America: Earth's Butthole

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by mattdev, Jun 21, 2008.

  1. mattdev

    mattdev liberal crybaby

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    Every June I finish up another year of university and head back to Charlotte, North Carolina for my fabulous job. Pretty much the polar opposite from where I'm used to living (on the west coast) but it has it's charms.

    Normally I fly back here and ship my car with all of my things. Unfortunately we ran into an issue last summer with the shipping company causing me to be without my car and all of my belongings for nearly a month. When I came back this summer, we had to think of a different solution. We toyed with the idea of buying another car and selling it when I left, but it would have been to much of a hassle. The company car was another option, but it's also a massive truck and would not have been good for my wallet with gas prices they way they are right now. I decided to drive.

    I have never left the west or east coast before. The farthest towards the middle of the United States I've been was Nevada, and I was pretty excited to be able to see what everywhere else was like. I was planning on going with a friend of mine, but he couldn't get the time off of work or afford the plane ticket back home. I was on my own with this one.

    First I headed down to Sacramento and San Francisco for a bit to visit my family and friends for a few days. I even stayed an extra day because I was going nearly 3 months without seeing them. Tuesday morning I started on my journey.

    I must have driven I-5 between Canada and Mexico millions of times, so I didn't see nothing before. Seattle, Portland, Eugene, San Francisco and LA are the only worthwhile places. Bakersfield is easily the worst along the entire stretch, and is best bypassing if at all possible.

    Somewhere just after Bakersfield I hit a pretty badass reservoir that I wanted to take pictures of. I pulled off on the side of the road and snapped a few shots, but realized that my vantage point wasn't the greatest. I went through this barbed wire fence and past some grass and heard some rustling. I shrugged it off as a rabbit or some other small animal until a few moments later when I heard a deep, loud growl. I don't know if it was a wolf, mountain lion or coyote but it was enough to make me turn around and walk back to my car. The shitty vantage point had to suffice.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to cut over just before LA onto 53 east and then eventually onto I-40. After 8 or so hours I was in Arizona.

    Now, Arizona was pretty much a waste of time. I stopped for the night just outside of Flagstaff and got breakfast at a Denny's there in the morning. It was filled with old people talking about stupid movies (I heard Wild Hogs mentioned) and complaining about how hot the weather was. Maybe they shouldn't live in Arizona in the first place?

    I shrugged this off as senility and carried on with my journey. From eastern Arizona to Albuquerque was a pretty scenic drive that I much enjoyed. The painted desert was extremely beautiful.

    [​IMG]

    I stopped for dinner near an Indian reservation outside of Albuquerque hoping to get some authentic mexican food. I was actually quite mistaken, and it was pretty horrible. The chile relleno I ordered had what tasted like marinara sauce on it, and the rice was extremely runny. I continued on.

    The rest of my drive after Albuquerque was extremely boring. I was hoping this drive would be an awesome opportunity for photographs, but boy was I wrong. From Albuquerque to Ashland pretty much looked like this the entire way.

    [​IMG]

    I was hoping to make it to Oklahoma before I stopped for the evening and slept. It began to get dark just as I entered Texas which was good because I wasn't missing any beautiful landscapes or anything. In the distance I noticed some lightning striking, which I would later stop and snap some photos of as it got darker.

    Now, I've never shot lightning before so I didn't know the proper exposures to use. It got nice and dark and was striking rather spectacularly, but far enough away for me to be safe from it. I pulled off on the side of the road outside of the entrance to a farm. It was really silent, other than the sound of "Glyphic" by Boxcutter coming from my stereo and a metal sign banging on the fence. It was a pretty eerie, but ethereal experience.

    I set up my camera and began taking some shots. Unfortunately, I couldn't nail the exposure right away. As I was fiddling with it, a lightning bolt struck about 20 feet away from where I was standing. That was enough for me to get back in my car and drive.

    It was 9pm and I stopped for food in Amarillo, TX. It was a big enough city that I hoped I would be able to find some non-chain good food, but I forgot about the time zone changes. It was actually 11 and everything was closed. Denny's it was!

    This had to be the most frightening experience of my trip, more so than the prior mountain lion and lightning incidents. The restaurant was FILLED with gangbangers that eyeballed me as soon as I walked in the door. A few fights nearly broke out, and I stuffed my face as fast as I could hoping that my car wasn't being stolen. I didn't even care about my change, left $15 on the table and bolted.

