Signed print of Route 66. Tucumcari, New Mexico.

  • Signed print of Route 66. Tucumcari, New Mexico.

This is the cover image for "Abandoned New Mexico: Ghost Towns, Endangered Architecture and Hidden History." Print size is 8" x 10" and signed

The vehicle under the Ranch House Cafe sign is a Chevrolet Apache. It's parked along old Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico and once belonged to a man named Walter Carlson. Originally from Amarillo, Texas, Walter had served in the Korean War and had a wife and kids. But by the time he got to Tucumcari he was living in that truck, which he would sometimes offer to sell for a price nobody would pay.

Walter was an artist who worked in any medium he could put to hand, such as wood, candles, and coffee grounds. Once he made an entire sailing ship out of wax, with rigging, gun ports, and everything, but it eventually melted. For years he was in the truck, sleeping underneath it when the weather was hot, and selling artwork to Things, an out-of-business antique store which is just to the right in this photo.

Walter died several years ago, leaving his truck to be admired. Any recollections I've received about him have been very fond indeed.