Sometimes there’s nothing better than hitting the open road with a gas station coffee in one hand and an old-fashioned paper map in another. (A hand on the steering wheel every once in a while is cool too.) But in addition to blaring unfamiliar radio stations and trying to get trucks to honk for you, the off-road pit stop can be just as thrilling as the highway cruise. Photographer Lizzy Oppenheimer gets that. Inspired by childhood road-trip memories and those treasured touch-downs in bathroom and picnic-bench havens, Lizzy’s been taking photos of rest stops all over the US.
The point of the project reaches far beyond a bladder save. She’s out to document instances of individuality in a world that’s headed for homogenization. States all over the country have already announced the closing of many rest stops, destined to be replaced by commercialized service stations consisting of identical architecture, identical food options, and identical restrooms. As much as we may all like to pound Cinnabons in the back of a four-wheeler, this is a sad situation, and the unique architecture and authentic Americana that Lizzy captures in her images makes that clear. This project serves not just as sentimental memorialization but as an archive of an endangered cultural species. You can see some examples of her work below and support the project here.