Probably the best are those with lots of curvy warning signs. They hint at adventure, something undiscovered, perhaps danger, and make you slow down to wonder what's ahead. And there's something around every bend, just like in life..something new, something interesting, something exciting, or boring or disappointing or who knows....
What will I find, what will I see, who was here first, why is there a road here? Questions galore...and finally, my citified mind takes control and I think, "Turn around, you're wasting time." Such an obscenity, and affront to creativity, to discovery, to exploration, to change that breaks the rules of modern society.
But it takes over, and I do, seeking other roads, other possibilities, rather than what is over the next hill. Wouldn't you really want to know?
But I also like straight, paved roads--other than the one from Fort Sumpter to Vaughn, N.M., which is 70 plus mind-numbing straight miles that you dare not speed on, and which can hypnotize you. Instead, I like the ones where there is no traffic, no cops, no population--the "Blue Highways" of William Least Heat Moon. There are those out here in the Oklahoma Panhandle aptly named "No Man's Land." A car, or more likely, a pickup truck, in 40 miles is heavy traffic. The roads, like the one at the top of this blog title, or others, are where you look down in the early morning and for some reason the speedometer shows 80 or 90 or 100 mph--or slow down and stop in the middle of the road to take a photo of an old windmill, gate or abandoned house--and nobody cares or knows, as you speed along with your thoughts.
There are others, roads not taken. And you wonder where they lead.
But there's another road out here that fires my imagination also. This is where the Santa Fe Trail's (the 1800 international interstate from Missouri to Santa Fe) Cimarron Cutoff bypassed the Rocky Mountains at Raton Pass, and followed the mostly dry Cimarron River southwest, across what is now the tip end of the Oklahoma Panhandle, and entered what was then the Republic of Mexico, heading for the landmark Rabbit Ear Peak north of where Clayton N.M.is now. It avoided the mountains but risked drought and the Comanches, from the 1830s for almost 50 years.
A D.A. R. and historical marker marks the spot where it crossed the current north-south pavement showing the landscape heading southwest. I couldn't help but wonder if 150 years from now some historical marker would point out where our Interstates once were. No wonder I like the back roads.