America Is MOSTLY Rural With Pockets Of Urban Suburbia


(Driving across Great Salt Lake Desert)

 
Almost four years later, I am re-publishing this original post from APR-2017 because I have been thinking about something… That is, the current ideological/political divide among Americans. From a geographical point of view, it is largely evident between rural and semi-rural America and city or populous regions. In other words, it’s a population density thing (with some crossover/mixing within).

I have lived on both sides of these divides, and in-between. I recall writing the following post upon returning from a cross-country driving trip back then.

Here’s the post:


8,000 Miles

I am about to wrap up a journey of more than 8,000 miles while driving from the far reaches of the northeast all the way to California and back again along a different route.

It has been an amazing and very enjoyable experience. While I have traveled LOTS during my previous career, that travel always involved flying from one location to another and is no comparison to my recent experience. Driving these distances is an entirely (ENTIRELY) different experience.

Why? Here’s why…

Vast Lands between Dots of Very Dense Population

Because driving from coast to coast on the highways and roads in-between reveals the VASTNESS of land between itty bitty dots of VERY DENSE POPULATION. It is really quite remarkable. The “in-between” is HUGE. Most of our country is rural, seemingly barely populated, or not populated at all.

It is true that east of the Mississippi bears lots more population density on average than west. However until you reach the notorious corridors of population (e.g the mid Atlantic up the coast from DC to New York to Boston), lots of the rest is mostly rural or semi-rural except for the city regions and their attached suburban regions.

Impressions

Several key thoughts and observations really strike home while driving across this great country…

1. How the politics, way-of-life, rules, and regulations that emanate from these relatively tiny pockets of heavily populated regions affect (rule over) the vast and immense geographical rural areas in-between where day to day way-of-life is typically quite different – with a different “feel”.

2. How you can be driving for hours and hours with a relatively light or normal amount of vehicle traffic and then suddenly it ramps up to congestion, chaos, close-calls, and crazy aggressive drivers as you traverse a populated region. And then fairly quickly you’re out of it as you drive on and it returns to ‘normal’. Exceptions to this are in the notoriously population dense regions of the country where it’s chaos all of the time (no rural areas in-between)…

3. The various regions of this country are starkly different in their own unique beauty, geography, and climate. For example, the difference and experience between driving all the way across the Mojave Desert to that of driving across I-70 up and over the Rocky Mountains or that of the hills and curves of West Virginia. It’s all astronomically different and unique! Or by driving South for just one day can make a huge difference in the temperature/climate (a nice relief during the late winter / early spring months compared to northern NH ;) )

4. When you are within the population-dense regions, the potential encounters of “close calls”, dangerous situations, or most any human related risks are orders of magnitude higher than otherwise. It is the same regardless of which city region you’re in. The more people, the likelier of encountering issues. Very predictable as to the general increase in risks.

5. The Truckers keep this country stocked with food and supplies. They are always out there, driving the highways and byways of the land… People have no idea…!

[ Read: When The Trucks Stop It’s Over ]

6. There are lots of apparently (visibly) poorer regions in-between the dotted landscape of populated regions (I’ll bet those people living are better able of taking care of themselves though…). But that stands to reason, given that higher paying jobs are in population-dense regions.

7. There is an unbelievable and astounding number of flying bugs out there. Seemingly millions of which have been “eliminated” on my truck’s windshield during the trip. I don’t know how many times I pulled off an exit to use a gas station’s window washer/scrubber to clear the windshield. I have probably extincted at least one species of bug…

8. With that said, there’s no place like home, no matter where that is. We will be glad to return!

 [ Read: Road Atlas – Maps For Each State ]

[ Read: Why Are So Many Big Cities In The United States – Liberal? ]

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121 Comments

  1. I’m jealous. I used to love cross country trips. Then I met my wife. Not so much now. Great posts. One of my favorite things during these trips was to find some small out of the way diner to eat in. That’s a great place to observe the real America.

  2. We always travel by car. We haven’t flown since 2000. The best trip is up to Alaska along the Cassier Highway, much better than the Alaskan Highway. We used to travel that route on vacation every year from Alaska and we saw electric come into that area in 2000. But of course that isn’t the USA. We love to travel across our country and try our best to stay away from any semi to large city, or anything east of the Rockies. We live frontier (downgraded from rural) and the only problem I see is if you need anything it is a long drive. One way it is 70 miles to a small walmart and 160 to a grocery store and medical. Today we are going to pick up our 1/2 cow from a local rancher (he is 70 miles from us) and the butcher is 100. But it is worth it and it is always comforting to see how the landscape changes with the seasons.