    The lightning was incredible. The flashing didn't stop for more than a second, and at times it was like it was daytime because it was flashing so brightly. I stopped on the side of the road for a bit and watched it while listening to Sigur Rós. Pretty epic.

    I was hoping to make it to Oklahoma before I stopped for the night but weather got in my way. As I was driving, the lightning got worse and worse, it was raining/hailing, and the wind was blowing so hard that I couldn't even control my little Prius. Even parts of the highway had water nearly a foot deep. I put on the radio to get a report on the weather, and it said that it was this bad all the way to Oklahoma City. I stopped for the night in the podunk town of Shamrock, TX to save my life.

    Next stop was Erick, OK: the location of two bad experiences. First, I needed to get some gas. I was already quite out of place because a. I was driving a Prius, b. I had Oregon plates, and c. I had a big Obama sign in my back window. As I was filling up, this Billy Bob in front of me with his giant truck takes a gander at my Obama sign. Our conversation went something like this:

    Him: "I ain't votin fo naw god hatin nigga."
    Me: "Excuse me? He is a christian and loves god. He said it himself." (I had just finished "The Audacity of Hope" so it was still pretty fresh)
    Him: "Naw you wrong, he a god hatin muslim nigga"

    I returned to my car and figured he wasn't worth talking to.

    I was feeling quite hungry and next door was a nice, country restaurant. I went in and sat down, and took a gander at the menu while my gorgeous waitress (albeit a bit wrangletoothed) filled my coffee cup. Most of the food looked pretty terrible, and included items such as "peanut butter pancakes" and "BBQ eggs". I opted for the buffet as most of the menu items were around $10 and the buffet was only $6. Hopefully I could find something a bit healthier.

    The interesting thing about this restaurant is that I was the skinniest person (other than my waitress) in this restaurant by far. Those of you that know what I look like would understand this as quite the accomplishment. The (hardly) gentleman across from me was about 400lbs, had about 4 empty plates sitting on his table, and was shoveling in the 5th. The women all had front butts and the guys all wore overalls or sweat pants. Never in my life had I been so confident in my appearance.

    After the heifer show, I continued on. I stopped in Oklahoma City for a coffee, and was greeted at the counter by a sweet little lady who's teeth you could count on one hand. Easily one of the stupider people I've met.

    "Hot Americano, no room please"
    "Iced Americano?"
    "No, a hot one."
    "Would you like room?"
    "No room, please. Could you fill this with ice water please?" I handed her my nalgene.
    "Just water?"
    "No, ice and water."

    She filled it with just ice AND my americano taste like shit.

    Next state was Arkansas, and I stopped in Fort Smith for Mexican that would hopefully be a bit better than what I had before. I saw outside the restaurant a green cut supreme with 24in rims, so I knew this place was authentic.

    I sat down and decided on a chile relleno again. I was waiting for quite awhile, wondering where my waiter was because I hadn't seen him since he sat me. I look over my shoulder and see him fondling with his mamacita. We made eye contact and he came over and took my order, even writing it down. When the food came, it was a taco and enchilada.

    Carrying on, my next stop was Memphis, Tennessee- a city I quite enjoyed. Everyone told me about the crime problems Memphis has, but the city had a lot of character. Tons of hot black women.

    I continued on without stopping, as I wasn't tired at all. I was planning on making it all the way to Charlotte (yes, from Texas without stopping).

    My next stop was the shithole that is Knoxville, where I got some breakfast at Cracker Barrel. Looking at the menu, everything was pretty inexpensive. I ordered the $5 French Toast, expecting a modest portion. Instead, this behemoth came out.

    [​IMG]

    It also came with 3 eggs and turkey sausage. I could barely finish my eggs and sausage, and only ate half of a piece of french toast. No wonder America is the fattest country.

    The rest of the drive was actually quite beautiful. Eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina has these beautiful rolling hills and forests. I was so tired and just wanted to get to Charlotte, so I didn't snap any photos unfortunately.

    The other thing I noticed during this drive was how hostile most drivers were towards me. The person in front of me (usually in some massive F150 or similar) would be going slower than me, so I'd go over to the left and pass them. Apparently my Prius offended their penises so they would speed up and pass me extremely closely, then slow down to their original speed. This happened several times.

    I suppose living on the west coast skews my perspective of how shitty most of America really is, and where all of the stereotypes come from. Until you drive through the south, you really don't see how fat and stupid the people in this country really are.

