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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Searching for Harrison Mayes on the Rattler

Now for the past several years I have made it somewhat of a personal mission to track down every existing Harrison Mayes Cross that is still standing.  If you are not familiar with Harrison Mayes and his crosses, please go over and read my article on Mayes HERE.

In short, Mayes traveled all across America planting concrete signs with religious messages.  So far I have photographed 10 of these signs that are still standing in the wild (Some I came across myself, others I was tipped off on).

Now, recently I given a tip about something I have never even known existed:  a Harrison Mayes BARN.  Mike Curtis tipped me off that this barn was located on the Dixie Highway in Del Rio, TN.  I was so psyched I had to head out there to see it myself.  And so I did......

I headed out on NC-209, which apparently has recently been dubbed "The Rattler".

Huh?  Okay, I'll go with it.  I have nothing against giving cool names to roads.  It appears this is inspired greatly by the notorious "Tail of the Dragon", a famously curvy road that is beloved by motorcyclists.  The swag for the "Tail of the Dragon" is incredibly popular and this is likely an attempt to capitalize on this.

Never the less, I set out on this newly christened curvy road.  How curvy?  Check it out.

I was driving my Toyota Corrolla, instead of a motorcycle, so the curves may not have had their full effect.  I did however enjoy the view.  This road is full of amazing old barns.......

 As well as some awesome old houses.....

And old broken down vehicles.....

 Check out this deer head mounted on a porch....

Or all these old rotten pelts nailed to a barn.....

 Look at this Donkey hanging out at a church....

Check out this out built on top of a big old rock....

Or this old school elementary school sign.....

I passed through the town of Luck, NC......which as far as I can tell consists entirely of one abandoned building.....

I passed the state line into Tennessee, where this delightful bar in a single wide trailer sits..........

Finally making my way into Tennessee I finally located the Harrison Mayes Barn, and it was amazing.....

I lettering and verbiage unmistakably belong to Hayes.   And what made this even sweeter is that I stumbled upon ANOTHER Mayes Barn a few miles down the road.

To make things even sweeter, 3 days later I photographed another Harrison Mayes cross in Ruth, NC.  This was different then the traditional concrete crosses as was made out of corrugated steal.

I know there are more of these signs (and maybe even barns) out there, I just need to find them.

The Carpetbagger

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  1. What a cool trip Jacob! I don't know if I am more impressed with the Mayes barns, or the house built on a rock!

    1. That's what I love about road trips. You head out to find something cool and find other cool stuff on the way.

  2. Great photos! Thanks for sharing, I'll keep an eye out of these! This guy took his mission seriously. Reminds me of the less-sacred signs by Stanley Marsh. -c

    1. I am planning on making a pilgrimage to the Cadillac Ranch very soon

  3. Love the photos, and I'm definitely going to have to check out The Rattler! We've got a Mini Cooper convertible, and I've been wanting to do both the Tail of the Dragon and The Rattler.

    There is a similar set of crosses in the Hendersonville-Tuxedo-Saluda area of North Carolina. I have spent some time tracking these down, and finally found that they were installed by a Rev. Hank Vegter. I think he's a Harrison Mayes wannabe. Here's what I found out about Vegter and his crosses -

    1. I am still trying to find an opportunity to ride the Tail of the Dragon. Apparently on TN end there is a tree where they hang all the broken motorcycle parts from accidents. Really ghoulish! I have seen the Vegter crosses, but I did not know about Hank Vegter. He needs to start making his crosses out of concrete and rebar if he wants to be in the same league and Mayes :)

  4. Hi Jacob, I really enjoy your blog and photography. I apologize for taking so long to respond. Your message to me was filtered out and I didn't see it, literally, until this morning.

    1. Sorry, my name isn't showing up for some reason. Mike Curtis