  3. The in betweens are the parts i want to see,,, not so interested in the populated parts

  4. you are right there is a LOT of places where there IS NOBODY but open land and there are places that nobody COULD LIVE not without being TOTALLY OFF THE GRID
    THE TRUCKERS ARE THE LIFE BLOOD OF THIS COUNTRY
    THAT said DO NOT EAT AT THE COUNTRY PRIDE TRUCK STOP OFF THE NEW YORK STATE THRUWAY EXIT 48A both me my wife and a friend got some pretty bad food poisoning

  5. Ken

    I don’t know how you do it. We just did a road trip from northern Idaho to Las Vegas traveling secondary highways going south and Interstate 15 on the way back. We liked the open country but hated the major urban centers – Salt Lake City area was our worst nightmare. Much of the Interstate is 80 mph which seemed like an Indy raceway interspersed with many trucks doing almost the same speed. I know that my fuel economy was cut way down at that speed (F350 Ford Diesel) with turbo at 50% most of the time. I guess the moniker I have chosen suits me because I never plan to do that again. Home sweet home.

    1. @homebody, OMG, the absolute worst traffic during the entire trip was the 15 between Salt Lake City and Orem (our hotel for the night). It didn’t help that it was around 5PM, but that entire stretch (about 40 miles) was completely clogged, and much of it is 5 lanes wide each way! I had no idea… I said to Mrs.J, this is “Bay Area Bad” (BAB) – having commuted in the SF Bay Area for 15 years.

      The rest of Utah though was fine, and really enjoyed traveling through the eastern part of the state with all of the very unique geology. Bryce Canyon was awesome too.

      1. Ken, Did you get to the bay area this trip? If you didn’t you have no idea what BAB is. We left the San Francisco traffic a little over 17 years ago. We were down for a friends memorial service late last year and the traffic is MUCH worse now. Not quite as bad as LA but almost and Los Angeles traffic is the worst there is.

        1. @me, Yes, we spent 2 weeks in the Bay Area visiting some dear friends. We left California 5 years ago after having worked our butts off there for 15 years. As you said, the traffic and population density was bad enough then, however it is now much worse. Crazy indeed. The quality of life is greatly diminished there due to hellish traffic, extreme pop-density, VERY high cost of living, and overall stress. You couldn’t pay me enough to move back there…

      2. @ Ken

        I just gata ask, how did ya like driving that Ford F-350 crew-cab full size bed ‘tank’ in rush-hour traffic up I-5 in CA with 2 feet on each side, 5 feet in back and 10 feet in front???? A little nerve wracking???

        NRP

        PS; will agree second worse traffic, SLC. Those Mormons are 3/4 CRAZY!!!!!

        1. @NRP, I’ll tell you what… That 22′ long black behemoth “tank” (yes, it’s actually 22′ long ;) ) with New Hampshire license plates that boldly display the state motto, “Live Free or Die”, likely pissed off plenty of liberals while cruising around CA next to their “beep beep” cars (that’s what Mrs.J calls all of those extra small tiny little cars – the one’s that will send you to the hospital if you get in a parking lot “fender bender”). While it was a challenge not to accidentally bump into one during travels in that area, we did feel pretty safe in the truck ;)

          With that said, yes it was a bit nerve wracking managing that truck in those areas!

          1. I drove our F-350 back from Mexico and through LA towing a 27 ft. sailboat. Think anybody would let us change lanes? the worst traffic in the world makes them the rudest drivers too. I love LA. Not! But guess what, when that 27 foot boat slowly started going into their lane they got out of the way really fast! In boating it’s called the tonnage rule. He who weighs the most tons has the right of way. That boat on its trailer was an easy 5 tons and that gave me the right of way with all but the big rigs.

          2. @ Ken

            Just had to ask a follow-up question, did ya take that little jewel down ‘Lombard Street’ in SF?? HAHAHAHA

            NRP

          3. @NRP, I’ve done that so many times in the past while living there (every time someone would come to visit us from back east and we would take them to all the typical tourist spots) that I had no desire whatsoever to do that again.

          4. @ Ken, was just wondering if that huge old Tuna Boat would make those hairpin turns… HAHAHA

            Nice to be home????

            NRP

          5. OMG, I hadn’t even thought of that regarding the truck. Probably no way whatsoever would it make it… I bought it during the last year we lived there and never tried (fortunately!)

            We just got home a few hours ago. After 6 weeks, it’s great to be at home base. Will sleep good tonight – and will probably be a few minutes late getting the Saturday morning post out the door ;)

        2. I did that near long beach when we moved back to the islands in the 90s, but tagging a big Uhaul trailer too, that was fun, rush hour, wife was driving her SUV and i was following in my 350 with the trailer, all of a sudden she goes across 6 lanes of traffic and gets ready to take an exit,,, never heard so many horns and brakes squealing,,, i just punched it and went, big ole 460 growling,,, fun times.

          1. @ Lauren

            HAHAHA, ok I’ll give you that, I live and work in a heavily Mormon area, most are actually the best people I have even known. Extremely honest and hard working, all out good people.