    Left coast 4 lyfe.
  2. Commissar Smersh

    Commissar Smersh 2020 Staff Member

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    That growl was likely a mountain lion (or a pretty big bobcat ;) ). Next time if you can avoid going down to SoCal you'll be able to go via Utah, Colorado and Kansas and encounter civilized people who aren't morbidly obese.
  3. Jackalope

    Jackalope NNNNEEERRRRDDDSSSSS!!!!!!

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    you must have stopped in a pretty shitty part of texas. I'm sorry a few bad eggs have spoiled your experience.

    yes, there are alot of rednecks (particularly east texas) but for the most part, Texas is pretty much modernized, and a great place to live (of course I'm in the "armpit" of Texas, Houston area)

    and yes, there a TON of fat people in the south. I chalk it up to all the "soul food" (chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and the like)
  4. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    nice journey and thanks for sharing with us.

    hey! wild hogs was hilarious! :p
    so you drove right on through memphis? did you stop anywhere to eat?

    hahah, i really hope you didnt see any hood boogers.. the women out number the men here like crazy. All the white girls are gone off to collierville and far east memphis..

    i shoulda told you to stop and eat some bbq at leonards, corkys or rendevous downtown.
  5. mattdev

    mattdev liberal crybaby

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    Actually, I stayed there for about 4 hours. Needed a break from driving since I was going from Shamrock, TX to Charlotte, NC without stopping to sleep. I could see myself living there.

    I did stop and eat at a BBQ place. I can't remember the name of it, but it started with an L and was about 5 minutes east of downtown. Pretty incredible food.
  6. Torx

    Torx Indigenous Nudist

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    one more hour, and your probably wouldve gotten robbed. :p j/k
  7. darktides

    darktides Hot stuff tonight

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    Did you have any issues with traffic in Knoxville where I-40 is closed? I see a ton of people miss the 50+ signs and damn near kill people crossing 3 lanes to merge. You passed right by where I work, we can see the interstate from my office.
  8. Coleman

    Coleman fresh off the corner

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    So.. if America is Earth's butthole, does that make Portland, OR part of the left rim of the asshole? All you damn heroin hippies out there have lost touch with true Christian American values! May God have mercy on your soul!

    But seriously.. you visited some shitty places. Mid/Northeast coast is where it's at unless you want to go to the beach (where the water isn't freezing like it is in your crazy pacific ocean).
  9. kip59

    kip59 One of MSP's Sneaky Brits

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    Thanks for sharing the trip with us.

    Any chance you could post up a map or guide of your route? This is the 1st chance I've had to read about traveling west to east or vice versa and would like to see where you went, especially from a real person and not from someone making money out of it.:) Its a bit hard to visualise some of this when you come from the UK.

    The photos help


    Mattdev FTW
  10. mattdev

    mattdev liberal crybaby

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    [​IMG]

    The Prius handled its first road trip like a champ!

    It wasn't too big of a deal. They start warning you quite a ways back.

    We're almost in cheek area :)

    Speaking of Christians... I did have quite a terrifying experience. Driving through Texas, it was extremely dark outside other than when the lightning was flashing (which was pretty constant). If a big flash went off, you could see the silhouettes of houses, water towers, etc. As the storm started getting really bad, there was a pretty bright flash and it revealed the silhouette of a giant, 60ft tall cross. Terrified the shit out of me.

    from:portland, OR to:San Francisco, CA to:Charlotte, NC - Google Maps

    Took about 10 hours to get down to San Francisco and 3 days to get from San Francisco to Charlotte. I drove long, fast days. Also, here is the map for the end of summer when I go back.

    from:Charlotte, NC to:Washington, DC to:Manhattan, NY to:Ann Arbor, MI to:Chicago, IL to:Lincoln, NE to:Salt Lake City, UT to:Boise, ID to:portland, OR - Google Maps

    I'll be taking a bit more time going home since I'll be visiting friends in all of those stops (except for DC.. I've just always wanted to go there)

    If you're interested in seeing more pictures of the good part of America, check out this thread I posted back at Christmas.

    http://www.tweak3d.net/forums/off-topic/ton-pictures-my-road-trip-56k-no-dice-31266
  11. log1c

    log1c The Underwriter

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    excellent road trip.

    I have lived in the south my whole life (well, Atlanta). Anytime you venture out of urban areas, there is a completely different experience.

