September 19, 2011

Rollin’ down a backwoods Tennessee byway

Our nation’s first highway (Lincoln) may have come to be in the 1920s, but it’s our second stretch of transcontinental road that means the most to me. U.S. Route 70 (named Lee Hwy in honor of Robert E.) runs from eastern North Carolina to east-central Arizona. Pre-dating the interstate system, Highway 70 was once called the Broadway of America and even reached downtown Los Angeles in its early days.

hwy 70

It might seem strange to have a soft spot for a road, but I do. My great-grandfather worked on the construction of Hwy 70 between his home of Monterey, Tennessee and Nashville. Just a young teenager at the time, but the eldest of several siblings with a widowed mother, my grandpa hauled concrete and rocks to earn a man’s wage to support his family.


He later walked this road many times over from Monterey to Baxter, Tennessee, where he met and married my great-grandmother.


I don’t always take time to stop and enjoy the view, but yesterday I had a few minutes so we got off I-40 at Monterey and continued the last 17.5 miles to my hometown on the back roads (aka Hwy 70). It was a gorgeous day and a memory I’ll definitely tuck away for safe-keeping.

I hope you had a lovely weekend friends! Happy Monday!