            But seriously, as Ken said, Provo and SLC are all one now, the mountains are getting totally covered, amazing.

            NRP

      3. The two real bottlenecks are the areas in and out of the valley, but there are alternatives. Nothing that I know of will get you past the crush in the valley itself, since the insanity pours out onto the side roads with all the maze-rats trying alternate routes that just MIGHT be better.

        All the farmland is being sold for homes and “amenities” for people who should know better. The city crawls up the mountains and sprawls into the canyons. The politicians want to bring business in because it means tax revenue–which means more people coming in who need homes and want the amenities they’re used to. More cars, more crush, more JIT, and the real estate prices are insane.

        I don’t know how much longer this can continue.

  6. Well first of all, I need to say Ken is probably the bravest person I have the honor to know (or at least convers with). He actually puffed up and drove a ‘Ford’ well over 8000 miles completely across the country and back…. Dang Dude….

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and bet that 90% or more of the people in this country have NO idea how beautiful this country really is, I remember my very first real road trip, Mon and 2 of the 3 boys loaded up an old station wagon and headed from Ohio to CA (dad had to work). for 3 weeks back in the 1960s. I will NEVER forget just how much I learned and the absolute beauty in the landscape and the people we met. Since then I, like many here on MSB, have traveled all over the world, 32 different countries in all, and let me tell y-all something, this good old USofA is something to behold without a doubt.

    These days, I refuse to fly, I worked for the Airlines for 5 years, no way in HELL you will get me on an airplane again NO WAY. Now I know people ‘say’ flying is safer than driving I DON’T CARE, I seen the workings of an airplane up close and how much they break (Frightening). NOPE, not me.

    This country is truly a wonderful place, as are most of the people, if someone ever has a chance to take a month or two and do a ‘easy’ road trip where yar not worrying about NRP crashing your Blog, than please do so. It’s amazing the places out there. As Ken mentioned stay away from the Chities and CA. but other than that….

    Lastly, does anyone know what the very best part of a trip/vacation is ????

    NRP

    1. NRP

      Some of us DO remember the road trips of the 1950-1960 era – just slow, pleasant, beautiful, and great service most places.

      Many places are still friendly and “small town” BUT there is anger and worry out there now. Don’t have breakdown now in many areas – signs read emergency stopping only. Don’t slow down and look at the countryside. Next three off-ramps to Pleasureville – opps sorry you missed it!.

      Cars racing by at 10 over the limit which was okay by me – BUT when it began to snow, we from the north thought nothing of a little white while the speeders slowed to 40 and drove with white knuckles ha ha. Talk about the rabbit and the hare.

      1. I do sort of remember a couple of trips. My 2 sisters, mother and me went to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon when i was 7ish and another trip to S. cal. There was no concession stuff at the Canyon just drove on up – no crowds or anything. I hear that it is different now. Same with Yellowstone

    2. @NRP

      “does anyone know what the very best part of a trip/vacation is ????”

      Yes… when you get home.

    3. I’ll bite. The very best part of a vacation is getting there for me as a kid, and leaving the vacation was the worst part, figuring it was a rustic log cabin on a pristine lake, and home was in a congested town next to a highway, connected to a larger city.

      Now it is reverse. I live at my vacation, so leaving it is the worse part and coming home is the best part.

      Go figure.

      1. @ Stardust

        “Now it is reverse. I live at my vacation, so leaving it is the worse part and coming home is the best part.”

        Bingo, I believe for a lot of use ‘old fogies that’s the all-out truth…..

        NRP

  7. Nice story. My wife and I did a trip to the East Coast about a year ago from Montana. Talk about an eye opener! The farther we went east the wackier the people seemed to get. We tried to advoid the larger cities and stayed on the back roads most of the way. If you really want to see America, stay on the back road and avoid the cities. If you follow this rule you should have a nice trip no matter where you go in the U.S.

    And the best part of the trip was when we got back to the house after 3 weeks of traveling. There is truly no place like home.

  8. Road trips rule! DH and I are going to take a few days to do some exploring and camping in Colorado National Monument and the surrounding desert canyons. We’re very excited to see some new things and explore part of the state where we haven’t spent much time. I am also taking this opportunity to update my GHB for summer and practice cooking with the Dutch oven.

    Ken, thanks for sharing your insights about traveling through rural America. I agree 100%.

  9. @ homebody

    Ahhhh the ‘slow’ is still there, Hwy 101 up the CA coast, Route 66, the meandering roads through the Rockies, how about the back roads of TN and WV.

    True the ‘slow road to paradise’ is harder to find, but it’s still there, just stay the heck off anything that has an ‘I’ in the name (Interstate).

