Monday, August 25, 2014

The Road Less Traveled

Christine Johnson here today to talk about roads. That might not sound terribly exciting, but roads (and paths) are an oft-used metaphor for life's journey. 

Long ago when I was in school, one of my favorite poems was Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” I loved the imagery of the fork in the road and the choice of which path to take—well-trodden or less traveled. How easy to take the interstate expressway, yet by doing so we miss the treasures found on narrow byways.

gravel road


Sometimes the road or path might seem frightening. Here I am hiking high above the road in Glacier National Park…and thinking that the road might have been the better option!

narrow path


Back in the 1920s, there were no expressways. Most roads were dirt or gravel and heavily rutted. Car tires blew out frequently. Carrying spares was a necessity. I can’t recall the last time I checked my spare, least of all used it. Lumber states, like Michigan in its early years, sometimes paved roads with slabs of wood so wagons and buggies wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. Some of those survived into the twentieth century. I can imagine the teeth-chattering washboard effect of driving on slab wood. The hero and heroine in my upcoming release, Suitor by Design, end up on one of those old roads under the worst of circumstances.

I still enjoy a scenic road. I love the possibilities around each bend or at each fork. During this summer’s trip to Mt. Rainier National Park, we found this wood suspension bridge at Longmire. My husband and I walked across the bridge, which was only wide enough for one car to cross at a time.

wood suspension bridge


What interesting byways have you found in your travels? Do you have a favorite drive or bridge? Which fork in the road did you choose, and where did it lead you?

Cover for Suitor by Design


Christine Johnson
Suitor by Design (LIH, October 2014)
Twitter: @ChristineJWrite


15 comments:

  1. Christine, thanks for sharing those great photos! Most recently, we walked across a suspension bridge over Tullulah Gorge at the State Park. It's a little breathtaking to walk over a swinging bridge like that! Especially if kids start jumping on it to make it rock. :)

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  2. I love you your photos. I want to go to Glacier National Park. Your talk about the spare reminds me of the time I was traveling cross-country, just me and my two girls, from Boston to Spokane and had a flat on highway 212 in Montana. I do know how to change a flat, but I was so thankful to some strangers who stopped to help. I had to stop in the little town of Hardin, MT to buy a new tire. This summer on my way to RWA, I stopped first to visit my brother in Lubbock, TX. I drove north through NM rather than taking the southern route on I-10. I drove by the White Sands Missile Range and through some really cool mountains. It was definitely the road less traveled.

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  3. Lovely pictures. I get lost everywhere so I tend to try to stay on paved roads! :)

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  4. Those were beautiful roads although I don't know if I would have done the one on the side of the mountain.

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  5. Yikes, Missy! A suspension bridge over a gorge would have me hanging on for dear life. Good for you for crossing it despite the kids jumping on it. Sad to say, I would have been one of those kids back in the day. It's only fitting that heights now make me a bit nervous.

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  6. Hi Merrillee! I love Glacier National Park and have been there five times. If you ever decide to go, I can clue you in on my favorite spots.

    I'm super impressed that you drove across the country with your two girls - and dealt with a flat tire!

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  7. Dana, you made me laugh out loud. Years ago when fuel was much less expensive, my husband and I loved to drive on dirt roads out in the country. We'd see a road and just follow it. I have had to figure out how to turn around a narrow two-track before I got totally lost or ended up someplace I didn't want to go, but my scariest driving mistake was on a paved road. I took a couple wrong turns in Detroit and ended up in an alley in a really bad neighborhood. Yep, by myself. Needless to say, I was praying very loudly.

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  8. Hi Margaret! That hiking trail (and the road also) on the side of the mountain is super scary at first. That's why I'm reaching back for the handrail. Many people see that section and turn back to the visitor center at Logan Pass. If you persist, however, the brain adjusts, and before long the drop-off doesn't look scary anymore. Not sure if that's a good thing or not. This is one place where I never sightsee while walking. Stop and then look.

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  9. Beautiful photos, Christine. Since we usually travel to Colorado, many of the roads we take are much like that one you were hiking on. Old mine roads with barely enough room for a single vehicle. But they afford us some of the most beautiful scenery.

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  10. Enjoyed your post, Christine. We love to explore back roads, but nearly as much as my daughter her tends to take a different route some place every time she travels...to see new things. Of course, if my heroine were doing that it would be because she's afraid someone's following her. ;)

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  11. Hi Mindy! I'd like to see Colorado one day. The mountain roads are still harrowing for this flat-lander. I do prefer driving to riding, though. My hubbie gets high marks for letting me take (or rather, clutch onto) the wheel.

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  12. Sandra, your daughter sounds adventurous. Good for her!

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  13. I love roads less traveled. We're quadders. Our absolutely favorite thing is to be in the middle of nowhere with less traveled roads to explore :)

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  14. My favorite road is Highway 49, which winds its way through California's historic Gold Country. I love visiting the Gold Rush towns sprinkled along its 295 miles.

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  15. That sounds like fun, Pamela!

    Keli, I'll have to add Highway 49 to my list of places to see.

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