Other, slower travelers make their destinations over secondary roads, the wiggly blue highways in William Least Heat Moon’s book of the same name, where it’s still possible to drive through small towns, or what’s left of them. Many of these routes began as primitive tracks carved out by explorers and settlers, and McMurtry, too, felt their history and exhilaration when he crossed the top of the country on Highway 2.
Here in Oregon, my favorite road is Highway 31. It’s short (barely 120 miles), so there isn’t time to become bored. It’s scenic (whether Rand McNally says so or not). And it speaks to me, in sudden, unexpected whispers from a past that’s becoming harder to recall accurately with each passing year.
So I gladly ignore gentle ruts and errant potholes to have the company of ponderosa pines, so perfect in their placements, and the legions of finely-perfumed and under-appreciated sagebrush.
Sitting at this desk tonight, all I need do is close my eyes for a moment or two…