I hear from so many people when I make these road trips. They all say the same thing.
Well, don’t be. Just get in your car! Later this week, I will write with some things you should know if you are thinking about setting out on a coast-to-coast drive. But I really have one simple message. It’s easy. And it’ll fill your head and heart with ideas for a lifetime. America is big, but it’s also little. I found a piece of World Trade Center wreckage displayed in a memorial in Nebraska. In every town, people are trying to figure out how they will afford to send their kids to college, or where they will get a paycheck two years from now. We may have different accents, but we all speak the same language. We all have the stubborn American independence, which is both a blessing and a curse. As my friends at Credit.com recently showed, nearly all of us still believe in the American Dream, loosely translated as hard work equals a good life.
But we also all feel that the notion of fair treatment is under attack — both governments and corporations seem hell bent on tricking people out of their hard-earned money, and it’s often very hard to get it back. America is the Land of the Free, but also the Land of the Fee.
Drive from one coast to the other, and you will see, hear, feel, and smell all of it. From fracking concerns in Western Pennsylvania, to the relentless economic depression of Ohio, to Chicago’s pension crisis, to Nebraska’s surprising resurgence (thanks, Mr. Buffet), to Colorado’s climbs to beauty, to Utah’s stark countryside and strange business ways, to Montana’s refreshing green valleys and rivers, to Seattle shocking desert-to-evergreen transition and sudden Microsoft worries. You’ll see it all.
Bring a dog, and you’ll see even more!
I’ll have more reflections on what this means in the coming days, but for now, here’s a few pictures from the final leg of the trip – a descent from the Rocky Mountains to the Cascades to the sea.