USA Road Trip 2010: A Retrospective

Eisenhower Tunnel

Trip Taken: 2010

After about seven days on the road and a few days in Boston, I am ready to look back at the experience of driving across the country. From the coasts of the Pacific ocean to the shores of the Atlantic oceans, the journey in between is described as a lot of farms in the middle. If you are going to do a tour of the US, then be prepared for a lot of monotonous segments of scenery. The change isn’t startling but it isn’t the awesome nature scene after another.

Favorite Hotel

There is no contest to the winner of this category. The M Resort, Spa, and Casino was hands down the best accommodations we had during the entire trip. Although it was a bad precedent to set the standard so high, it was a fine way to start out the journey. Great restaurants and free spa access made this the ideal relaxation destination.

Favorite Meal

My favorite meal was probably the dinner at Mia Francesca in Chicago’s north side. My old colleague/supervisor took us to the restaurant. It featured a changing menu of Italian cuisine. I had the Linguine Frutti del Mare and it was delicious. Too bad I couldn’t taste much in my rather unsober state. But, it was really good in the morning cold. I can only imagine what it would have tasted like hot.

Favorite City

Sorry Brawley, but Boston has got Chicago beat in terms of first impressions. The loop area of Chicago looks cool but the people are sketchy and there is hardly anyone there. However, when I reached Boston Commons for the first time, people were running, sitting on the grass together, and generally having a good time. It feels more lively than Chicago did.

What went wrong

No GPS unit. My brother had his smartphone, but as anyone with those phones know, doing any kind of heavy navigation takes its toll on the battery. The presence of a GPS was especially missed when we were stuck in cities. Driving around ghetto Cleveland or the college of communities in Cambridge is not a pleasant experience when you’re lost.

What went correctly

The hospitality of the American midwest. Holy shit balls, Batman. Compared to the relative fake California service courtesy and the abrupt nature of customer relations in Boston, the midwesterners in Omaha make you feel like you met your new best friend. Maybe that is a bit of a hyperbolic statement, but it’s not too far from the truth.

Good tunes are vital to any long road trip. It is a good thing that my brother had his 160gb ipod with him filled with tunes and TV shows. Listening to whole seasons of ‘Friends’ made the drive less boring and kept us both up. Yes, listening to educational podcasts like ‘This American Life’ and ‘Planet Money’ might have been more productive, but there are some boring episodes of both.

Parting Words

In the end, I think our trip was too rushed. It would have been nice to stop at some of the smaller towns and seen more of America. We were always thinking about the drive next day when we arrived in a new city. It felt more like a race than an adventure.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.