Faded Lines: My Love of Backroads


I remember when I was 8 years old and my parents drove our family down this barely two-lane unmarked backroad on the outskirts of Hendersonville, TN.  We arrived at a piece of land full of trees and brush, when they told us this would be our new home.  At the time, I couldn't imagine what my father saw, I just thought he had lost his mind and was going to make us live in the woods off this backroad that hardly anyone else occupied.  He was a visionary though, that road led to the15 acres where he saw himself on a bulldozer clearing the path to the flat spot in the middle of the property, where my mother and him would stick build our house.  He saw a garden in the back full of corn, tomatoes and squash.  He saw us running around in the yard playing sports and having freedom to explore.  He saw himself introducing his kids to motorcycles, farming and hard work.  He saw the memories we all would make as we grew up and the lessons we would learn on this piece of land. See, he knew that backroad led to a little piece of paradise where he would raise his family.

There are so many things I learned from my father, but one that I treasure most is the passion of traveling backroads.  As a family, we would often take drives in the country and he would just turn down these roads that lead to wooded areas and farm lands or a creek that we would stop and skip rocks for a while.  He may not have been a world traveler or even a frequent vacationer, but he was a wanderer in his own right.  He knew every backroad in middle Tennessee and where it lead . . . and if he didn't know it, you bet your life, he would want to drive down it just to see where it went.  That's how he found our farm and also the piece of land he built our summer cabin on. 

I think that's why I feel most at home on backroads during my road trips.  I take turns onto gravel roads.  I live for a one lane unpaved gateway to somewhere unknown. Maybe I've gotten, what most would call "lost", a time or two, but I don't consider it that.   I think of it as an adventure of detours and I have faith that one of the roads will lead me back OR lead me to a destination that I won't want to leave.  

My father passed in November 2017 and I know that one of the places I feel his presence is when I go riding around, listening to the songs he wrote and sometimes stopping at a creek to skip rocks or to let my dog, Chance, go for a swim.   The passion of wandering came from him.  I took it to a different level with the long road trips I've taken, but I know it's my father's inspiration that makes me want to take turns down roads with faded lines, leading to my own little temporary piece of paradise.   

Keep Wandering!