Looking Back To The Holidays.

This is going to sound goofy but I don’t like to drive on interstates. Or maybe it doesn’t—your sense of what’s goofy, like your mileage, may vary, and I have a few friends who feel the same way. In fact some websites that offer directions even have an “avoid interstates” option, and I’m always grateful for that. I can drive on interstates and have but, if I can avoid it, I will. No matter where I’m driving I do my best to avoid accidents but I’d rather have an accident at thirty miles an hour than seventy.

Several years ago when my wife and I made a cross-country trek to California she did most of the driving. I’m not ashamed to admit she’s a better driver and more comfortable on interstates, and, besides, if I were driving, I’d not only want to take the back roads but I’d stop at every single roadside attraction, and you can just guess how many of those there are between Nashville and Los Angeles. If I were behind the wheel we’d barely make it out of Tennessee–certainly not without a stop in Bucksnort, and once we got going I’d want to get some kicks along Route 66, including a detour through Uranus, but that’s another story.

Oh, wait, it’s not another story. In fact it’s tangentially related to what set me off on this particular path. Almost a year ago, on the day of Christmas Eve to be specific, my wife asked me to take something to my sister-in-law who lives about half an hour away by interstate, although the drive is closer to an hour taking the back roads. But at least it was scenic, which is one of the advantages of taking the, well, scenic route. There were little stores that sold antiques, restaurants that specialized in catfish and pizza—a combination you’re not likely to find anywhere else. Most of the places were closed for Christmas and because of the holiday there were decorations along one stretch. I stopped and took a picture of an angel, which is not something you can do on the interstate and anyway there’s usually nothing to see along the interstate.

All the way home I thought about the Christmas decorations and the pictures I’d taken and knew I’d write something about them, although it’s taken me almost a year to get around to it. Sometimes I’m kind of slow.

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8 Comments

  1. BarbaraM

    I prefer a toll road to an interstate – People who are willing to pay to use a road are more likely to drive carefully for some reason. I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale – well, you seriously couldn’t pay me to even be a passenger on it. Crazy people everywhere.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I’d almost forgotten that there’s an extended part of Nnedi Okorafor’s novel Lagoon about the Lagos-Benin highway that literally attacks and kills people. And it really is a dangerous stretch of road. I can believe the I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale is too. I also think if I were a car I’d be a Corvair. Unsafe at any speed, you know.

      Reply
  2. Arionis

    There is something to be said about the roads less traveled. We occasionally take the LeeLander off the interstate for the back roads, and not just because the stupid GPS app steered us the wrong way.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I thought about the LeeLander and your travels as I was writing this and how you sometimes seem to take the roads less traveled. Heck, your decision to go on the road is, metaphorically, a road less traveled. It’s also hilarious that the GPS sometimes takes you the wrong way. I think it’s nice that even in a world where everything is tracked it’s possible to get lose.

      Reply
  3. Tom Cummings

    Somewhat sadly, I’m the proverbial straight line guy, as in the closest distance between here and there. Roses? Smelled ’em! But on Christmas Day, and often Thanksgiving Day as well, I like to take a lonely drive about town just to enjoy the empty streets. See, it isn’t the drive I don’t like, just the traffic. Good write up, Chris!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That’s it–it’s not the drive, it’s the traffic. As my father once said, “Public transportation is important. More people should take the bus. Then it would be easier for me to find a parking spot.” I think that’s also something I enjoy about the back roads. There’s a pleasant loneliness to them.

      Reply
  4. ANN J KOPLOW

    I avoid driving on Interstates too, Chris, and after I read this post yesterday I left to buy tickets online to see Weird Al in May. Now I’m back here to comment after a few side trips along the way. I wish you got more traffic here because it’s always wonderful when you’re in the driver’s seat.
    ANN J KOPLOW recently posted…Day 3268: There’s a place for usMy Profile

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I envy you getting to see Weird Al, although as long as he’s touring I may get a chance to see him. I also remember when Al would occasionally take over MTV and he’d have a segment announcing “tour dates”, but instead of listing concerts he’d have things like, “On Wednesday I’ll probably take a shower.”

      Reply

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