled in it a bit in college and after. That lead to the discovery of Von Dutch, the man, the myth, the legend. Not the ridiculous company that has stolen has name, and used it for mass marketing hats and t-shirts. I also have an affinity for all things old, things that are gone to ruin, that should be preserved... old cabins, tractors, houses, etc. I grew up in a house built in 1835, until I was 34, I never owned a car that wasn't older than I was and I love rust.

I am sure this topic will continue to pop up as we travel up and down Hwy 41 and around the southeast discovering these little gems before they go away forever. Sometimes, you just have to slow down to appreciate these things before they are gone. You can also check my blog and website to see my sign paintings as well as the old cars, truck and tractors.

Todays blog installment is a cross-section of photos I took today, I revisited my favorite sign and the inspiration for my first Googie Art Sign piece, the Vacation Motor Hotel.

Tuesday, 11.24.09

I gave the Kodak Zi8 a try our first night at the campground to give a bit on insight to the camper, but it didn't turn out very well, but I really haven't shot much video or even uploaded any video to my other blogs. So far, the Zi8 shots great video, but the camera feature is more like a really nice cell phone camera, but it does the job!

Wednesday 11.25.09

by Dave

This is the look I get from Jules whenever I put a camera in her face, whether I am driving a car or not. I love that look. She needs to understand she is much more photogenic than I am!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Location: Bremen, Georgia. I'm concerned that his Blackberry is stuck to his hand...

Location: Rome, Georgia. One of many stops for reference photos.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

Sometimes things just happen they way they are supposed to...
(by julie)

A couple years ago while taking a pottery lesson from a crazy Billy Lee in the Newnan Seed Shop, I heard a tale that involved "an orange volkswagen". The actually story went like this... "Oh, I know a guy that throws pottery who lives south of Moreland... a little further... just keep on driving... past Luthersville... You'll see his orange Volkswagen van on the side of the road... he lives there, but just go on in... just tell him you know me." I didn't think much of it at the time, except that it was a crazy story and I would never go looking for this guy.

About the same time, David took some artwork to a gallery in Union Point, Georgia. The couple that own the gallery are a really cool and unique couple. Anne Jenkins is from South Africa and her husband in American, but grew up moving all over Europe with his parents. This self-proclaimed gypsy couple spent their first six years together living on a sailboat in the Mediterranean. Later they owned a Volkswagen Westfalia and attempted to drive from the top of North America to the bottom of South America. Unfortunately a proposed ferry ride in Costa Rica involved them leaving their van and $2000 with a guy they didn't trust, so they turned around and headed back north. When they got tired in Alaska they sold their Westie for cash in a Walmart parking lot. And a few years later they were tag team drivers for Schneider as cross-country truckers while they scoped out a new town to call home. We were inspired by their sense of adventure and freedom.

About a year later we happened to meet this guy at the Cotton Pickin Fair, and when he mentioned that he was a potter and lived in Greenville (which is south of Luthersville), I immediately said "By chance do you have an orange Volkswagen?" Yes he did. Allen Gee has since become a dear friend of ours, not to mention our favorite potter. Once when I was visiting his studio and watching him throw on his wheel, I saw the van in his back yard. I asked to see it up close, and immediately knew David would love it. I couldn't wait to tell him all about it.

I was right. He did love it. Within a few months we were able to make it our own! Oh... and when we told our gypsy friends about their inspiration and our newly purchased '75 VW Westphalia that we affectionately called "The Great Pumplin", Anne exclaimed "That's perfect! 'Pumpkin' was our cb handle when we were driving for Schneider - the big orange truck!" What synchronicity.

We've done some small things to get it ready for our first trip, mainly new tires, a tune-up, and a new canvas top. We're road ready...