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Main Street

Ginger, a 1977 Triumph Spitfire, has made many trips throughout the central United States. Because she is not currently happy to maintain speeds of more than 55 miles per hour for very long, we always travel on the back roads and byways. In the more than thirteen thousand miles we’ve driven Ginger since we took on the Drive Away Cancer mission we’ve come to realize there are parts of America that are scarcely seen these days.

IMG1113When President Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned the interstate highway system, he likely saw a means of faster, easier shipping to previously inaccessible areas; however, no one could foretell the fate that would befall Main Street America as the interstate system developed. Life, and especially travel, has become fast paced. As more travelers took to the roads the focus has changed from the journey to merely reaching the destination as quickly as possible, giving up the personal touch one once had while traveling and replacing it with truck stops, fast foods and tail lights.

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Historic court house in Stoughton, Wisconsin.

I was several years into my childhood before I ever saw an interstate highway. What I did see were rows of shops, cafes and full service filling stations in every town we passed through. Even the bustling downtown shops had a front porch, a place where people would gather to visit and pass the time.

Now we pass through these small towns and see empty buildings. We see closed storefronts. We see train depots turned into museums or worse yet rotting away like the buildings surrounding them. Buildings that were once the hub of the community are long since abandoned. Ironically, these rails brought the people who developed the towns. These same people who were employed to build the interstate system that would eventually take the buzz, the life out of Main Street.

Although sometimes we are pressed for time, we are thankful for Ginger’s low speeds. We are forced to slow down and see the sights. If we were to travel the interstate we may encounter a few people along the way; however, driving the byways ensures we will encounter special people that have pride in their towns and do their best to keep Main Street alive. We see unusual things.

IMG1085We see the mountains and lakes of the Ozarks. We see basket weavers, quilt stands and silos. We see ten feet tall cows wearing tutus. We see the full moon rising over the corn fields in Iowa, the sun as it sets on the rice paddies of the Arkansas Delta and the windmills of Oklahoma. We see beautiful and historical architecture, giant animal statues and memorials honoring a town’s heroes. We smell dairy farms in Wisconsin, hear the raging rivers along the way, and smell fresh flowers blooming on every road we take. We experience fruit or produce festivals and county fairs. We see shadows of what once was. We see America. We experience America and we meet real people struggling to keep the American Dream alive.

We challenge you, the reader, the driver, the traveler, to experience America with us through Ginger’s headlamps. We challenge you to skip the fast food joints of the interstate exits and grab lunch at a small town eatery.

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We challenge you to slow down and enjoy the scenery. We challenge you to take the back roads. Put the top down if you can, roll the windows down and smell the country. Most of all slow down a little and do your part to keep Main Street America alive.

By Synnova Henthorne

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'Main Street' have 6 comments

  1. July 5, 2013 @ 8:51 pm Martyn

    What a lovely piece.

    Martyn

    Reply

  2. July 9, 2013 @ 8:23 am John

    Read this just this morning…while crossing from Michigan to Oregon on the “blue highways.” Why would anyone blast down “the slab” in an LBC? …or even a motorcycle! Greetings from the Bonneville Salt Flats today.
    JohnD

    Reply

  3. July 10, 2013 @ 8:56 pm Gary

    Your writing ability never ceases to amaze me Syn. You really point out the joys of driving LBCs in rural America.
    Thank you for all you do.
    Gary B

    Reply

  4. July 11, 2013 @ 9:07 pm Synnova

    Thank you all. It took me a long time to realize I was speeding through life. When Ginger came along I realized how much I had missed by zipping down the freeways. Life is on the back roads. I met a guy years ago who was walking from NYC to California because he wanted to see the “real America”. I was a brief part of his story along his journey. I have since realized how much of America I have missed because I was more focused on the destination than the actual journey. Slow down, live life, love life. Bless you all.

    Synnova

    Reply

  5. July 11, 2013 @ 9:15 pm Brad Williams

    Hey I know that car, lol

    Reply

  6. July 18, 2013 @ 10:13 am Daphne McCoy

    Hey Syn, Way to Go

    Reply


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