Stateside Road Trip travel blog

Road food

Jacques chills

An unexpected start to this trip was going to Richland. My mother passed away two weeks ago, and her community memorial happened to be the day before I was supposed to start. Mo and I met my daughters and sister-in-law for the service. After, Mo went home with my daughters, and I traveled to Bend.

I am trying to find roads that are not Interstates. In some areas, Interstates are unavoidable: for example between Winnemuca and Salt Lake City.

My main roads will be state highways. Some have official designations such as Blue Star to honor war participants, or scenic byways such as Oregon's Blue Mountain scenic byway.

Scenic and other catchy designations are popular for tourism and economic development folks. The idea is to attract travelers who in turn should spend money on fuel, food, lodging, and souvenirs in small and usually poor towns. During my working years I was aware of many byway proposals. The proponents would approach my agency for grants, not suspecting that we really wanted to pay for stuff that got people out of their cars.

If a community does the byway thing too well, they pay in traffic and crowding, loss of community, and sometimes an influx of vacation home buyers who push locals out of the housing market.

Most things are tradeoffs.

It is fun to see the byway signs go by as I look for the next gas station. I'm pretty sure Mom took the byway to heaven.

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