Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ten Things I Learned Driving Cross-Country!

My 6,000 mile road trip across America and back in late October was an “eye-opener” and I’m not just talking about the 2 oz. 5-Hour Energy shots (they work just as advertised and even come decaf) or the miracle of satellite radio.  Below are 10 top-of-mind observations:

  • It is “fact” not just opinion that billboards are indeed a blight on the landscape and no state among the 18 I crossed has done a worse job protecting and protecting view-shed from its Interstates and even US Highways than North Carolina.


  • Kentucky is overpromised compared to stereotypes but Kansas, South Dakota and Iowa are surprisingly different than I had been led to believe and much more scenic and interesting than I had previously perceived.


  • Southern Indiana and Illinois are very beautiful but way too “buggy” for me to include on a subsequent cross-country motorcycle ride and the Cross Bones may need to be re-tuned for altitude before going over the 9,000 mile high Laramie pass in south central Wyoming.


  • With the exception of family, I observed during many stops that overt or thinly disguised racism and other forms of bigotry are very much alive outside the South.


  • The states through which I traveled seem to do a much better job with both prevention or reduction of litter than North Carolina.


  • There is no substitute for the thrill of being there in person to see your 7 year-old grandson score a break-away soccer goal.


  • An English Bulldog sleeps all but an hour or two a day and makes for a great road companion even if he thinks he’s a lap dog.   They may not be “chick magnets” but Bulldogs definitely have legendary status with little grandsons.


  • Destination marketing organizations everywhere need to be much more proactive with updating GPS mapping services with current local and state GIS maps.   All navigation and/or internet mapping services need to load the updates far more quickly and frequently.


  • States or parts of states that are stereotyped as flat and/or barren really aren’t (e.g. Kansas, southern and north eastern Wyoming,  southern Idaho, eastern Montana, central Washington, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio.)


  • My lawyer-mom daughter, two younger sisters and mother are four of the brightest, funniest, passionate and most thoughtfully engaged people I’ve ever known and I suspect I’m a lot more fun now that I’m retired.

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