    Like Ken’s suggested Atlas, ya need to get one and mark out anything with a double line. Next, toss the watch and clock out the window into the driveway when ya leave the house, Next, watch the rear view mirror, when you come to an intersection, watch which way the Dog is looking, and turn that way. Blue is a hell of a navigator ya know ??… HAHAHA

    I like to have a destination, but no time frame and no route, this year it’s Yellowstone, or maybe Bryce, or maybe Zion, or Arches, while it may be via Texas or Ohio, I’ll get there sometime…. Probably, hummmmmm maybe.

    Anybody rememver this quote?

    “Sally: Forty years ago, that interstate down there didn’t exist.
    Lightning McQueen: Really?
    Sally: Yeah. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
    Lightning McQueen: How do you mean?
    Sally: Well, the road didn’t cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved. Cars didn’t drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.

    NRP

    1. NRP

      Ya I guess some of it is still there – like the movie “Micheal” the angel (I think) where they looked for the local treasures like the biggest ball of twine, ….

      My heart and my truck always want to turn around to go home – I love where I live and don’t like lots of people, so Homebody enjoys his dirt, trees, wildlife, rocks, water, … the Grand Canyon and the bathtub ring in Lake Mead do not hold any attraction for me. Hermitus the happy.

    2. What gave us kids a laugh traveling on those back roads before freeways were built were the Burma Shave signs:

      DON’T STICK YOUR ELBOW
      OUT SO FAR
      IT MAY GO HOME
      IN ANOTHER CAR. Burma Shave

      TRAINS DON’T WANDER
      ALL OVER THE MAP
      ‘CAUSE NOBODY SITS
      IN THE ENGINEER’S LAP. Burma Shave

      SHE KISSED THE HAIRBRUSH
      BY MISTAKE
      SHE THOUGHT IT WAS
      HER HUSBAND JAKE. Burma Shave

      DON’T LOSE YOUR HEAD
      TO GAIN A MINUTE
      YOU NEED YOUR HEAD
      YOUR BRAINS ARE IN IT. Burma Shave

      DROVE TOO LONG
      DRIVER SNOOZING
      WHAT HAPPENED NEXT
      IS NOT AMUSING. Burma Shave

      BROTHER SPEEDER
      LET’S REHEARSE
      ALL TOGETHER
      GOOD MORNING, NURSE. Burma Shave

      CAUTIOUS RIDER
      TO HER RECKLESS DEAR
      LET’S HAVE LESS BULL
      AND A LITTLE MORE STEER. Burma Shave

      SPEED WAS HIGH
      WEATHER WAS NOT
      TIRES WERE THIN
      X MARKS THE SPOT. Burma Shave

      THE MIDNIGHT RIDE
      OF PAUL FOR BEER
      LED TO A WARMER
      HEMISPHERE. Burma Shave

      AROUND THE CURVE
      LICKETY-SPLIT
      BEAUTIFUL CAR
      WASN’T IT? Burma Shave

      NO MATTER THE PRICE
      NO MATTER HOW NEW
      THE BEST SAFETY DEVICE
      IN THE CAR IS YOU. Burma Shave

      A GUY WHO DRIVES
      A CAR WIDE OPEN
      IS NOT THINKIN’
      HE’S JUST HOPIN’. Burma Shave

      BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL
      EYES ON THE ROAD
      THAT’S THE SKILLFUL
      DRIVER’S CODE. Burma Shave

      THE ONE WHO DRIVES
      WHEN HE’S BEEN DRINKING
      DEPENDS ON YOU
      TO DO HIS THINKING. Burma Shave

      CAR IN DITCH
      DRIVER IN TREE
      THE MOON WAS FULL
      AND SO WAS HE. Burma Shave

      PASSING SCHOOL ZONE
      TAKE IT SLOW
      LET OUR LITTLE
      SHAVERS GROW. Burma Shave

      1. Oh man ! Burma Shave signs. That does bring back memories of a time in this country, a lifetime ago. Those were good times – now lost forever.

      2. Burma Shave style signs…..WALL DRUG in S.D.! when I was a kid it seemed like they were a thousand miles out!

  10. When I was a kid,my father worked for the railroad,so we got to ride the train a lot for almost nothing.He was based out of Chicago,so we had a home on the south side,and a home in north Idaho.Every year or two we would travel one way or the other,and stay for a while.The train would go up through Minnasota,across North Dakota,Montana,Idaho and into Spokane Wa.Talk about a lot of wide open country,it was incredible.I remember stopping someplace in Montana in the early 50’s at some remote station,and there were genuine Indian tepees lined up behind it.I still have the pictures my dad took.Seven years later there was only one left.Any way,point being,there was many,many miles of open country with very little population.And I haven’t been back to Chicago since the early sixties,thank God.

    1. BigBadCat

      The big open spaces were and still are incredible.

      My greatest wonder was not about the countryside so much but about how people survived when you see the remains of a mud shack or a log cabin rotting away to nothing and realize that was some person’s home. To think about that family that rode in a wagon to the Dakotas and built in the middle of nowhere – more salt than I have for sure. The old saying was ” the land is so flat, you could see your dog running away for days”.

