Found a series of these Ed Freeman photographs of abandoned highway buildings in California. Not quite real, the original background has been removed and replaced with a series of moody skies and deserts. Clearly Eddie's Cafe is in a city, at 1208 Something Street, not in the middle of nowhere.
In the past, I would spend the third week in August driving from the cool nights of the eastern slopes of the Rockies at 52° N to the obliterating heat of central Texas which never seemed to cool down at night from its late summer daytime 100°F. On the way I would pass dozens of places like Eddie's Cafe, truly in a desert with nothing before it or after it, no photoshop needed.
Perhaps one of the reasons such cafes, gas stations and motels stand boarded up is one of distance and vehicles – my first trip to go teaching in the States was in my elderly 1957 Austin, top speed 50mph. Compared to real cars and trucks whose tanks of gas would take them 500 miles, I didn't want to ever be more than 15 miles away from help. It is something like the old placing of grain elevators every 6 miles along the railway tracks: a function of time and distance for horse drawn wagons delivering grain.
But these long driving trips were beautiful — an America off the freeway, out of the cities, quiet, deserted.