Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rural Life vs City Life

The Koffee Kup building is still standing. 
All that is left of Waller's is the sign.  
Who remembers the old days of two fuel choices? Regular or Diesel  
 The gas was priced in cents only and a $99.00 maximum sale.   

What good country store/truck stop would be complete without a public pay phone? 

  Last but not least, no mater how far away from anything UPS will find you.  

  Last week I went to Eastern Idaho, to help my company’s Pocatello store with inventory. I made a few stops along the way to take photos. This was a small town experience that I never expected.

  I should start by saying that Idaho license plates have a “county code” on them, so there is no hiding the fact that you are from the big city. 

  My first stop was in Hammett, Idaho. Hammett is a sleepy, little, forgotten town since the freeway bypassed it. Curiosity made me want to stop. I went into the general store, bought a soda and talked to the owner. I asked if it would be okay to take photos. He was thrilled with the idea that someone from the city cared enough to stop in the little town. I am sure if I had time he would have given me a 50 year history for the place. I knew I did not need permission, but it felt like the right thing to do.

  My second stop was a wide spot in the road called Raft River. The only thing there is an old service station with a phone booth. I don’t think there are even any homes. The gas station is on a frontage road visible from the freeway. Raft River is about 40 miles away from any town which has services. When I got off of the freeway I did notice a tractor working out in the field, but did not give it a second thought. Just as I was taking my last photo I hear a voice asking, “what are you doing?” I explained that I was simply taking pictures of the old building. My answer brought up more questions about why I wanted to take pictures? After about five minutes I think he was satisfied that I was not going to use these photos for anything bad, or say anything negative about their rural lifestyle. Just about the time that the gentleman was satisfied with my answer, someone else showed up in a pickup. The first man sent them away saying that all was well.

    Once we established trust he told me a little history that he knew about the property, I gave him my blog address, and I left.

   Friday on my way home I went through the mountain pass. I saw a great shot of the open road and mountains in the distance. I have only seen a couple of cars in the past hour. My car was on the side of the road & I was standing outside with my camera. I heard a hay truck coming down the highway, but again did not give it a second thought. The young woman driver stopped her truck and got out to make sure I was not in need of help.

   My last stop was for coffee, no camera involved. I stopped in Arco, Idaho at the one size fits all pharmacy/coffee shop/store, etc. When I walked in all eyes were on me, from the time I came in until I left. I am sure they do not get many strangers in these remote towns.

The difference between rural life and city life is:

 City life welcomes freeways.

There are thousands of towns like Hammett, Idaho that were on the main highway between Portland and Salt Lake City. They relied on travelers to spend the night, buy a burger, etc. The freeway came in a mile to the north and cut them off from all of that commerce. All that money gone.

City life, if you were to take photos of an abandoned building no one would notice.

Rural life, someone will drive a tractor across the field to find out what you are doing, not to be nosy  but to make sure that you are not doing anything bad.
In the city, if two (probably armed) men asked what you were doing you would probably be asking myself what?

Rural life, I was not worried at all.

City life, if someone is stopped along side the highway most people would keep going, especially a woman driving alone.

Rural life, she stopped.

City life, no one cares if you walk into a coffee shop, whether you are from the city or the country.

Rural life, everyone knows if a stranger is in town.

  Shared with Rurality Blog Hop 


  1. Nice sequence of photos and lovely on! My Rurality:

  2. Thank you for visiting my blog. It was a very strange sequence of events.

  3. LOVE those vintage signs and the gas station!
    I've lived in both and rural suits me much better. :)
    I had to smile at the UPS truck. You were certainly at the right place and time to catch that telling shot.

  4. Isn't it something about the differences between city living and country living? Me, I prefer country living. :)
    Great photos!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Oh great I wanted to correct something and just did a stupid thing and deleted it all because I hit publish to quick.
    This area reminds me of Sierra Vista Az a little about 10 years ago. I would love to have the old phone booth, what a piece of history that is. I like rural much better. There can be problems with that also, like fighting neighbors and drag racing at two in the morning on dark country roads.
    Nice shots and takes one back.

  7. Thank you for visiting my blog. I have only lived in the city, and sometimes wondered what rural life would be like. As you mentioned I am sure there are downsides to both. My sister has always lived in areas with acreage, but most of it was urban land where you can have the best of both. They did live in the little town of Colton Oregon for about 10 years, it do think they felt pretty isolated. They both had an hour drive to Portland to go to work everyday and they had 3 young children so they works opposite shifts.

  8. What a delightfully nostalgic set of photos with such poignant dialogue~recently we watched two French documentaries on your routes 66 and 51~much of what you recount here is what they experienced as well...a wonderful post!

  9. What a delightful series! Love the signs especially! I went to elementary school in Blackfoot Idaho. My dad was in sales and often times we would travel all over Idaho,and Wyoming with him. It's fun to see pictures from Idaho.

  10. Thank you for visiting. What a small would, that you would happen to find photos from your old stomping grounds. When my Dad first started working for Datun (Now Nissan) in 1969 he as far as Montana & Wyoming also. We lived in Portland, so he covered several of the western states.


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