Hi everyone. I don't know if I am writing this in the right section or not but I was hoping someone could answer a few of my questions. I will be taking a road trip, my first, over summer 2006. I have set aside 1 month for this trip. The main reason I am taking this trip is to see the scenery and different cultures in this country. The problem is, I don't know where to go. Do you have any suggestions? I live in Connecticut and will drive any where in the country. Also, what are some tips about traveling alone? Lastly, what are my lodging options along the way? Is it safe to sleep in my car? Thanks a bunch!
If you have any other tips for me they would be greatly appreciated!
Welcome to the Forum! Well, a month is a reasonable length of time to "scratch the surface" a bit. But it would help us if we knew what you meant by "different cultures." Further, are you looking for a birds-eye view of these different regions or would you like to spend some time and really gain some perspective?
Originally Posted by nycrazyx
From CT, I would suggest that spending time in the south and in Texas would introduce you to a whole bunch of difference from New England.
If I think I understand what you're saying, you basically want to venture and see some of the 'cultural regions' of the U.S.
As Mark said, two regions to hit are definately the South (Georgia, Alabama, etc.), and Texas. Also, you should stop in Arizona, California, Washington State, Illinois, and Wyoming wouldn't be too bad... I'd say get a good mix of city life and rural life as well, as Urban Georgia is different from Rural Georgia. I would advise hitting the states above, as they are the 'centers' of these cultural regions. Also, if you're trying to see the areas and the culture, stay off the interstates. The US lives on the US Highways and State Routes. Use interstates only when you need to zip to another area, but stop as often as you can.
Hope that helps!
I am not convinced that there is anything fundamentally different from an American in Miami, Little Rock or Cody -- there are different regions in the country -- but culturally we are all pretty similar. Brad's view is a common one when road trippers discuss road lore, but I am not sure that Interstates deserve that level of bad rap -- personally I live closer to an Interstate than any of the two lane highways that have nostalgic appeal -- and more and more of us do. There is plenty of life one can see when traveling on the interstate highway system.
Originally Posted by nycrazyx
There aren't fundemental differences, but I found when I moved from Washington to Arizona after living there for 12 years, everything they did down here seemed backwards... drive-through alchohol stores, the way the cities are designed, even things like what's acceptable to wear at a workplace, what they eat, how they think,etc. There is a major common thread, but you'll find some cultural niches (like the places I've mentioned) that seem to represent their region, and are just different then the rest of the country.
And I don't mean to badmouth the interstates, they are plenty good and you can see lots from them, what I was getting at, however, is that the sideroads (US Highways, State Highways, etc) actually go through the center of town, stop at the stoplights, and go right along their main commercial districts. You'll notice differences in archetecture, even modern archetectre, you'll notice differences in traffic controls and street designs (minor as they may be, but they can be astounding... 7 lane arterial streets are common here, but you'd be hard pressed to find many in Washington or some other areas). Just pointing out that you generally get a few extra minutes to see things and visit with people, where with the interstates, unless you think to get off there, you miss it. Nothing neccesary 'nostalgic' about any of the roadways, just that you get immersed in the area. Thats all I was saying.
Point Taken & Expanded
I understand the point and your examples were excellent -- I just take exception to the widely accepted perception that to really "see America" you have to travel on two-lane roadways. Yes, there are plenty of cultural differences -- residents of the Conch Republic mark their socio-geographic location as north of Cuba and south of Florida, Cajun ranchers have different outlooks than cattle ranchers in Texas, the Oregon Outback and/or Wyoming. Likewise, California surf dudes bear little resemblance to beach-goers in the UP of Michigan or the kayakers of Puget Sound. In fact, one of the cultural characteristics of being an American may be that we are like no one else we know. And the structure of the roads and cities, as you have so aptly pointed out, differ widely in organization and emphasis as one travels around.
Originally Posted by Cascadia4-brad m