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Thread summary:

America: college, university, cross country travel, downtown, affordable.

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Old 06-04-2007, 10:39 PM
j33
 
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I grew up in and currently live in just as much as the 'real' America as the most rural outpost of the southwest thankyouverymuch.

The urban parts of the US are just as part of America as the rural parts.
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:44 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawkeye48 View Post
Contrary to popular belief most people actually live in small towns in America.
This is not true at all. According to the Census Bureau itself "Over four-fifths of Americans live in metropolitan areas, and over 70 percent live in areas of over one million people."
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Old 06-05-2007, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Kentucky
6,749 posts, read 19,950,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domergurl View Post
I always thought this would be a fun thing to do, it's the World's Largest Garage Sale and it goes through the south:

127sale

You'd probably see a lot of the America you are seeking. Plus you could go garage sale-ing!
I have been through a small part of this (through Frankfort and Lawrenceburg KY) and it was fun but there's no way I could do it al in the two or three days it runs. I bet some try though!
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Old 06-05-2007, 07:23 AM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,184 posts, read 67,332,997 times
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Default U.S. Route 6

You should also consider driving the entire stretch of U.S. Route 6 at some point in your life, which will show you just about every aspect you could ever want in America---Land of the Beautiful.

Massachusetts

Its easternmost terminus begins (or ends) at Provincetown, on the tip of Massachusetts' Cape Cod. In this small, historic town, you'll see not only a monument to the Pilgrims, our nation's first European settlers, but also a very diverse community of both gays/lesbians and Portuguese, as well as funky stores. Traveling southwestward down the Cape, you'll pass not too far from ferries in Hyannis that will take you to either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, two island communities that truly feel like they have been "lost in time." My friends and I bicycled around Martha's Vineyard last summer, and we enjoyed our trip immensely. Next, you'll wind up in New Bedford, which is home a whaling museum that is definitely worth a look to get a glimpse into what life was like (and is still like) for many rural fishing villages in the northeast.


Rhode Island
After passing through Fall River, MA, you'll cross the state border into Providence, RI. This historic, vibrant capital city was also the vacation destination of my family and I several years ago, and we enjoyed a free evening Celtic concert in a downtown park that was offset by a backdrop of a fire-lantern-lit Providence River in the background, as well as the nighttime skyline. I even purchased a guide book with various historic walking tours throughout this rebounding state capital.

Connecticut
After its brief stint in Rhode Island, Route 6 makes its way into Connecticut. You'll find the easternmost parts of the state to be quite rural and indicative of the famed quaint New England villages. You'll eventually get dumped into Hartford, another capital city that is seeing a renaissance as of late. Be sure to visit the Mark Twain House while you're in town. Just west of the city you'll pass by the town of Bristol, which is home to the New England Carousel Museum and a Clock Museum. The next town over will be Terryville, which is home to the Lock Museum of America.

New York
Once you pass through Danbury, an exurb of New York City, you'll end up in Southern Upstate New York. While in this small portion of the Empire State, be sure to check out both Bear Mountain State Park and the West Point Military Academy for a true sense of America.

Pennsylvania
The stretch of U.S. Route 6 through Pennsylvania might just be, in my humble opinion, the best stretch. You'll enter the state at Matamoras, along the Delaware River, and the progress into the quaint county seat of Milford, which I have photographed in one of my many photo tours of this beautiful state:

Milford Photo Tour

From here the route will take you northwest through the largely unspoiled parts of Pike County into the town of Hawley and the neighboring Lake Wallenpaupack. One might wish to spend an afternoon here renting a canoe and just embracing the natural oasis around oneself. The next town on your trek will be Victorian Honesdale, which I've also photographed:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART THREE

After you pass through Honesdale, the route will turn on a southwestward direction towards the more heavily-populated Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. You'll pass through the aging former coal-mining community of Carbondale before finally winding up in Scranton, the Electric City, another former mining hub that is starting to redefine itself as the region's cultural epicenter. Here are some photos of this city as well:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART ONE
More Photos of Scranton's Rebounding Hill Section
A New Photo Tour For Your Enjoyment!
New Scranton Photo Tour---West Side (Hyde Park/Providence)
New Photo Tour---Nay Aug Park, Scranton

After stopping at the Steamtown National Historic Site, Electric City Trolley Museum, Harry Houdini Museum, Everhart Art Museum, and Lakcawanna Coal Mine Tour, you'll start heading northwest on Route 6 West into the suburbanized area known as "The Abingtons," which is anchored by the towns of Clarks Summit and Waverly, both of which are photographed in this tour:

New Photo Tour: Clarks Summit/Waverly (Abingtons)

From here you'll continue onward for about 25 minutes to the quaint agricultural county seat of Tunkhannock, which I've also photographed:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART TWO

The rest of the trek will take you through Pennsylvania's largely-unspoiled Northern Tier, where you'll pass through quaint county seats like Towanda and Wellsboro, rural villages, and the Allegheny National Forest.