  11. Ken,

    Thanks for your insights and sharing of experiences during your vacation. I had a relatively short vacation this past weekend where I travelled to a flyover section of the state I live in. I was there for a hunting trip.

    I have interests in a variety of subjects to include history and economics. Sometimes I will pull off the highway just to check something out. Road trips and vacations are more fun when you can do that just for the heck of it. ( I grew up in a large family so the relative freedom of traveling away from the large pack is fun for me.)

    Now that I am working at a steady job in a city and traveling to a rural region for my vacations, I try to: spend money at locally owned businesses and stay in their lodgings. Tip generously or the proper amount. The smaller the town in the rural areas heavily rely upon money coming from outside. Sometimes, the travel season for a given area is a short season such as Tule Lake, California during duck season. A regions income may come mostly from a large influx of tourists and hunters coming in for a short period of 1 month or 6 weeks. (then the rest of the year the region is pretty quiet.)

    To Ken and Skibum: Have a safe and fun journey in your travels and, if you have not read it already, I would like to recommend a book by Bill Bryson called: A Walk In The Woods. ( it has been made into a movie by Robert Redford but the book is a great summer read.) For those of us that have travelled by backpack a lot in our younger years, it brings back memories with insights from a man that spent 20 years living in England away from his native country of the United States. My hardcover copy is a keeper in my library.

    1. CaliRefugee, A Walk in the Woods has been sitting on the stand next to my bed for a few weeks. I was planning on reading it as soon as I finish Bobby Akart’s EMP. How synchronistic that you should mention it!

    2. A Walk in the Woods, brought back many memories of the Appalachian Trail having grown up in Hamburg, Pennsylvania with the trail close by as a boy I walked that stretch many times with our Boy Scout troop. The book was a hoot and a fun read.

  12. Populated areas: as kids we could ride out bikes down the middle of highways (look Ma, no hands!) during the summer since there was zero traffic. People went to work and stayed there for the day, to see a car during the day was rare, most families were one car families. You would maybe see a farmer tooling along on a tractor (typically hauling the
    “nu-er” spreader), other than that dead silent except for birds and the occasional moo. Wasn’t any semis since everything consumable was local or delivered once a week or every two weeks (like cloths).

    Now roads are never empty, people spend more time running around accomplishing not much but going from here to there while irritated.

    1. Grey

      The increasing use of cell phones for talk and texting should reduce some of irritated people – unfortunately, some innocents will also perish. Legalized pot make take out more. Highways to hell may be the future road signs just like the signs we saw heading south – “Hell’s Canyon”.

  13. Loved the article Ken. I sure can relate. After a few years of “wintering” in the RV we have seen some amazing landscapes. We also stay away from the big cities because as my Mr puts it he can’t stand all the numbnuts. Last year we thought we would visit a cousin in Phoenix and we will never again! Those drivers are insane! Same thing everywhere in CA. We stay far away from the populated areas if possible. But we travel at our own speed which is slow, and stay when it suits us and leave the same way. Everyone at home asks where we are going, and for how long, when we will get back? It makes people crazy when you say, you don’t know the answer to any of those questions. Those folks don’t get it. While I’m pretty sure this is our last year of doing this we have seen and met some wonderful places and people. We are afraid of being too far away from our preps with the world as it is. Not being able to get home scares the crap out of me, While we live rural, it’s probably not rural enough. But thinking about moving all our junk is not what I want to do at this point in my life. So, people get out there and see our beautiful country! Go fishing, have a picnic, go hiking, do something! You don’t have to travel very far to find the beauty.

  14. My husband and I used to go on “no plans” road trips a lot. We seem to be working way too hard, especially for older people. So, haven’t been in awhile.

    I’m just wondering about hauling all the gear I would want to take :D

    Glad you’ve had a great trip and safe travels to home Ken! luv ya’ll, Beach’n

    P.S. I think NRP has behaved quite well. He deserves a gold star!

    1. @ Beach’n

      I figured I was in enough trouble from yesterday, even though I did not start it all…..

      NRP

      PS, thanks for the Gold Star

      1. Okay NRP you can come out of your crawl space now – we accept part of the blame. But gold star – maybe silver. Your trip to potland sounded like hell – nice to be home.

      2. NRP, if that was you “behaving” I can only imagine what “misbehaving ” looks like!!
        In your defense,there was a bunch of rabble rousers here causing mischief and mayhem.
        All in all,just another day here at MSB!!LOL!!

        1. @ Bill Jenkins Horse

          “I can only imagine what “misbehaving ” looks like!!”

          Who me???? Little ol me???? Last time had to do with 5 pounds of Tannerite, 10 gallons of Gas and an old shed someone wanted to demolish on the Ranch…. Imagination Time…. HAHAHA Gata love those Redneck Cowboys.

