Friday, March 20, 2009

Travelling the Blue Roads in Life

When I was a young boy, I would often take road trips with my grandfather while he delivered he candy orders to his customers.
Most of these road trips were very uneventful, in fact, most of the time they were pretty boring for me.
One day my grandfather told me. "We should never forget to travel the blue roads in life."
I never understood what that meant but since my grandfather said it, it had to be words of wisdom.
People with gray or white hair are often to be thought of as wise.
So I thought about this "blue roads thing," and I couldn't figure out this cryptic puzzle.
I asked him one day when I was older.
He told me that years ago the old maps showed the lesser traveled roads in blue line and that these were roads that were slow going as most were in disrepair or dirt or gravel roads.
In a time where getting from place to place quickly, it was hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to take the "blue roads" to places like Cut Corners, or Frog Station.
Then one day it happened, Grandpa and I took a ride on a summer's day on a "blue road."
Travel was at a snail's pace, for someone use to riding on the interstates and highways, but the scenery was spectacular.
I saw things a normal driver doesn't get to see: Burma Shave signs, wildlife standing in the road, old farms and farm machinery, filling stations with gas pumps with lighted crowns on them, and the occasional 5 and 10 stores fighting a slow death called progress.
In some instances, scouts take the blue roads but they are usually in the form of canoe or kayak expeditions. There is something to be said about viewing nature in a watercraft that has no motor other than the old "arm strong" propulsion system or scouts will take a hike and might discover some of these existing roads that make suitable short cuts to their final destination.
It is almost like going back in time where the pace is a lot slower, people are few and far between, and nature is center stage in all its glory.
Dog N Suds Drive-ins, "You Need A Lunch," restaurants or places just called, "Eat." are still in operation and the food is for the most part very filling if not good.

I wonder if scouts today can really appreciate hearing about barn raisings, taffy pulls, or quilting and spinning bees.

For most the closest the traveler will ever see is maybe an occasional Amish horse drawn buggy or going on a hayride.

One of the most famous of all blue roads is Route 66 and that has been cut up and dissected for the sake of progress.
So if you ever get the time and want to travel a blue road; take your camera, get out your map,and leave your gps at home, and visit places like Red Banks, Frog Station, and Cut Corners.

Nature will surprise you as you will be stepping back in time.

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