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Jacumba, Interrupted

Abandoned Railcar, Jacumba, California

In the 1920s, Highway 80 stretched from Atlanta to San Diego. Like Route 66, many towns and tourist attractions cropped up along the Highway 80. Jacumba, California was a resort in the 1940s. Its hot springs drew in the Hollywood crowd, including the likes of Clark Gable. It even has its own airport.

Empty Residence, Jacumba, California

Times change. When Interstate 8 completed in the 1960s, Jacumba was bypassed. Although I can't speak with first-hand knowledge, the town is a shell of its former self. A few residences remain. In my short, early morning visit, only a general store and one restaurant looked to be still operational. Otherwise, Jacumba is a very sleepy town. One of many real life example of a Radiator Springs from the Disney/Pixar Cars movie.

The Grafitti Train, Jacumba, California

However, Jacumba remains a town with a lot of character. Every remnant hints of days gone by and stories of old. An empty car wash in the center of town ... imagine a sharply dressed crew of boys in the 1950s springing to action to clean a passer-by's Chevy. Cracked, pink arches outlining an otherwise gutted, roofless building ... was it a dance hall or hotel? The vestiges of a railroad depot ... a lifeline for fresh foods, sundries, and other wares to keep the tourists in town one more day.

I spent most of my time at the train depot. There are several wooden rail cars slowly being reclaimed by the earth. I found these the most interesting. Across the tracks are more modern rail cars, one of them brightly tagged with graffiti.

Abandoned Railcar Interior, Jacumba, California

North of the tracks, toward the distant hills sits a strange white pyramid. I didn't learn this until after I left ... it's part of an art commune, The Institute Of Perception. The folks over at hiddensandiego.net have a trippy story about it. I may make another visit and take in some of their in-desert art.

Technical Notes

Abandoned house:
- Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 18-70mm
- Single exposure, 1/40s @ f/8 EV -1.0, ISO 100
- Processed in Aperture and Perfect Effects

Railcar closeup:
- Nikon D7000 with Nikkor 18-70mm
- Single exposure, 0.4s @ f/8, ISO 100
- Processed in Aperture and Perfect Effects

Railcar interior:
- Nikon D700 with Tamika 11-16mm
- 9 bracket HDR, -4EV to +4EV @ f/8, ISO 100
- Processed in Aperture, Nik HDR Efex Pro, Perfect Effects, and DxO Perspective

Grafitti train:
- Nikon D7000 with Tamika 11-16mm
- Single exposure, 1/1600s @ f/8 EV -2.0, ISO 100
- Processed in Aperture and Perfect Effects