On a quiet midnight street.
"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name"
- U2, 1987
Race horses are bred for one thing… to run.
If you have ever been to the races, have you taken the time to watch the muscular horses make their way to and from their stalls? They fight their handler all the way in. They show their teeth, they pull away, they strut the opposite direction, and they sometimes rare back onto their hind feet.
The Thoroughbred race horse resembles its historic Arabian descendants. It is a horse that is stout and quick to jump, run or escape the rider in some cases.
The American Quarter horse is a popular breed in races as well. The smaller, muscular horses have sometimes been clocked at speeds of 55 miles per hour. The life expectancy is usually around 27 to 30-years of both Quarter horses and Thoroughbred’s, assuming no serious injuries end that life early.
When I think of race horses, I think of that old school jazz infused big band style of music. I think of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Betty Grable.
“Gal is like a racehorse, I play her to win
But if I should lose her, another may come in
Love can be like heaven, love can be a joke
But it's worth a gamble so, hey, I go for broke”
- Dean Martin, “Who’s Got the Action”
He was sitting on his bike outside of a bar in downtown Nashville. "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed to his fingers... He looked like the type who drifted into town with the thought of one night, but likely turned into two and later three.
By ten that evening, he was laying down on his ride with his feet hanging over the rear tire – his head on his handlebars. It was as if he owned the street and if he was told to move on, with a spit he’d say no and sit tight.
The type most would not approach in fear of not being able to walk away, he sat alone as the traffic around him blurred past.
"Got no strings to tie me down
Got no cause to hang around
What difference does it make which way I go
Got an empty feelin' down inside
Still I need to stay alive
Who can tell what waits beyond this road
I'm a drifter, lonesome drifter"
- Johnny Cash, “I'm A Drifter” (Version 2)
“A man went looking for America and couldn’t find it anywhere” - Easy Rider
Murfreesboro, Tennessee hosted a lunch stop on the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. The cars stopped in Murfreesboro on Monday, June 26, 2017 at 12 noon. The stop was at the Cannonsburgh Village.
The Great Race, the world's premiere old car rally, brought 120 of the world's finest antique automobiles to Murfreesboro for the $150,000 event. The Stones River Region of AACA hosted the event.
In all, the participants in the race will cover more than 2,100 miles in 9 days. The start was on Main Street in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on June 24. The race will finish July 2 in Traverse City, Mich., on the banks of Grand Traverse Bay just off Lake Michigan as part of that city's annual Cherry Festival.
Teams and cars from Japan, England, Germany, Canada and every corner of the United States will be participating in their vintage automobiles dating back as far as 1916.
"There are more than 450 people just in our entourage from all around the world taking part in this incredible adventure," director Jeff Stumb said.
Along the route, competitors will travel parts of the original Dixie Highway in seven states - Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
The Great Race, which began 34 years ago, is not a speed race, but a time/speed/distance rally. The vehicles, each with a driver and navigator, are given precise instructions each day that detail every move down to the second. They are scored at secret check points along the way and are penalized one second for each second either early or late. As in golf, the lowest score wins.
He was attempting to start his small VW. After about the 4th crank, she started.
The first Volkswagen Beetle was introduced to Mexico in 1954. The car obviously caught on and by 1967, it was being produced in Puebla, Mexico. In 1968, the 100,000th Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Mexico.
In 2004, Mexico was still producing the VW Beetle and while the engine was different, the car itself looked nearly identical to the 1954 model.
By 2006, the VW Beetle was highly utilized by taxi companies. In Mexico City where this photo was taken, there were 50,000 Beetles on the streets that were painted green and used as taxis. In 2017, there are only about 3,500 Beetle taxis still taking passengers from point A to point B.
In all, 21 million Volkswagen Beetles were manufactured in Mexico, all looking much like the first one from 1954.
When I am not photographing people, I find myself shooting cars.
Mr. Enzo Ferrari, who was born in Modena, Italy in 1898, left the Alfa Romeo Company in 1939 and agreed not to use his last name with any races or race cars for at least four years after his departure. So, he founded “Auto Avio Costruzionoi.” The new company produced the 815 Spider, but production ended during World War II in 1943.
In 1947 the company we call Ferrari today was officially birthed with the “Ferrari 125 S.”
As for the famous horse used in the Ferrari logo, it was tied to a highly decorated World War I pilot named Francesco Baraca. The horse was painted on the side of his plane. At the close of the war, Baracca’s parents offered Enzo Ferrari the opportunity to use the prancing horse symbol, so he did.
In this picture is a Ferrari 458 Italia. I snapped this on Tiger Hill in Murfreesboro, TN. The mid-engine car replaced the older Ferrari F430.
