Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lights, Camera

Temecula, CA, to Phoenix.

The day's travel could have covered the distance virtually entirely via interstate highways. But there was a tempting shortcut.
CA79 to CA 341 to CA74. The designation as "blue highways"* seemed to fit these highways.
A few mountain climbs and multiples curves later, we reached Palm Desert. A slower route, but much more interesting than counting exits.
Then we picked up I-10 to Phoenix.

One of the first things we checked upon arrival was the calendar of events. Near the top of the list was the APS Electric Light Parade.

The theme of the Parade, now in its 27th year, was "Wild West Holiday Roundup."
Second Place, Community Category

The parade was scheduled to be held Saturday, but there was a 50 percent chance of rain in the forecast.
With this possibility in mind and after learning that the judging of the floats would take place Friday night, we decided to opt for the good weather conditions of Friday to photograph the entries.
The Friday night opportunity also allowed us to take several photos and more detailed photos of the floats. The next six photos show The Elf Express and some of its details.

The winners were announced to the public the following day, and they are identified in the photos when known.
First Place, Government Entry--Bright Light Award

As you can see from the photos, the floats contain many, many lights. In fact, the specifications for the floats require a minimum of 2,000 lights on the float,

and all tow vehicles, it they are a part of the floats, must also have a minimum of 2,000 lights (LED's, Neon, and Glow products).
And anyone riding on an entry or walking alongside an entry is required to wear 96 lights or fifteen pieces of 22” glow lights or equivalent light shapes.
Now with those requirement for lights, there is an obvious need for generators. And with several floats in stationary positions near each other all running generators, the smell of exhaust was a noticeable modification to the crisp, fresh air of late afternoon.

But we continued.

*From the autobiographical book with that title by William Least Heat-Moon, traveling on "blue highways" refers to traveling on the back roads that are often designated by thin blue lines on maps.

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