I have always taken the road less traveled. I walked on the dirt trail long before I could navigate the bumps of a gravel road. For the most part it is a solitary endeavor. Not many people want to take the harder path or the longer route. Nowadays it is the highway, the fastest way from point A to point B. The quickest shortcut, the easiest path, instant gratification. Some would pay any price to get there ahead of everyone, the tolls on that road are high, the soul and conscience usually empty.
However, when you find a traveler along the bumpy road, they usually are like-minded. Some will travel with you for a while and share both their knowledge of the road and their company. They will not be put off when the paths split and will still keep in touch, for they know the value of good company. Others you will meet stay the course and will travel with you for the rest of the journey. They are not afraid of bumps and rocks, dips and mires. They are usually hardened travelers themselves that followed different trails to this road.
When the easy way and the bumpy path cross, the travelers on the paved road look down the intersection and see tough going on either side. They give a brief greeting and try to get back on the easy track as quickly as possible. They have no time to slow down, to see the crossing for what it is, a chance to experience more than a blur in the periphery. Roadside america is disappearing. The small destinations that are the foundation of this country, of our history, embedded in our culture, that shaped our world, are fading. Not many have the time or inclination to stop and see them anymore and so they turn to dust. The history of this great land is slowly fading. The ink within the history books can not hold the same experience that is disappearing from our landscape. I have witnessed as the "Greatest Generation" was quietly laid to rest and the survivors of the "Vietnam era" have grown tired and crooked. History will repeat itself but will it truly be history if no one remembers it.
Most of what's left outside the highways is almost gone. Some of us still take the long way home and stop to see what is left. Bad roads, for the most part, bring good people, people looking for the past, holding on to the simple things. Travelers, all, willing to risk a few bumps to find the magic that once filled a country of wonder, a land outside the window & the TV screen. This is the story of my journey down the gravel road and the things I've found along the way.