The Cannonball Run…an American Race Like No Other

This wasn’t just a movie…

The Cannonball is the ultimate road trip, even as it jettisons the usual conventions of the road trip: There are no stops for photos, no detours to sample the World’s Greatest Pancakes, no putting the top down to shout along to the radio as the wind whips by. These trips are thrillingly tactical, planned down to the minute—built, for instance, around traffic light cycles in Manhattan and peak usage times at rural gas stations.

​This is such a fun article to read as it seems to satisfy that travel itch we all probably have right now and gives you a solid dose of nostalgic Americana at the same time.

It follows Fred Ashmore, a fairly obsessed and gifted driver, who recently attempted the time record…solo. Along the way, the author gives you the amazing history of how this race was created in the 1970’s by Brock Yates. A journalist if you can believe it.

Yates wanted to show that it was possible for Americans to drive safely at high speeds on the interstate, just as Germans did on the Autobahn.

The nonstop drive was a test run for an audacious plan that Yates had hatched: a multicar race across America that would prove, once and for all, that capable drivers in capable cars could cross the country faster and more safely than anyone imagined. Or, as Yates put it: “a balls-out, shoot-the-moon, fuck-the-establishment rumble from New York to Los Angeles.” The starting point of the race would be the Red Ball Garage, on East 31st Street in Manhattan, where Yates’s employer, Car and Driver magazine, kept a test fleet of cars. The destination, the Portofino Inn, in Redondo Beach, California, was owned by a friend of Yates’s.

​Highly recommend reading this if you, like me, have missed your regular travels over these past few months.

Inside the Frenzy to Conquer the Cannonball Run

The Good and Bad of Living All Over the United States

An experience I wouldn’t trade…but…

It’s hard.

I just want to get that out in the open right away. If you come back here on Friday, I’m posting a video I made about handling the stress of moving your family.

Photo by Belle Co on Pexels.com

You can probably guess some of the good things though.

  • Living in a new area
  • Making new friends
  • Experiencing new parts of American culture
  • Traveling to places you may not have otherwise

Honestly, as a kid who was born and raised in California, I never thought that I’d live in states like Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Tennessee. If I hadn’t met my wife (from the east coast) I woudnt have spent as much time as I have in other states like Florida or New Jersey.

One of my favorite things about actually living around the US, is getting to learn about the different values that people have.

We are an incredibly diverse nation made up of almost countless experiences and backgrounds.

I love it!

California

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Right on dude!

In California, the vibe is different. The people and policies tend to be more liberal (for both better and worse in my opinion), health and wellness feels more front and center, and culturally it feels more like a melting pot with heavy influences of that surfer/outdoorsy vibe mixed with vibrant mexican culture.

I love California and I loved growing up there.

I miss it often…but honestly…I’m glad I don’t have to raise my kids there nowadays. There are things that are creeping in to the public school system that I am not a fan of. (I’ll leave it at that)

I wish I could give my family the same “live outside” lifestyle I had growing up in the Golden State…but I’ll make due.

Tennessee

Photo by Trisha Downing on Unsplash

Ya’ll come back now!

I had college room mates that were from Tennessee and Alabama and all I learned about the south was the accent and country music that I didn’t quite understand.

However, once I lived there, I started to get it. There really is a sense of southern hospitality that permeates through daily interactions with other people. You will hear sir and ma’am much more often than on the west coast, local food is more focused on flavor than “being organic” (southern bbq anyone?), and the summers are crazy hot…and humid.

Living in Tennessee was the first time I ever lived somewhere that I noticed the strong demographic differences of the locals. No getting around it…where I lived was primarily black and white. Not many other races or ethnicities to be found. (not in large numbers anyways)

This surprised me the most. I always thought that living in California I was used to the melting pot that is central and southern cali. However, living in the south was the first time I ever noticed it…and not (in my experience) in a negative way…I just noticed it. I’m not sure how else to put it.

Oh…and on Sundays…nothing is open before noon. It’s smack in the middle of the Bible Belt there. This was something I actually appreciated.

There was definitely a sense of pride amongst the friends I made that were from the area…they lived in Tennessee and they were proud of it!

Maryland

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Rugby, sailing, and crab cakes.

My college years were spent in Maryland so I wouldn’t say I experienced it as much as if I was working and living there.

