Back Roads Travel
Viernes, 22 Julio 2011
Back Roads Travel
Route 66 is a myth that continues in spite of the obvious contraditctions of present-day reality. The old "mother road" was a great dream that reached its culmination more than 75 years ago, and already began its slow deterioration nearly 50 years ago. Today, there is little left of the authentic route 66 other than a few segments scattered along its 2,000 mile original.length and preserved primarily for the tourist industry to promote. If you want to experience the authentic route 66, you will undoubtedly be disappointed. You must drive many miles on grand new interstate highways searching for short snatches of the old route 66 roadway. Some of the segments have been reconstructed with genuine, original-looking, Route 66 tourist attractions to entertain you and to induce you to part with some of your tourist dollars. To me, it all seems very commercial and very artificial.
I prefer the backroads that still exist in their original pristine conditions all across the USA. You can find them in every state, in all parts of the country. You just have to look for them.
Route 12 in southern Utah is one of those roads that I mentioned before. It travels past the magnificent geological splendor of Bryce Canyon National Park, and that wonderful motel/resort known as Ruby's Inn with its restaurant, riding stable, campground and rodeo. The road skirts through the desert canyons of Escalante National Park and teeters along the spine of a magnificent saddle ridge known as the Hogback, then climbs through sub-alpine medows before decending into Capitol Reef National Park. Along the way, you can stop for gas along side of a pickup truck towing a trailer cntaining a pair of saddled horses. You can eat at a cowboy cafe. This is the real authentic USA.
In Central Pennsylvania or Northern Ohio, you can drive along country roads through Amish farmlands. The beautiful, well-maintained barns and farmhouses, along the way, have no electric or telephone wires, and the clotheslines in the backyards have quaint old-fashioned clothes hanging to dry. As you drive, you may have to slow your car to a crawl while following a horse and buggy driven by a man wearing a black suit and tan straw hat with his wife in an ankle length blue dress and white bonnet. At the local markets, you can buy fresh home-grown produce, canned fruits and fresh baked pies. In the local cafes, you can eat delicious wholesome meals of sauerkraut, roast pork, sausages, potato filling and home-made shoofly pie. This is also the real authentic USA.
Highway One, the old coastal road along the Atlantic seaboard, goes through fishing villages, beach resorts and seaside communities on its way from Canada to Florida. The southernmost hundred miles becomes the overseas highway as it passes over numerous bridges and highways, island hopping its way to Key West. This road has a unique collection of small villages, dive shops, fishing outfitteers, seafood restaurants, surf shops, tourist attractions, motels and campgrounds. The local inhabitants seem to be an interesting collection of refugees from the humdrum civilized world of the mainland that have come to the islands for that casual Jimmy Buffet life of leisure. This too is the real authentic USA.
I have been on highways in the western deserts where I drove for over an hour and saw no town, no house, no people and no other cars on the road. I drove up mountain trails in Colorado where the boulder strewn track climbed thousands of feet though desolate forest and ended in a peaceful alpine valley with nothing but antelope and mountain goats to hear the echos of your voice. I drove along rugged coastal roads in the northwest that ended at an isolated Indian village on a Native American Reservation. These are all real authentic USA roads.
You don't need to seek the faded dream of an old road that no longer exists. There are plenty of authentic US roads that are alive and well in the here and now.
Posted Jul 13 2010, 09:50 AM by Mike Leco
Filed under: Backroads, route 66, highways, USA, roads
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