Passing Gas and Other Towns Along the American Highway

••••• GARY • GLADSTONE'S • BLOG •••••

Gary Gladstone

Gary Gladstone
July 08
I was a photojournalist and commercial photographer. (Remember LIFE, LOOK and the Saturday Evening POST?) In the ‘60’s, I was a comedy writer and jazz record producer. (I was good enough to go broke more slowly than the others.) Since the ‘70’s, I have authored eleven books mostly related to or containing photography. My two most recent are general interest works of humor and Americana. Nine years ago, "Passing Gas And Other Towns Along The American Highway" (Ten Speed Press) was published, followed by the sequel, "Reaching Climax And Other Towns Along The American Highway." Collectively, they contain 110 portraits of people who live in absurdly named real towns like Stinking Point, Virginia Dickshooter, Idaho, Tight Squeeze, Virginia, Gas, Kansas and Climax, Minnesota. I wrote daily journals of my experiences visiting these towns, which became the text portion of these picture books. Surprised by reviewer’s unexpected comments on the writing, I gave up the road after 75,000 miles of self-financed travel for a keyboard and began telling true stories. Dipping into my past is a lot like popping into strange towns and discovering funny stories. It’s too much fun to stop. 99% of the stories here are memoir The other 1% is bad grammar or the cat waking on the keyboard. Don’t look for deep meaning in the lead illustrations. The accompanying images are just gratuitous eye candy. All work (photos and text) is © Gary Gladstone and registered in the year it was created.


JULY 1, 2010 9:13PM

Passing Gas and Other Towns Along the American Highway

Rate: 5 Flag

I drove 80,000 miles all over America just to visit 125 tiny towns with funny names. I made a portrait in a different town every day.

The images and stories became two coffee table books. Here are some of my Americans from the first book: Passing Gas And Other Towns Along The American Highway.


Surveyor, J.C. Pickett says, of the cigarette clamped between his lips, "Doc tells me to quit, but I ain't never gonna. I had two strokes and an aneurysm and I'm still kickin'."



 Bitter End

Deep in the Tennessee hills we meet Terry and Jack Harrison, two young gents sporting long mountain-men beards, who pop out of the darkness of a small barn. They say they are potato farmers.


  Dull, OH

Billie Clark, retired corrections officer, and his wife, Shirley. Dull, Ohio, is a tiny community outside the hamlet of Ohio City.


Gas, KS

Bonnie owns Bonnie’s Corner Cafe. Giving directions to the restaurant she says “Come on down Highway 54, and if you blink, you’re gonna pass Gas!"


Fearnot, PA

 Chris and Gregg Morgan say they don’t know how Fearnot got its name.



Good Grief, ID

Sergeant George Voyles uses the radar gun to monitor the speed of Canadians driving down to the casino. He adds, "We only check them on their way to the casino. Most don’t have any money on the return trip."


Suck Egg Hollow, TN

 Tracy, Garry and Jason DeVries, chicken and egg farmers. Garry says the town was named because in the past, big black snakes made nightly trips into the local hen houses to  “suck down all the eggs.”


Nuttsville, VA

Tracey Cooper says she's the local splash artist. I ask her what that is and she responds, "I paint houses."


  Nothing, AZNothing sits in the middle of nowhere. Its informal address is the 148-and-a-half mile marker on Route 60.  Richard Kenworthy is the town's owner and one-quarter of its population.


 Lovely,  PA

Great Grandmother Mary Martin shows me photos of her 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


All the images on this page are Copyrighted, ©2003 Gary Gladstone, and are registered.
To see more images from these books, visit my homepage and click on  the two yellow links at the bottom of that page.
The books are available at Amazon.


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I am so glad you trumped in with these! Priceless!!! (R)
wonderful post, gary!
Dirndl skirt meet Susan, my great memoir professor who is making headway getting me to write shorter.
Susan, meet Sharon, a true natural memoirist who makes me jealous because she already knows about "short."
Nice to hear from you both.


No matter how often I view, I smile. What a treasure.
Small change, how nice to heart that. Now I'm smiling.
Doing this project, I found that there's nothing better than working at something that I love and smiling the whole time. (It ought to be against the law.) ;-)
aw, shucks, gary. I just don't know how to delve! But pleased to make Susan's acquaintance :) And not too short, please--I am savoring it all!
If you ever make it there, and you have to know where you are going to find it, check out Cold Beer New Mexico.
such expressions on each face, with your obvious attention to composition and light and story telling within each frame, just great! i am so glad i stopped by.
ocularnervosa, I've been to Hot Coffee, MS but still cand find a Cold Beer on the map.
dianaani, It always makes me feel good when someone sees the things you noticed. You have a photographer’s eye.
Oh my, this was so funny Gary. That 'Bitter End' town really scared me a bit. I like how you noted, "they say they are potato farmers..."

I'll have to check out your website now.