roads less traveled

There’s something about those lonely, empty places you breeze by on back highways; long forgotten towns, washed up and fading into the past. They have an air of mystery; a story to tell. I’ve always been drawn to these places- what for exactly, who knows.

Things get quieter as you exit the interstate onto state highway 131; slower speed limits, less cars, and fewer structures obscuring the landscape. Ranches and farms pass by on either side of the road until reaching an inconspicuous sign 40 miles later informing travelers of Yampa’s historic down town, with an arrow directing interested parties to exit left off the highway. Just past the convenience store, pavement ends and shanty wooden structures begin. A small liquor shack decorated with neon signs and assorted license plates, a few cabins with tall weeds and rusty old trucks parked perpetually out front, glowing lampposts illuminating a couple cars parked outside the 24/7 Penny's diner. All of this and more in about two blocks; a tattered general store with a sign welcoming hunters and advertising cheap beer marks the end of town.

Wandering around the abandoned buildings and empty streets, a sense of mystery and loneliness creeps up. What did this town used to be in its prime, if it ever had one?   Where have all the people gone who built these now dilapidated shacks, and left this Winnebago here to rust?

It’s as if the human presence is on its way out; the land is creeping inward to reclaim structures and automobiles and landscaping that the humans have forgotten about. Maybe that’s the unusual beauty of places like this- the lack of people and commotion and trappings of modern life.


 It makes me wonder about the man behind the counter, the wood smoke rising from a warm house tucked away in the trees, and the people in the eating in the diner. 

See more lonely places here: