When I tell someone that Sash and I rode motorcycles across the United States for six months before coming back to San Diego, the one question they always ask us is...
"So, what place did you really enjoy the most?"
And, that's really hard to answer.
I usually tell them, "Memphis, TN". That's because without having to spend too much time thinking about it, we did actually have a lot of good times there. I loved the food, I loved Beale Street, I loved the placed we stayed at, I loved meeting the folks at Monogram Foods, and it just seemed like each day we were there we had a lot of fun.
But the fact is that we had a lot of fun at lot of other places.
And also, some places we stayed for a week while others we stayed for a day. It's hard to judge.
Actually, Knoxville, TN seemed more like my kind of town, full of craft beer bars, live bluegrass bands gathering on the street, and very much the Southern Hospitality we hear about back West. Nashville, on the other hand, seemed like a real party town, but I found it too commercialized, kinda like Gas Lamp District in San Diego. But then again, I often have a good time in Gas Lamp, so I imagine if I spent more days in Nashville, I'd like it too.
Virginia Beach, VA
Des Moines, IA
Salt Lake City, UT
Las Vegas, NV
These are all towns we stayed at that we had some good times in, or more, and could have a really big blast in if we spent more time. There are more towns I didn't list because we just didn't have the time to see everything. And there are many more towns we didn't visit that we've heard good things about.
The most interesting thing to note in these towns is differences in attitudes.
I never thought Des Moines, IA had a vibrant culture, very comparable to East Village in San Diego. Kinda upscale, more techie with a touch of bohemia, very much into craft brewing, eclectic food, and bicycling. I figured the People of the Corn was still into biscuits and gravy and Old Milwaukee, but I guess times have changed.
Then there's Minneapolis, the Great White North, well almost. I figured it was full of Scandinavian descendants with vodka and pickled herring. But instead it's very well diverse, with a wide array of ethnic subcultures. There's a Little Russia, and apparently a Little Somalia. I never figured that Minnesota was the place to for real, down home style, African pirate cuisine.
And oddly enough, some of the best Chinese delivery I had was in Steamboat Springs, CO. The Mapo Tofu had some great ginger going on, nothing like I had ever tasted anywhere else.
What's more, some of the best Mexican eats I had was way out in South Boston, VA, a little joint in a shopping center. If only the folks of South Boston knew just how good they have it.
And whoever thought that Burlington, IA was home to the tightest twisted road in the world?
I could go on and on.
But all this makes me itching to go see more.
Sure, I still love SoCal, and will always think of it as my home. But I'm really eager to get out and see more of the USA. For all I know, the best fried chicken might be going on in Fargo, ND, or that spider monkeys run rampant in Joplin, MO, or that Bangor, ME produces 80% of the world's dildos.
I guess we just have to point our handlebars and find out.