Apparently, I've been living in a bubble all of my 63 years. The day I chose to drive to Nebraska was the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend. "So what?", I thought. Well, here's what. I've never seen traffic so bad in all my life. From Atlanta to Kansas City, it was heavy to completely stopped, at times. I lost hours of travel time. It seemed like every car had six kids and pillows in the windows and a passenger or two asleep. By the time I reached central Missouri (not my favorite stretch of Interstate on the best of days), I'd had my fill. I exited near Columbia, MO and headed north. The was NO WAY on God's Earth I was going anywhere near Kansas City with all these cars on the road. I'd rather drive the Blue Highways.
In Mexico, MO, I saw the American Saddlebrd Horse Museum! Who knew! I joined US Highways that were Interstates in every sense of the word, with 70 mph speed limits, but with no traffic. I kept pushing North to hit a major east-west US road and went through Centralia, MO, where the cemetary was decorated in flags. I had to pull off and gather it in.
In Chillacothe, MO, I was talking to my long-suffering spouse on the phone and neither of us could figure out how to pronounce the name! A quick exit, and 10 minutes later, I had my answer courtesy of a lifelong, and proud, resident. In Brookfield, MO, an old man sat down and told me about 30 years of hunting quail with his two best friends. He shot a 28 ga. auto-loader and had some fine dogs. He lost his friends to old age and his desire to hunt at about the same time. I passed Gen. John Pershing's home, and farms and clean roads, tight fences. I passed white painted farm houses and signs that read, "planting season, watch for big equipment". Mostly, I passed flyover America. My kind of America. Blue Highway America. Amazingly, I made it to my destination in plenty of time, well-rested mentally and physically. I talked to some nice folks and learned some pretty cool stuff along the way. Not one of them told me I should be taking the Interstate.