May 08, 2003

The open road

Words to live by:

Take a drive cross country. Leave the "fly-over" mentality at home where it belongs and savor this country from the road. It's an incredibly diverse and vast stretch of land with characteristics you don't get to see from sitting in your living room watching The Travel Channel. Stop at the historical markers, the monuments and the sights. Read about what happened before you got there. Get off the interstate and see what's happening in the rest of America. And just drive. After a while, it will dawn on you that we're all pretty fortunate to have ended up here in this land. Free to move about. Free to drink it all in. Free to roam around on our own. Free to just be. And you'll be thankful that somehow, someway, we've managed to keep it together here as a nation for over 225 years. Do it when you're young. And then do it again later. It never gets old.

(Via Dustbury.)

Posted by Andrea Harris at May 8, 2003 09:46 AM

Also read "Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose, a detailed account of the Lewis & Clark expedition, one of the great adventures that mankind has undertaken.

Posted by: Will at May 8, 2003 at 10:25 AM

I drove across the country about a decade ago, and have been hoping to do it again ever since.

Some other things to read for inspiration or ideas or just 'cuz they're great reads:

Blue Highways, by William Least-Heat Moon.

Travels w/ Charley, by John Steinbeck

On the Road, by Charles Kuralt. (Shoot, read ANYTHING written by Charles Kuralt, and see what a journalist w/ a good eye for stories and great writing skills can do.)

Posted by: Dean at May 8, 2003 at 10:37 AM

Planning my fourth cross country jaunt for this June. Not going quite as far as the last few times, but it should be fun!

Posted by: Ith at May 8, 2003 at 11:40 AM

I drove a car from Miami to Los Angeles about ten years ago. I loved it and would do it again if I could.

Posted by: Ralf Goergens at May 8, 2003 at 12:26 PM

It was 32 years ago this summer that dad and I took a trip around the country. We saw a trooping of the colors at Williamsburg on July 3rd, and got to walk on top of a glacier in the Canadian Rockies and see blue ice. North America rocks!

Posted by: Dark Avenger at May 8, 2003 at 06:51 PM

And stop and talk to the people. I mean really talk to the people. This is where you find the real America. In the small towns. These are down home people who believe in old fashioned American values and it drives the liberals nuts.

Posted by: Denny Wilson at May 8, 2003 at 10:36 PM

I always wanted to bike ride across the country when I was younger. Now I'd be thrilled to do it as a slow drive.

Posted by: Jay Solo at May 9, 2003 at 12:41 AM

This summer will mark my third successive plunge Off The Interstates and into - who knows? And about the only semi-dislikable person I encountered during the 9,000 miles of the last two plunges was a knob who somehow managed to wriggle in front of me at a Wendy's in western Illinois.

Posted by: CGHill at May 9, 2003 at 08:02 AM

I love to drive out west – blue skies, all that open space. You can drive for miles without seeing a house or a town. In Nevada, you can drive for hours.

Just make sure the gas tank doesn’t go below a quarter full…

Posted by: mary at May 9, 2003 at 12:36 PM

Too bad most of my city-to-city driving has been on Interstate in the last year or so, but I refuse to go to Atlanta to Memphis via Nashville, I take US-78 instead. It the US route that is halfway Interstate and halfway two/four lane highway. Fortunately by the time we get to the "backroad" looking part it is either after lunch or early evening when we are awake enough to enjoy (and be terrified when spring storms and tornadoes hit) the so called back roads in Alabama. Once we hit Birmingham or Mississippi, we are ready for the trip to be over.

We used to visit my brother-in-law in Florence via US-72. The divided highway has cut some of the character out of it, but then again it was character I usually could do without in imclimate weather. Corinth, MS, the Natchez Trace, and Collierville, TN is character enough for me when we are under a "must be there by 4PM dinner time or we are exiled to catfish at Country Boy" Country Boy has good catfish but between Corinth and Memphis is known for excellent catfish, but I prefer chilled (not frozen) farm raised catfish (it beats frozen or even "wild").

The backroads are great if you have time and the weather to help you. It is a real pain when the weather tries to kill you on a 2 lane cow trail (storm, gale, tornadoes, blizzard, sleet, or icing).

Posted by: Rob Steinbach at May 9, 2003 at 06:14 PM