Instead of traveling the same road that everyone else travels, make your own way. Most of the abandoned and grunge photos I have taken are the direct result of taking back roads, and avoiding highways.
Every small town will always have at least one ghost road, at least one abandoned building, and generally a handful of friendly people who will be more than happy to suggest places that a photographer might be interested in. When in doubt, ask someone who lives or works in the area; those with a lot of local knowledge will be most helpful.
The mark of a good photographer is the ability to take a picture of something nobody cares about, might find uninteresting or is just plain unattractive, and turn it into a priceless shot.