Hailed as a masterpiece of American travel writing, Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation's backroads. Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about the "blue highways", a term he coined to refer to small, forgotten, out-of-the-way roads connecting rural American, highways that were drawn in blue on the old style Rand McNally road atlas.
He outfitted a green van with a bunk, a camping stove, a portable toilet and a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and John Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks. Referring to the Native American resurrection ritual, he named the van "Ghost Dancing", and embarked on a three-month, 13,000 mile soul-searching tour of the United States, wandering from small town to small town with names like Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi."
Stories that arose from his journey as well as historical facts are included about each area visited, as well as conversations with characters such as a born-again Christian hitchhiker, a teenage runaway, a boat builder, a monk, an Appalachian log cabin restorer, and a rural Nevada prostitute.
His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.
Published in 1983 to phenomenal reviews, Blue Highways: A Journey into America became a cult classic on par with Jack Kerouac's On the Road and John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley.