Interstate highways make it quick and easy to get from Point A to Point B anywhere in the country. But what fun is that? A Denny’s or a Pilot truck stop in Tucson looks pretty much just like one in Paducah or Toledo. All too often we find ourselves traveling the interstates because they are convenient, and sometimes they are the only choice if you travel in an RV, but whenever we can, we love traveling the two lane roads instead.
Some call them blue highways, or back roads, and some curse them when they find themselves stuck behind a farmer’s tractor moving at a snail’s pace. But the real America can be found on the slower paced two lane roads that wind their way across the country, passing through small towns where folks wave at you from their front porches as you go by, where you will find diners where the locals all have their own coffee cups waiting for them, and where it’s not uncommon to stop in a small town park for lunch and have the locals come by just to say hello and welcome you.
We’ve driven a lot of two lanes roads in our years as fulltime RVers, some just once and others over and over again. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.
Route 66 – Unfortunately, much of the old Mother Road has disappeared, covered over by superhighways, but there are still some nice stretches left here and there between Chicago and Los Angeles. My favorite is between Seligman and Kingman, Arizona, which coincidentally happens to be the longest intact stretch left in the country.
Natchez Trace Parkway – If you haven’t traveled the Natchez Trace yet, what’s keeping you? They called it the Devil’s Backbone back in the days when Indians, outlaws, and renegades prowled this historic route, preying on unwary travelers. But today the Natchez Trace Parkway is pure heaven for RVers! Picture 450 miles of good two lane road that meanders through hardwood forests and past charming small towns, with a speed limit of 50 miles per hour and with no commercial traffic allowed, with frequent pullouts large enough for any size RV, and you can see why we love this historic highway that winds from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. If you haven’t put this trip on your travel itinerary, do it now. You’ll be glad you did!
US Highway 101 – From Eureka, California to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, US 101 has to be one of the most spectacular drives in the country. It’s not a fast paced road, but that’s fine since you will want to take your time because you’ll be treated to dramatic ocean views, charming small towns, lighthouses, fishing villages, and if you’re really lucky, even whales passing by just offshore!
LoLo Pass Trail – If I had to choose my very favorite route in America, in terms of scenery, it would be a hard choice between US Highway 101 and US Highway 12 between Missoula, Montana and Lewiston, Idaho, which locals call the Lolo Pass Trail. The excellent two lane highway follows the route explorers Lewis and Clark took on their epic trek west, with towering mountains on one side and the beautiful Clearwater River on the other. Keep your camera handy for an opportunity to photograph deer, elk, moose, eagles, and whitewater rafters.
US Highway 60 – I could not begin to tell you how many times we have driven this great road. Beginning at an intersection with Interstate 10 in Quartzsite, Arizona, and stretching all the way to Virginia Beach, Virginia, we love to take this slow, scenic highway when we travel east from our old hometown in Show Low, Arizona. Sure, we could go north a few miles and jump on Interstate 40, but what’s the rush?
Lincoln Highway – The Lincoln Highway was America’s first transcontinental highway, stretching from New York to San Francisco, and though the old route has been replaced by Interstate 80, you can still drive much of the original route, especially in the east and Midwest. It’s a slow paced trip to remember.
Thought For The Day : Don’t worry about what people think. They don’t do it very often.