When I was a kid, we spent a lot of time on the road. My parents were the type who loved to spend weekends just driving around. We’d pack a lunch on Saturday morning and take off exploring the rest of the day. I don’t know how many times I heard: “Hey, we’ve never been down this dirt road before!” (One time, we spent an entire day driving through Connecticut and western Mass using the apparent position of a rainbow as our guide.)
Since then, my job has involved a lot of travel. I’ve been to every state but Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in the last 10 years. One of the things I noticed rather quickly was that if you don’t take the time to veer off the prescribed path, then Honolulu can wind up looking pretty much like Minneapolis or Dallas or Nashville…
I think that’s why I find U.S. Highways so fascinating. It’s an historical goldmine of info about the pre-Interstate highway system that was created in the 1920’s. Every stretch of road, from the Maine-to-Florida U.S. 1 to the Michigan-to-Florida Dixie Highway to the famous Route 66 has its own spot in this huge database of essays and pictures and maps.
Another cool link for the misty-eyed road warrior is Gas Signs. It’s a collection of photos of thousands of historic gas station and convenience store signs.
And, of course, there’s always Back on Tack for all your tacky roadside attraction needs.