Editor's note: This selection of images comes from different tours and road trips Jess Williamson has taken over the last two years, all of which have been through Western America. "There was not a premeditated focus on a certain part of the country; it just worked out this way and I kept heading west," says Williamson.
The familiar concept of the “Great American Road Trip,” particularly through the mythic Western states, has become a classic, if not overused, allegory for youth in literature and song.
The open road endows a sense of limitlessness and freedom. There are no commitments. The landscape itself is disposable, passing quickly from the car window; and towns, even people, last a day or two until you’re on the road again, following the sun.
I find this part of the country inspiring and nourishing. As a native Texan, there is something at once comfortable but also unknown about this landscape, and in spite of the tropes, I have found the beauty of the Western states to be ancient, heavy and lasting.
Last summer on tour, there was one free day in between Boise and Denver, so we stopped at Antelope Island. It’s this weird stretch of land in the Great Salt Lake, about an hour outside of Salt Lake City. There were actually no antelope, from what we saw, and instead there were lots of buffalo, like this guy.