after the first of April, we had finished cleaning out our Rodder’s Journal headquarters in South San Francisco. More than 25
years’ worth of memories were sorted, stacked and stuffed into a trio of 53-foot
tractor-trailers and sent east. In a way, it was bittersweet; that old sand-colored
industrial building on 263 Wattis Way was the most permanent home TRJ has ever had. It was our studio, our
office, our warehouse and our meeting place. After creating 58 issues in the
Bay Area, we decided it was time to start a new chapter back on the East Coast.
so, with the semis in route, Geoff (our resident Australian) and I loaded up
the company van and prepared to hit the road. According to our map, 2,910 miles
and 43 hours of driving separated us from our new office in Ashland—a small
town just outside of Richmond, Virginia.
Starting in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, we barreled down to Barstow before heading east. We spent the better part of the next four days on Highway 40, occasionally taking stretches of Route 66 when possible.
There’s no better way to explore a country than on the road, and during our whirlwind trip Geoff and I saw plenty of it. Through our bug-splattered windshield, we watched the rolling green hills of the East Bay transition to lush orchards and eventually arid desert as we went south. The desert turned to plains and then back to verdant hills as we approached the Old Dominion. We saw the highs and the lows, the old signs and the older towns, the thriving cities and the places that time had forgotten.
Amboy, California, we swung by Roy’s Café to take in the Atomic Age signage,
and we couldn’t resist a taco stop in Kingman, Arizona. Even though we nearly
got blown away in Tucumcari, New Mexico, and Cadillac Ranch, we kept on trucking
to Little Rock, Arkansas, where we visited the oldest drugstore west of the
Mississippi. From Graceland and Sun Records to Memphis’ latest automotive museum,
we soaked up a whole lot of Americana in a few short days.
Now that we’re in Virginia setting up our new office, we figured there’s no time like the present to share a few snapshots from our big trip east. —Joey Ukrop