(Roughly) Daily

“Rest and be thankful”*…


Flower Mound, Texas

A new photography book, The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside ($45, powerHouse Books), captures the functionality and design of aging U.S. highway rest areas, with a heavy dose of nostalgia.

Over nearly 15 road-trips since 2009—several taken with her mother in tow—the California-based photographer Ryann Ford traveled the American West, Midwest, and parts of the South in search of the unique character that defines these highway fixtures. At one since-disappeared location in Flower Mound, Texas, a picnic table is covered by a roof in the shape of longhorns…

Bonneville, Utah

The rest stops in Ford’s book all seem to speak to the character of their respective locations in some way, and certainly to the moment in the late 1950s and ‘60s when most were constructed. America was in love with the automobile, and the new Interstate Highway System opened up easier, speedier access to the continental U.S. than before. But interstates also eliminated interaction with the towns and landscapes they passed through. Using vernacular architecture, rest stops became a way for states and localities to connect travelers to the surrounding environment, as the introduction to Ford’s book explains. They communicated a sense of place in a rapidly homogenizing countryside

More at “The Fading Glory of America’s Highway Rest Stops.”

* William Wordsworth


As we pull over, we might send thoughtful birthday greetings to Walker Percy; he was born on this date in 1916.  Trained as a physician, Percy turned to literature, writing a series of novels largely set in and around his native Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award.  Heavily influenced by his reading of  Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky, and by the Catholic faith to which he converted, his work was an exploration of “the dislocation of man in the modern age.”  He also published a number of non-fiction works exploring his interests in semiotics and Existentialism, the most popular work being Lost in the Cosmos.

Percy taught at Loyola University of New Orleans and mentored younger writers; he was instrumental in getting John Kennedy Toole’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces published in 1980.  He was a life-long friend of his childhood neighbor Shelby Foote, historian and novelist of The Civil War: A Narrative (the basis of Ken Burn’s series The Civil War.)



Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 28, 2016 at 1:01 am

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