I like two lane highways. When they pass through a town they have real names like Walnut Street—not Business 10.
Next time you drive a rural Interstate notice the service road. Chances are it was an old two lane highway. They don’t even call the Interstates highways anymore, just numbers like I-10.
Interstates all look the same. You can see straight ahead for miles—no hills, plenty of time to plan, or scheme. No surprises.
Two lane highways have hills and wander through forests. The sight line is rarely more than a few football fields.
You can buy a snow cone on a two lane.
In small towns bus stations are on the two-lane. When people say goodbye—for college, a business trip, war—it’s there, not at the on ramp of an interstate. They watch the bus till it’s a dot on the horizon.
Two lanes used to have brick service stations with drive-throughs. These were places where a man with a whisk broom swept out your car and cleaned the windshield. It always seemed to drive better after that. You can still see them. They’re mostly abandoned now.
I like to think of the people who stopped at these stations. They bought a Coke for a nickel and, while the attendant filled the tanks, discussed the weather, the price of gas, or the baseball standings. In those days people talked to strangers, found out what they thought, where they were from.
We don’t do that anymore.
Charles Kuralt said, “Thanks to the Interstate System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”
He was right. That’s why, when I have a choice, I take the two-lane. It reminds me of a simpler time—when life was more than a number.
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