Saturday, July 6, 2013

Traveling the Blue Highways

I first crossed this country from Connecticut to California around 1965, a curious 17-year-old relying primarily on a promotional Greyhound Bus pass and the occasional hitched ride. I wanted to learn to surf, or at the very least, to camp on the beach at Malibu and Santa Cruz and pretend. At the time, I believed there was only a no-man's land between Pittsburgh and Denver with more of the same between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada range that forms the geological barrier between California dreamin' and the rest of the world. I discovered so much more,  and this exposure has informed me over subsequent years. I am blessed to have been able to travel, rather slowly at times, not only across our southern and northern continents, but also along their length from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. My desire was to discover the world along what author William Least Heat Moon has called "the blue highways." Early road maps showed the main highways in red and the secondary roads in blue. The colors have changed over the years, but a glance at any paper map of sufficient scale will reveal the unexplored  network of little roads where most Americans grow up, raise families, get old, and eventually fade away.

I first blogged about such a journey in 2011 when I drove US 50, "the loneliest road in America," across the country in a 1953 MG sports car (MG Drive for Cure). A couple of years and several adventures later, I tried two motorized wheels and followed US 2 from its starting point in St. Ignace, MI to the docks of Everett, WA on Puget Sound, returning by way of California Highway 1 along the cliffs of the Pacific and Route 66, "The Mother Road" (Two Wheels Into The Sun). My current journey is much less planned, having originated from the unexpected need to deliver a truck my California son purchased on Indianapolis. What's 2300 miles to a road warrior? Especially if a motorcycle could be strapped into the bed providing another opportunity to "find America" on my way home. Let's find America!

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