THE GREAT AMERICAN ROADSIDE

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. . . is no more.

The land abides, majestic and inspiring. The means to progress through it have become mediocre and depressing.

A thought after traveling about 7400 miles by car from Las Vegas to many places on the East Cost and many points in between, staying at all sorts of motels and inns. Just about the only camaraderie I found with fellow travelers was out in the parking lots of non-smoking motels where the lepers gathered to have a cigarette or two before retiring.

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We greeted late arrivals and swapped tales of our journeys.  This is what is left of the public rooms at coaching inns or stage-coach stations or hotel bars and porches or lounge cars on trains.  People retire from the parking lots to rooms that smell of disinfectant, like hospitals or morgues, and apparently feel better than they did in rooms that smelled of tobacco smoke and wood fires and roasted meats and ale and whiskey and saddle leather and horseshit and sweat-soaked guests.

America is full of magnificent ghosts, almost all of whom are more interesting, if less hygienically impeccable, than the generally overweight isolated travelers of today.

Our strain grows cleaner and weaker.  There were exceptions to this rule encountered along the way, but not many.  I’m sure I could have found more if I hadn’t had to travel so far so fast, but the ordinary way of moving across America for most people is largely vapid and/or vile.

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6 thoughts on “THE GREAT AMERICAN ROADSIDE

    • I had good company in the car, but there did seem to be a lot of lonely isolated people out there, crossing the country without much joy.

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