by Fred C. Wilson III
May 16, 2011
“Study hard, but party harder.”
Many American’s seldom leave their birth states. Many Chicagoans hardly venture from their neighborhoods. During my travels ‘Stateside’ and abroad, I’ve never met any Chicagoans. I did encounter a few Illinois tourists from Peoria during my first trip to Hawaii but that’s all. Chicagoans just don’t leave the city. I think this sorry state of affairs includes Filipino-Americans of whom the majority has never traveled far from their birth provinces before moving to America. When I asked folks why they didn’t want to ‘see America first’ or go abroad roughly 95% replied they didn’t want the hassles involved with air travel and high gas prices.
I believe travel is vital to a person’s emotional, educational, spiritual health and development. I’ve never seen anyone go crazy while on the road though they may have gone ‘coo-coo’ when they got home. When I was young I discovered that you don’t need to be rich to travel and have a good time. In those days I used to ‘Dog It’ (travel by Greyhound bus) during vacations. The bus is affordable. Bus stops are usually near nice yet inexpensive hotels, motels, and restaurants; and the people you meet along your journey will remain etched in your memories long after you’ve returned home. With costly airline fares, sky high gasoline prices, terror threats, security hassles, trains being derailed, the romance of traveling on the cheap may witness a revival during these economic hard times. I’m not getting paid to promote Greyhound but to me their scenic cruisers are the only way to travel even if you have a lot of $$$$. When traveling by bus remember: its’ the scenery, the people, and the small stopping off places that give you the feel of the real America.
WHERE TO GO
Traveling inexpensively requires creativity. It would take volumes to do this article proper justice. I don’t have all that so I’ll do the next best thing: I’ve listed suggested web sites and phone numbers for you to download/call to order brochures from various state agencies at your convenience. I’ve also listed a number of pros and cons regarding bus travel:
If you’re into the ‘Cowboy Culture’ you won’t find a better place than Cheyenne, Wyoming. When I was a kid I used to ‘root’ for the Indians to win whenever they were slugging it out with the U.S. Calvary. I was a big fan of the Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid, and Clint Eastwood’s ‘spaghetti’ Westerns. The rest of the cowboy mystique was lost on me. If western style clothes, cowboy art, and a feel of the Wild West is your thing than you might want to check out www.wyomingtontourismorg.
Salt Lake City, UT
The Mormon capital is among the cleanest and quietest cities in America. When I was there I spoke with a girl who said she wished she lived in Chicago. She said that SLC was just too quiet. That was then, now they have gangs, drugs, and other problems generally associated with big city living. I guess that girl’s wish came true after all.
I stayed at the Holiday Inn directly across from Mormonism’s chief shrine. Not being Mormon I couldn’t enter their temple though I did take an all day escorted walking tour of the temple grounds, listen to the world famous Tabernacle Choir, plus attend a lecture on the Mormon religion. Search Salt Lake City Tourism for more information on this fascinating city.
Las Vegas, NV
I don’t have to say much about America’s great gambling capitol. These four words says it all; OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD! Go to: www.vegas.com for information.
San Francisco, CA
The City by the Bay is pretty, costly, the people nice though a bit standoffish with outsiders. I loved being back in the city of my birth but after a few days I went south for ‘cheaper climes.’ Go to: www.sfgov.org for everything you need to know about SF.
Los Angeles, CA
Not a fan; but if you’re interested go to: www.lacityorg; no seriously LA’s okay. I met some real nice people there who were pretty cool. I just don’t like that city’s physical layout. Nothing personal against Los Angelinos; it’s my ‘SF showing.’*
Phoenix, Arizona was the complete opposite of Los Angeles. After arriving in Phoenix I checked into a small Downtown hotel. Phoenix is a large modern metropolis but I felt I was in a small country town. The city was very clean like Salt Lake City, orderly, but deathly quiet though not at present with the immigration hassles, a high sheriff that would rival Judge Roy Bean, Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting, the massacre that ensued shortly thereafter but ‘back in the day’ things were different.
I purchased a city bus pass and toured Phoenix on wheels. WARNING! Reader Phoenix is HOT…very hot. That place is so humid that bus drivers regularly reroute their buses to pick up passengers for fear that they may collapse and die from heat exposure while waiting.
When I was there I roused enough courage to go to an archeological dig site. It was so hot that I stayed there about a minute and a half before carrying my drained, tired, dehydrated butt back to my hotel room where I took a shower and drank four cold beers. Any place that has a bus stop in a desert is unique. We couldn’t have Phoenix-like conditions in Chicago. As slow as some of the busses are here there’d be piles of bleached human bones clinging to bus stop signs waiting for the one that never came. If you love the heat then Phoenix is your kinda’ town. I did ‘do’ the city zoo and go to church but that’s about all. Log in to www.phoenix.gov for info.
*Note: Northern Californians traditionally ‘despise’ their southern counterparts.
In Part two we’ll take walks on the wild side. We’ll start with Nogales, Mexico, my fellow passengers, and other ‘bumps’ in the road; GOD bless. (firstname.lastname@example.org)