|Photo: (c) Linda Pogue, 2008|
My Dad's Legacy: Love of Driving the Back Roads
One of my dad's legacies to his children is our love of driving the back roads of this beautiful United States of America. You never know what you will find, what you will see, or who you will meet.
Several years ago, my husband and I decided to take some back roads in northwest Arkansas instead of driving a more direct route to get where we were going. We came across this old house. With a pond (some people call it a tank) in front, and a narrow walking bridge going to the island in the center of the pond, I was entranced. We stopped long enough to take this picture.
When we got to my dad's place a few weeks later, I showed him the picture. I wasn't sure at that point just what it was. He told us it was an old house with a 'dog run' between the two parts of the house. Houses were built this way many years ago, he said, to keep the kitchen heat out of the sleeping and living areas during the summer months.
Without air conditioning, the heat from an oven was unbearable, so they built the house in two parts, the kitchen in one part, and the living quarters in the other. Dad told me about families he knew as a kid who lived in houses like this. He said they kept smoked and salted meat hung in the rafters between the houses to keep animals from getting to it.
We moved away from the area a few years back, but recently we were able to drive through there again. Unfortunately, the old house has fallen in. The traffic was too bad to stop and get a photo, but I really didn't want to, anyway. I prefer remembering it this way.
We have driven back roads in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, and Oklahoma. There are three pieces of advice I can give for anyone wanting to do the same.
- Buy a TomTom or another GPS device to prevent you getting lost.
- Every time you come to a fair sized town, take a bathroom break. Small towns seldom have a place with a public bathroom, and you never know what you might step on or into if you try to go in the country side (if you aren't used to the country, you won't be used to seeing snakes in their natural habitat, either).
- And last but not least, take a cell phone in case you have car trouble.
Web Connected Phone and GSP to the Rescue
In years past, we traveled often to lectureships and conferences. One year, we were in Alabama, heading for Pensacola, FL, when we had a flat. It was raining (of course), and it took a while to get the flat changed to the spare.
Then we realized the spare was not holding air. We were several hundred miles from anyone we knew, so there was no help there. Using the Internet connection on my phone, I looked up the closest Wal-Mart with a Tire Center. It didn't give the street address, so I called the number I found, and got the address.
After putting the address into the TomTom, we drove straight there with no troubles, even though it was a twisty, turny back road with several direction and road changes. By the way, thanks to the employees at that Wal-Mart! They not only changed the tire, they went above and beyond in their service. It was much appreciated!
What precautions do you take when you drive back roads?