The title is stolen from William Least Heat Moon’s travelogue/memoir published in 1982, which I’ve read twice.  He had driven around the (continental) United States -- some 13,000 miles -- over three months in 1978 following exclusively, as best he could, the secondary roads marked in his Rand McNally road atlas in blue as opposed to red, which designated the multi-lane interstates.  Some of the scenes in this song are resurfaced memories having grown up in rural Connecticut.  While writing I also had my friend Peter in mind; he prefers the backroads of northern New England to the more congested highways. 

© Steven E. Cutts, 2022 
a Studio C recording, July 2022

When I’ve got some place to get to but I’m in no great hurry, 

I smooth the creases in my old map, trace a route along the thin blue lines. 

I’ll leave the six-lane interstate to the eighteen wheeler travelers; 

Poking along a back road suits me fine. 

The shoulder meets the fields, and the fields merge with the forest --      

a pasture and a sagging barn crowded in by trees.     

Here & there an old rail fence, a stone wall long abandoned, 

Today don’t count for much as boundaries.

One lane going, one to bring me home is all I need. 

These paths of most persistence, I choose for pleasure, not for speed. 

I’ll take a slow blue highway.

Some towns that I pass thru are not true towns any longer: 

Stores and churches boarded up, roofs caved in by snow. 

A bridge or two I cross were built in Roosevelt’s Depression, 

And that’s almost a hundred years ago. 

One lane going, . . . 

No more rumbling freight trains shadow this less-traveled turnpike;   

There’re only badly splintered ties, gravel choked with weeds.                           

The railroad and this blue highway running side by side 

Are more and more a pair of dying breeds. 

The people who I meet by chance when I pull off for coffee 

Pass along the local lore, tell tales to entertain. 

And when I’m back behind the wheel and heading down my highway 

I smile ‘cause it was worth it that I came. 

One lane going, . . .