On the Back Roads: Discovering Small Towns of America
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at my watch. It was 3:20. Fred was waiting for me. We rode the elevator to the third floor of the courthouse. “When there is a jury trial going on, I don’t even come up here to wind the clock. Too many people. It will run six days. I wind it on Mondays and Fridays,” Fred told me. I followed him up some steep wooden stairs to the attic, which had a floor of rock-wool insulation. Filling one of the eight windows was a rain-stained piece of plywood. “Window got blown out by the wind,” Fred said.
“For a good reason. At the loading dock, back in the woods, there is not a lot of room for a big rig to turn around. So they get the truck pointed out, put the back dolly on the ground, reassemble the reach, and load it up.” I left Bill to finish his logbook entries and started on the downside of the Cascades. Soon his red Peterbilt filled my side mirror. We chatted on channel 17 and coordinated a place for him to pass. A big truck is amazingly quiet when it overtakes you. The roll of eighteen
Streets. Vegetable shoppers clustered around the stands, shaded by umbrellas. Behind them, like a colorful stage prop, was a huge mural with sweeping waves of blues, reds, greens, and browns. It adorned the side of a building and took up half a block. Even an open door in the mural did not create a significant void in the picture. It was that big. The Lompoc Murals Project began in 1988 and probably will go on forever. It now numbers twenty works of art on buildings around town, depicting events
bright-eyed. The season, however, was just beginning. They close at 10:00 p.m. and keep those long hours throughout the month-long hunt. At the Outlook, Ray and Darlene LeBlanc’s ten motel units and three cabins are booked a year in advance. While sheets tumbled in the dryer, Darlene rested for a few minutes. “It’s an exciting time with all the goings on. Many of the fellows don’t even stay here. They just stop for showers. We keep a room open for them. They wash up, make phone calls, and
They looked at the wooden stairs for the longest time. Then the man zoomed the camera into the corner of several steps. This was too much for my curiosity. Luckily, they spoke English and showed me what they had discovered. Where each step meets the wall, a three-sided corner, a piece of wood, had been inserted. It’s best described as a dished-out, inverted pyramid, which made the corner a curve. “Dust bunnies hide in corners,” the lady said. “They cannot hide where there are no corners.” The