This is a pretty good summary of the differences between Arizona and New Mexico, which despite their proximity are really quite different. They got the location of Albuquerque wrong on the map, though. The dot they show is the location of Santa Fe; Albuquerque is further south, where the two interstates intersect.
May 13, 2010
July 15, 2009
The fact that Alabama, with a population that is 68.6% non-Hispanic white, can be (totally appropriately!) described as having a “small white population” speaks volumes about American culture, politics, and history.
June 14, 2009
June 6, 2009
June 5, 2007
Driving across the South with no air conditioning: actually not as bad as it sounds.
Giant crosses seen: three (one each in Virginia, Tennessee and Texas); I was expecting more.
New states traversed: two (Alabama and Louisiana).
New Mexico: priceless.
It’s good to be back.
August 2, 2006
Today would have been my grandmother’s ninetieth birthday. She’s the only grandparent I remember, and I was pretty close to her. We used to visit her every summer when I was a kid at her vacation house in Loveladies, New Jersey. She died nine years ago, and we sold the house to some rich people who promptly tore it down and replaced it with a monstrosity that covers the entire lot. They now have it on the market; the asking price has seven figures. That’s how things have been going lately there. It’s no longer a vacation spot for the middle class the way it was.
I’ve been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately because I’m staying this summer in what used to be her non-vacation house (now my aunt’s law office). She grew up on a farm in New Jersey, which is something you don’t hear too much. People generally don’t think of farms in association with New Jersey, even though there are a lot of them. They grow very good sweet corn and tomatoes, as well as blueberries. I always try to buy Jersey blueberries when I can.
New Jersey is a state that doesn’t get much respect. People associate it with sprawl, congestion, pollution and corruption. It’s a national joke. I even remember being at the shore one summer and seeing a segment on the news about Be Nice To New Jersey Day, a nice gesture that only seems to emphasize how seldom people do that.
I like New Jersey, though. It’s an interesting state. In addition to all the agriculture that people don’t know about (which is mostly in South Jersey), it has the highest population density of any state despite not having any big cities. Although its economy and culture is heavily influenced by New York and Philadelphia, it has its own little quirks, like how you can’t pump your own gas. It was also the first state in the country to extend suffrage to women, although it later rescinded it. It’s where the Hamilton-Burr duel took place. There’s a lot of interesting history there that not many people know.
Certainly it has its problems; I’m no fan of sprawl, and there are definitely areas of North Jersey where I would hate to live. But there’s so much more to the state that you rarely hear about. My grandmother, for instance. But now you, at least, have heard about her.
June 23, 2006
- Alaska: fasted on a ferry.
- Arizona: drove across the Defiance Plateau in a blinding snowstorm.
- Arkansas: stopped at a restaurant where my mom had an unfortunate run-in with cream gravy.
- California: was the ring-bearer at my aunt's wedding in Big Sur.
- Colorado: rode the Durango-Silverton Railroad.
- Connecticut: took the ferry to Long Island.
- DC: got off the metro in Chinatown to eat at Chipotle.
- Delaware: told a guy in the next lane how to get to Philadelphia.
- Florida: went to Disney World.
- Georgia: changed planes in Atlanta.
- Illinois: visited the University of Chicago.
- Indiana: visited Indiana University.
- Iowa: had a very good hamburger at a restaurant in Davenport shaped like a giant red barn.
- Kansas: stopped briefly in Emporia.
- Kentucky: stayed at a motel in Ashland.
- Maryland: got stuck in traffic around Baltimore.
- Massachusetts: ate ice cream for dinner at a rest stop on the Masspike.
- Mississippi: saw the ruins of the old family plantation.
- Missouri: went right through downtown Kansas City.
- Nebraska: saw what's left of Fort Sidney.
- Nevada: was the ringbearer at my cousin's wedding in the basement of Bally's in Reno.
- New Jersey: picked wild blackberries at my grandmother's summer house on Long Beach Island.
- New Mexico: got chased by a police helicopter.
- New York: spent the night in the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
- North Carolina: saw the Biltmore in Asheville.
- Ohio: saw the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
- Oklahoma: stayed at a motel in Muldrow where the desk clerk was from my home town.
- Pennsylvania: drove through Harrisburg in a blinding snowstorm.
- Rhode Island: took the bus from the airport to Providence, then a train to Boston.
- Tennessee: met my southern relatives.
- Texas: stopped at a very nice park in downtown El Paso.
- Utah: watched Cruel Intentions in a motel room in Kanab.
- Virginia: walked around Charlottesville at dusk.
- West Virginia: visited Harper's Ferry.
- Wyoming: visited Yellowstone.
One of the main reasons I wanted to start a blog was to post this map of states I've visited, and the comments to this recent post at Unfogged inspired me to do it now. As you can see, there's a definite pattern. Most of the states I haven't been to are along the northern fringe of the country, with some sporadic gaps in the South.
Anyway, there it is. I'll have more on this later.