Category Archives: Hobo With a Job

Travel stories and sites from Tyre Thompson. Tyre was raised in Asheboro, and he graduated from AHS in 1977 and UNC in 1981. He currently drives long-haul routes for May Trucking Co. and describes himself as a professional vagabond or a “hobo with a job.”

Here’s what fascinates us about Hollywood stars

Contributor photo of Tyre Thompson. Photo: Tyre Thompson
Tyre Thompson

A few years ago, my daughter and I strolled through a Beverly Hills neighborhood while on a trip to the Los Angeles area. The homes were both breathtaking in their grandiosity and disconcerting in their efforts to be breathtaking. Some strained for out-of-the box modernity; others seemed to reach back into every era of architectural history. None of them looked real.

We had no idea if they were the homes of Hollywood stars, though a hustling tour guide could have easily convinced us so, but we enjoyed speculating who might live in them.

Continue reading Here’s what fascinates us about Hollywood stars

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The Great American Roadside Attractions

Contributor photo of Tyre Thompson. Photo: Tyre Thompson
Tyre Thompson

My first reaction to discovering that the World’s Largest Buffalo in Jamestown, ND, was a statue was NOT cynicism. Likewise, when I stopped at Prairie Dog Town in Oakley, KS, to discover that the only remnants were the endless hand-painted signs beckoning me there from Interstate 70 to see the World’s Largest Prairie Dog.

No, my initial reaction was disappointment, and for that I am proud. It means that I still am capable of surprise. And that is what a real Roadside Attraction should be about.

Continue reading The Great American Roadside Attractions

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SEQUOYAH: His feat is legendary, even if he’s not … yet

Contributor photo of Tyre Thompson. Photo: Tyre Thompson
Tyre Thompson

Like many North Carolinians, as a youth I journeyed with my family to Western North Carolina where I rode Tweetsie Railroad and survived the “Indian attack.” We then rolled down the road to Cherokee, the reservation of “our Indians,” where we watched native dances and came home with a souvenir tomahawk or dream catcher but little understanding of the true Cherokee story.

It was not until I parked my truck in Sallisaw, OK, and with a free afternoon to burn, biked to the Sequoyah Cabin Historical Site, that I learned a truly remarkable chapter in that story.

Continue reading SEQUOYAH: His feat is legendary, even if he’s not … yet

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North Platte Canteen: Soldiers left with a meal and a kiss

Contributor photo of Tyre Thompson. Photo: Tyre Thompson
Tyre Thompson

I come from a line of railroad men. Admittedly, it is not a long line — a great-uncle or two on my father’s side — but that is my genetic cred when someone asks me, “How did YOU get into trucking?”

Like they do for many, railroads appeal to my inner nomad, with their endless, mysterious tracks and beastly engines.

Their history is America’s history. They are our first economic skeleton and the physical narrative or many of our treasured myths (John Henry, the Hobo, The Little Engine That Could).

This brings us to North Platte, Nebraska, one of America’s pre-eminent railroad towns and site of my favorite World War II story.

Continue reading North Platte Canteen: Soldiers left with a meal and a kiss

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Murals of Tucumcari: A Route 66 must-see

THE DISAPPEARING BUILDING

The mural on this building is so life-like and blends in so well with the terrain on which it sits that it is difficult to tell where the ground ends and the building begins. Photo: Tyre Thompson

Contributor photo of Tyre Thompson. Photo: Tyre Thompson
Tyre Thompson

When artists Sharon and Doug Quarles moved to Tucumcari, NM, they decided to go out and paint the town red — and many other colors. Literally.

The muralists, whose work appears in towns all over the country, have decorated numerous buildings around this quirky Historic Route 66 town, turning it into an architectural graphic novel on the history of American West and the Mother Road. Continue reading Murals of Tucumcari: A Route 66 must-see

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A bank, Bonnie & Clyde and 2015

Photo of a plaque reading "FIRST NATIONAL BANK, 1882-1944. Site of the Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow Bank Robbery, Apr. 16, 1934." Photo: www.roadsideamerica.com
FAMOUS SITE
This plaque hangs above the door where Clyde Barrows came busting out some 70-plus years ago to Bonnie Parker’s waiting getaway car. Photo: www.roadsideamerica.com

Photo above: http://texashideoout.tripod.com/banks.html.

Donna Franquemont taught me chemistry at Asheboro High School in 1976, and this sentence summarizes what I remember about high school chemistry. However, Ms. Franquemont also took us on a field trip to a local historic gold mine, one of the sites of America’s first gold rush. Who knew? We also spent a few lazy Friday class periods discussing the textile migration from New England to the South, a defining event Asheboro’s history. Her point was that our understanding of our place was integral to understanding of ourselves. That lesson has defined how I have connected with every place I have lived or visited in the 40 years since. Forget carbon molecules; that right there is some teachin’.

Which brings me to Stuart, Iowa, a community, according to their motto, of “1700 Good Eggs With a Few Stinkers.”  Continue reading A bank, Bonnie & Clyde and 2015

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