          Honest, it was only a small mushroom cloud…..

          NRP

          1. NRP

            And you wonder why you are now on the NO-FLY list – not that you ever intend to.

          2. Oh sure NRP. .. I bet they could see it from the space station…Lol!!

      3. Actually NRP I think I was the first to disagree with that poster but it is much easier to just blame you all of the time instead of just most of the time. Live by percentages ya know. JMHO of course. LOL

  15. You make better time on interstates, but for me, the ‘blue highway’ two-laners are more enjoyable to drive. Usually more scenic and you get to see many locations that expressways / interstates bypass. A downside is small towns roll up the sidewalks after 5 p.m., but even that is an advantage, walking quiet city streets after an enjoyable meal. Far more relaxing – now THAT is a vacation !

  16. To anonymous:

    Check out the book named Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon (circa 1982) This is another well written travel novel written by a fellow that outfitted a van and went on a 3 month road trip around America making a point of avoiding interstate highways and fast food outlets. He undertook this trip after the break-up with his wife and his job loss as an English teacher/college professor.

    I read this years ago and it was a very good summer read. (paperback, it did not survive the years.) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

    1. Oh, I’ve read that book (Blue Highways) several times, its a very good read. If you are into travel books, Bill Bryson (same author of that book OldAlaskan 6:26 mentions) wrote some great books too, funny and informative. My favorite one is the one on Australia – very interesting.

  17. Ok Ok, here is one for the Road….

    Two Headlines;

    1. A few hundred thousands troops on the North Korean border, a U.S. Naval Strike Fleet awaiting orders from President Trump and constant threats of missile and nuclear tests from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un…
    What could possibly go wrong?

    2. Vladimir Putin Mobilizes Troops and Equipment To North Korean Border: “Fears U.S. Is Preparing To Attack”, A video purports to show one of three trains loaded with military equipment moving towards the 11 mile-long land frontier between Russia and the repressive state.

    Think maybe I’ll just stay at home this weekend and plant some more in the Garden…

    NRP

    1. Yeah not good. I am doing a short road trip on the first week of may. Nor Cal to Vegas. Need to pick up some toys I purchased at the Crossroads gun show in phoenix a few months ago from my parents. Also need to see them,dad 86 and mom 81 so never know when they will go. A day drive there and one back with a couple of days to just hang out and relax.

  18. My folks were into spur of the moment road trips when I was a kid. My mom would be making a bunch of sandwiches and the old metal cooler would be out. My brothers and I would count cars to pass the time.one would take Fords, the other Chevy and I got stuck with Dodge.LOL!
    We saw alot of the country from a 1960 Chevy.Many times came home from school on a Friday and we headed out. Miss those times.. alot!

  19. We sang endless verses of ’99 bottles of beer on the wall’ on trips from the coast to Eugene. :)

      1. @ homebody aka hermitus

        AHhh heck, way back then we would just hand pop another one of those beers…. HAHAHA

        NRP

        1. NRP

          When I was a kid I asked dad to drive from town to town while drinking a cans (pop of course). When each can was empty and thrown out I would mark the spot – then later I would go back on my bike and pick up all the loot dumped at the same place by most people. This way I did not have to walk the entire highway looking for cans and bottles. Believe it or not, it save me much time and paid quite well as most people drink at a similar rate. The pee stops were avoided lol.

  20. I gotta say, some of the best road trips were the unplanned ones. DH and I would at the spur of the moment head off to another state to visit someone with just the clothes on our back.

    One time our DD came over to visit and we all decided to go to breakfast. While reminiscing about our spur of the moment trips, DH said we should just do that now and go visit his sister who was four states away. Of course DD thought it was funny and said yes lets do it. So we started our journey and DD every hour or so kept saying I can’t believe we are going to visit Aunt _____, what did I get myself into. Things never seemed to work out when we plan them, so the spur of the moment trips were the most fun as there was no expectation. It was a six hour drive one way. DD still talks about that trip, but also adds that she won’t egg us on the next time we talk about doing that.

    1. Yes, sometimes circumstances that hurt also help. On one of our vacation trips, the car began to overheat and we had to stop every couple of hours to let it cool down. We saw quite a bit more and were able to experience it more than just driving through.

  21. Lol @ peanut gallery, because I can’t get half way through my state in 6 hours, much less 4 states. Living in the southwest.

      1. I beg your pardon!!!!!
        We had the Appalachian mtns. Beautiful scenery & the speed limit was 45 mph
        on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
        Coastal drives were just as good. the Outer Banks–beautiful & quiet,

          1. YES. Have lived in Charlotte all my life.
            Looking to ESCAPE the citylife. neighborhood has changed.
            feel like I’m being sqeezed out.
            My father was from Burke county & mom was from Union county.
            Does your name tell where you live?
            I think the Outer Banks are a lot nicer than Myrtle Beach SC.
            We used to go to Myrtle Beach when we were younger,
            but that beach has also changed.
            I wanted to go live in the ADIRONDACKS in NY, but my sister said NO.

