Dee’s Road Kill Café

The trailer magnifies every bump in the road for us in the car so on a bad road I feel like a kid bumping down the stairs on my bottom – for hours. Hastily contrived Plan B’s after we’ve juddered along Interstates have not been the ticket to marital harmony as we have gotten lost on local roads not shown in the road atlas. We’ve checked out the Interstates in most states and tend to want to avoid them, hence my unpatriotic comment about the Interstates in my Friday post.

English: Map of the present Interstate Highway...
English: Map of the present Interstate Highway System in the United States Labels: Two-digit interstates (dark orange line) Selected three-digit interstates (blue line) Selected planned interstates (green dashed line) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Eisenhower’s grand scheme, approved in the 1950’s to open up the country with a grid work of limited-access highways, made long-distance motor transport in the U.S. quick and easy. I was a little girl when I95 scythed through my grandparent’s dairy farm in Maryland, spoiling the country tranquility.

Currently running to 46,876 miles, the whole of the Interstate Highway System was completed . . . . well, it’s not done yet. And thanks to a complicated system of funding with federal, state and toll authority funds, we will probably rattle our brains out on the poorly maintained Interstates for years to come. They’re not all in bad repair but you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for until you are committed to at least that day’s route.

State and county roads usually have smoother road surfaces and less traffic hassle so that when we arrive at our destination at the cocktail hour Jimmy’s beers don’t explode, the contents of the bathroom cabinet don’t fall into the sink the first time it’s opened (so funny when I hear it happen to himself, “ARG*#@*&GH!”), and the frozen orange juice doesn’t launch itself onto your foot with the first visit to the freezer.

The country roads offer a slice of Americana as well.

Description unavailable
Description unavailable (Photo credit: LunaMoth116)

Had we stuck to the Interstate, we’d never have seen Whistle Binkies on the Lake in Rochester, Minnesota or the hair salon Curl Up and Dye in Georgia or Dee’s Road Kill Café on the back road to Atlanta; we wouldn’t have towed down Main Street in Brockport, New York and hooted with laughter at Fast Buck Fanny’s and Trader Shag’s Emporium.

If we hadn’t tooled along The Great River Road – Highway 52 – Iowa would have remained 56,276 square miles of beans and corn in our minds and we’d have missed the pretty town of Guttenberg nestled invitingly on the valley floor between the Mississippi River and the limestone bluffs, its limestone block buildings harking back to its origins over 150 years ago, a long history for this young country.

If we’d stayed on the Interstate instead of taking route 41 south in Georgia, we wouldn’t have seen fields of cotton and  the roadside littered with tufts of cotton, like so many wadded up tissues – real cotton – blown off the plants, the harvesters and the trucks hauling the cotton harvest to the train depot. Cotton was now a crop to be labored over in our minds, not just a shirt fabric in a store.

Cotton on porch of sharecropper's home, Maria ...
Cotton on porch of sharecropper’s home, Maria plantation, Ar… (Photo credit: New York Public Library)

There’s so much to see off the high speed roads and it’s a shame we can’t appraise every square mile.

What is your favorite back road?

16 thoughts on “Dee’s Road Kill Café

  1. Your description of I 95 scything through Grandmom and Grandpop’s farm is really apt. It affected our family for years to come. I stop to think once in a while when I see a barn or farmhouse right next to the road how that road changed that family. I too love the back roads and am usually in my car (as my RV stays put next to the grandchildren). But on good ‘ole Google maps, I always ask for non-toll roads and highways. Lovely to get away from the mainstream craziness!

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  2. Back roads are like mystery treasure chests…you never know what you are going to find. This year during our 10 month hiking adventure, our start and end points brought us down countless small country roads – and cart paths aspiring to be roads – I would never otherwise have a reason to be there. We discovered tiny little hamlets, stunning real estate properties and an abundance of wildlife. Love it!

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  3. Fast Buck Fanny’s? LOL! I won’t ask what her wares were…. 🙂 I love travelling on the old roads- now much cheaper than the French motorway, too, and sometimes proves to be faster when the summer tourists clog up the network. I love the Nationale 7, which links Provence with Paris.

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    1. Oh yes, another favorite! Highway 1 and 101 – brilliantly scenic for the passenger, not so much for the driver (I’m told). “Ooo look” I say, “I’m trying to watch the road!” himself says. You know how it goes.

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  4. Hmm backroads in a car or motorhome? We do try to avoid interstate and take the backroads, which most of them are scenic but narrower. Like you we’ve been to so many and I can only remember the most recent one, highway 12 along the outer banks of NC that even included two ferry rides to get back to the mainland.

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        1. The bridge on Route 158, just north of Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills. It may not have affected your big rig in the same way or they may have improved it now but we juddered our brains out on it more than once!

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