The 458 was produced between 2009 and 2015. While Ferrari is tight-lipped about their cars, it is rumored that a little over 15,000 458 Italia's were produced between '09 and '15. While that may sound like a lot, it is far from a high number. If you look towards a company like Ford, they made 160,412 Mustangs in 2005 alone.
As for handling, the 458 feels like a go-cart around the curves and reaches 62 miles per hour in 2.9 to 3 seconds, depending on track conditions. Top speed is 202 mph.
The Ferrari 458 is somewhat famous in the automotive world as the transmission is only available as a dual clutch 7 speed Getrag gearbox. In other words, it is not offered in the form of a traditional manual transmission car like other Italian cars are. The Ferrari company see’s it as the perfect automobile. It does however have paddle shifters on the column.
As for the interior, it looks like a fighter jet and every control needed is located on the steering wheel, even the button to start the engine, suspension controls and the turn signals.
- Horsepower: 570
- Engine: 4.5 L Ferrari F136 F V8
As you walked through his gate an air raid siren sounded. Some of the signs on the fence along the road read, “No Trespassing, No Loud Music, No Loitering.” Other signs were simply pictures or stickers of an assault rifle. With that being said, I wanted to meet the man behind the collection of oddities.
As I made my way to the front porch crawling over old refrigerators, tires, washing machines and more, I could hear a television was on inside the house. However, my knocks on the door were unanswered.
I then made my way back to the road, this time noticing some of the scrap metal had been turned into art. Sculptors of old motors were to the left and a sculpture of an airplane to the right. Plastic skulls adorned the fence post along with the heads of mannequins.
“I never set out to be weird. It was always other people who called me weird.” - Frank Zappa, American musician, composer, guitarist, filmmaker and more (1940-1993)
Photo taken in the Mississippi Delta region.
On the move with big equipment: Even under dark rain filled clouds, every turn in the Delta region of Mississippi offers a new feast for the eyes of little boys who grew up with Tonka trucks and tractors.
On Monday, I found myself in the middle of nowhere in the Delta of Mississippi surrounded by cotton fields to my left and right. Out of nowhere, a crop dusting plane flew over my car. I followed the plane to where it landed and quickly made my way to the small country airport to speak to the pilot as he was refueling.
The first commercial crop-dusting plane was not a plane at all, it was instead a hot air balloon used to spread seed over a field of swampland in New Zealand. The balloon was tethered to the ground and moved from one side of the field to the other in 1906.
The idea of utilizing a plane in agriculture was born in 1921 by the U.S. Agriculture Department and the Army Signal Corps. A man by the name of John A. Macready piloted the first crop duster in 1921. I guess you could say the rest is history.
“This was my mother’s car, she bought it new in 1974,” he told me. He then went on to state, “When I drive it, I leave the hood partially open to keep the engine cool.” As we continued to talk about the Cadillac, he told me that he has had many offers on it, but refuses to sell it.
1962 Pontiac Bonneville that once belonged to the late Webb Pierce. Don’t know who Mr. Pierce is?
Michael Webb Pierce was born in 1921. He was once one of the most popular honky tonk vocalists and guitarists of the 1950’s. His biggest hit was “In the Jailhouse Now.” The song charted for 37 weeks in 1955. It hit number 1 a total of 21 times.
Pierce paid $20,000 to Hollywood tailor Nudie Cohen to customize the car by adding leather interior fashioned after a cowboy saddle and ordained with guns and silver dollars. In fact, there are over 150 silver dollars on the interior of the car.
Pierce not only drove flamboyant cars, but also dressed flamboyant with hand crafted suits. He was also a one time member of the Grand Ole Opry.
As for Pierce, he died of cancer in 1991 and was later inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." -Martin Buber, Jewish philosopher (1878-1965)
Some journeys may lead you to a retail store parking lot to dry your jeans by hanging them from the side view mirror of your RV.
As a kid I was always fascinated with the Walt Disney World monorail.
The Disney monorail opened in 1971 and as of 2013, it was calculated to be the second most heavily used monorail systems in the world. The three Disney routes transport up to 150,000 riders per day. Beating that number would be the Chongqing Rail Transit in Chongqing, China. The China monorail, which comes in at number one, has an average of 500,000 daily riders on Line 3 alone.
Monorail technology started in the 1950’s. As for Disney World in Orlando, FL… all of their current monorail cars (12 full fleets), are 1990 to 1991 models. The system in Disney has been in continuous operation since 1971. The electric system of 13 miles in length is powered by 600 volts of DC propulsion which includes eight DC motors with 112 horsepower each.