          2. Sandismom,
            My ancestors were from Stanley County, near Charlotte. Some of the Uwharrie Forest was sold by them to the government to become a National Forest. But, I’ve lived elsewhere. I’m not close to the beach anymore. Moved inland to avoid the wrath of hurricanes. But, hurricanes are the reason I got interested in being prepared. I still love the coast, but not as much as I used to. Way too overpopulated with new people who have more money than common sense… luv ya’ll, Beach’n

      2. @NRP, North Carolina used to be one of the most beautiful states in the country! That’s why we’re being overrun with retirees from “up north”and from florida. In a few hours we can be in the mountains, in a few hours you can be on the coast. The Piedmont area with it’s rolling hills, are just gorgeous. NC also has lots of state and federal parks. Luckily NC still has quite a bit of rural area too!

        I’ve lived here all my life and have witnessed the population changes. It’s sad to watch such a beautiful state become a “draw” for those who are looking to move somewhere beautiful and all those people end up ruining what they loved…So, to those who think they might move here…we’re crowded now. :( luv ya’ll, Beach’n

        1. Thanks for the “Warning”
          a lot of “new” people that have “migrated” here are from Mexico.
          working the farms
          I have met a lot of New Yorkers too in the grocery stores.
          They come down cause NC is less expensive than NY.
          My neighborhood has a lot of people from out west moving in now.
          Charlotte is also tearing down business’s & building apt & condo’s
          in their place all around the city, including my neighborhood.
          city has totally changed

        2. @ Beach’n

          Here in the Four Corners, it’s absolutely UGLY, the roads are still dirt with wagon wheel ruts and MUD, the stores have no refrigeration, all of the electricity is faulty and goes out ALL the time, the water taste like filtered sewage and the food is always rancid. The people here are real A-holes and rude as sin. Even the sky is a dark gray from all of the pollution and at night the stars are an orange-red color. Y-all have seen the color of the Animas River, so bad fish even walk on the banks to go upstream.

          SO, nobody should visit here or even think about moving here…… ‘Nothing here, move on’

          Wink Wink

          NRP

  22. When I was in high school, after I got my drivers license, myself and a couple of buddies would load up my pick-up with camping gear and spend the first week of summer vacation prowling the back-roads of Arkansas. In those days, over half of the roads in Arkansas, including many of the “state highways” were unpaved. We sometimes traveled for a couple of days without encountering a paved road.

    We were Texas natives traveling in an alien land, some 400 miles from home. On one such trip, my sophomore year, we camped at a spot in the Ozarks that impressed me so much with its beauty, I boldly proclaimed to my buddies that some day I would build a home there. Fifty years later I am posting this comment from my home with-in rock chunking distance from that camp site.

    Road trips can be productive and shape your future.

    1. Back in the 70s we were driving Hwy 101 up the pacific coast and I came upon a small town that was located in the most beautiful area I’ve ever been in. I had just left Hawaii and to say this area was more beautiful meant a lot. I said to myself, this is where I want to grow old. It took a while to get back and now I’m growing old in the most beautiful county in the county.

    2. A Texas farmer was visiting rural New England, and saw a farmer out in his field. The Texas farmer stopped to talk, and asked the New England farmer how big his farm was. The New England farmer replied that it ran from the stream over yonder to the top of the ridge line. The Texas farmer replied that his farm was so big that he could get in his truck and drive all day and not get from one side to the other. The New England farmer said, “Yeah, I had a truck like that once.”

  23. Gosh you guys make me opine for the past trips I have taken, with those now past on. Now I travel alone (when I can travel).
    Thanks for reminding me y’all!

  24. And with progression of age, for me at least, ‘there’s no place like home’ gets more real every day! :-)

  25. I like to take the back roads ( used to to be the main roads) on some trips.
    Yes they are slower, have many speed zones and small towns to go thru.
    But, I slow down, stop at places along the way, talk with local folks, and enjoy the
    trip so much, it is worth it.

    As you get older, time saved is not as important as the journey.

  26. I would like to take a trip up the east coast to maine & go see the Adirondacks in
    NY state.
    I’ve never been to DC & I would like to see the White House, also go to all the
    Museums. It would also be nice to drive cross country to see the west coast too.

        1. News now is possible strikes on grid in CA & NY
          this am the power cut off in san fransisco, New York city, LA & another city
          I can’t think of right now.
          The sun is spewing & Earth will possibly be hit by that in a couple of days.
          I need to fill up my gas for car & grass.
          Will do that tomorrow & go get more supplies.
          Running low on water & TP.

    1. I used to live in upstate NY and while I now live in the Sierra Nevada’s I miss the road trips through the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains in the fall. Most beautiful time of the year there.

