Saturday, June 3, 2017

Back roads and Highways

Road trips are a subject that I keep going back to in my posts; I suppose this is because so many interesting things can happen while you are traveling.

On the interstates you can get somewhere in a hurry and when we were younger and vacation time was short I shutter to think of the miles we drove without stopping.

I once drove straight through to my hometown in South Carolina from New Mexico. Just my cousin Chris and I, it took twenty-two hours. That's an average of about seventy miles per hour, that doesn't sound too bad, but how about doing that for twenty-two hours straight?

I only stopped for coffee and gasoline, we made good time but I was beat by the time we arrived, we were going for our Grandmothers funeral, which was at 10am on the Monday morning that we arrived at 5am.

To make a long story short we traveled a little over three thousand miles in three days, slept maybe four hours, and went to a funeral, I'm happy it wasn't mine.

A trip like this you see absolutely nothing, the miles pass too quickly in the dark and even though this wasn't a pleasure trip it sure would have been less dangerous had we flown instead.

Cindy and I once loaded the kids into our car about two in the morning and headed for the interstate, the idea was that the kids would sleep and I could drive until daylight, the traffic would be light and we could get a long way down the road while it was quiet........nothing is ever this easy.

I had told her of how Cousin Chris and I had driven all the way to South Carolina in twenty two hours with no problems, well eighteen hours later and we were not even to Little Rock, we wanted to make it to Jackson, Tennessee before we stopped, that wasn't going to happen, I wrote about this trip in my post Family Vacations

That's how you roll when you are younger, the good thing about traveling down the highway like this is you usually get there quicker, the bad thing is you don't get to see much of anything and once you get there, all you want to do is sleep.

Now since we have somewhat matured, Cindy and I take road trips differently, I don't drive after dark anymore, nor do I drive before daylight, we stop a lot and really don't drive too far without spotting something we want to stop and see, we once stopped at the "Worlds Largest Pistachio" just to take a picture, and for Cindy to buy Pistachios.
Cindy with a giant pistachio
A day trip from California to New Mexico can take us two days now, just because by the time evening rolls around we are getting hungry and we might as well get some rest, it's not worth it for me to rush anywhere.

The thing about taking your time whether on a back road or highway is the view, there are millions of "tourist traps" that are interesting to see.

The Cadillac Ranch Outside of Amarillo, Texas, or The Peachoid a water tower shaped like a peach in Gaffney, SC, and even a Pistachio Tree Ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico, these are just a few of the millions of places to see while traveling the highways.
Peachoid water tower Gaffney, SC
Back roads are a whole different trip, some people use nothing but back roads, they avoid highways at all costs and can impress you with their back road navigating skills, my brother Norm is one of those people.

Whenever Cindy and I are back home in South Carolina we spend a lot of time traveling between three different towns visiting relatives, driving from my little Sisters house through my hometown to my Dads house is about a half hours drive by highway, but it is a straight shot and easy to remember.

Norm once asked why we didn’t go the back way, I didn’t know there was a back way so from the backseat he started giving directions, turn left up here, go around that curve and turn right after you cross the bridge, see that fork in the road, bear left then make a hard right, and after you pass that fence turn left.

I was so confused and had absolutely no idea where we were, but the scenery was amazing, we saw deer, and homes that looked so peaceful, there were tables on the side of the road with fruits, vegetables, and honey for sale, there were rivers and some of the roads we drove down made you feel like you were in a tunnel, this was because of the tree branches reaching over the road to meet one another….this was beautiful, you don’t see nature like this on the highway.

All of a sudden we are at the turnoff to my Dads house, the only difference is we were arriving from the opposite direction, and the entire trip only took ten minutes time.

Back roads and highways have their own advantages, depending on what you want to do, I love road trips and we always have a great time, but there are also advantages to getting on a plane and renting a car once you get there.

Do you like visiting roadside attractions, shops, and tourist traps?

38 comments:

  1. My husband and I once took eight days to go from Michigan to Georgia using all back roads, a trip that usually takes people under two days. He was the king of getting distracted by interesting things and people along the way. Good way to travel if you have the time. We also did our share of driving straight through without unnecessary stops which really isn't smart but none of us figure that out until we're older, do we. I love that "peach" water tower!