(TO BE CONTINUED THIS AFTERNOON)
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Old 06-05-2007, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Midwest
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Route 66 basically parallels much/most of I-55 through Illinois.

I think you have the right idea: Washington DC isn't America. That's the problem.

I recommend US-2, going west from Michigan. You probably won't be able to handle it any farther than Minneapolis. When my parents pulled that (going east from Montana back to Michigan), I made sure I had extra batteries for my Game Boy.

Some real all-American cities:

Akron, Ohio
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Lincoln, Nebraska

This incomplete list is a starting place, one that doesn't put you into a university town cocoon or put you at undue risk for being shot. (Flint or Youngstown, anyone?)
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,909,157 times
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In the short section of rte66 I took in March, I'd say it no longer has the appeal for me it once had. Much of the roadway deadends without notice (this happened to me in Oklahoma, I believe) and I found it more frustrating than scenic.

And, I have done the USA, twice. Once in '92, where I did about 14,500 miles; and this time just from NM to NE, where I've noticed I need another oil change soon, and have traveled around 4800 miles.

Both trips were different and done for different reasons. I think I've seen American and can say, while some of the habits, customs, sweet tea, or laced coffee change, names like gyro, hero or hoogie seem strange, the United States of America is one big wonderful town. I had no difficulties, or even minor incidents worth noting either time. And if someone stared, well, it was usually out of curiosity and several came up and talked to me.

More often than not, we think about going abroad, or elsewhere, but I've found that just up the road--nearly any road--is an adventure, fine folks, good conversation and occasionally good, affordable eats.
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Old 06-05-2007, 12:05 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Default Hit the road!

Terrapin2212

I have travelled by land many times across North America by car, bus, train, and thumb. While I'm not suggesting that you hitchhike across the country, for me it was the BEST way to travel to see the USA & Canada in the mid to late 70's. Driving a car and camping along the way would be a great way to go.

My favorite route in the USA was US 2 thru the Upper Penninsula of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, & Washington. It's not an Interstate highway, so the pace is much slower, and it actually goes thru towns instead of around them. I loved the scenery along the way. US 2 is north of all the interstate highways and is usually within 50 miles of the Canadian border. My favorite parts were Glacier National Park and Rainier National Park.

I've also travelled the eastern section thru Maine, Vermont, & New Hampshire, which I enjoyed tremendously.

Many Blessings....Franco
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
5,367 posts, read 12,976,945 times
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As some already suggested, doing a road trip across the U.S. is something you should definately do at least once or twice. I did it twice and had so much fun and was completely blown away by some things I saw. I highly recommend a trip across the U.S.
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Old 06-05-2007, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,299,643 times
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If I were you I would just take off.....hit the road!! the interestate..is not as bad as what you have been told. Once you get out of the east you will see the changes in not only the landscape but the kinds of places along the highway....sure its still interstate but there are waffle houses in the south....perkins in the north, village inn in the west...you get the idea, things change and you can always leave the interstate for a day drive....but I would just take off if I had time I would take I-80 or I-90 to the west coast and then take I-40 home then I-55 toward chicago (roughly follows rt. 66) you can always get off the interstate and explore but the interstate will keep you on track and keep you moving

HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you must get out and drive the country, its a gift we have in in this country, if you can afford it and can drive. I have done it several times and now know how important it is to me and will always make time to get out there when I can.
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Old 06-05-2007, 04:31 PM
 
5,858 posts, read 14,046,541 times
Reputation: 3482
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScrantonWilkesBarre View Post
You should also consider driving the entire stretch of U.S. Route 6 at some point in your life, which will show you just about every aspect you could ever want in America---Land of the Beautiful.

