These backroads

I’m a lucky man, I gotta real good life
With all the things I’ve done
Nothin’ gets me as high
As flyin’ down a back road

Justin Moore, native of Poyen, Arkansas

The other day I shared a couple of images of dramatic Ozarkansas skies, snapped as we were driving west on US Route 62. Deb and I got to talking about how often we marvel at the sky here, wondering whether or not it really is different — I mean, isn’t it the same sky we left behind in Ohio?

Well, of course it is. So what’s with all the oohs and aahs, then?

We thought about that a bit and came up with a two-part explanation. First, terrain — this part of The Ozarks is rolling, for sure, but the region’s sparsely populated plateaus also create long sight lines. That combination, while it may not be unique, is unusual, and it gives rise to some spectacular vistas.

Related to that is what roads and highways do (and must do) in order to get us from here to there. The stretch of Route 62 between Yellville and Bellefonte, for example, technically runs westbound and technically goes up in elevation about 500 feet. The topography, however, makes those 23 miles anything but linear. The trip dips and darts and jumps all along the way, giving us views of the western sky from every conceivable angle.

We see a cumulative panorama — up and down, north to south — without ever having to turn our heads. It’s pretty cool.

And then there are the state routes, the county roads, the tracks transporting us from highways to heights and hollers, the special places. Maybe they’re numbered, or maybe they’re named. Maybe they’re not.

These are the backroads.

The backroads of Ozarkansas are a smile factory. Neither engineers nor builders ’round these parts are easily discouraged — if folks need to go someplace, rough men will find a way to get ’em there. Switchbacks and guardrails are rare, the roads (paved or not) climbing straight up absurd grades and clinging to steep mountainsides.

Bridges (of the kind that stand above the water being spanned) are optional.

Even the most routine errand can become an amusement-park ride. In many places the landscape has the character of a pastoral park, and these roads make beauty more accessible than anywhere else I’ve ever been.

The backroads of Ozarkansas don’t just show travelers a postcard — they immerse us in it.

It’s easy to get lost. It’s tempting to wander. Destinations take a back seat to journeys.

I wonder what’s down that road?

Enjoy this collection of memorable backroads moments, plucked from thousands (so far).

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB