Category: Sights from the Road

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

The Old Burke’s Garden Virginia Post Office

Following the very wiggly VA 623, will drop you into the upland valley of Burke’s Garden, Virginia. When there, something about it feels like you’re in a place cut off from the rest of the world.

The local whitepages:

My travels brought me to Burke’s Garden because of a photo I’d seen online of an old post office with a Pepsi ghost ad on the side. I was surprised to see what nice shape the mural is in. By the looks of things, that Pepsi ad is pretty well cared for.

I gingerly stepped up onto the front stoop to take a look inside. My chances of either falling through the step or being stung by bees seemed to be about 50-50. It made me chuckle to myself to think that if I was really lucky, maybe I’d be able to pull off both.

The sign above the door reads: “Burkes Garden, Va – God’s Land”

 

Snapshots: The Odd, West Virginia Post Office

Snapshots: The Odd, West Virginia Post Office

Maybe I should just go ahead and have all my mail forwarded here 😉

I think that the first time I ever saw the name Odd, West Virginia was in a photo from David over at Less Beaten Paths blog. He always features great Americana from his travels on his site. And he’s working on a book, Less Beaten Paths of America: Unique Town Names. I’d say that Odd fits that bill.

The Snoopy Barn of Nazareth, Pennsylvania

The Snoopy Barn of Nazareth, Pennsylvania

Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace

After seeing a photo of it somewhere in passing, a quick turn around the ole Google-machine said that the Snoopy barn was just a hop, skip and a jump across the Pennsylvania border. Seeing it in person was impossible to resist. Isn’t it wonderful?

The Fairman Farm – Snoopy Barn – Nazareth, Pa.

Google Maps

Paulverizer – The Cyborg Muffler Man of Buena Vista, Virginia

Paulverizer – The Cyborg Muffler Man of Buena Vista, Virginia

This ain’t your mama’s muffler man. No, this? This is somethin’ else! You’ve got that familiar sturdy jaw and that manly mug but that’s about it.

And a nice little hat tip to the motorcycle.

Unfortunately, with the sky so hazy and the crazy backlighting, I didn’t snap very many good pictures. I should probably learn how to use a camera. Since I bungled this, you should probably take a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway and pop off in the town of Buena Vista, Virginia to have a look for yourself.

Paulverizer on Roadside America

Just Passing Through – Small Town, West Virginia

Just Passing Through – Small Town, West Virginia

Rhodell, West Virginia – a place I’d never heard of prior to standing in front of the alternating colors of the post office’s awning. Why would I have? It isn’t a pass-through on a way to a bigger town. It isn’t famous for anything. No, it’s just a little tucked away place where normal people live their lives.

Normal people, doing normal things.

While I was taking a photo, a young woman came out of the house to receive a little boy getting off of the school bus. When the bus pulled up, a young man also came out of the house to see that same little boy off the bus.

Instantaneously, I’d made a judgment as to why two young adults were home in the middle of the afternoon based on the realities of my own existence.

But – maybe one was a stay at home parent and maybe the other had time off work. Or maybe one was on vacation, on sick leave, worked nights, cared for a sick relative, or it was their regular day off. Maybe one of them hadn’t started their shift yet. After all, I myself was there in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon. The reasons two parents were home in the middle of the day, during what you’d call 9-5 work hours were myriad.

And yet… based on what I’d passed on my way through that burned out and vacant town, I assumed something else. At least one of them might be out of work.

Out of work. That was a real possibility. Where would they work, anyway? Where are the jobs in that little pocket of the world? Of course, I have no idea what the truth of their lives is. I was just some opinionated asshole passing through town, making assumptions.

Later that evening I wrote some notes in my travel journal about what I’d seen throughout the day. “Poverty isn’t a tourist attraction, and yet I feel as if I cannot tear my eyes away.” I feel this so strongly.

Seeing poverty firsthand leaves me with a sense of helplessness. There is a chaos that stirs inside of me and it’s like I just want to “fix” everything, help everyone, give them a place to work… and I can’t.

I look at my life and my surroundings and become desensitized to them. This place where I live becomes reality. Everyone, everywhere lives in this comfort, right? Wrong. And in the wide arc of my own life from childhood to now, I should know this. But, how quickly we forget when lulled by our own good fortune.

Rhodell, West Virginia
2000 census
The median income for a household in the town was $17,143, and the median income for a family was $19,167. Males had a median income of $17,750 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $7,582.
– Source: Wikipedia

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