This blog series is a bit off topic from what I have been blogging about (and I will continue with the subjects of family devotional times in the future) but I’ve had it in my mind for well over 3 months (really 3 years) and finally got inspired to start it weeks ago.
Recently I’ve been stirred to write this based on the amount of loyalty so many have to certain regions of the U.S. as well to one coast or the other. Rarely in talking with individuals do I find that they have had enough experience in their “less preferred” region, coast or area of the U.S. to give a solid reasoning as to why they like it less or dislike it all together. Most the time it has all to do with loyalty to what they’ve grown up with and know best. As is the case with us all on multiple topics.
I will not focus any of my pros and cons or discussion on the “type” of people found on each half of the U.S. Why? Well, to be honest, because I find that each region of the U.S. has horrible people and awesome people. Some would base their arguments for their preferred region based on this one thing. But I find it a mute point after all my travels.
Some point to the south and say how hospitable they are. However, I have found quite the opposite on so many occasions. In fact, the one place I hate driving through the most is in “the south”. The main reason is based on multiple times through that area and how I have been consistently treated with huge disrespect. I only say that as an example of how each region can have lovely people and really unlovely people. Another example is that some of the most loving people I have encountered have been in California. Many might peg that state as the “land of liberals” who only think about themselves. But I assure you that there are incredibly sweet people in California just like there are in the south, the midwest, etc.
With all that said, this first post in the series is all about why I even feel qualified to write about it. So, I thought I would start by giving a glimpse into my resume when it comes to traveling throughout the lower 48 states.
Since Grace and I joined the Acquire the Fire ministry team in August of 1999, we have touched every state in the union except Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. And even then, we could have been in those states at some point but I can’t seem to remember. If I were to calculate the amount of miles we have drove, it probably would be staggering for me to look at. And we have driven through each state we’ve touched except Alaska and Hawaii. We’ve flown to those. While leading an Acquire the Fire ministry team in 2003, we went across the U.S. in some form or another, 3 times in just 4 months alone.
We’ve traveled the U.S. in several greyhound-style buses (while leading or being apart of a ministry team); multiple 15 passenger vans with over 15 passengers (thank you Teen Mania for the experience); different cars; a van pulling a fully loaded open trailer; our truck with the back full of stuff (covered in a massive tarp layout with endless bungees and straps); our truck pulling a 29′ travel trailer with no sway bars or weight distribution bars; and finally a truck pulling a 33′ travel trailer with sway bars and weight distribution bars (major difference). Each of those trips were more than a 1000 miles and many of them were 2000+ miles.
We’ve traveled through the extreme heat of Nevada, the extreme cold of the north, severe ice in the northwest, intense winds across the plains (for 100’s of miles at a time), blizzard conditions in Montana, down pours of rain in multiple locations, and everything else in between. All of those conditions we went through while pulling something.
We’ve traveled over the Sierra Nevada mountains, an extremely icy Columbia River Gorge near Portland, both northern and southern parts of the Rocky Mountains, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Smoky Mountains in the east and many other types of terrain, usually pulling something behind us.
Grace grew up completely in the east (Pennsylvania and North Carolina), I grew up completely in the southwest (New Mexico) and we’ve lived in the east, west, north and south since being married.
So, as I drove across the U.S. and back again this past summer and fall, I felt like it was time to type this post. Now I understand that there are a lot of other people who could type this (primarily talking about truckers and RVers). However, I felt that I had enough experience of traveling the U.S. over 15+ years, in various conditions with various forms of transportation and various company, that there is at least some validity to what I think.
Now granted, I did grow up in the west and definitely have biases because of it. But I do try and be fair. In future posts I will aim to list the pro’s and con’s of each half of the lower 48. If you have any thoughts, now is your chance to comment and help me as I write the next several posts.