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Publisher Description

Backbone of America is an interactive photographic essay capturing the story of a unique motorcycle journey across historic US Highway 50 from the Harley-Davidson™ Factory in Missouri to California. Writing about HWY 50, Blue Highways, author, William Heat Moon, says “for the unhurried, this little-known highway is the best national road across the middle of the United States.”  The route offers a compelling cross section of our nation that Time magazine devoted nearly an entire issue in 1997 calling the story the “Backbone of America”.  HWY 50 passes through literally hundreds of time worn small towns, most still remaining untouched by box stores and fast food.  From Kansas, following the Arkansas River along the historic Santa Fe Trail, climbing over the Colorado Plateau, into the Great Basin, across the Loneliest Road in America, into California, the route shares vanishing Americana. 

The essay contains photographs and interactive galleries of landscapes, historical locations, points of interest, and the colorful individuals who make up the character of the West.  Interactive highway maps provide the reader an opportunity to pin point locations along the route.  A daily journal documents the people, places, and thoughts of the road. Each chapter contains a list of motels and local cafes found to be authentic Americana experiences.  Backbone of America tells the story of the classic American road trip.  

"The steel's barely cooled before Carlan Tapp steers a fresh Low Rider from

the H-D factory in Kansas City onto Highway 50. From there, it's everything

from Dodge City to Lake Tahoe as he captures a fading, rough 'n' tough

America in stunning black and white."  HOG® Magazine

Travel & Adventure
March 10
Carlan Tapp
Carlan Tapp

Customer Reviews

Linmoro ,


Carlan Tapp's new iBook, BACKBONE OF AMERICA, is a singular find for anyone who ever rode a motorcycle across the open road or even fantasized about doing it. Picking up a brand new Low Rider at Harley-Davidson in Kansas City, Tapp headed out across Highway 50 from Missouri to California, traveling 2000 miles over what is known as "The Loneliest Road in America." But his narrative is crowded with colorful people he encountered, with his own evocative B/W photographs of vanishing America, and with lush details that give the reader a vicarious, sensuous ride all the way to Lake Tahoe and Sacramento. The writing is magnetic, vernacular, and inspiring. The book is a must-read for any history buff, lover of the Western landscape, or one who has longed to travel miles on end with "no billboards, no signs, no traffic."

Vickis8 ,

The Loneliest Road...

Carlan Tapp is a purest when it comes to photography. He makes show stopping pictures in his camera when ever his shutter clicks. He also loves to teach and I believe he feels teaching is an essential part of what he does.
In this e-book Carlan not only created visually stunning photos, but he shows us through those images the uniqueness of highway 50. Effectively teaching us about some of the secret corners of our country that most never see.
I hope you take the time to read and really look at this book. It spurred me to make a plan to travel this and other lonely roads and I will bet it will do the same for you.

cindy lux ,

Backbone of America by Carlan Tapp

Not only are Mr. Tapp’s photographs wonderful but they are absolutely THE best hook to get us all out there onto Americas' blue roads…to see all of this lovely country. Having driven on Hywy 50 thru Nevada I can attest to the pull these open roads have. Carlan has a touch for the ‘hometown’ in all of us and his writings, perspectives and love for this venture come through on every page. Enjoyed every moment of this ‘journey’.

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