Breaking news: William Least Heat-Moon just gave us his blessing to use his best-seller’s title in our blog’s name. That is a big deal. Imagine the literary pretentions one must have to name a blog on full-time RV life after Heat-Moon’s travelogue of self-discovery, a book which is required reading in many college English courses.
I am guilty as charged.
The story behind Blue Highways is that within the space of a single day in 1978 Heat-Moon lost his wife to divorce and his university teaching job to the brutal economics of declining enrollment. Upon some reflection he made this decision: “If a man can’t make things go right, at least he can go.” And go he did. For three months he lived out of his van traveling all over the country, finding himself, and some personal truths along the way. His ride, “Ghost Dancing”, was a basic Ford Econoline van. It had a wooden bunk, carried a one-burner camp stove, a Sears portable toilet, a sleeping bag and a blanket. His assets were $458, gas credit cards, a Nikon camera, pen and paper, clothes and a toothbrush. He had no job and no plan to find one. Like most of us, he made do on what he could scrape up, learning life lessons as he went through burgs like Brooklyn Bridge, KY, Nameless, TN, and Dime Box, TX to name a few.
On maps Blue Highways are the small, less-travelled roads. Heat-Moon avoided cities and interstate highways as he searched to find himself in the real America. His journal became the basis for his 1982 book Blue Highways. It’s still available in paperback and Kindle and is a fine read that will inspire your travels. You will find it insightful, not to mention entertaining and wonderfully written.
The Kat and I are beginning our Life On the Blue Highways. We will begin where we retired, in south Louisiana, near New Orleans. Kat’s been a full-time mom, then sold port-o-lets, wedding gowns, and hearing aids
I’ve done finance and accounting work in public accounting, distribution, telecom, and home-building. And we both worked our last full time jobs in bar management in the French Quarter. Yo, it’s been fun, but enough is enough.
We will hit the road for good when Pink, our sweet old Springer Spaniel, is sufficiently recovered from her surgery. But for now, we are living in our trailer, hitched up to 30 amp outlets in state parks in Madisonville or Mandeville, gloating over our America the Beautiful discounts, and learning how to live The Good Life in a 28’ Airstream, a New York efficiency apartment on wheels.
Everybody has to start somewhere, even if you’re 60-something.
Here we go.
3 thoughts on “In the Beginning”
What a great-looking ride! Testament the old saying that ‘you can’t drive your house but you can live is your car’ is dead wrong. Looking forward to the further adventures of Jackson, Kat, and Pink as they roam the U S of A and perhaps points beyond. xo, Clay (& Mike who is still abed)
p.s. Here’s what Mike is doing, installation soon. I’ve got a new book coming out in August. Tell Pink there are dogs!
Thank you very much, Clay. We have advanced north and run into the trailing elements of the retreating Old Man Winter. Still have to get to S Dakota by mid May for that Drivers License. And we are just clowns … you and Mike are artists. Keep up the good work!
Greaat post thanks