It's in the heartland of the American West where you find places that don't look much different than they did 30, 40, 50, even 60 years ago. When you're passing through small-town America, you feel like a character out of a novel written by Cormac McCarthy or John Steinbeck, or the protagonist of one of Annie Proulx' short stories.
Driving along historic Route 66 through California's Mojave Desert, the hot and barren Arizona, or the badlands and canyonlands of southern Utah, you might not come across another traveller for several hours, but there's still lots of things to see.
Driving through the American West at nighttime though means driving through hours of darkness. There are no lights except for your own dimmed headlights or the ones of some faraway truck. Distances seem to become greater and time seems to pass by slower, but all of a sudden you drive down a slope and the shining town lies below you, with all the yellow-ish street lights, stretching out vast across the valley like a lot of those western towns do.
It's a great view, and the first thing you do is refuel your car at the next gas station and get an ice-cold bottle of Coke, and maybe three pancakes with maple syrup if there's some diner that's still open.
What I love most about this small-town America are the signs. Here are five of them, remainders of the glory days of Route 66...
All pictures taken in California & Arizona in June 2009.
Have a nice weekend everyone!