Welcome to BackroadTraveler.net. My name is Craig Gephart. I am a husband, father, computer technician, musician, photographer, motorcyclist, and TRAVELER! I love to ride the roads less traveled, discovering remnants of pre-Interstate history that once defined “Main Street” America. I’m a fan of old towns, “Mom & Pop” motels, family owned diners, and old-fashioned “tourist traps”.
It seems the adventure of taking a road trip in the United States has become a more sterile and less engaging experience as we have become more proficient travelers over the past half-century. We’ve gone from staying in motels with exterior doors and drive up parking spaces to hotels with closed corridors and valet parking or, at the very least, parking lots where you walk longer distances to reach your vehicle (I suppose it gives you an opportunity to get some fresh air and relief from the sealed window room you are likely staying in).
Today, most hotel rooms in the United States have, at a least, irons/ironing boards, scented toiletries, and flat screen TVs with 30+ channels. And, most restaurants typically carry at least 5 different flavors of soda/pop, water with lemon, and a menu consisting of at least 3 pages. But there was a time when American road travel was more of an adventure, with each motel reflecting the tastes of its independent owners and each restaurant primarily serving up local faire; a stark contrast to the abundant and relatively predictable, corporate-owned travel venues we typically find today. Maybe it’s because, having traveled since the early 70s, I have seen a lot of change and tend to compare the all-too-typical cookie cutter conformity of “what is” with the unique and often serendipitous surprises of “what was”.
Taking the road less traveled, even today, with its simple yet “expected unexpectedness”, can often be like a life-enriching breath of fresh air. It is my hope this website will inspire you to get out and pursue some of your own back road travels as you read about some of the gems I have discovered on my own journeys. And, while I don’t publish updates to this site with great regularity (I still have a full-time job, but I’m anxiously awaiting the day I can travel more and post more), I am working to develop this site into a resource that will benefit both travelers and service providers (mom & pop establishments, click here!).
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Keep the shiny side up!
- 10 August 2016: Where were the Old Roads?
Once the US Interstate system began to take a real foothold in the late 50’s and early 60’s, US routes that were previously used to traverse the country were at risk of being bypassed or destroyed by the... read more
- 9 August 2016: Blue Ridge Parkway? Have you tried the interactive map?
When I was preparing my trip on part of the Blue Ridge Parkway earlier this year, I heard there were some construction spots that were forcing detours. As I was trying to get a better handle in relation to where the act... read more
- 8 August 2016: That Sidecar Thing
I have been lurking in the shadows of the online sidecar community for a couple of years now. In part, because my youngest son has gotten too big to ride on the back of my VTX and, due to wanting the option of having a ... read more
- 15 July 2016: Help Finding Those Mom & Pop Motels
If you’re anything like me, a nice Mom & Pop Motel will beat a popular chain motel most days of the week. As I was doing some Googling recently, to see if there are any apps for the iPhone that will allow you ... read more
- 29 May 2016: My First Long Solo Trip – Destination Smoky Mountains
I have loved the Smoky Mountains since I first visited them with my wife and sons more than a decade ago as part of a trip to Nashville, TN. The region contains towns that are off the beaten path, away from ... read more
May the sun rise in front of me, the rain fall behind me, and the wind follow me.
May the Angels guard my travels for they know what is ahead of me.
Keep me safe through rolling hills and swirling turns.
Let the eagle guide me to the mountain tops.
Let the moon’s light guide me through the night.
Lord, thank you for letting me be a biker.