I don’t like traveling freeways and the Interstate Highway System. These concrete paths usually take boring routes which add to the trance of flying along in a climate-controlled vehicle at 75 mph. Sleepiness threatens, and in heavy traffic my neck aches from tension. They may get me to my destination quicker, but that’s usually not the sole point of traveling for me.
Kuralt’s quote (say that fast three times) is funny because it’s true. We once drove to Louisiana from Tucson in a big loop of over 4,000 miles. We left Tucson and followed I-10 east to San Antonio, then I-37 to Corpus Christi, Texas. From there we stayed on back roads for almost the next two weeks until we rejoined I-10 at Las Cruces, New Mexico. When I think about that drive, none of my strongest memories are from the interstate roads.
I remember seeing alligators in a ditch and dark trees draped in Spanish Moss along Louisiana Highway 82. In Arkansas, we stared nervously at boiling clouds, looking for telltale signs of tornados while driving past rain-soaked fields off Highway 65. We explored the neighborhoods of Port Aransas, Texas looking for the ferry. Along a heavily wooded stretch of Mississippi Highway 44, we felt like we had entered a foreign country as we marveled at homes displaying Confederate flags.
But I don’t remember much about the Texas Hill Country while we were on I-10. Or the long stretch down into the steamy, east Texas lowlands along I-37.
The freeways serve their purpose, but if I have the time I do all I can to avoid them.