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    1. Good morning Jean, that sounds like my kind of trip, I bet that was a lot of fun and you both saw many interesting things on the back roads going to Georgia, just for reference had you taken Interstate 85 in Georgia and gone north through South Carolina the Peach water tower is on that highway (would have been on your left)

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  2. When I was a kid it was my Dads joy to take us on a 'Sunday drive'. Here there everywhere....ostly back roads.....it was lovely.

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    1. Hi Delores, I always loved a Sunday drive, haven't done it in years though, it sounds like your Dad had a good thing going for you with the Sunday drives.

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  3. In 1951 my dad was transferred from NY to LA. We bought a new car and drove, instead of flying and then buying a car. I guess flying was different then, not sure how long it took prop planes to go coast to coast. A few years ago we left my daughter's home in NC at 12am to drive back to Jersey and miss the traffic which can be terrible. It worked pretty well until we reached NJ and ran into 6am commuter traffic.

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    1. Hey Joe, I would love to do a coast to coast drive one day, and I imagine in 1951 that NY to LA trip took you through a lot of towns that are completely bypassed now.

      Arriving just in time for the commuter traffic sounds like something I would plan also.

      Good to see you Joe.

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  4. Hubby and I don't drive at night anymore either. We're pretty much doing the same as you. Stop and rest is something we do very well. We aren't much for stopping at different attractions though. I wouldn't care about the peach or the nut. I'd pass right by that. I don't pass on food and restrooms though. Those are essential while traveling.

    Back roads take forever for us. We wanted to go to our boat one weekend and decided to stay off the freeways. Took forever. We only did that once.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Hi Sandee, aren't the trips so much better taking your time and stopping at dark? yes food is a must and I failed to mention the restroom breaks, which is the ulterior motives for many of the tourist traps stops.

      A great day to you also.

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  5. I love both of those pics of roadside attractions! I've seen quite a few, from a giant basket office building to a cheesy dinosaur park we took the kids to once. My longest road trip without stopping except for food was from here to Orlando, but it was on a bus . . . . actually caravan of buses with 300 kids for a marching band trip to Disney. I loved it!

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    1. Hey Bijoux, I bet that bus trip with the kids was something else, that had to be a blast for sure, with that many kids I am sure there are so many memories that were made.

      We have always enjoyed stopping at places like this, funny story tied to the Peachoid water tower was when we stopped at a fruit stand selling peaches near there, a young girl about the ages of our boys really caught their attention, the peaches were really good but the infatuation for the "Peach Girl" is still talked about today.

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  6. Next time we go on a road trip we're going to prepare a map for the world's biggest and go to as many as we can. That pistachio photo is great and I enjoyed all the others. I don't think even in our younger years we would have driven so far and definitely not now. By 5 o'clock we are ready to call it a day. Enjoyed reading this post Jimmy, thank you.

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    1. Hi Denise, doing a Worlds Biggest tour sounds very interesting, I imagine you two will have a great time doing this and also all the other sights to see in the meantime.

      I agree 5pm is always a good time to call it a day.

      Good to see you Denise.

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  7. We moved a lot when I was a kid but it was always straight through, no sides. It killed me to drive past Rock City and Ruby Falls. Never knew what might be there. Now days, I really enjoy the trip almost as much as getting there and if something seems interesting--I stop.

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    1. Hi Patti, did you ever make it back to Rock City or Ruby Falls? Making a trip fun by stopping along the way sure makes the miles driven worth it.

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  8. Hey, I've seen that peach water tower! Next time I'm up that way, I'll have to snap a picture of it.

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    1. Hey Lady, I bet you have seen this one, we bought some good peaches near there too, if you like them then it's sure worth stopping for them.

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  9. I love that picture of Cindy with the giant pistachio! I hope she didn't try to sneak it into her purse to carry on an airplane.

    Our main roadside attraction is the bathroom. Hick would like to visit weird places, but not me. There's one place he won't stop, though. We see signs for it every time we go to Oklahoma to visit The Pony. It's just off of I-44, near Rolla, Missouri. Take note! I'm sure you'll want to visit and get some fudge made in URANUS!

    https://uranusmissouri.com/

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    1. Hey Val, we looked at that link and I'd be willing to stop there, Cindy said she is not so sure about eating the fudge though ha ha.

