“I was going to stay on the three million miles of bent and narrow rural American two-lane, the roads to Podunk and Toonerville. Into the sticks, the boondocks, the burgs, backwaters, jerkwaters, the wide-spots-in-the-road, the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it towns. Into those places where you say, ‘My God! What if I lived here!’ The middle of nowhere.”
In other words author William Least Heat-Moon traveled the Blue Highways as he journeyed into America. Heat-Moon’s trip took place over thirty years ago and I often wondered is such a quest would even be possible today. I was enamored of the willingness of total strangers to invite him into their homes and essentially their lives. They shared more than the food on their table with this young man in search of…something. The very last sentence made me laugh out loud as I was having dinner at a local Wendy’s restaurant. It was a fantastic way to end my time with Heat-Moon’s travelogue.
The book like the trip is long and has its highlights and less interesting (for me) philosophical parts. There were enough amazing stories to make this literary journey worthwhile. More than the adventures, the writings tended to awaken a desire to travel; to see places in the United States. My daughter was recently tabulating a list of states we had visited…and passing through didn’t count. I had exactly half of the state in my “resume” and while that wasn’t bad I was disappointed. I really though I had more. I may need to fix that though I don’t think I’ll be sleeping in the back of my car.
“Often I’d seen the American propensity to take the highway with as many possessions as a vehicle could carry – that inclination to get away from it all while hauling it all along – but I stood amazed at this achievement of a transport called a vacation…What the owner really wanted was to drive his 3_BR-split-foyer so he wouldn’t have to leave the garage and basement behind.”