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General store, meet high-speed Internet

In a tiny mountain town, progress means that the general store is right next door to a place for disconnected travelers to chop off a little piece of the Internet.

GROVELAND, Calif.--This is a very old town. It is just about the last piece of civilization before the western entrance to Yosemite National Park, and the town is studded with 19th century Wild West saloons and wooden buildings with wraparound porches.

Ah, but it isn't the 19th century anymore, is it?

Today, this venerable town, which millions of people surely pass through each year on their way to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls and such, is doing its best to keep up with the times.

And the most visceral symbol of that?

Net Stop
In Groveland, Calif., progress means the general store is right next door to the Net Stop--a place for travelers to get some high-speed Internet Daniel Terdiman/CNET

It's surely the fact that Groveland's general store--the centerpiece of any small town--is directly next door to the "Net Stop," a place where travelers can sit down and get a high-speed Internet connection.

It's quite a funny juxtaposition. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised given that the Internet is everywhere these days. But in a town like this, where the first things you see are such old buildings and a sense pervades of being in another time, it does feel a little out of place.

Yet, it is perfectly appropriate. In the old days, the general store, or the trading post, was the place where people would come from miles around to get word of the world at large--or at least towns beyond a short horse ride. So, this is that reality, writ modern.