America – Go Upcountry

Big Red Car here on a gloomy Monday in America (haha, Texas, really). The rains stopped and yesterday was sunny, but it’s gray today. Getting cold (58F).

Today, the country feels divided. Divided by things political and a number of important issues. We have mid-term elections in a couple of weeks and, today, early voting starts in Texas.

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Are we really divided? I don’t want to answer that question, but I do want to suggest that part of the solution is to go take a look at our country. Not your city, your neighborhood — the country.

If you live in a big state like Texas (On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all) then go around your state. If you live in a tiny state like Maryland, then you have to go to other states. Discover America.

How do you do it?

America, how, Big Red Car?

Here’s what I want you to do, dear reader:

 1. Write out a list of the ten things most important to you. I don’t care from whence they come, just whatever jumps into that huge brain of yours.

 2. Pick five cities which are less than 100,000 people (feel free to use another number, but make it smaller cities) and are more than 100 miles from home.

 3. Go visit those cities, but don’t take the Interstate. Stay off the big roads.

 4. Stop at the first coffee shop in a town square you come to and go have a cup of coffee. Drink in the coffee and the atmosphere. Find out what people do in that town.

 5. Arrive at your destination and go eat somewhere — BBQ, TexMex (you have now covered the basic food groups), seafood, steak. Make sure it is local and has been around for a while. No chains.

 6. Strike up a conversation with some local folks. Tell them where you live.

 7. When you feel comfortable, tell them you are on a mission to discover America.

 8. Tell them you have a list of ten things which float your boat.

 9. Ask them what is important to them.

10. Compare lists.

11. Go home and go to your favorite local Italian restaurant (comfort food, y’all).

12. Discuss the list with your fellow traveler.

13. Now, go to the other four places and repeat the process.

America, where, Big Red Car?

I want you to go to places like this:

Raton, New Mexico

Steamboat Springs, Colorado – before the snow begins to fall

Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Lexington, Virginia (home of Virginia Military Institute and Washington & Lee University – two famous schools in a tiny Shenandoah Valley city)

Apalachicola, Florida

Natchez, Mississippi

You get the idea. Just five. Five places you can get to without the Interstate getting in the way. If you have a convertible, put the top down even if it is winter — dress warm, turn the heat on, put the windows up.

When you come back you will find out that we are a lot more united than you ever imagined. Now, take that energy and go build a bridge to somewhere.

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But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.