Slice of Americana: an 11 hour roadtrip

The road trips when I take Derek back to school are both happy and sad. I am happy that I get a good bit of one-on-one time with him. Jokes, music, movies, books and just plain silliness are all topics that we cover. The half of the trip with him in the car is a blast.

The sad part is after I leave him at his apartment, obviously.

Yesterday had a different twist to my lonely return trip home. I saw something on the way to Pittsburgh, and it stuck with me. In one of the little Ohio towns we passed through there was a real estate sign that had a “foreclosure” attachment on it. Right beside it was a political sign for the republican presidential ticket. Derek and I chuckled about it. That is kind of like thanking a mugger for taking your wallet!

I guess because of this I was paying closer attention to the temporary roadside signage during my trip home. It was depressing to say the least.

In one town, over 25% of the homes on its main street had For Sale, Auction or Foreclosure signs. Another handful had no signs but appeared to be abandoned. Businesses in the tiny town center were closed and boarded up. If a dust devil had formed in the street I think I would have stopped the car and started looking for Joad family to give them a few dollars. In my opinion, the NeoCon Depression is here.

Further down the road, at the town limits of another community, was a hand made sign that said “Welcome to Baghdad”. I paid closer attention as I drove through at the required 25 mph. On the way to Pittsburgh I had noticed that there was utility construction of some kind going on. What I failed to notice was that the construction was halted, uncompleted. Piping of some nature, gray-water?, sewer?, was lying at the roadside. There were a few places where segments of pipe had been attached together above ground. At one small business the pipe blocked access, but someone had dumped some gravel on it to allow cars to drive over it. The place was a mess. There was no sign of any construction company presence.  For Sale signs were prominent here as well.  My guess is that the contractor went belly up or more likely, based on the citizen’s sign, did an “Iraq contract”, you know were the US contractor games the contract so they can legally walk away with the town’s money without finishing the work.

All along the way the signs of things for sale; houses, cars, tractors and farm equipment; were fairly equal to the political signs.  I wrote a humorous post about For Sale signs during the primary election cycle.  It isn’t funny to me anymore.

I have always loved driving two lane highways and rural routes when on a road trip.  But, man is it getting depressing to do so these days.


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