However, I can say it felt very “New England” for lack of a more succinct descriptor. This was my first time living anywhere with 4 distinct seasons…which for a Cali kid…was quite novel. It felt like the people who lived there either worked in Washington D.C., were wealthier people who owned a sailboat, or were locals who had a local crabbing license that was passed down through 3 generations of their family. (those are apparently very hard to get)

Being such a small state, my friends and I were often on short road trips to other colleges that promised a party and cheap alcohol (like many college kids). And there seemed to be A LOT of good colleges in the reigon.

Overall, I would say that if sailing and seafood are your thing and you don’t want to venture all the way up to New England, this is a great place to be.

Pennsylvania

By Nicholas A. Tonelli from Pennsylvania, USA – Endless Mountains Landscape (1), CC BY 2.0,

Beautiful hills, gritty honesty, and long winters.

I’ve been living in PA for about a year now, and there are a couple things that surprised me.

First, was how straightforward the people tend to be. I guess I should have expected this, as my wife’s family is from Pittsburgh, PA and they are very much like this…but it is quite evident that most folks here aren’t afraid to tell you what they think without sugar coating it.

Second is how long winter lasts…and how long it feels. Even though I am only about a 6 hour drive from where I went to college in Maryland, the winter here is no joke and much harsher than I expected. Where I live averages about 100 inches of snow a year, it gets cold in November and stays cold till May, and everyone has a story of “that one year we got 60 inches of snow in 24 hours!”.

And the summers….O-M-G…the summers are amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a summer as nice we have in northwestern Pennsylvania.

You will definitely get an outdoorsman vibe here too (more hardcore than the REI style of California). Hunting and fishing is big here and those from the state, are proud of the history that is part and parcel of this very hilly countryside.

The family culture here is sort of similar to what I experienced in Tennessee…but more reservedly so. It’s tough to put my finger on it. I feel like the people here don’t shy away from “the grind” and that if 4 people from the states I’ve named here got in a fight…the Pennsylvanian would come out on top.

Others

While I haven’t lived in too many other states, I have spent a decent amount of time in other locations due to my work and extended family.

Places like New Jersey, New York, and Florida – to name some of the more common ones. And I enjoy aspects of each.

While my heart still belongs to my home state of California, I will say that I am a better person for the experiences I’ve had. Even as tough as it is to pick up and move every couple years, explaining to my kids why we have to move again, and the mountain load of work it takes to uproot a family of 5…I am glad to have this life.

It’s not always comfortable…but it forces me to examine what matters, what is truly important, and where I have yet to go.

As Socrates once said…

The unexamined life is not worth living.

Reader Input for "I Want to Travel to…Switzerland"

Good travel tips from readers like you…all in one place.

Not long after I posted my info and travel checklist for Switzerland, I got a message over on Tumblr with some good info:

Hey there, just saw your post you wanna come to Switzerland? Here is a link to the Swiss online hiking maps(free)

I marked out a nice hut to sleep in near Grindelwald. I have to say normally February is still too snowy to plan for big hikes in the mountains. Depending on the area you should think of bringing skis! Grindelwald is a beautiful place but it’s not like you don’t meet any people there. If you want real outdoor with not seeing people Graubünden or Valais is the better choice to be in the mountains.

There is definitely no issue about driving on the wrong side of the road…it’s not England. 😉 You are right Switzerland is incredible with public transport you can get almost anywhere and you have the scenic advantage of being able to take in the sights! Also they always run on time. :p

I hope you will enjoy your trip to Switzerland when it happens, and let me know if you decide to visit Magic Woods 😉    [Note: this is a climbing spot]

Best time for hiking long hikes high up is in autumn. Then you have most options open. if you have any questions, just ask away.

Somewheresomewhen (Tumblr blog)

Thank you!! Please keep inputs and interactions like this coming.

You can see the original post with the input added here.

I Want to Go To…Switzerland (info and travel checklist)

[UPDATED 15 March 2020]
First travel post is a place I’ve wanted to go since I was 12…

I have a decent list of places that I’d like to travel and, with my work, I have had the opportunity to travel a fair amount, but not nearly as much as I’d like to.

Along those lines, I am going to start writing about some of these places and what places there are to see, things to do, recommendations on places to stay…a checklist of sorts.

