Ace lived at the Flying T RV Park after his wife disappeared. The truck stop was way out on the edge of town where the mesa dipped into the next dry river valley west of Duke City. There was nothing but wind and dust out there when Alva Simpson, Chairman Simpson’s father, built the place.
“Built” is a euphemism, of course. At the time, he had retired from a 40 year career of throwing his weight around in the local land development scene. He only had to nod his head in the direction of the Flying T to get approvals from the county commission. They had already named an elementary school and library after him and no one would say no to Alva's retirement nest egg - The Flying T Ranch Travel Center.
The project was a complete success for Alva. He didn’t have to bribe anyone or put up much money. He got the city and county to pay for every inch of road and utility lines under an "economic development" grant and his franchise agreement with the gas station and restaurant relieved him of constructing the actual travel center. Alva's expenses were limited to the required surveying, the thinly gravelled driveways to 117 spaces and the crappy signage on the freeway identifying the "Flying RV Park" after the "T" was lost in a dust storm. Alva got rich.
The edge of town was a fluid line always pushing outwards during the booming real estate years. Since Ace had parked his travel trailer in space 27, subdivisions of stucco boxes had nearly surrounded the Flying T on all sides. Development unevenly blanketed the mesa like a ragged quilt patchwork of small subdivisions held together loosely by a few crowded two-lane roads and a web of powerlines.
Unlike other engineers in the development business, when the real estate market tanked and the furious land-scraping and paving of the mesa slowed to a crawl, Ace was very relieved.