| LAUREN QUINCY GREATHOUSE | photographer
The "Blue Highways" of America, thus named because years ago they were the ones marked in blue on our maps, are the arteries of this country. They used to be the thoroughfares that took everyone everywhere. Towns along these roads bustled and prospered with activity much like the earlier cities that lined the railways where trains fed the people to the towns. But just as the invention of the car killed train travel, starving those cities until they crumbled, the creation of the interstate gave America a way to go faster. No longer was there a need to meander through the countryside and see the towns along the way. No longer was there need for the two-lane ribbons of asphalt that bobbed and weaved through America’s inner soul, we wanted to go fast. The journey became only about the destination, only about the Point A and Point B and how fast you can make it from one to the other. America lost its sense on adventure, it’s ability to stop and look. It became lost in all its drive-thrus and express lanes. Mom and Pop’s diners were replaced by Burger King and McDonalds. We began to whiz through the landscape like there was nothing to see, NPS has to post signs on the road now, to let us know that there is something worth looking at ahead, a fucking road sign that says, “LOOK.”
These days the blue lines are the interstates, freeways, main thoroughfares, at least as far as Rand McNally is concerned. They lead you through crowded cities like Chicago, IL, Phoenix, AZ and Dallas, TX. They whisk you across the country at a steady 75 miles per hour with a sense of quickening anonymity, turning beautiful scenery into a blur of colors and mile markers.
The backroads contain more than ETAs, rest stops, view points and passing lanes. They are filled with the overflowing culture of this country; diners instead of Burger Kings, Globe instead of Phoenix. There are slower speeds involved, yes, but the better to see your country with. A landscape ventured through by such greats as Kerouac and Steinbeck, both of whose novels are littered with stories of the East, West, North and South. So often overlooked is the adventure of the Road Trip. This body of work was created to celebrate the process, the friendships that are created and the things seen and experienced when one is will to simply embrace the journey itself.