Roadside Photography

The Lick Log Mill Store near Highlands, North Carolina

Roadside Photography

Something I find challenging that I absolutely love doing is taking photographs when I'm driving.

Don't get me wrong!

I don't actually take photos as I'm driving, that would be way too unsafe.

What I mean is how much I love getting photographs of things I see along the roadside. 

Subjects such as old abandoned barns or houses, retro signs, and long-forgotten gas stations fascinate me. I like to make up stories in my head about where the owners went, what happened, why is the place now empty?

What I find challenging is how hard it can be in some situations to pull over and get the photo. 

A Quick Trip to the Mountains

I went to Highlands, North Carolina for a quick two-day trip. It's a beautiful area. The movie Deliverance was filmed at nearby Tallulah Falls and Gorge and around the Chattooga River. 

On the drive up, I saw a couple of things I wanted to photograph but I didn't want to stop. I just wanted to get where I was going. 

I drove home yesterday afternoon. 

I was determined to find two of the places on the drive home so I could get photos.

I had my dog, Jack Bauer, with me, and he does not love driving. I think he gets a little car sick on the curvy mountain roads.

I can't blame him. I used to get terribly car sick as a kid. In certain situations, I still do!

I have to be super careful he doesn't try to jump out of the car when I pull over. 

The first thing I wanted a photo of on the return trip was an old store - the "Lick Log Mill Store." It's a cute little store I've noticed as I whiz past on my way up to Highlands.

This trip, I was going to get a photo. I did a little research on the place and read that the building first housed a chapel. 

The people who bought it added on to the back and opened the little store in 1978. They sold lots of things, including work from local artists.

They lived behind the store in a home up on the hill. There used to be a fun old truck out in the front as well but they sold it.

I'm not sure exactly when the store closed, and I saw mention of a Sunset Living Magazine article about the store but I couldn't find it. 

As I headed down the mountain from Highlands toward Atlanta, I was keeping my eyes open. I wasn't sure exactly where the little store was, and I didn't want to miss it. 

Poor Bauer definitely seemed a little car sick. He was licking his lips, panting, and kept moving around. I felt so bad for him. I'll have to look into some doggy Dramamine for our next car trip.

I was sure we were getting close, and I was concerned about the driver on my tail. I didn't want him rear-ending me if he wasn't paying close attention. Thankfully, he turned off before we got to the store, and no one else was behind me. 

I kept my eyes on the right-hand side of the road and suddenly, there it was.

The Lick Log Store from another angle

I almost missed it.

I gave a quick look in my rear-view mirror. No one was behind me so I stopped quick right in the middle of the road. I had to back up a few feet because I'd missed the little parking area in front. 

If there had been someone behind me, I would have had to keep going and find a place to turn, and there aren't many. So luck was with me. 

The edge of the asphalt was broken, and there was a bit of a drop-off. The thought crossed my mind that I might get stuck, but I pulled in anyway.

I moved the car around so it wouldn't be in my shot. I told Bauer to lay down as I grabbed my camera, jumped out, and shut the car door behind me so he couldn't get out. 

I got a few shots and jumped back in the car. 

The lighting situation was less than ideal - full daylight, but sometimes you've got to make do with what you've got, right? I wasn't going to wait a few hours until Golden Hour!

Thankfully, I was able to angle the wheel sideways and get over the drop-off to get back on the road. 

Capturing Retro Signage

A few more miles down the road and I came across the second subject I wanted - the old Sinclair gas station sign. 

An old Sinclair Oil sign along the road

Sinclair Oil Sign

Old retro signs along the highway always catch my eye. 

I didn't miss the turn this time and managed to park and get a few shots.

An old Sinclair Gasoline sign

Sinclair Gasoline Sign

See the broken-down little barn in the background? You have no idea how hard I worked to resist getting back in the car and driving over there for more photos! 

I didn't have time, though, and poor Bauer would not have been pleased if I started up and down more curvy roads, stopping and starting.

No. It was time to get home. 

I'm aching to do a back-road, cross-country trip, and get photos all along the way.

I think someone else would have to drive so I can spot things. I might need some Dramamine for me.'s not really in the cards for me right now, but definitely someday!

I hope you had a great weekend and did something fun. We don't seem to be out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, and I think self-care is super important right now. It's important all the time, but especially right now. 

Make sure you take care of yourself!

And...see you between the raindrops!


Please don't hate me for mentioning Christmas, but shipping times have been delayed due to COVID, so if you're buying stuff online, it's a good idea to do it sooner rather than later. You can find more of my work on my website at