Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Bucket List - Blue Highways


Yesterday I was talking with Son #3. That is #3 in birth order. I was telling him that I wanted to take a road trip. Maybe follow the Gulf of Mexico coastline from Galveston all the way to Key West, then back up the East Coast of Florida, on to Savannah. Maybe even to Charleston. I'd love to see Savannah and Charleston when the azaleas are blooming. I think my desire for a road trip and thinking about it was rekindled as I read Kim's blog, El Gringo Suelto, about his road trip around Mexico.

Son #3 immediately said, "So you are thinking about Blue Highways." Blue Highways is a book that I read years ago and then passed it on to #3. The book was written by William Least Heat-Moon. I'm not sure what the copyright date is but I read it sometime in the 1990's. Heat-Moon had some things fall apart in his life so he outfitted a van that he named Ghost Dancing and he headed out on a trip around the US following the blue lines, not the Interstate highways, on an old Rand McNally road atlas. Along the way he wrote about places and about conversations he had with people. That book hit a nerve with me.

My Dad always talked about just driving down the road to see what he could see. His talking about doing a road trip became a dream of mine too. I thought that when he retired he would do it, but other than a trip to California he didn't head out on that open road. Then my mother was sick. After she died, I thought he might do it but again, he didn't.

Hitting the Blue Highways has been on my bucket list for a long time but somehow I've never done it. I've done some road trips but I was getting from point A to point B usually on an Interstate Highway. So when #3 brought up the book, I immediately thought, Billie, are you going to talk about taking a road trip on the blue highways and die without doing it?

When I close my eyes I can see a drive from Galveston to Lake Charles to Sugartown, Louisiana where my Dad grew up. Then back to the coast at New Orleans, somehow to Key West to look across the ocean to Cuba. Turn and head North zig-zagging along on blue lines and small towns until I hit Savannah and Charleston.

Yes, it is on the Bucket List, but I wonder if it is better to leave the long road trip as a dream. It might not be as romantic or the adventure I've long dreamed about. Of course, if I don't like it, I can always turn around and drive back. Whether I do it or not there is one thing I'm sure about, I don't want to get to the place where I don't have any thing on my bucket list. Without a bucket list, what is left?

The image above is another from my Mercer Log and Port Aransas project.

24 comments:

  1. A few places you have to stop: Sugar sand beaches at Destin or Panama City, Tarpon Springs FL, Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay, Sanibel Island for shelling, Everglades for amazing birds, Key West for the crazies, Daytona Beach, Sea Island GA, Savannah, Savannah Beach (old style southern), Charleston, Outer Banks NC

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    1. Neel, thank you. Now I can put some dots on the road map.

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    2. I ready this book the year it was published -- 1982 -- and have had a serious case of wanderlust ever since. I don't know how many times I have done road trips following the blue lines, the black lines, and even the dotted lines on a map. It where my best images have come from. Don't talk about it, just do it.

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    3. Frank, you are probably the person who told me about Blue Highways. I don't have much time on this trip but I may take a day and head down a road.

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  2. So, when are you embarking upon the road trip?

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    1. Red Shoes, I do not know. But it will not be this month.

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  3. Do it. And soon. I have decided to stop saying "no" when ideas pop into my head. Both cruises I am taking this year are not cruises I had in mind for myself. I was invited along. But I am betting I will have the time of my life on both. Just do it.

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    1. Steve, that is the right attitude. But saying NO isn't the problem as much as the pocketbook. LOL

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    2. If the pockebook is an issue, do your roadtrip through Mexico. Hotels are cheap and plentiful. I've stayed many a place for 350 pesos a night, and now am staying in a fairly plush place for only 550 pesos. And gas costs about the same as in the USA.

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  4. Go. The way and how will appear. Just head out with faith and your sense of adventure in place. It doesn't matter at all how far you get - what matters is that you'll never regret going however far you do.

    Barbara

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    1. I know, Barbara, just take one step at a time and pretty soon you are in a new place

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  5. Let me know if you are heading to Key West, my home for nearly 30 years. My son and his wife will take you out boating. Happy trails.
    Judy

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  6. Let me know if you head down to Key West, my home for nearly 30 years. My son and his wife will take you out boating.
    Judy

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    1. I will definitely let you know when I head that way.

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  7. Do it while you can. You don't want to look back later on and wish that you had.
    Life is too short for regrets.

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    1. Brenda, that is so true. Now, at least soon, I need to get on with it.

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  8. Billie!!! Do it!!! I thought about my own road trip for a LONG time, and several times along the way I thought about backing out of either parts of it (the Yucatán) or the whole thing. Literally at one point in early March, I started to look at flights to Bogotá, and found that they ran somewhere between $500-$600, and I very nearly canceled the whole Mexico trip in favor of Colombia.

    But because I had already written about going to Mexico on my blog, and because I still really wanted to see more of Mexico, and because of the prodding of some good friends like Joanna, I did my road trip, and it's been one of the most amazing things I've ever done.

    So just do it!!!!

    If you want, I can e-mail some tips. But I think the most important one is this: start out slow. I overdid the driving in the early stage, and it really exhausted me. Now I seem to have built up some "driving stamina" and can handle more. But at the beginning it was hard.

    And you as a photographer would have that added element in the trip. And we, your readers, would love to see those places through your eyes and to read about it.

    So do it! Do it!!!

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Tehuacán, Puebla
    Where we are amazed at the INCREDIBLY good luck we've had all along the way.

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    1. Kim, I'm convinced that I need to block out some time and just DO IT. However, I will not do it in Mexico. There are some places in the US that I'd like to explore.

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  9. Well, it isn't like you've been just sitting around. :) I seem to remember something about a trip along a river in Europe very recently. Anyway, I certainly hope that you take that adventure. You've reminded me that I've wanted, for a while, to drive the entire 469 miles of The Blue Ridge Parkway, but I've not done it yet. I need to get on that. It's only about 3 hours away to start.

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    1. Paul, I've been on the road although it wasn't a Blue Highways….more like the Blue Sky trip. After this weekend I'll have some time to explore and I've been looking at the old Houston-Galveston road. Just a day trip but hopefully off of the beaten path of Interstate 45 between Houston and Galveston.

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  10. Funny to stumble onto your blog. I've been dreaming about Blue Highways recently also. Planning 4weeks in San Miguel as the beginning of a different chapter.

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  11. Joyce, please try to look me up when you get to SMA.

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  12. Stew and I also have been talking about a driving trip from Louisiana into Mississippi, maybe for a couple of weeks. Never been out that way and we keep talking about "The South" as if it were the backside of the moon. Maybe next spring.

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    1. There should be some good Blue roads in Louisiana and Mississippi. And Spring would be a great time for the azaleas.

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