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 Blue Highways

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  • Total Posts: 69
  • Joined: 5/10/2005
  • Location: Rutherford NJ
Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 6:12 PM (permalink)
My favorite book of all time is "Blue Highways", by William Least Heat Moon. In a nutshell, the author was at a crossroads personally and professionally, and he decided to drive his van around the country only taking back roads (Blue Highways). He's a professor, so he adds some intelligence and history to his story.

I was wondering...has anyone read this book, and can anyone add any "Roadfood" perspectives since this book was published almost 20 years ago? (I always loved his '5 calendar' criteria of deciding whether a diner/roadside was going to be excellent.)


    • Total Posts: 2902
    • Joined: 4/21/2001
    • Location: Round Rock, TX
    RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 6:28 PM (permalink)
    I read the book when it was first published. Late '70's??

    Great book. I can't speak to the roadfood question, but I remember the book fit right into my wanderlust.

      • Total Posts: 214
      • Joined: 7/17/2003
      • Location: La Crosse, WI
      RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 6:59 PM (permalink)
      Blue Highways was published in 1983. Before we had driver's licenses, my cousins and I always talked about how when we were grown up we'd take off and just drive around the country for a few months. Of course, life gets in the way and we never did. But Blue Highways was a great vicarious thrill. Unfortunately, I think there are a lot fewer places that meet Mr. Least Heat Moon's criteria nowadays.
        mayor al

        • Total Posts: 15069
        • Joined: 8/20/2002
        • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
        • Roadfood Insider
        RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 7:11 PM (permalink)
        Athough it is a generation gone since I read Blue Highways...and Travels with Charlie also, I think both had an influence on the character traits I already had developing regarding my personal wanderlust.

        I was 40 in 1982, with 3 jobs and 8 kids and a soon to be ex-wife to support, so the behaviors of the wanderers in both books had a sort of "solution to my problems" issue.

        @ 25 years later I am able to incorporate some of the best concepts presented by the authors into the behaviors of myself, my traveling companion/wife, and even my two canine associates.

          • Total Posts: 2429
          • Joined: 6/17/2005
          • Location: Kannapolis area, NC
          RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 8:30 PM (permalink)
          I debated w/ myself if I should respond to this but both books influenced my life dramaticaly. Good, bad, or indifferent? Caused a trip to Alaska in summer and a return in winter. Hey, I was stupid in my younger years. Both great books but what are theey doing in the food related column?
            mayor al

            • Total Posts: 15069
            • Joined: 8/20/2002
            • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
            • Roadfood Insider
            RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 8:38 PM (permalink)

            Good Point. It is now where it belongs.

              • Total Posts: 6227
              • Joined: 4/24/2005
              • Location: Tonka Bay, MN
              RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 9:32 PM (permalink)
              BLUE HIGHWAYS was a failed book attempt until William Least Heat-Moon tied the travels in with his Indian heritage. I read the book many years ago. He had a followup book, RIVER-HORSE, Across America by Boat, published in 1999. I just realized I bought RIVER-HORSE and it still sits in my to read shelf. I have lots of books like that.

              We just traveled some blue highways in our camper van. A few results can be found in the Pork Tenderloins thread under Sandwiches. Now that we have a camper van we all the more determined to stick the the blue highways. We had a great breakfast in Newberry, MI on the Upper Peninsula at a place called the Island Cafe. It was a cafe and not a bar but everything was done up in Caribbean style. I guess during the winter months it could be quite a paradise to start the day.
                Tony Bad

                RE: Blue Highways Thu, 06/8/06 11:30 PM (permalink)
                River Horse is a good is PrairyErth, both by Mr. Least Heat-Moon. The latter is about a small area in Kansas, yet it feels like a longer trip!!

                I love books like this, as my travels are limited these days.

                Another favorite is called Magnetic North: A trek across Canada.

                None of these have much roadfood content, but are great reading.
                  mr chips

                  • Total Posts: 4715
                  • Joined: 2/19/2003
                  • Location: portland, OR
                  RE: Blue Highways Fri, 06/9/06 1:02 AM (permalink)
                  Blue Highways had a great influence on me. I have travelled the backroads in Mr. Least Heat Moon's footsteps and I have enjoyed the ride.

                    • Total Posts: 105
                    • Joined: 8/13/2003
                    • Location: Saint Louis, MO
                    RE: Blue Highways Fri, 06/9/06 10:32 PM (permalink)
                    Blue Highways is the only book I have loaned out which came back with a thank you note from the borrower. Another book I found interesting from around the same time was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. May have to give both a re-read.

                      • Total Posts: 2936
                      • Joined: 5/26/2004
                      • Location: Mountain Top, PA
                      RE: Blue Highways Fri, 06/9/06 10:46 PM (permalink)
                      I enjoyed River Horse, found PrairyErth tough going but made my way through it. I read Blue Highways back when.

                      During the time I read the first two, I also read Peter Guralnick's music trilogy, Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians, Feel Like Going Home: Portraits in Blues and Rock 'n' Roll, and Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom. All are HIGHLY recommended, as well as his two volume bio of Elvis, Last Train to Memphis/Careless Love. But read the Elvis later.


                        • Total Posts: 1948
                        • Joined: 7/30/2005
                        • Location: Hinton, VA
                        RE: Blue Highways Sun, 06/11/06 4:01 AM (permalink)
                        Hello All,
                        I loved reading "Blue Highways."
                        It taught me the lesson that treasures aren't
                        always found where we expect to find them, but often hidden
                        away in places you'd least expect. He was on his quest.
                        Take Care,
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