One moment I was in the middle of a since-forgotten dream. The next, it was all crickets.
Chirping crickets is sound that I have my trusty iPhone alarm clock wake me with. Following careful consideration, it seems to be the least awful of the provided noise choices to use as an alarm.
It was 1:40 a.m. and time to perform a task that I would consider highly unnatural. That being to get myself up, out from under my warm comfy blankets, leave my sleeping fiance behind, and get dressed in order to venture out into the cold black of the night, just so that I could photograph the night sky complete with Milky Way.
Such is life for astrophotographers. As fun and addictive as it can be, it still hurts each time.
As I stumbled down the stairs desperately trying to get a pot of coffee going, I checked my phone for any messages. I was heading out on this night with two compadres, and I suppose that I honestly was hoping for a cancellation text or two. I don’t operate well at 2 a.m. having very strong beliefs that no one should be awake at such an hour, much less trying to accomplish something and being awake at the same time.
There it was!!! A text from Dan (from earlier the night before) indicating that after a few beers his “ambition was waning.” I could almost feel my head hitting the pillow and excitement was spilling over with the thought that we might pull the proverbial plug.
“We doing this, or no,” I ask.
“Might as well, I’m up,” Dan replies.
“I’m cool either way,” I lie.
I was hoping he’d give in, too. Neither of us considering at all that the third member of our (socially distant) group was already waiting for us at the Shell station where we were set to meet up.
Our planned shot for this dark sky evening was to the old Arizona ghost town Twin Arrows.
The trading post, or what is left of it, sits on an old crumbled up portion of Route 66, roughly 20 miles east of the city of Flagstaff. Opened in the late 1940s, the post included a gas station, gift shop, and a diner. Its iconic wooden arrows were built shortly after and planted in the parking lot so as to lure motorists.
With the arrival of nearby Interstate 40, motorists were moved passed the post with no time to consider a stop, and Twin Arrows quickly declined, closing for good in 1995. A common fate handed down upon many kitschy roadside Route 66 establishments.