One of my first memories is of a big United States wall map with all the highways my grandfather had hanging on the wall in the back room of his farmhouse. On it, Grandpa had traced every highway he had driven with a thick black Sharpie-like marker. I was a little girl when I discovered it, but I remember coming home from college and standing in front of it. It was a much older than me, huge, colorful map of 48 states with no interstates or freeways. It mesmerized me. Before my Grandma got sick, they took a lot of road trips and Grandpa had diligently recorded each one on the map.  It looked like a drawing of a big bowl of black noodles. I loved that map. I loved standing in front of it and pretending I was the one who had taken all those trips.

Faded Highways is a labor of love dedicated to collecting stories from the era Grandpa and Grandma took their road trips – the pre-interstate era of American tourism. I’ve been collecting stories, photographs, postcards, maps and other tidbits of life from that era for most of my adult life. The problem is they’re scattered all over the nooks and crannies of our house…..and my mind. This  blog is meant to be a place for all of those things to be shared and finally organized.  It will be a nostalgic place filled with histories and characters from America’s two lane roads. U.S. Highways, state highways, even little ole’ county roads. But never interstates. Interstates and I just do not get along. On the rare occasion I have to use one, I always feel like I’m missing something. Now, that could be a residual effect from years of watching I Love Lucy road trip reruns, but unless I have to get somewhere fast, I avoid interstates at all cost. And if I find myself needing to get somewhere fast? I tend to avoid that too. Life’s too short as it is, why rush it?

I don’t know what ever happened to Grandpa’s map. After my grandparents passed, it just wasn’t there anymore.  While my parents didn’t take us on too many cross country road trips as we were growing up, Grandpa’s map inspired a lifetime of wanderlust and many many miles of road trips for me in my adult life. Yep, I still think about that map, especially when we’re running the back roads somewhere, just like my grandparents used to.

Welcome to Faded Highways. I’m glad you’re here,
Sarah Owens