“a strange custom of unknown origins”
Rice became noted for its Rice Shoe Tree, a lone tamarisk on a turnout just south of the highway. For reasons unknown, it became customary for travelers on Highway 62 (also known as Rice Road) to and from the Colorado River to hang an old shoe on the tree's branches. The tree was featured on California's Gold, a PBS program hosted by Huell Howser. The tree burned to the ground in 2003 in a fire of suspicious origin, after which a 'shoe garden' replaced it; a fence on which people hang shoes instead. Travelers still stop to spell their names on the nearby Arizona and California Railroad right-of-way with the multi-colored volcanic rock used as ballast. Hand-assembled graffiti lines the railroad for the entire distance that it parallels Highway 62.
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