    The south really isn't that bad, I like it, the weather is good and we don't have to live through driving snow storms all the time. I think our women and girls are MUCH more attractive than the midwest or northeast girls. Probably not as cute as So Cal girls though.

    Anyway, way to go man, I've always wanted to take a road trip across America, but do not know when I'll ever have that chance now that I'm working in a cubicle....
  12. couturedharlot

    couturedharlot couture with a chaser

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    haha i so know what giant cross in texas you're talking about. that thing is creepy! glad you made it across alive. your trip reminded me of my trip home to CT from las vegas.
  13. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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    Great post, thanks for sharing it. It really makes me sad to know that so much of our country is awful. Having only lived on the west coast (several parts of Washington and California) I'm used to some things like tolerance and diversity... I'm glad I don't live anywhere in the bible belt or in the south. This post makes you realize that another civil war possibly isn't so far off - the south really is a different country.

    BTW, it doesn't surprise me that so much of the USA is obese. Man, I'd probably get lynched on that trip.. skinny atheist vegan Democrat.
  14. nidex

    nidex Hood Rich

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    Good post, I find that driving long distances by myself is real relaxing/gives me time to think. I've also been to alot of the places you listed and had similar experiences. I stopped in Oklahoma City once and also had a waitress with 3, maybe 4 teeth.

    How much did it cost you in gas to make the cross country drive in a Prius? I'd be interested to know. You're asking for a beating driving through the country south with a big ass Obama sign in the window of your liberal eco-friendly machine. This is why I'm not a fan of political signs/bumper stickers on cars, just attracts too much unwanted attention and I feel nobody needs to know your views when they're behind you driving down the road. However, it would have been way better if you would have started talking stupid to the redneck at the gas station. Those are the kind of people you can scare just by saying something off the wall to.
  15. crowchaser

    crowchaser not to be taken seriously

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    glad you made it all safe and sound, sorry to hear about all the shitty experiences you had
  16. mattdev

    mattdev liberal crybaby

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    Yeah, there are some really nice areas in the south. Charleston, Charlotte, Atlanta (midtown and downtown are cool, the farther you venture into suburbia the shittier it gets), Savannah, etc. Charlotte probably has the most attractive women I've ever seen after Vancouver. Something must be in that Canadian water.

    I'd have to look at my credit card statements to be sure, but I drove roughly 3800 miles and filled up every 475 miles. It cost about 40 to fill up each time. So at 8 fillups, we're looking at $320-$350. I did pay $4.72 just south of Eugene but once I got out of Oregon and California, prices went down to $4.

    I did have one tank driving through New Mexico and Texas where I averaged 53mpg.
  17. Octane91

    Octane91 <smartass comment> Staff Member

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    if you want to see a really scary cross, get on I-70 where it meets I-57 at effingham (near indiana illinois border) some church of like 100 people built a 150 foot tall cross about 40 feet from the highway (quick google search) http://www.thecross-photo.com/images/Effingham-Cross.jpg is a picture of it from its little walkway area.

    very nice trip tho, if you had come further north instead of going south it would have been a much better trip IMO, you get to see the rockeys, the ogalalalalala aquifer treatment facility (gods gift to nebraska supposidly) and the people are very respectful (cant say the same about texas)
  18. log1c

    log1c The Underwriter

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    Eh, don't take this the wrong way, but comments like "i'm used to some things like tolerance and diversity" give many people in the south the impression that those on the east coast/west coast are all elitists.
  19. Chris

    Chris Raptor Jesus

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    Definitely another good road trip post from you. I enjoy these.
  20. darktides

    darktides Hot stuff tonight

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    There is another one of those crosses south of Knoxville about 15 miles on I-75
  21. tweakmonkey

    tweakmonkey Webmaster Staff Member

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    I just meant after living somewhere like the Puget Sound then moving to Bakersfield was such a huge difference, that I could only imagine what some of these areas Matt posted about might be like. I'm sure there are diversity and tolerance in the majority, but it still scares the bejeezus out of me to imagine driving through much of the south or Texas. Point taken though.
  22. WoodButcher

    WoodButcher just me

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    Nice trip kid, you'll be glad to have made these roadtrips when your older. I would get rid of the Obama flag though, freedom of speech is a great thing and I believe in it whole-heartedly but when on someone elses home turf the choice to be neutral can be a lifesaver.
  23. randomtask

    randomtask Chimp.

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    Wow, interesting insight into America. Reminiscent of the topgear episode where they drive across america.