Written by Gary Wonning
I was about to see another side of UPS. My aunt and uncle lived in Phoenix Arizona so I decided to go visit them in February of nineteen eighty-eight. My uncle had been confined to assisted living, so it was just my aunt and myself gallivanting around the desert.
One afternoon, a few miles northwest of Phoenix, we entered the little town of Wickenburg, at the edge of town was a small gas station. I happened to look over in the parking lot and there were four P-400 UPS package cars parked at a small roller conveyor with a roof built over it.
I had to check this out; I turned around and inquired at the station. The attendant told me that yes it was a UPS center, there were only four drivers, each would deliver a quarter of the seven hundred population town and head out into the desert, going a different direction, serving mainly Indian reservations. There was a goose neck trailer in the back with a window air conditioner sticking out the side. This was the office, a manager would drive up from Phoenix in the morning, get things started and then drive back to Phoenix for the rest of the day.
After moving to Sedona a few years later, I was to discover this was common in the desert, with a climate that featured no extreme cold, very little rain, and a sparse population, only the essentials were needed.
In Camp Verde located in the Verde River Valley, they used what looked like a manufactured home with docks in the side as a center. The package cars were parked outside in the weather, of course the loading was done in the early morning hours before the heat of the day had set in.
Arizona also had state wide seniority whereby a driver could bid on an area statewide, I think the areas came up for bid every two years and if he/she had enough seniority could bid on any area in the state. A lot of times drivers in Phoenix would do this to escape the heat of the low desert and to get away from the stressful city life.
Because of the distance Arizona was from Louisville and the three time zones involved, next day air parcels had to leave Sedona by two-thirty pm in order to arrive in Phoenix in time to make the plane to the main air hub in Louisville.
Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.
Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.
Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.
Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.
What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.
To contact Gary: