Daily Nos: Country Roads and the Quest for 50

I’ll see the lights go down on Morgantown.

As some of you know, it’s long been a goal of mine to party in all 50 states.  The New York lawyer lifestyle has slowed my pursuit a bit, but this Saturday I’ll be cruising into Morgantown, West Virginia to add state #42 (plus D.C) to the list.   For those keeping track of home, that leaves Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Utah, Hawaii, Alaska and Delaware.

If you want to check out some old road trip posts, you can read about my inspiration for the quest, the Great American Road Trip page, which covers my 2010 northwestern swing, or my more recent trip to Alabama.

I’m a little worked over from the wildest 60th birthday party I’ve ever attended, so I’m going to bypass elegant prose for a list of my favorite road trip memories.

Favorite drive: Denver to Las Vegas, hands down.  Thirteen hours of beauty and grandeur.  You leave Denver by climbing into the wooded Rocky Mountains.  After a while, the trees give way to a more arid climate, and the desert mountains look like they’re from another planet.  Perhaps Mars, Curiosity points out.   Then the mountains fade and you glide gently into a desert, at which point you slam on the accelerator and zoom through the Utah and Nevada sands until Las Vegas rises like an oasis out of the emptiness.

Yellowstone might be the most breathtaking place in the United States.

Most unexpectedly good time:  El Dorado, Arkansas, although that has an asterisk attached because I was with an awesome crew.  The best time I’ve ever had rolling up to an unknown destination rocking it solo would probably be Ashville, North Carolina, where I began the journey that would take me to Biloxi in 2005.  Silver medal for Saginaw, Michigan.   I probably had a crazier time partying with college kids in Madison while on the road during the Kerry campaign, but Madison you expect to have a good time, and the place never lets you down.

Strongest drink:  A toss up between a Strong Island Iced Tea I had in Sante Fe, New Mexico and the Walk Me Downs at Just Us in Biloxi.

Most beautiful place:  Yellowstone National Park.  Most national parks are pretty awesome, and I still have several good ones left to see, but Yellowstone is a must-see, and an appropriate winner of this category, since Montana might be the most beautiful state.

Fleetwood Mac Never Going Back Again Award:  Idaho.  It’s where my car died on the highway, where a couple rednecks tried to fleece us in an area described by the Lonely Planet as “unfortunately, home to some racist bastards,” where no auto repair shops are open all weekend, and where George Bush beat John Kerry by 38%.  Obama only lost by 26%.   Unfortunately, I didn’t stay long enough to party there, so I will have to go back eventually.

Didn’t Do It Justice Award: Chicago.  The only time I partied there I was under age, and my ID did not impress Chicago bouncers.  If someone invites me out there, I’ll have to do that city right.

After West Virginia I’m off to the convention in Charlotte.  North Carolina became one of my first states after our cross country time celebrated at the hotel after a meet down there.  I returned there in 2005, posing as a member of a fake rock band called The Undercutters.  We found a bar that served beers for a quarter.  Life was grand in those times.

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About janos marton

A born and bred New Yorker, Janos Marton lives the dream as a writer, lawyer, historian, and activist.
This entry was posted in Adventures, Daily Nos, Great American Road Trip and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Daily Nos: Country Roads and the Quest for 50

  1. Lindsay says:

    You’ve always got a place to crash in Oklahoma! I currently live in the loveliest part of the state, which our OK state travel guides call Green Country. It isn’t as lush as usual, thanks to our awful drought this summer, but I still think it is beautiful.

  2. Ryan Quinnelly says:

    Janos- sounds like a great trip you have planned. You’ll be traveling just parallel to me as I divide my time between Winchester and Harrisonburg, VA (A little west off I-81). I actually just got back from a trip to Cincinnati last weekend which took me through a route I’m guessing you’ll be taking between Clarksburg and Morgantown. Definitely stop by the New River Gorge Park if you can. That’s a really beautiful spot and Fayetteville is a cool little adventure town. The whitewater rapids there are also top rated in the U.S.. What is your itinerary for the weekend? It may be a stretch, but I’d love to find you on some stretch of the highway and have a beer.

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