On the Back Roads: Discovering Small Towns of America

On the Back Roads: Discovering Small Towns of America

Bill Graves

Language: English

Pages: 287

ISBN: 1886039364

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Do you like small towns, places off the beaten path, trips down memory lane? Ever wonder if old-fashioned values are still alive in America? Then kick back, unwind, and hop onboard with travel writer Bill Graves as he takes you On the Back Roads. Graves has a knack for finding the quirky, the offbeat in some of the most obscure, yet fascinating, small towns on the map. Among the places and faces he discovers: a town where it's against the law not to own a gun, a town famous for its split pea soup, the wise 83-year-old Emmy who camps alone in the dessert, and a man who hunts live ants for a living. The list goes on! Retired and free to roam in his motorhome, the “RV Author,” Bill Graves, logs 40,000 miles through the western states of California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming.

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bloomed a desert lily. “I haven’t seen a lily here for at least eight years. Its roots go deep, still it rarely gets enough water to give us a flower,” Emmy said, laying aside her reading. The view out front was a calendar picture. April. Springtime in the desert. Three folding chairs plus a pair of collapsible tables, now covered with her books and my camera case, furnished Emmy’s open-air parlor. Moving a chair on her way to get us some tea, Emmy commented that most of her visitors come in

and movement along the 800-mile fault, which extends as deep as ten miles, causes hundreds of earthquakes every year, sometimes as many as two or three a day. The San Andreas Fault is as much a part of the natural environment here as the weather. In fact, the almanac in the weekly newspaper reports local earthquake activity together with inches of rainfall, temperature highs and lows, and lunar phases. “Most of them are small, magnitudes around 2, maybe a 4 occasionally. Last week there were

one big one and laced the town with new plumbing for drinking water. “Coalinga water was so high in salts, we were told not to drink it,” Audry Acebebo told me. “Some claimed it worked on you like a laxative. Molly Hughes drank a glass every day before breakfast. Said it helped her. Guess it didn’t hurt. She lived into her high eighties. We couldn’t wash our hair in it because the soap got gummy. It took a rinse of vinegar or lemon juice to get it out.” Audry, curator of the R.C. Baker Memorial

Harrisburg, Utah A nearby newcomer, Interstate 15, runs through Utah from top to bottom. Its predecessor, Highway 91, passes through Leeds and goes on south three miles through the crumbling stone remains of Harrisburg. An RV resort has taken hold there. Respectful of their pioneer predecessors, developers have preserved the stone buildings of Harrisburg. Its old cemetery is restored, fenced in, and built around. Harrisburg was never large nor prosperous. It peaked in 1868 with twenty-five

blow in through the open door. Glass-eyed deer heads stared from the wall. “If it’s not a café, why don’t you take down the café sign?” I asked Troy Truce Truman, who was in the back shop tacking a piece of green felt around the skull plate of a set of mounted antlers. “People know my shop is in the café, so the sign makes it easy for them to find me,” Troy replied, without looking up. Deer-head mannequins and country-western music surrounded Troy. His radio cracked when the fluorescent light

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