In the fall of October 2018, I rode through the city of Richmond, Virginia on a Sunday morning. City riding isn’t so great, generally. But being on a motorcycle gives you the opportunity to pull over, squeeze into tight spots for a few minutes and to park and snap pictures in a way that you couldn’t possibly do in a car. Being on a low, slim bike like the Bonneville makes that even easier.
I was in town spotting ghosts. An old city like Richmond, has plenty.
This Pepsi-Cola ad is just hanging on for dear life. Topped off with “Watkins Barber Shop” the bottle cap is but a whisper. A quick search around the web and you can find images of this wall that were much more vibrant. Hang in there, lovely. We still see you.
Without any knowledge of the company’s history, I have no idea if they ever engaged in widespread campaigns like Coca-Cola. In my travels, I haven’t had the opportunity to see many Pepsi ghost signs. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one other. It was in Galena, Kansas:
Following the very wiggly VA 623, will drop you into the upland valley of Burke’s Garden, Virginia. When there, something about it feels like you’re in a place cut off from the rest of the world.
The local whitepages:
My travels brought me to Burke’s Garden because of a photo I’d seen online of an old post office with a Pepsi ghost ad on the side. I was surprised to see what nice shape the mural is in. By the looks of things, that Pepsi ad is pretty well cared for.
I gingerly stepped up onto the front stoop to take a look inside. My chances of either falling through the step or being stung by bees seemed to be about 50-50. It made me chuckle to myself to think that if I was really lucky, maybe I’d be able to pull off both.
The sign above the door reads: “Burkes Garden, Va – God’s Land”
At the time I remember feeling like I was moving too fast, that I wasn’t taking enough time to linger. I don’t know why that happens but it does. You long for time away and then while you’re in the midst of it, you won’t slow down to savor it.
Looking through my limited selection of photos through Kansas and Missouri, hindsight tells me that I did it wrong. I hurried too much.
While traveling along ’66 in Illinois, I saw a vibrant blue Selz shoe wall ad in the town of Chenoa. While this one doesn’t quite compare aesthetically, it was still nice to see. This faded ad was in the town of Galena, Kansas.