When I was a lad (and dinosaurs still roamed the land), if you wanted to go somewhere by car, you drove along nice two- and four-lane state and county roads, enjoying the sights. The interstate highway system has eliminated a lot of that: we are in a hurry and drive white-knuckled through a landscape of strip malls and gas stations and light industry and fast-food places, and 95% of everything you see from the car is exactly the same as you’d see anywhere else in the country.
That’s how I traveled, due to work/vacation time pressure, for the last 45 years. But I retired last year, and now I look on a map (on paper!) and pick state and county roads that are going in the right general direction. I loaf along through small towns and past farms and churches and pleasant country homes in beautiful scenery. (And for some reason, also through Dollar General stores, which pop up every 3 miles in the country.) I will take interstate for a half-hour if I need to, but in general, I aim for two-lane roads, not four-lane, even in the country. These small roads are often much more direct routes to anywhere, they’re just slower
I never eat at a fast-food or big-chain place unless I have no choice. I *do* aim toward a big town or an interstate toward the end of the day: big-chain hotels are nice. In the last 3 months (as of writing this) I’ve driven around 3400 miles this way and it has taken me probably 50% longer than on the interstates. I love traveling this way! Below are some photos from my recent travels. (PS: I thought this page format would let you click on a photo for the full-sized version. It doesn’t, at least not in my browser. But you can always “open image in new window” to see the larger version. Sorry.)