Monday, May 29, 2006

The Best Driving

is on small highways.

It is said that there are alot of antique places on Red Arrow Highway, a local route that roughly paralells I94. So, having some free time, and a desire to be aimless, we decided to drive Red Arrow today, looking for antique shops. Even though I was certain they'd be closed on Memorial Day. There weren't that many antiques places, and they were, indeed, all closed.

But look, this is what we got to do: drive through at least five small towns: Paw Paw, Lawrence, Hartford, Watervliet, and Coloma. I saw dilapidaed barns galore. I don't know why, but I love dilapidated barns. I found out all sorts of weird things: There are not one, but two flea markets outside of Paw Paw. Hartford is full of mexican resteraunts, there are about half a dozen little Chinese joints in Paw-Paw, about thirty little bars and pubs up and down red arrow highway (and at least that many churces), two local history museums, there's a drive-in theater all the way out over by Hartford, and a hippie-pants ice cream shop in Watervliet. I had blue moon ice cream at Mollie's turnaround. And I probably got all that mixed up and put everything in the wrong place.

Small highways are never as faceless as the Interstates. You see people, and funny little businesses, and the texture of places. Sometimes places on the little highways have so much texture they look like they're about to fall down.

There's stuff on backroads. I like looking at other people's stuff.

As we were passing one patchy little homestead on the side of the road, I said to Ruby: "That house is next to the definition of ramshackle in the dictionary." And after a pause, I said, "This is the part of the movie where the car breaks down and we get eaten by inbred, radioactive rednecks, isn't it?"

Luckily, it wasn't, 'cause Poppy is too darling to be anybody's appetizer.

We met my sister in Paw-Paw, nearly by accident. Towards the beginning of the trip, she called to say she was on I-94 on her way out of state, and wanted to drop in. Oops. But we were going parallel in the same direction, so I gave her directions to the McDonalds in Paw Paw, and we hung around for a bit. Life on the move.

I am supposed to go swim, now, I think.


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