      Maybe you could get Hick one of their t-shirts for his birthday.

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  10. Wow, 22 hours straight.
    We don't necessarily take back roads, but we like to make a lot of stops at silly tourist traps if we've got the time, to make the trip more interesting. I know I've seen that peachoid! But not the pistachio...
    Corn Palace in South Dakota. Yup, that's a lot of corn.

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    1. Hi Abby, yep 22 hours straight and what I learned from that was that I didn't want to do that again.

      The pistachio is over in Alamogordo, New Mexico and they have a lot of different flavored pistachios and such there, stops like this do break up a trip and like you saix makes it more interesting.

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  11. I always use the back roads to avoid traffic chaos but the views are not as good as those you would see when out driving. Everywhere is so near in the UK.

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    1. Hello Valerie, avoiding traffic is a good reason for using back roads, sometimes you get there quicker and others not, but if everything is near as you described in the UK then the time spent is really not an issue, I'm with you on missing the chaos.

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  12. I don't drive so roadside attractions etc are things I've missed, because when K was driving his sole aim was to get where we were going asap. Load up the car and don't stop until we get there. Same thing going home. Even interstate trips.

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    1. Good morning River, a lot of people take their trips seriously like that, Cindy's Dad was always the same no matter if the trips were near or far he didn't stop unless completely necessary, he has ran off and left us when we followed him, but we always arrived at the same place ha ha.

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  13. I'd rather go on literal highways than interstates which were ironically built for emergency use only. People drive really scary. I really wish GPS wouldn't tell me to jump on the interstate every-time.

    I'm also from SC, born in Greenville but raised and still reside in Spartanburg. They are currently repainting the Gaffney Peach tower from what I hear.

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    1. Hey Adam, the interstates are getting scary, they are terrible here in California, and last time we were home 85 was really crowded, I imagine it is a nightmare now.

      I was born in Easley and graduated high school in Greenville, living in California for now, I had heard they were going to repaint that tower, said folks were complaining it resembled a butt and wanted it changed, I guess you can't please everyone.

      Good to have you join us Adam.

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    2. The new paint color is because they apparently painted it a bad shade of yellow and everyone complained. I haven't been by it in awhile

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    3. It's been a few years for me too, the color would have to be right to look good though.

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  14. We have one of those peach towers in Clanton, Alabama just off Interstate 65.
    Roadtrips tend to change my point of view and it always gives me ideas for columns and posts.
    R

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    1. Hey Rick, new scenery has a way of jogging our minds into new thoughts, this is what I love about road trips, clears the mind and like you said gives you ideas.

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  15. I have always preferred road trips to any other way of traveling. I prefer to stop and take pictures to buying stuff or looking at pistachios. I saw you posted your favorite books and I have to share that Cold Mountain is one of mine also.

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    1. Hi Inger, that is one of the pleasures of a road trip, being able to stop anywhere you please, it is easy to pick up souvenirs this way too.

      Yes Cold Mountain is one of my favorites for sure.

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  16. When my army enlistment was over one of my brothers flew out to Colorado Springs to drive home with me. We shot down I-25 before turning onto I-40 for the long haul eastward.

    But while we were traveling south we lost all radio reception because there was simply no stations broadcasting in our area. It was surreal, almost like we had fallen off the planet. There wasn't even any settlements we could see, just an occasional building way off in the distance. This was back in 1990 and its probably different now.

    Do you like visiting roadside attractions, shops, and tourist traps?

    Yeah, I do but my wife just wants to hit warp drive and get to our destination as soon as possible.

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    1. Yes it does give you a different feeling when you are out in the middle of nowhere like that, especially when you are the only car on the road.

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  17. My hubby don't drive at night I do, but we do take more breaks when driving. Ole age wises one up.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Hi Dora, yes we do get wiser with age, taking more breaks is a good thing.

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  18. I LOVE this stuff Jimmy! It's right up my alley. Back roads are the best roads. In addition, you can't get the "feel" of an area by sticking to the highways.

    A good percentage of posts on my blog are related to roadside attractions, oddities, and folk art. Heck, I'd rather see a giant pistachio than a museum any day. Great post!

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    1. Thank you Sir, each time we go on a road trip now we are more drawn to stops like this.

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