Apr 22, 2008
William Least Heat Moon on Seeing in Travel
In one chapter of Blue Highways,* William Least Heat Moon picks up a hitch-hiker who persuades him to take a different route.
She looked at me absently and said, "Hmmm," her curiosity easily satisfied. "If you took me on to Green Bay you could get the ferry across Lake Michigan. You wouldn't have to drive through Chicago. Please?"
I agreed to it although now I would be across Wisconsin without really seeing Wisconsin. Later, as we drove along state 29 through the moraine country of dairy farms and fine old barns, across the Embarrass River, it occurred to me that I had seen something of Wisconsin. What I hadn't seen was the Wisconsin of my blue highway preconceptions. Little is so satisfying to the traveler as realizing he missed seeing what he assumed to be in a place before he went.
*apparently my favorite book. See another quote here at the Archer Pelican. See interviews with William Least Heat Moon here from Powell's and here from Salon. I'm planning a long US road trip in July and August, and might do some pre-trip reading here at BlueHighways.org.