Friday, June 01, 2007

Texture of America

I am sure I have traveled more in the past couple of months, than I ever have in a year. I actually went coast to coast to coast all within days of one another. Which may seem like nothing, to some. But coming from a midwestern working class family, it felt like being on a different planet. Some of it I had the luxury of flying, the other part I drove.

And I am not sure why it ALL happenned at once, or why I decided it would be good idea to go on such a lengthy journey. But I did. Perhaps I read too much Keruac in High School, perhaps I still have romantic notions of route 66, and Ma and Pa stops on the road. A grand cup of steaming hot coffee, and warm piece of pie served on a heavy plate. A cup of coffee and pie soooo deicious that you will tell friends headed out across the country to make sure and stop there.

I will say this, America has changed. In fact at one point I flet like Wylie Cyote, with the cartoon scroll going on behind me, but instead of desert, cactus, mountain, rock: I see a different scroll. Starbucks, Chillis, BP station, Mcdonalds, Wendy's, and a Zaxbys...Repeat. That is the landscape of the American Interstate.

Not really interesting, or sexy, or gorgeous. Really sort of sad for me.

I did learn a couple of things.

There is no good cup of coffee on the road, I mean there is Starbucks, but hell for $3 a cup it should be good.

There are no clean bathrooms in the Southeastern United States. If there is one, I would have found it, after all I travled with a 3 and five year old. Pack lots of wet ones. There were planty of places with NO SOAP, NO TOWELS...ick.

People that work in the places on the interstate, have no idea where they are, or how to get anywhere. Heck most of them cannot tell you where to find the maps in the shops. I recall traveling with my Father, and he would have CONVERSATIONS with these people.

Chewable dramamine is like gold on memorial day weekend.

Travelers are not particularly friendly these days. I am not sure if they ever were. In fact it sort of reminds me of my neighbors. (Do not look at me, and I will not look at you.)

Kids are hilarious, and really relaxed travelers, moreso than any parent.

SO once again, I find myself born too late, to enjoy the America of days gone by.

When I get my convertible, i am doing it with Grace Kelly sunglasses, and a scarf tied around my hair, red lipstick on.

I will find that piece of pie, and excellent cup of coffee, and maybe the person that serves it to me will be named Gladys. And she will be a widow, and she wears an apron so she is not alone.....

1 comment:

Dale B said...

You're right that the US is getting homogenized and it's getting worse with time. I suspect with modern communications this sort of thing is probably inevitable. It's most pronounced along the Interstates.

You can still see some of the remaining diversity of the US if you leave the interstate and even the US highways. Stick to the state and county roads and it's very nice, or at least interesting.

The main problem is that if you want to make time, the back roads won't do it. You'll have to take the interstate. My solution is that I take two kinds of trips.

On a destination trip, that is a trip where I'm going a specifiic place, I take the interstate. I try to fly on this sort of trip if I can.

My prefered travel method is the road trip. On a road trip, the destination is the road and the only thing I know for sure is that I will be home in one week, or two, or whatever. These are a lot of fun, at least for me, and you can really see the country.

BTW, There's no such thing as a clean public bathroom. Clean bathrooms are in hotels (usually) and your house.