I guess the DotCom days really are over.
March 26, 2001 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I guess the DotCom days really are over. Now i just have to try and remember how to actually do something productive. I think i'll be a professional introvert, what about you?
posted by th3ph17 (33 comments total)
A Coke to the person who can find the first time(s) this was posted. I know it's there somewhere, but I can't find it. DPG, where are you in our time of need?
posted by luke at 8:44 AM on March 26, 2001

I always liked the idea of cruising the country the hippie way, on a battered up VW microbus. Way more fun and productive than being hunched up at a computer hacking code for virtual sandcastles.
posted by betobeto at 8:48 AM on March 26, 2001

Just out of curiosity, have you actually driven across the country yet? If you have, and enjoyed it, more power to you. If not, be forewarned: between the east and west coasts there's a whole lot of nothing. With parents in Chicago, inlaws near Amarillo, and friends in California, I've inadvertently followed most of historic Route 66, and it just isn't as exciting as On the Road had me believe it would be. Don't forget, even if you use this map, you'll be driving through some very red states.
posted by Eamon at 9:30 AM on March 26, 2001

I drove across country (Miami to Seattle) about 7 years ago. It was bit sparse in the middle at times. Any road trip is only as fun or exciting as you want it to be. It wasn't Kerouac's road trip I was on anyway. And it doesn't have to be for you either.

I agree with you, though, Eamon, there are some pretty "red" states along the way.
posted by armando at 9:41 AM on March 26, 2001

I looked for a previous post as well, perhaps we can take a better link search discussion into metatalk? i hate being that guy who posts something Again. i think the search looks at the link title rather than the URL.
posted by th3ph17 at 9:50 AM on March 26, 2001

I drove from Tampa to Los Angeles several years back and thought I would lose my mind from west Texas to east Arizona. That stretch of I-10 is about a thousand miles of totally straight road with nothing but sand and tumbleweed as scenery. And some windmills.

And don't even get me started on Mississippi.

(My apologies to residents of those regions that I just flamed. And my sympathies.)
posted by goto11 at 9:54 AM on March 26, 2001

posted by jennyb at 9:56 AM on March 26, 2001

I've driven across the country three times and it's been a hoot each time. Oh, to have the freedom to do it again. It's not the particular road that makes the difference, but the geography of your mind.

And I have to take excepetion, Eamon: Experiencing different cultures is the trip's main joy. If I wanted to hang around and talk Nader with fellow blue-bloods, I'd stay home. My favorite part of the road is shooting the bull with strangers with different life experiences and paradigms, especially those I can neither fathom nor accept.

Plus, I dare say that those states are any more "red" today than they were when Jack set out. He didn't exactly lollygag getting from one blue coast to the other. Wasn't middle America's hostility toward him and Dean "On The Road"'s major theme?
posted by luke at 10:00 AM on March 26, 2001

I think a taste for the open road grows as you get older. I remember being 14 and going cross country (and back) with my parents and my 7 year old sister. Hell on wheels.

Then, when I was 18, my older brother and his wife invited me to spend Christmas with them, and my parents said I could go, but I'd have to take the bus. 45 hours each way. But it was kind of cool.

I like driving long distances a lot more now than I used to. The same interminable trip across Wyoming (completely straight highway for hundreds of miles, towns with a population of 5 listed prominently on the map) would be cool today, if I had a friend and a large supply of really good music. The open road and wide open spaces open up parts of you that you might not otherwise experience.

Besides, even places like Mississippi have interesting regional cuisines. And friendly people, if you're open to them.
posted by anapestic at 10:05 AM on March 26, 2001

luke & th3ph17:

You were snarfled by
MeFi's search feature, weren't you.
DPG knows all.

(It's not the same link, but it's the same idea.)
posted by DoublePostGuy at 10:12 AM on March 26, 2001

From Detroit to Seattle is moderately interesting, although the Dakotas (whichever you choose, depending on whether you take 90 to 94) are a bit boring. Once you get to western Montana, though -- wow.
posted by kindall at 11:01 AM on March 26, 2001

William Least Heat-Moon (aka Bill Trogdon), author of two great American Road Books, Blue Highways and River Horse, provides the best tips for traveling cross-country. My synthesis: avoid major highways, always stop at fish frys and roadside diners, and don't pick your direction until you get to the fork in the road.

