Blazing Boone’s trail again

There’s a move afoot to draw increased attention to the trace Daniel Boone carved out of the wilderness and into Kentucky.  You can still drive much of the route on paved highways, but these days a lot of folks take I-75 instead.  It’s faster, but not nearly as interesting.  As Charles Kuralt said, “Interstate highways allow you to drive coast to coast, without seeing anything.”

"Boone's Trace" into the Transylvania Purchase went through the Cumberland Gap and north to Boonesborough. Other branches of the Wilderness Road went further westward. Map from Wikimedia Commons

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Filed under American Revolution, History and Memory, Museums and Historic Sites

2 responses to “Blazing Boone’s trail again

  1. Did Kuralt really say that? Outstanding observation.
    And true, for the most part.

    Kuralt did a piece once upon a time about avoiding the freeway between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming. The freeway was constructed on a high plateau where the winds and weather are always ferocious — winds too high for the railroad for example, because, the engineers of the railroad said, the wind would blow trains off the tracks.

    But the interstate, I-80, took the high route. The only thing to look at up there is the tiny town of Buford, Wyoming, where on a half-dozen debate trips, I saw more than a dozen bad accidents caused by wind. In one case, the wind lifted a beautiful 12-meter sailboat off the truck carrying it and pushed it more than a mile down the road, leaving shards of fiberglass, wood and teak all along the freeway. I was involved in a spinout there in icy conditions early one fall, when it was nice weather in the rest of the entire world.

    But if you take the old U.S. highway, you pass through the town of Medicine Bow, and the old, dilapidated but still operating Virginian Hotel. You can stand at the spot where Owen Wister watched a hanging of a horse thief. The chicken-fried steak is passable — one night I had some of the best enchiladas I’ve ever had when I got there late and the cook offered some of her own dinner.

    It’ll take you an extra 15 minutes travel time. But it’s well worth the detour to get off the freeway.

    But I digress. Got a citation for the Kuralt quote?

    • I think the Kuralt line is from A Life on the Road, but Stenbeck said something similar.

      I went through Medicine Bow once on my way to see the dinosaur graveyards at Como Bluff. My family used to head to the West for summer vacations, and Mom’s a big fan of cowboy and outlaw stories, so that part of Wyoming allowed us to get two destinations for the price of one.

      –ML

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