American Adventures: Directory of Articles
Overview of Thody's American Adventures
(Each article has its own detail map)
the last several years, Peter Thody has written some of the
best-read travel commentary on RoadTrip America. His 2007 road trip from Chicago to San Francisco,
published in 10 installments in 2008, gave readers a fresh
perspective on the American West. That's because Thody is
an Englishman -- clueless about some things Americans take
for granted, unafraid to poke fun at some Western heroes and
traditions, and unabashed in his wonder at the beauty of it
all. This year, Thody returned to the United States with his
wife, Carole, for a road trip through the American South.
Three great byways -- the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Historic
National Road and the Blue Ridge Parkway -- provided the basic
framework for the trip, a three-week whistle-stop tour of
14 states and the District of Columbia.
to Gatlinburg - A Day in the Great Smoky Mountains
A personal greeting from a Cherokee elder, a walk
in the woods in Bill Bryson's footsteps, and two entirely
different bear encounters end Peter Thody's three-week
trip through the eastern U.S. Join him as he travels
across the Smokies and discovers that there's still
plenty of room to breathe in America's busiest national
Born of Depression: The Blue Ridge Parkway
Bluegrass music, flatfoot dancing and almost 500
miles of unspoilt scenery weave a spell that is uniquely
American over the hills and valleys of the central Appalachians.
Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway with British road tripper
Peter Thody as he discovers the rustic charm of a 70-year-old
wooden cabin, meets a park ranger who doesn't really
like tourists, and crosses a bridge that doesn't quite
live up to its name.
Fire and Bears: On the Road through Virginia to Washington,
A drive through Virginia - with an unscheduled side
trip to Washington, D.C. - provides our British road
tripper with a taste of everything America does best:
living history, public monuments and glorious natural
scenery. Peter Thody takes the wheel on a trip to Colonial
Williamsburg, the National Mall and Shenandoah National
in Time on the Delmarva Peninsula
From a courtroom drama involving a horse to a near
head-on collision with a U.S. Navy warship, British
correspondent Peter Thody travels through the centuries
on a 200-mile trip down the Delmarva Penin-sula. Join
him on a journey that also takes in crab shacks, dirt-poor
shantytowns and a selection of Redneck souvenirs.
the Appalachians and on to New Jersey
A whistle-stop trip across West Virginia, Pennsylvania,
Maryland and New Jersey takes our British road tripper,
Peter Thody, over some historic American ground. Three
battlefields recall bitter conflicts from three different
wars, while an encounter with some Amish people gets
Thody thinking about how we look at things.
Ohio, the Wrong Way, on the Historic National Road
No road in American history has played a greater
role in opening up the country than what's known today
as The Historic National Road. Join Peter Thody as he
drives across Ohio and discovers that historic sites
aren't always scenic, that there are times when a chain
hotel is infinitely preferable to an independent motel,
and that some things were just not meant to be.
Dean's Grave and Other Good Reasons to Visit Indiana
A 200-mile drive to visit James Dean's grave takes
Peter Thody through the USA's most depressingly named
town, the country's sixth most interesting city from
an architectural point of a view, and one of only two
state capitals to include the name of the state in its
own name. Join him and wife Carole as they discover
these and other good reasons to visit Indiana.
Bible Belt to Bourbon on the Old Kentucky Turnpike
Regaining his composure after the unexpected sight
of a billboard extolling the benefits of child beating,
Peter Thody takes the relaxed route north through Kentucky
along U.S. Highway 31E. Along the way, he and wife,
Carole, visit a log cabin that Abraham Lincoln wasn't
born in, spend a night in jail and discover a taste
for sour mash bourbon.
Guns and Great-Great Grandmothers on the Natchez Trace
Peter Thody's drive up the northern section of the
Natchez Trace Parkway begins with an encounter with
a gun-toting hillbilly in Mississippi and ends with
an encounter with an overamorous reveler in a honky-tonk
bar in Nashville. On a drive that takes him through
three Southern states, he also visits graves, battlegrounds
and a monument to an Indian woman called Te-lah-nay.
and Elvis Presley: Welcome to the South
In this, the first leg of Peter Thody's 2008 road
trip through the South, he and his wife, Carole, travel
from Atlanta, Ga., birthplace of Coca-Cola, CNN and
Martin Luther King Jr., to Tupelo, Miss., birthplace
of Elvis Aaron Presley. With just one or two notable
exceptions, they encounter nothing but the very best
of Southern hospitality.
the summer of 2007, Peter Thody and his wife Carole left their home in Leeds, England to embark
on a 4,000-mile American road trip. Hotel bookings in Chicago
and San Francisco established the bookends of the trip, a
rental Jeep provided the means of getting from A to B, but
the four weeks in between were left to write their own story.
