Most of northern Alabama doesn't look as picturesque in its delapidation as this - if there's one thing that driving away from interstates brings home, it's the extent of rural poverty in the US. Not, of course, that one doesn't know this, in abstract terms - but it never seems to be talked of with the same political urgency as urban problems. And I've mostly been driving on fairly major routes, not down the small side roads (and today, sharing what looked like a straight-shot route with a lot of trucks - especially Wallmart trucks - who doubtless find it useful to avoid paying tolls that way).
The other thing that's notable in this picture is the American flag - the Stars and Stripes, that is, not the Confederate flag, which is in full force in Alabama - flying in front of houses, fluttering - sometimes in pairs - from pick-up trucks. There's an aggressive assertiveness to these flags right now. It was a great relief to get to Dahlegona this evening - even as the mists came down, and the air outside was so damp that I had to drive with my windows down, and the windshield wipers full blast, as everything was steaming up.