In 1982 American travel writer and historian William Least Heat-Moon wrote a book called Blue Highways: A Journey into America about his 13,000 mile journey across the United States, as much as possible on secondary roads, trying to avoid cities.
These secondary roads were called blue highways because on the old-style maps they were drawn in blue and the main roads drawn in red.
Living out of his van, William Least Heat-Moon traveled these secondary roads to find places untouched by fast food chains and interstate highways, "those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi."
Interstate highways have made travel much easier in this country, but for this convenience we have paid a price. Food chains and motels along the interstate are very similar in all states. A Big Mac tastes much the same in Connecticut as it does in California. We often see little of the local people, the local customs, the local food unless we get off the interstates.
I live very near what would have been a red highway on the old maps. It was a main thoroughfare from points north to Florida not too many years ago. Now it is seldom used by any except local traffic.
When I travel in our country I still like to get off the main highways, to taste the local food and see the local culture.
Quote is from Blue Highways