With your first wonderful best-selling book, Blue Highways, you leapt onto my favorite authors list, long before I became a bookseller. I won't list all my reasons for loving that book, because I loved everything about it except--Michigan got short shrift. One brief, bad experience in Mt. Pleasant, and you skipped out on all the rest. No wandering (or moseying) along the shores of Lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior, no visits to small towns from the Indiana line to the Keewanaw, etc., etc. All these years later, whenever I take Blue Highways in hand or speak of it, I mourn the exclusion of almost all of Michigan. Call me provincial. You do great honor to American provincial life in general and to other regions in particular. Why not us?
Now I'm looking at your new book, Roads to Quoz, and thinking, whatever other delights it surely has in store for me, what a shame WLHM did not even set foot within our borders. Here are journeys from coast to American coast, and we have been as completely bypassed as if we were Ontario. Our farms and forests, roads straight and winding, eccentrics and straight types--beautiful rivers, lakes almost beyond number, a population as diverse as the world's (well, almost!)--have all been ignored. I could weep! It isn't only (though it is partly) that everyone loves to read about themselves; it's also that we are not New York or Miami or the Grand Canyon or Hollywood, and it's easy for foreign visitors to the U.S. to fly right over Michigan on their way from Manhattan to Chicago, and they are missing so much, and you could have introduced them to a few bits of it, and--well, can you tell I am keenly disappointed?
Years ago, looking through a travel guide to the state of Maine, I remarked to my husband that it would take a lifetime to learn intimately all the varied regions of that large northern state as well as I feel I know Michigan. Now of course I don't expect you to spend 40 years here, as I have, but how about three months? Or how about a mosey around the Great Lakes (I'd go into Canada, too, if I were you; it's what I do being me), with an extended period exploring our state's two peninsulas?
If you (or you and Q) were to come next August and wander through to the end of October, you would find adventures and sights well worth your time. I could provide you with a reading list (begin with Bruce Catton) and even a few suggestions as to roads and points of interest, but you hardly need me or anyone else to tell you, William Least Heat Moon, after all, how to travel two-lane roads. All you have to do is cross the state line, entering from Indiana, Ohio or Wisconsin, and ride around. You'll be glad you did. And I can't wait to read about the trip.
Dog Ears Books
106 Waukazoo Street
Northport, Michigan 49670
P.S. If by any remote chance you should actually see this letter, please look at some of the older posts on this blog for images of Michigan. This past September would be fine. I'm hoping to be posting new pictures by next week.