  27. Planning a road trip with 2 friends- leaving next month Virginia to Wyoming and return. I’m a little concerned about being so far from home just in case the shtf but I know we’ll have a great time. We’ll be doing a lot of hiking and sightseeing, and I’ll be able to cross something off my bucket list – hiking the Crazy Horse Memorial. Looking forward to seeing some beautiful country.

  28. Ken, I hope that you’ll share with us anything that you can about recommended preps, etc. if one is on such a trip, and things unexpectedly go south. I’m sure the thought came to mind a time or two.

  29. Our favorite activity as a couple, are/is, a road trip. We love them. We love taking the road less traveled, seeing the sights, the smaller towns and meeting some of the best people ever. Since our grandkids, son and daughter-in-law moved 1600 miles away, (one way), we enjoy the time together and those road trips!
    As a native Californian, we raised our family in south Orange County, and finally moved out of the crush of humanity, up to northern Utah, and yes the ridiculous urban sprawl is headed up this way too. Here in Utah, UDOT and the local urban planners have zero experience in moving masses amount of people. They still have the small town mentality, and haven’t yet realized that the geography in Utah, doesn’t allow for anything more than a singular road running north and south in this state. Which is I-15… the side routes are already choked 24/7 with selfish nitwits who do not know about courtesy nor simple rules of the road. The mountains are pretty, just don’t hit them on a weekend! Too many flat landers.

  30. When I go to the range several hours north of my suburban home to the country where there are dairy farms and sod farms, I feel the difference immediately. I go to local diner for lunch..the people are real. There are different people at the diner..rich, middle class, black,white,and Hispanic. The point is everybody gets along. The past week has divided us greatly and I fear the danger it sets in motion. Maybe a little too deep…Just my opinion

  31. The 1960s prduced a generation of live and let live, give peace a chance, don’t judge a man by his color. That generation hated the country club set and moved for equality, of race, gender, sexuality and religion. They rejected the bullies of their time, yelling for Free Speech and the end of war.

    They have now come full circle, they are the bullies, they have censored speech and now they even talk of Reeducation Camps and burning books. The world has gone crazy and the United States now leads the way.

    I’m not sure of the solution, in the past we as citizens just waited for the next election. But the question is will there ever be FAIR elections again. Who will in Congress will stand up for freedom of speech,let alone election fairness????

  32. In rural areas, it’s not as hard to ignore the foibles of one’s neighbors. There are fewer neighbors and often much space in between as well as space to get away. In the urban areas, your neighbor’s oddities are in your face. Soon you feel someone should do something about it and you band together to force the issue. And solution upon solution upon solution to the problems you perceived or created because you are miserable are foisted upon the whole. No wonder they’re all pissed off and rude. Now we’re the problem they’re ganging up to “solve.” Once we’re gone, they’ll move again on each other. Narcissist narrow minded little people.

  33. Now that I’m retired, the first thing I say when I get out of bed in the morning :

    “Nowhere to go, and all day to get there, ”

    Ahh – the retired life !

  34. Even here in the islands,
    with the exception of Oahu, the state is overwhelmingly rural, and of that much of it almost inaccessible

  35. I have driven cross country a lot. In the early 60’s I hitched. I love this land. I just wish more people had taken the time to drive and walk the land.If they did it might give them some appreciation for whats out there. There is a lot to be said for expanding ones horizons.It changes your prospective of what matters.

    1. As well as accepting, appreciating and admiring the people that live throughout the country. Mike Rowe should run for President.

  36. Being in a wilderness setting, I find I have more freedom as those in urban areas.

    1. I don’t have to wear a mask outside my home, most urban areas in the state required it.
    2. 2. I can run naked outside. Can’t do that in urban areas without being arrested for indecent exposure. My body is not indecent.
    3. I can shoot my gun in my yard. Can’t do that in urban areas
    4. I can play loud music, dogs bark, and run loud machinery. Can’t do that in urban areas for disturbing the peace.
    5. I can dig a hole for hiding things. Can’t do that very well with neighbors watching.
    6. I can cut down a tree without a permit.
    7. I can fuel my wood stove with what I have on my property. Can’t in urban areas.
    8. I can grow my own food on my property. Can’t in urban apartments.
    9. Taxes are much lower than in town or a city. Urban areas pay 10 to 20X more.
    10. I bought my place for 1/2 the cost than in the small town 12 miles away, and in urban areas my home would be over $5+ million to buy as I have acreage.

    Disadvantage is distance to get supplies, but making one trip a month makes it feasible about $4 a month in gas. The rest is Fedex to me… cheaper than at the stores. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  37. I don’t really like urban sprawl all that much, some countries, like Mongolia, have no infrastructure outside major cities, not even roads. The only place which I would see an equivalent in North America is Canada, or maybe the desert region in the southwest in the US.

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