Massachusetts

Its easternmost terminus begins (or ends) at Provincetown, on the tip of Massachusetts' Cape Cod. In this small, historic town, you'll see not only a monument to the Pilgrims, our nation's first European settlers, but also a very diverse community of both gays/lesbians and Portuguese, as well as funky stores. Traveling southwestward down the Cape, you'll pass not too far from ferries in Hyannis that will take you to either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard, two island communities that truly feel like they have been "lost in time." My friends and I bicycled around Martha's Vineyard last summer, and we enjoyed our trip immensely. Next, you'll wind up in New Bedford, which is home a whaling museum that is definitely worth a look to get a glimpse into what life was like (and is still like) for many rural fishing villages in the northeast.


Rhode Island
After passing through Fall River, MA, you'll cross the state border into Providence, RI. This historic, vibrant capital city was also the vacation destination of my family and I several years ago, and we enjoyed a free evening Celtic concert in a downtown park that was offset by a backdrop of a fire-lantern-lit Providence River in the background, as well as the nighttime skyline. I even purchased a guide book with various historic walking tours throughout this rebounding state capital.

Connecticut
After its brief stint in Rhode Island, Route 6 makes its way into Connecticut. You'll find the easternmost parts of the state to be quite rural and indicative of the famed quaint New England villages. You'll eventually get dumped into Hartford, another capital city that is seeing a renaissance as of late. Be sure to visit the Mark Twain House while you're in town. Just west of the city you'll pass by the town of Bristol, which is home to the New England Carousel Museum and a Clock Museum. The next town over will be Terryville, which is home to the Lock Museum of America.

New York
Once you pass through Danbury, an exurb of New York City, you'll end up in Southern Upstate New York. While in this small portion of the Empire State, be sure to check out both Bear Mountain State Park and the West Point Military Academy for a true sense of America.

Pennsylvania
The stretch of U.S. Route 6 through Pennsylvania might just be, in my humble opinion, the best stretch. You'll enter the state at Matamoras, along the Delaware River, and the progress into the quaint county seat of Milford, which I have photographed in one of my many photo tours of this beautiful state:

Milford Photo Tour

From here the route will take you northwest through the largely unspoiled parts of Pike County into the town of Hawley and the neighboring Lake Wallenpaupack. One might wish to spend an afternoon here renting a canoe and just embracing the natural oasis around oneself. The next town on your trek will be Victorian Honesdale, which I've also photographed:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART THREE

After you pass through Honesdale, the route will turn on a southwestward direction towards the more heavily-populated Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. You'll pass through the aging former coal-mining community of Carbondale before finally winding up in Scranton, the Electric City, another former mining hub that is starting to redefine itself as the region's cultural epicenter. Here are some photos of this city as well:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART ONE
More Photos of Scranton's Rebounding Hill Section
A New Photo Tour For Your Enjoyment!
New Scranton Photo Tour---West Side (Hyde Park/Providence)
New Photo Tour---Nay Aug Park, Scranton

After stopping at the Steamtown National Historic Site, Electric City Trolley Museum, Harry Houdini Museum, Everhart Art Museum, and Lakcawanna Coal Mine Tour, you'll start heading northwest on Route 6 West into the suburbanized area known as "The Abingtons," which is anchored by the towns of Clarks Summit and Waverly, both of which are photographed in this tour:

New Photo Tour: Clarks Summit/Waverly (Abingtons)

From here you'll continue onward for about 25 minutes to the quaint agricultural county seat of Tunkhannock, which I've also photographed:

Northeastern Pennsylvania Photo Tour: PART TWO

The rest of the trek will take you through Pennsylvania's largely-unspoiled Northern Tier, where you'll pass through quaint county seats like Towanda and Wellsboro, rural villages, and the Allegheny National Forest.

(TO BE CONTINUED THIS AFTERNOON)
Yup, I'd recommend US 6 also. Much of it is still intact, and goes right through many intersting towns, just far enough away from the Interstate so they haven't been too "Cracker Barrelled", "Fairfield Inn'd", Wendy's'd", etc.

If you want some historical perspective, read Kerouac's "On the Road", which chronicles his journey from NYC across the country, mostly on US 6. He did his journey in the late 40s after he had graduated Columbia U. and had spent his entire life in the NE US. He talks about crossing the Mississippi for the first time, seeing the Rockies for the first time and reaching the Pacific.

Other great alternatives are the Lincoln Highway (US 30) and US 20. If you want a north-to south trip, follow the Great River Road/US 61 from Lake Superior down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Forget about suburbs, but be sure to check out great city neighborhoods that still thrive in many corners of US cities, and check out the historic sights throughout the countryside.

Wish I was going!
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