His method for judging the quality of a cafe in Nowheresville was to count the number of complimentary calendars on the wall from insurance companies, implement dealers, service stations, etc. The more, the better.
posted by Mo Nickels at 11:14 AM on March 26, 2001

Navin: Good Lord - I've heard about this - cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a god that would let this happen?
posted by jpoulos at 11:25 AM on March 26, 2001

whoops...wrong thread....
posted by jpoulos at 11:35 AM on March 26, 2001

Mo Nickels: You could actually get through River Horse? I'm very, very impressed.

I loved Blue Highways -- that part about the diner/calendar rating system is a story I've been telling for years -- and managed to slog my way through Prairy Erth (which is the antithesis of a travel book, it all takes place in one BORING county - I apologize to the four people who live there), but I got half-way through River Horse and just gave up. Too many made-up words and faux-philosophy. And what's with names he gives to his friends?
posted by MarkAnd at 11:49 AM on March 26, 2001

hey, I don't live in Mississippi (can I get an *amen*) but have had lots of fun in Gulfport and Biloxi on the coast (I-10 goes right by there). Dimly I recall a Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing featuring transylvanian transvestites with good-ole-boy drawls so thick you could slice 'em like butter...

and my very favorite highway rest stop in the entire nation is in Pascagoula on I-10; on the eastbound side you can park with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. A nice thing to wake up to if you have to sleep in the front seat of your car after a full day of driving.

lastly, coastal Mississippi is close enough to Cajun country that there's some kickass food to be had there. mmmrm.
posted by Sapphireblue at 12:46 PM on March 26, 2001

the Dakotas (whichever you choose, depending on whether you take 90 to 94) are a bit boring.

kindall, didn't you stop at Wall Drug? Most interesting place in North America. Were my husband not slightly more persuasive than I am, we would have honeymooned there.

Please note the jackalopes and the 80-foot dinosaur.
posted by gazould at 1:26 PM on March 26, 2001

South Dakota also has the infamous Mitchel Corn Palace. And the Black Hills are lovely.
posted by jennyb at 1:35 PM on March 26, 2001

I've written about my trip move from Chicago to Seattle on my website. I probably should have tried counting the number of walldrug signs we passed. It is truely impressive the amount. I did manage to surpress my desire to stop there. We decided to visit Yellowstone instead and saw a lot of burned trees, etc. from the fire.

I did see a "abortion is death" and "animals are our economy, South Dakota says, 'No' to animal activists" signs.

It's always fun to hit the scan on the radio and have it cycle through without finding anything. It feels like you are scanning for civilization.
posted by john at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2001

It was night when I passed the WORLD-FAMOUS WALL DRUG so I didn't get to stop there. Almost went to see Mt. Rushmore, but I was running behind and decided to skip it.

My first trip out this way (in 1990) I stopped at all the kitschy places and took lots of pictures of the natural beauty of the landscape. This time I just wanted to haul ass.

Was very glad to be able to be driving into Coeur d'Alene just as the sun was setting.
posted by kindall at 2:33 PM on March 26, 2001

I made the move out West the hard way: Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans to Chicago to Seattle to Vegas to LA.

Saw French Quarter, Wall Drug, Graceland, Lorraine Motel, Sears Tower, Mount Rushmore, Space Needle...

Highly, highly recommend it...
posted by owillis at 2:38 PM on March 26, 2001

I made a move from the Jersey Shore to Denver, Colorado earlier this year, in a '93 Ford Escort. I remember passing by small towns in Missouri and Kansas and saying to myself, "Now this is the type of town people spend their whole lives trying to get out of." Two hours later, I'd pass another town, consisting of a gas station and Motel 6, and say, "No, this is the town . . ." and it just got worse and worse.

From Hays, KS to Limon, CO I couldn't even pick up AM radio, let alone FM radio.
posted by SlappyPeterson at 3:02 PM on March 26, 2001

A trip through South Dakota is not legitimate without a stop in Murdo to see the Duke brothers' car - the General Lee.

