Road-tripping along historic Route 66 is a wanderer’s dream. With its open stretches of blacktop and vast vistas, the route from California to Texas epitomises the overwhelming spirit of the American Southwest. At So It Goes we have an endless appetite for Americana, and this collection of rest stops is an undocumented curio to feed it.
While embarking on this epic journey, photographer Ryann Ford was struck by the multitude of humble, solitary mid-century rest stops built during the nation’s golden age of car travel. What may have been a nondescript blur outside the car window to most, intrigued Ford. What was the story behind these quirky and playful pieces of Americana, such as the mock adobe dwellings in New Mexico and faux oil rigs in Texas, which she passed by?
Collected together for The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, Ford’s photographs take us on a memorable ride across the United States, visiting more than 75 different locales; Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Illinois, Kansas, Montana, Mississippi, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. With The Last Stop, Ford preserves a moment in the American travel experience when the journey was just as important as the destination itself.
Photographs by Ryann Ford, from The Last Stop: Vanishing Rest Stops of the American Roadside, published by powerHouse Books.