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney (1901-1966)
The famous General Jackson Showboat in Nashville goes up and down the Cumberland River on a regular basis. It has long represented Music City and is somewhat a museum piece. The riverboat has a full stage and auditorium inside with shows that are sometimes scheduled three times a day.
The views from the massive boat are none other than amazing if you love water and the picturesque shores of Nashville. But, how much do you know about the boat?
The name “General Jackson” came from a riverboat that was built in 1817 and named after Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States (1829-1837).
Jackson was born in the South Carolina area in 1767. By the age of 13, Jackson was captured by British troops during the American Revolutionary War. At the time of capture, Jackson was a courier. The capturing of the young boy likely gave him perspective later in life as he was said to have been mistreated by the British before being let go. Not much has been written about that mistreatment so the extent is unknown.
Jackson went on to become a lawyer and elected to hold a Congressional Office in the House of Representatives and twice holding office in the U.S. Senate.
In 1801 he called Tennessee home and was appointed as Colonel of the Tennessee militia. He was quite wealthy at the time and owned what we call today, the Hermitage Plantation. Hundreds of slaves were owned by Jackson.
He became famous during the War of 1812, which was a time where he defeated the men who troubled him as a youth… The British. During the Battle of New Orleans Jackson and his troops had an overwhelming victory over the main British Invasion Army.
Jackson later ran for president in 1824 and won.
Back to the boat named General Jackson that travels up and down the Cumberland River today (2016)… The boat was built for Opryland Theme Park in 1985. When the theme park closed in 1997, the boat remained active and is still an attraction today.
The boat is 77 feet tall and has a 7 foot deep draft. It is 274 feet long and 63 feet wide. It can hold 1200 passengers and has a crew of 157 men and women. Its top speed is 13 miles per hour. All of those numbers are quite impressive for a riverboat.
The massive riverboat is powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines and two General Electric 600 horsepower electric motors that push a 36 foot wide paddlewheel.
The boat is docked outside of Opry Mills. The river is about 15 to 25 feet deep where the Jackson is moored. The average roundtrip for tourist in the boat is only 14 miles. However, the Cumberland River has 381 miles of navigable waters from Kentucky to the Ohio River.
"I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me." – Andrew Jackson
one of the coolest quotes that ended with much history still being made was a quote by Ferruccio Lamborghini. Ferruccio was the man behind the legendary cars made in Italy.
Ferruccio Lamborghini stated:
"'You know how to drive a tractor, but you’ll never learn to drive a Ferrari' - If Enzo Ferrari hadn't made that crack - one day early in the 1960's when I was complaining for the nth time about the insoluble clutch problems I was havingwith his car, I might never have built my Lamborghinis." - Ferruccio Lamborghini
Lamborghini’s first car to roll off the production line was the 1963 V-12 350 GTV. He was 47 at the time. In 1993 he died at the age of 76.
I was in Nashville today when Keith Urban pulled up in this in this one point five million dollar Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4. It sounded amazing.
With camera in hand I asked, "Do you mind if I take a few shots?" He paused as if I were going to photograph him and then my friend Jerry said, "Thanks Keith." Mr. Urban smiled and with a slight laugh said, "Sure, go ahead!" Read more below...Read More
Horses in Nicaragua on the edge of what was once an active volcano.
In the background, Laguna de Apoyo in Nicaragua… This was once an active volcano thousands of years ago, but it blew its top, literally. It is now a Laguna or what Americans would call a crater lake.
In 1991, this beautiful landscape was categorized as a nature reserve, which means it is protected land.
For my muscle car friends… This is a photo I recently took of a 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack with 485 HP, stock (6.4L Hemi V8). It also has 475 lb-ft of torque along with paddle shifters for the automatic models or a six speed in the manual ones, but both are equally hard to find. They are not as difficult to locate as a Hellcat model, but still hard to find. Of course, the Hellcat comes with 707 HP.
Only 8,382 Scat Pack Challenger R/T’s were produced in 2015, globally. That of course makes it a rare breed. As for the Hellcat, 7,168 were manufactured in 2015.
The Scat Pack hits 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and 100 mph in 9.6 seconds. Keep in mind the retro looking Challenger weighs in at 4,261 pounds. The Hellcat covers 60 mph in just 3.6 sec. and can reach 199 mph for a top speed. Meanwhile, the Scat Pack version sits behind the Hellcat with a top speed of 185 mph.
By the way, John Francis Dodge founded the Dodge Company with his brother Horace. The two left jobs at Ford Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan and in 1917 produced their first commercial car. The rest is history.