As we drove in and through and around so many states, towns, and cities this short trip, it was incredible to me what I saw, what I loved, what lovely people I met and how I wish I could do this for a full year and see every state. Just not in July or August, and not doing all the driving. I’d buy a Class A Motor Coach, hire a driver, then sit back and enjoy the views as they go by.
My thoughts, rambling as they may be:
- Tennessee River (in Knoxville)
- Mississippi River (in St. Louis)
- Cheat River (in West Virginia)
- Arkansas River (two times)
- Red River (several points)
- Elm Fork Trinity River (Texas)
- Ohio River (Louisville)
- Susquehanna River (Harrisburg PA)
- Monongahela River (Morgantown and Charlestown, West Virginia)
- Osage Fork Gasconade River (Missouri)
- Elk River (West Virginia)
- West Fork River (West Virginia)
Mountain Ranges crossed:
- Alleghany Mountains
- Boston Mountains (new range name to me)
State Lines Entered: (not including home state of NY)
- West Virginia
- Illinois (late entry to list, seeing I bought lottery tix in Illinois) Not sure where we went through Illinois! Can anyone figure it out for us?
Best Road Infrastructure: Texas
Worst Road Infrastructure: Arkansas and in/around St. Louis MO
Most Difficult Interchange to Find: Route 64 East. NO signs for it anywhere before St. Louis. Means looping around 270 to 255 and then praying you are going the right way!
- Most expensive: Maryland
- Least Expensive: Tennessee
Least Favorite Place Visiting: William Jefferson Clinton Center, Little Rock. It’s like the building was dropped into Little Rock with no respect to the landscape. It’s a giant modern edifice surrounded by low country buildings. Plus, with no Clinton living in AR, there was a serious disconnect to the library being where it is.
Favorite Places Visited:
- George W. Bush Center, Dallas
- Modern Art Museum Fort Worth
- Cutting Horse Competition, Fort Worth
Most Expensive Hotel Room: Bentonville, AR
Least Expensive Hotel Room: Morehead, KY
Best Value Hotel Room: Dallas (with caveat that there was an expensive breakfast menu and mandatory car valet parking at $27/day)
Most Expensive Venue: Crystal Bridges special exhibits and FLW tour.
Hotel Pet Peeves: Loud Air Conditioning, Low Toilets and no consistency with pillows
License Plate Game:
- NEVER saw another New York plate, not one. And one wonders why Trump won?
- NEVER saw one Connecticut plate. And one wonders why Trump won, redux!
- In Bentonville, saw Maryland, Montana, and California
- Mostly saw plates of the region I was in – Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma.
Calling Roadside Assistance from Cell Phone: No uniformity across state lines. Some were *SP, others were *77. Many times there was no sign.
Driving Quirk: Would regularly note route mileage markers. This is in case we broke down and had to call for help. Yes, cell phone location was on, but in many cases, there was limited or no cell service.
Most Seen Truck Companies on Road:
- FedEx, by far, ten to one over UPS
- Wal-Mart, everywhere!
- Schneider and Swift regularly seen
(Note: almost every truck Weigh Station was Open. Saw Large transponders in road for trucks with what must be the equivalent of an EZ Pass, letting some truck lines skip the station. I imagine companies like FedEx can’t lose time waiting at a weigh station.)
Colleges Colleges Everywhere: Every county had a technical/community college. Many small traditional colleges dotted the landscape. Many Christian colleges too.
Camping Rules in the Heartland! I can’t begin to tell you how many families we saw on the road towing a giant 5th wheel camper. Far more 5th wheels than motor homes. The 5th wheel group tended to be younger, with smaller kids. The motor home crowd was like us, empty-nesters. RV parks at almost every interchange, and from what we could see, all full to the brim. Camper World dealerships and camper repair shops popular.
Most Seen Truck Brand: Hands down, Chevrolet. No doubt about it. Dually trucks rule too. Mile long huge Chevy truck dealerships in otherwise remote locations.
Funniest Electronic Road Sign Seen on Interstate: Hey you, that’s the temperature, NOT the speed limit!
American Flags Are Waving: Seen all along our route path – on houses, at stores, at car dealerships, at hotels, at attractions, on people’s cars (decals). I repeat, is it any wonder why Trump won????? Not if you pay attention to the heartland! Trump did. Hillary didn’t. Oddly, once back north, starting about Maryland, the flags disappeared. Blue state versus red state mentality? I think so.
Farming: From crops to cattle, farming and ranching is king in the states we visited. Miles upon miles upon miles of open farmland, with crops growing tall and blowing in the wind. Corn and soy. Wheat. Proud farming families, many in their sixth and seventh generation of owning and farming the land. Rugged men. Cowboys a different breed than the crop farmer but same pride. My hats off to all the farmers of this land. It’s a tough job.
God and Churches: Omnipresent – crosses and churches – some mega churches, acres wide and seating thousands, to small parishes, very old buildings, tending to a flock of a hundred or less. One night, eating at a local diner and the place was pretty empty, we overheard the waitress say “in ten minutes church will let out and we’ll be mobbed” and this was a weeknight. Church isn’t just on Sunday anymore.
As a funny aside, we couldn’t help but notice in small town America, not far from some of these churches, were Adult Stores. Go pray then get some porn! 🙂
Now Hiring: Yes, America is hiring. Sprawling manufacturing plants. Small business. All with banners announcing they are looking for workers. This is a good thing.
Amish: Go forth and multiply must be their motto because darn if they weren’t everywhere in small town USA. Women in the traditional white cap and simple frock. Men in straw hats. Never saw horse and buggies tho so perhaps the new Amish drive. They must because many of them build barns etc.
Trip Regret: Skipping Louisville. I could see it’s well worth a visit but more than the two days we planned so it’s on a list to see separately. Keeneland. Churchill Downs. Versailles. Bourbon Trail. Downtown Louisville looked really pretty, on the Ohio River.
- Waste to bring and never used: laptop and snack bag. It was preferable to us to stop than eat in the car.
- Threw the most money away on PowerBall and MM tix in every small town we stopped, sure THAT one would be the winner. Not one.
- Forgot I brought: bag with extra good walking shoes.
- Never found Jeopardy on hotel TV
- Every state has a Washington County
- Saw one Amazon brick and mortar store in West Virginia
Finally, note to self: Do not take mini Junior Mints and leave in hot car.
Thanks for coming along. Where are we going next time???