Wall Drug, The Corn Palace, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore -- they're all for amateurs. For shame!
posted by MarkAnd at 3:34 PM on March 26, 2001

Been on a pair of uber-long roadtrips - one from the SF Bay Area to Kansas (via Vegas and Four Corners) and back; one SF-to-NY, I-80-all-the-way. Despite time contraints and spending relatively little time minging with locals, it was tons of fun seeing the area contrast: the absolute desolation of, say, Shiprock, NM compared to the "rural" Santa Cruz Mountains; trying to find "authentic Mexcian cuisine" in Omaha; the NJ/NY highway system being every bit as disorienting as had been promised. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.
posted by youhas at 3:39 PM on March 26, 2001

I loved South Dakota. I have some funny postcards and stuff from Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore. I went on a trip from the northwest corner of Arkansas to some tiny-but-lovely town in Idaho (McCall?) and it was the most fun I have ever had. I went through Yellowstone when they were having the big fires and so I saw very little of the geysers and fountains and such. But the huge plumes of smoke and valleys that looked like they were full of dark fog were somewhat interesting to see.

I even saw my first tornado on that trip. It was in Grand Junction, Colorado. Home to the world's largest flattop mountain, or something to that effect. It is a little odd that the first tornado that I would ever see would be in Colorado rather than Texas or Oklahoma. Anyway, I love the open land in Oklahoma and Texas that is nothing but dust and tumbleweeds. I would always prefer driving through the open land and seeing the sights in the middle of the country to hanging around in some sprawling city. But I see why some people would go crazy having to drive through it, particularly if they had grown up used to the hustle and bustle of New York or some other coastal giant.

The only places that I have visited that I did not get any real enjoyment out of were Utah and Alabama. The roads were terrible in the parts of Alabama that I saw, and not once did I see anything that seemed even remotely interesting. And Utah... Well, Utah had some pretty scenery. It also had the motel with no swimming pool because the owners felt that people should not be revealing themselves by wearing bathing suits and the guy who walked around the hallways like some sort of deranged security guard, fussing at stray children to not leave their rooms.
posted by bargle at 3:40 PM on March 26, 2001

Google has a whole category for "End of the Internet" pages.
posted by waxpancake at 3:53 PM on March 26, 2001

San Francisco to Atlanta by way of Seattle, and back, via Greyhound. That was a trip I'll never forget.

I spent many hours cruising empty highways and dirt roads in the Nevada hinterland when I lived in Reno. It can be hours between towns, and sometimes between other vehicles on the road. There's nothing to do but admire the scenery and monitor your vehicle's health. Every conversation eventually peters out, and it's during the hours of reverie that follow when the desert really gets into you.

I miss the place, and its impassive glory.

posted by Mars Saxman at 4:21 PM on March 26, 2001

What does it say about America that the two most common voices on the radio that I heard were: Paul Harvey and Dr. Laura?
posted by owillis at 4:40 PM on March 26, 2001

Along the way, has anyone seen the The World's Largest Ball of Twine??
posted by fooljay at 5:01 AM on March 27, 2001

Ha! Apparently there's someone else with a competing claim

This must be some sort of drug-induced obsession.

Either way, if I ever go across the country, I'm going to bone up before I go starting here. Man, people in the middle of the country have a lot of time on their hands... ;^)
posted by fooljay at 5:07 AM on March 27, 2001

I got half-way through River Horse and just gave up. Too many made-up words and faux-philosophy. And what's with names he gives to his friends?

Those are real words, man. True, you need the full OED to find them, but they are real.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:19 AM on March 27, 2001

I spent many hours cruising empty highways and dirt roads in the Nevada hinterland when I lived in Reno.

Hey, I used to live in Truckee, CA. We traversed those empty highways and dirt roads to get out of Truckee so we could go to Reno and have something to do.

(Actually, there's lots to do in Truckee, CA if you snow board or it's summer, unfortunately, neither condition was met at the time of my residence.)
posted by jennyb at 6:56 AM on March 27, 2001

i thought we were talking about the end of the internet. what happened?

going with the flow, i drove from montana to mississippi once with no sleep. it sucked.
posted by webguyphil at 10:16 PM on March 27, 2001 [1 favorite]

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