Blue Highways

Posted by on Aug 26, 2019 in Blog, Featured | 4 comments

Blue Highways

Traveling has always been a major part of my life. When I was growing up, our family used to pile into our VW bus and we headed from the Midwest to Maine every summer. I would always sit up in front with my father and be his navigator. I fell in love with maps and being on the road early in my life.

Later, I read a book written by William Least Heat-Moon entitled Blue Highways. The title of the book refers to the back roads on maps—major highways were red and small, back roads were blue. The book is about Heat-Moon’s travels around the United States on back roads. I remember reading it with a road atlas open in front of me, tracking his progress. That book stirred my interest in traveling.

It’s fun to think back on my most memorable trips. Hiking with Farn in the Dolomites in Italy about 10 years ago with Backroads, a hiking company, is probably my most memorable trip.  The Dolomites are absolutely gorgeous and Backroads runs a top-notch hiking experience. But there are other favorite trips such as the one Farn and I took in Hawaii when we were younger. We hiked for two days to get back to a private beach along the Na Pali Coast in Kauai. We set up our tent on the beach, took showers in the waterfalls, and ate mangos from the trees.

Another trip that stands out was a business trip that I took down to Patagonia in Argentina. I was facilitating a meeting of Mattel managers. When I got off the plane, I remember noticing the clarity of the sky against the mountains. There was simply no pollution in the air. I had never seen anything like it—clear, crisp, and beautiful. It was like a painting.

One more……my sister, Susie, her husband, Tom, and their two boys joined Farn, me, and our two boys on a sailing trip in the British Virgin Islands years ago. We spent a week on a sailboat going from island to island. Our skipper became a part of the family on that trip. We still listen to the reggae music that he introduced us to.

Despite my love for the outdoors, I also enjoy nice hotels. My days of setting up a tent are almost over. It’s difficult to select my favorite hotels—much of it has to do with the circumstances. Clearly, my favorite hotel chain is Fairmont, up in Canada. I’ve stayed in Fairmont hotels in Ottawa, Lake Louise, Banff, and Victoria. All of them superb. But if I had to pick my absolute favorite hotel, it would be a tie between the Pulitzer Hotel in Amsterdam and the Wickaninnish Inn, near Tofino, out on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

There are still trips that Farn and I want to take. We’d love to take a small boat up through the inland passage to Alaska. Or explore the rain forest of Costa Rica. If I get stronger from my illness, Farn and I want to sign up for another Backroads trip. Maybe we’ll also take a road trip across the country to pay respects to the book that got all of this going. But in retrospect, I’ve been fortunate to be able to scratch my travel itch as much as I have.

 Do you have any favorite travel experiences to share? I’d love to read about your favorite hikes, train rides, hotels, or whatever, if you’d like to comment.



  1. Another wonderful blog, John!! I want to be adopted by your family! 🙂

  2. This is a wonderful read! Looking forward to your next travels account!

  3. You forgot the houseboat trip. Lol! Thanks for another great read.

  4. Memories. Nothing better than travel with people you love. Some of my best trips have been with you. And because of you. Some that stand out to me…. Woodhill every year (Goobers in the red van), Bahamas for a week of sun, Northern Michigan, canoeing in the San Juan Islands, cranky and young in Europe, even road trips to soccer tournaments on the east coast. Always a new adventure.

    And now, fortunate to be creating new memories with my family….Hawaii, Chile, Mexico, and Lake George stand out to me in the last few years.

    Exploring and travel is our way of life; I am thankful for your values and this one in particular.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *