Take I5 to Williams and get on the 30

We flew to Sacramento to pick up my Mercedes-Benz. There’s a story there, but it’s easy to remember so I don’t need to write it down.

On our way home to Seattle, we stop in a town called Williams to have breakfast and get the first tank of diesel. I decide to stop here because I see roadside signs advertising a charming-sounding place called Granzella’s, a place that offers an appealing deli, a dive bar, and a little restaurant that reminds me of something I’d see on Route 66. The restaurant is chock full of elderly people. In fact, the whole place is. After I eat a pretty damn good plate of eggs and bacon, my traveling companion takes a conference call while I take a walk.

As I walk away from the tiny tourist area occupied by Granzella’s and head into what’s left of the town, I feel like I’m crossing some kind of invisible barrier. The signs transition from English to Spanish and I feel all eyes on me.

Along the way into downtown, I see a realty shop with a sign that says "no rentals available" placed three feet from a sign advertising that the space the realty office is in is for rent. I see a tiny warehouse with white brick walls and grimy windows and a sign that says "Williams Motors", and I wonder when was the last time they sold cars.

As I’m taking pictures of interesting buildings dating back to the early 1900s, I’m accosted by a shopkeep.

"What are you taking pictures of?" he asks.

"Those palm trees," I say. "We don’t have them back in Washington."

"Why are you taking pictures?"

"I’m a tourist."

He nods and walks back into the convenience store. I look down the street with the palm trees and feel like it truly is a road going nowhere.