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Thread summary:

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

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Old 06-07-2007, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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j33

Quote:
originally posted by j33:

I've always been a bit irked that so many people consider rural america the only 'real america'
Go easy. Realize that the term 'real America' can and does mean ANYTHING that ANYONE wants it to mean. I doubt that anyone wants to irk you. It's not worth getting irked about....but you can if you want to.

Many Blessings....Franco
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:02 PM
j33
 
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Not really irked, I guess that is too strong a word. I love driving through the country as much as the next person, I guess from a slight standpoint I sometimes wonder about the rural urban divide and wonder if the concepts of 'real america' plays into that, but there I go again, getting all social/political sciencey on people
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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j33...

I enjoy reading your posts even if you think they are social/political sciencey. Just be yourself and have fun!

my regards....franco
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:18 PM
 
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My $.0.02: Most of where today's Americans live is in that homogenized blob called "suburbia." And suburbia looks about alike from coast to coast. So, I would avoid that. Charles Kuralt penned that the Interstate Highway system made it possible to drive clear across America and see nothing. So, stay off the Interstates and travel the backroads and highways if you want to see the real America. By "real America," I mean the geography of this great country not under the complete assault of the developers, highway construction industry, and the resort-builders. There are still some great places in this country, but their beauty is usually in inverse relation to the number of people who live around them or visit them. Avoid the resorts and tourist traps like the plague. They are someone's cartoon or amusement park vision of what America is, not the real thing. Chances are, if you saw it on the Travel Channel, it's probably not worth seeing in person.

If you don't want a road trip, then take one of Amtrak's cross-country trains, before those get axed. They are a great way to see some of "real America" and meet some great people along the way. The western long-distance trains (the California Zephyr, the Empire Builder, and the Southwest Chief) have a lot to offer. Amtrak seldom runs on time, so "go with the flow." The joy is in the journey, not the destination, anyway. When you get there, you get there.

Enjoy the people, food, and atmosphere of America's small towns. They are what really built this country and were the source of its strength. And, before all is said and done, they will be again. Suburban America is an unsustainable and dying dream.
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Default Amtrak

greetings....

I never did AMTRAK across the USA, but I rode the Canadain version of it across Canada a few times. What a great ride!

Jazzlover...you are so right-on about meeting great people on the train. Sadly I also think you are right about AMTRAK joining the ranks of the dinosaurs, probably in the not too distant future. So if anyone out there is thinking of a cross country train ride in the USA...do it soon. I can almost guarantee that it will be one of your cherished lifetime memories.

Many BLessings.....Franco
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Old 06-07-2007, 04:58 PM
j33
 
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One of my fond memories is taking an Amtrak ride with a friend that took two days. In the smoking car I met up with a cowboy (complete with hat and boots) and an Iranian immigrant both going across the country on the train, we learned and played some Iranian card game over some beers and cigarettes for about 3-4 hours (I remember the cowboy saying 'hey, aren't you 'Islam' or something? are you supposed to drink, and the Iranian guy telling him to shut up and to get him a beer). Who would have thought that on Amtrak you'd find some good old boy from Texas, someone from Tehran, and a couple girls from Chicago all hanging out and having a hoot over some ridiculously complicated card game. I don't remember the names of those two guys, once the game was over and we were all too tired to hold up our heads (and a little tipsy from the beer) we went back to our respective seats and never saw each other again.
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:44 PM
 
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Whoa ... I never thought of that. Amtrack is a GREAT idea!
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:51 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 25 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M TYPE X View Post
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?)
Both Lincoln, Nebraska and Bloomington/Normal, Illinois are university town cocoons. Lincoln is also the state capital.
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Old 06-08-2007, 08:41 AM
 
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There is no more glorious form of land transportation than the passenger train. When America essentially abandoned its passenger railroad network, the most efficient and pleasant mode of passenger travel was lost. The airplane may be faster, and the automobile more convenient (in the eyes of some), but train travel made the journey as pleasant as the destination.

Unfortunately, most of today's Americans have never even been on a train, so they don't know what they have been missing. Those that have are usually those who use trains to commute--not always a pleasant experience. Amtrak, though it still can be a wonderful train travel experience, is but a shadow of what train travel was a half-century or more ago.

Eventually, the passenger train will make a comeback. Our automobile-centric lifestyle is entering its decline--a decline caused by spiralling fuel prices, highways that will be no longer affordable to maintain, and the growing realization that highways are an increasingly brutal assault on the landscape of America. For me, the return to the rails can't come soon enough (and I actually do enjoy driving, but would rather be on the train).

In the meantime, take an Amtrak trip. You will meet some great people (like sharing a table in the diner, socializing in the lounge, and mingling with other passengers in coach)--all while gliding through this place we call America. You will see an America invisible from 30,000 feet in an airplane or from the windshield of a car on the Interstate.
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Old 06-08-2007, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Default Well Said!

Well said jazzlover!

Franco
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