They are always there. At times we hardly notice them. Sometimes, more often than not, we take them for granted. But we sure notice when they are “under construction” or if there is “road work ahead” or if some river becomes angry and decides to swallow a few miles of asphalt on its way downstream. Highways. Some are famous, like America’s Mother Road Route 66, or U.S. Highway 36 across the plains of Kansas, or Interstate 80 from Chicago to Salt Lake. But some of my favorites might be a little less known. Arkansas Route 66 (NOT the aforementioned Route 66) runs from Leslie to Mountain View, Arkansas (and points beyond), and hosts some wonderful hills and curves that frame some of the most beautiful highway scenery in the state. Highways 9 and 5 north out of Mountain View split at Allison, and Highway 5 follows the White River, for the most part, through the Ozark National Forest and eventually brings you back into Missouri. And what a beautiful drive it is. A lesser known drive, on Highway 225, takes one from the small hamlet of Prim, Arkansas, to a “T” with Highway 92. Take a right and you’ll soon be in the village of Greer’s Ferry (formerly known as West Side). While I’m talking about Arkansas, I must recommend the breathtaking drive down U.S. Highway 65 from the northern border with Missouri southward to Conway. Lots of hills, curves, gorgeous scenery, the Buffalo River National Scenic Byway and Wildlife Management Area (complete with a substantial herd of Elk) — you get it all. The highway has been reworked over the years and is a very nice, convenient and driveable roadway. So, just what is it about these mostly two-lane slabs of whatever type of surface they happen to use? Well, I don’t know if I can really put it into words. It’s more of a feeling, I guess. Sometimes it’s the solitude. At other times it has to do with sharing a particular bit of road with someone for the first time and observing their reactions. Sometimes it’s the road itself. Just being out there, going somewhere — or going nowhere specific. I remember one time when a cousin and I were heading west from Mountain View to visit some friends in Oklahoma. Somehow, we came into — and out of — Siloam Springs in the early morning hours — when the sun was just starting to light the way. We took a “wrong turn” (I personally think there is no such thing as a wrong turn when traveling — just another opportunity for an unexpected adventure) and ended up driving down a beautiful chip and seal two-lane alongside the Illinois River. It truly was one of the most amazing roads I’ve ever been on. I doubt all of the stars will ever line up like that again: Springtime, pink and white blossoms framing the road ahead, the river lazily rolling past — it was a very special morning. And that is what the highway is about for me. It’s not always about just getting there (though sometimes that is exactly what it’s about). It’s about experiences. It’s about making memories. It’s about sharing special moments with special people, and sometimes it’s about spending special moments with yourself - just you and the hum of the engine and the feel of the steel belts on the blacktop. And I am one of those folks who just can’t wait to hit the road and see what’s up around the next bend.