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The Little Atoms Road Trip in Pictures

Neil Denny drove across America for Little Atoms


Listen to Neil's podcasts about his American road trip below:

Part 1

Jerry Coyne

Freethought Alliance Annual Conference

Eugenie Scott

Edward Stone

In May 2012, having been the recipient of a travelling fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, I flew to the USA to make a podcast series about American science. Over the course of 28 days I drove a meandering 6600 miles from San Francisco to Boston, interviewing 35 scientists and writers along the way. Here are 35 images from my journey across the US in other signs, symbols, plaques and notices.

1. San Francisco. First morning, jet-lagged breakfast 100 yards from the Pacific Ocean

2. Near Big Sur on Pacific Coast Highway. One of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Big Sur was once synonymous with freedom and the open road. It would seem this is no longer the case.

3. Santa Barbara. There was once a chain on 1,117 Sambo’s restaurants across the US. This is the very last one.

4. Pasadena. On the campus on NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Mars Science Laboratory rover was half way to Mars at the time of my visit.

5. Indian casino somewhere in Southeastern California. I’m sorry to say that, like a latter-day Andrew Jackson I ignored this sign, and nipped into the casino for a piss

6. Calexico, CA. On a 7 hour drive from Los Angeles to Tucson. The route along the Mexican border was chosen entirely so I could take this photo.

7. Waffle House in Yuma on the California/Arizona border.

8. Outside of Tucson, AZ. Lots of enticement like this on Interstate 8.

9. Sign at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Near Tucson.

10. Navajo Nation store, Arizona.

11. Dairy Queen somewhere between Arizona and New Mexico.

12. On Route 66, somewhere in New Mexico.

13. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Home of the Manhattan Project.

14. Amarillo, Texas. God Bless Texas.

15. The Big Texan, Amarillo. As seen in Man vs Food.

16. This cross, in Groom, TX is 190 feet tall and can be seen 20 miles away. It was the biggest cross in the Western Hemisphere, but that record is now held by a similar one in Effingham, IL which is 8 feet taller. I managed a glimpse of that one too.

17. At the Texas-Oklahoma border post.

18. Somewhere on the I40 in Oklahoma.

19. Elk City, Oklahoma. I inevitably took photos of every branch of Denny’s I saw. This was the only one I ate in. Unfortunately I was too full to try the “Fried Pies” at the place next door.

20. On I44 near Cuba, MO. I never got to see the World’s largest rocking chair, which remains an abiding regret.

21. On I44 somewhere in Missouri.

22. At the Creation Museum, Petersburg, KY. Honestly, don’t bother.

23. In the Creation Museum car park.

24. Typical Chicago scene.

25. Chicago, reflection of Hancock Tower, with Topshop.

26. Sign of the Allerton Hotel, Chicago.

27. His name is not The Man Upstairs, somewhere on the road in Indiana.

28. Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.

29. Approaching New York, the Holland Tunnel.

30. New York. The Empire State from Broadway.

31. Unfinished sidewalk art in Greenwich Village.

32. Café on Lexington Avenue, New York, Near Hunter College. I only noticed the name once I’d sat down and looked at the menu and was a little thrown that everything was called Neil’s Burgers, Neil’s milkshakes….

33. Name It…We Got It! at the far end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

34. Somewhere in hip Brooklyn.

35. Provincetown, Cape Cod. My last afternoon.

Neil Denny is the Interviews Editor of Little Atoms magazine, and for over ten years the producer and presenter of the Little Atoms Radio Show and podcast, in which capacity he has interviewed hundreds of people from astronauts to zoologists, hosted numerous live events at science and literary festivals, co-created an art installation about space travel, attempted stand-up comedy, and in 2012 drove 6000 miles across America interviewing scientists as part of a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travelling fellowship.

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