Here We Are
On this, the final leg of their drive from Lake
Michigan to the Pacific Ocean, Peter Thody and wife
Carole visit a ghost town, camp out in Sequoia National
Park, and encounter their first traffic jam since leaving
Chicago four weeks earlier. They survive close encounters
with flies, black bears and, scariest of all, a San
Francisco cable car driver. It is a crash landing back
into civilization for this English couple, who've driven
more than 4,000 miles on their Great American Road Trip.
22 , 2008
the Even-Lonelier Highway across Nevada
After enjoying a wonderful life in the gambling
town of Ely, Nevada, Peter Thody pushes wife Carole's
patience to the limit on a spur-of-the-moment and probably
ill-advised eight-mile dirt road adventure. Join them
as they follow the Nevada section of U.S. Route 6, America's
second longest highway.
the Pace in Western Utah
From the sandstone cliffs and lush greenery of Zion
National Park to the searing heat and inhospitable desert
of the Wah Wah Mountains, Peter Thody explores the southwest
corner of Utah, discovers his favorite bar in the whole
of America and decides that, like the outlaw Josey Wales,
he wants to settle here.
Natural Wonders of Northern Arizona
Few places on earth could fill 48 hours quite so
memorably as northern Arizona. On this leg of his western
journey, Peter Thody takes in two of the world's most
recognizable landmarks, saves a few dollars on hotel
bills at wife Carole's expense, and manages to avoid
being party to the mass suicide of the state's chipmunk
Land of a Thousand Westerns
Two national parks -- Arches and Canyonlands --
provide the backdrop for the eastern Utah leg of Peter
Thody's 4,000-mile journey from the Great Lakes to the
Pacific coast. Join him and wife Carole as they sleep
with the ghosts of old movie stars, get to grips with
the state's curious licensing laws and marvel at what
a bit of wind and water can do to sandstone.
and Mortality: It's Good to be Alive in Colorado
A server with attitude ensures that there's no such
thing as a free lunch; a 200-yard stroll brings on a
bad case of altitude sickness; and news from home casts
a shadow over the trip. But for Peter Thody, the abiding
memories of the five days he and wife Carole spent traveling
through Colorado will be of the classic lake-and-mountain
landscape of the Rockies and the canyons and red-rock
country of the West.
Wine and Hors d'Oeuvres in the Cowboy State
Wyoming is home to the world's largest outdoor rodeo,
historic sections of the Lincoln Highway and an ancient
tree clinging to life on a granite boulder. These are
just some of the must-see attractions that Peter Thody
contrived to miss on his 24-hour dash across the southeast
corner of the state. What he and wife Carole did experience
was an unexpected side of the Cowboy State: one of good
wine, imaginative cuisine and a motel luxury that neither
of them will ever be able to erase from their memory.
Nebraska: God Bless the Amber
Waves of Grain
Before arriving in Nebraska, Peter Thody had been
warned to expect "a whole lotta nuttin'."
But he and wife Carole discover plenty to write home
about, including beautiful scenery, the historic Lincoln
Highway, a don't-miss museum and a particularly aggressive
species of fly. Which just goes to show, you really
do have to find things out for yourself.
Metal and Empty Streets: The Charm of the "Tall
Thody visits Iowa, the state many believe provides a
window into how America used to be: a simpler, more
innocent way of life. And while credit cards are indeed
still viewed with suspicion, Thody struggles to imagine
Doris Day attending a death-metal disco or Pa Ingalls
searching for work along a climate-controlled skywalk.
Like everywhere else, the "Tall Corn State"
is changing -- and not always for the best.
to the Mississippi
Thody's first adventure took him to Illinois,
where he discovered some odd examples of Americana:
a 110-ton coffee bean, a 2,000-foot drill bit and a
seemingly endless supply of artistically rusty, vintage