One of the current books I’m reading is about two 21st century guys who in 2012 took off on a 4-month trip along the Oregon Trail in a for-freaking-real covered wagon pulled by mules. Holy Smokes what an adventure that would be! This is one of those times where I get to live vicariously through someone else since I have no clue how to drive a team of mules, maintain a wagon, and would need at least a year to account for all of my spontaneous stops, Facebook posts, photography and blogging. The two guys were Rinker and Nick Buck and the tagline for their trip was “See America Slowly”. I wouldn’t only apply that bit of advice to the United States and the Oregon Trail, I would apply it to everywhere.

“See Everywhere Slowly”

When visiting another country, I do things where I can connect with people, absorb culture and drink in the atmosphere. When staying local, I take time to appreciate all the things easily taken for granted, which brings me to the beauty of driving back roads.

Back roads are winding as if deliberately built to force one to take their time, slow down, look around and discover. Back roads are full of spectacular views and expected surprises. Back roads are dusty, rocky, hilly, uneven, grassy, and some are barely there, mere shadows of a time long past. Back roads are both a history lesson and a lesson for life – “Tomorrow is promised to no one”.

I’ve been back in Southwestern Oregon for almost 3-months now and I am so very fortunate to have an endless abundance of back roads, including a pioneer wagon road still in existence from 1872 that can be accessed from my childhood town. This is just one of the many reasons why everyone needs to visit Oregon, specifically Southwestern Oregon. I’ve started highlighting routes I’ve taken on a map to help me plan my next adventure. I stay off of the interstates and major roads as much as possible.

Yesterday my daughter and her fiancé came with me. We took 7.5 hours to drive a loop that took us on forestry roads around a mountain and ended up back on the coastline less than an hour from the California border. We stopped to admire the views, check out great camping spots, wander through sleepy town markets, many serious fork-in-the-road debates, and acknowledged the possibility that grandma might need to send out a search party. Luckily that didn’t need to happen. At the end of the day we came back with exciting stories of our adventure.

Drive Back Roads – Memories are Guaranteed.

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