The decayed and the forgotten have long been my favorite subjects to shoot on the road. You can find them in all places and in all things, standing with integrity and tales from a time long ago. Every year, I take a drive up Highway 1 from LA to Portland with a keen eye and a car full of cameras. On this trip, I approached a beach on the northern coast of Oregon and to my wonder, from the retreating tides emerged the skeleton of a ship, rusted to a burnt orange steel and anchored for eternity into the heavy sand. Despite the 40mph winds and the intermittent drives of rain, I couldn’t help but spend as much time as I could out on the shore with the wreckage.
The Peter Iredale ran ashore in treacherous weather 106 years ago this week, abandoned by captain and crew after a long voyage from Mexico, bound for the United Kingdom with a cargo of wheat. It’s said that Captain Lawrence, once ashore, stood stiffly at attention, saluted his ship, and said "May God bless you and may your bones bleach in these sands." He then turned and addressed his men with a bottle of whiskey in his hand. "Boys," he said, "have a drink."