I plan on keeping these info checklists updated as I come across new and useful bits of info…for both myself and for you if you want to bookmark these posts. (I will also create a new navigation category where they can all be found together)

Hope you enjoy!


Switzerland

I’ve wanted to travel here since I was 12. This was probably my first ever “place I want to travel to” type place. Not sure how that came to be, but it did.

1. Google it

The natural first step right? Yup, mine too. Here’s what you get

Not a bad place to start!
Not a bad place to start!

Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country, home to numerous lakes, villages and the high peaks of the Alps. Its cities contain medieval quarters, with landmarks like capital Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. The country is also known for its ski resorts and hiking trails. Banking and finance are key industries, and Swiss watches and chocolate are world renowned.

2. Write down what YOU want to do

This is where the fun stuff comes in. I’m more interested in the outdoorsy attractions (Swiss Alps anyone?) so I’ll list a few of those here.

Grindelwald: Village in Switzerland

Grindelwald, a village in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, is a popular gateway for the Jungfrau Region, with skiing in winter and hiking in summer. It’s also a base for mountain-climbing ascents up the iconic north face of Eiger Mountain. Gletscherschlucht, a glacial gorge just outside Grindelwald, features paths with interpretive signage, waterfalls and striated limestone walls.

Getting to see and hike around the Eiger would be a huge check in the box for me.

Lauterbrunnen: Village in Switzerland

Lauterbrunnen is a municipality in the Swiss Alps. It encompasses the village of Lauterbrunnen, set in a valley featuring rocky cliffs and the roaring, 300m-­high Staubbach Falls. Nearby, the glacial waters of Trümmelbach Falls gush through mountain crevices past viewing platforms. A cable car runs from Stechelberg village to Schilthorn mountain, for views over the Bernese Alps.

Ever since I first saw a picture of that valley…I knew that one day I’d see it for myself. It reminds me of Yosemite Valley but with an actual village in it. (Yosemite Village sort of counts…but only park employees live there)

Honestly, there’s so much content out there that covers hiking that can be done in Switzerland. So I’m going to put a link list below for you…and for future me.

Note on the above links: Many of them go to sites that may offer services…but I see them as pages that give me the ideas so I can set my hiking trips up for free.

The famous Glacier Express is free for Swiss Travel Pass holders. You only need to purchase a seat reservation.
The famous Glacier Express is free for Swiss Travel Pass holders. You only need to purchase a seat reservation.

3. Build Your Checklist

I don’t have to abide by checklists, but I’ve found I forget a lot less if I use them. Especially when it comes to remembering random interesting tidbits I want to look up later.

Travel

  • When will you go?
    • As much as I love the summer months, I hate crowds almost as much. My anniversary is in February and when we honeymooned over in Europe right after, we had almost no crowds anywhere because it was the off season. It was glorious and much less stress.
  • How long?
    • I’m going to assume 2 weeks for fun
    • Flights from Buffalo (close to me) are about $700 to Zurich…not bad
      • If you fly out of a big hub like NYC, you can get tickets for about $400-$500
  • Mode of Transport
    • Rental Car or Public Transport: This is a toss up depending on what you want to do. I’ve done both and most often prefer public transport. I don’t mind driving European cars on the other side of the road, but the peace of mind in just hoping on a train can’t be beat.
    • Swiss Travel Pass: This seems to be the way to go.
      • Here’s a quick bit on that from MySwissAlps.com
      • The Swiss Travel Pass is a perfect fit if:

        • you have planned a lot of traveling. You’ll save money as point to point tickets are more expensive;
        • you prefer ticketless traveling. You don’t need to buy tickets for each trip;
        • your plans are not set in stone or you want to be flexible. The Swiss Travel Pass allows spontaneous trips at no extra cost;
        • you stay 15 days or less.

Where to Go?

I already mentioned a few of the places I’d like to go…and your own list will most likely differ from mine. Here’s mine anyways:

  • Hike around the Swiss Alps (ie. the Eiger, the Matterhorn, Jungfrau, etc)
  • Ride to the Highest Railway Station in Europe
  • Grindelwald village
  • Visit/tour Bern (the capital)
  • Visit Zurich (I remember doing a paper on the International Criminal Court so if I could visit that, that would be cool)
  • Do a hut to hut hiking tour
  • (place holder for more…ha!)

This post will be updated as I come across other ideas, good websites, or places to go. I hope that this has helped and if you’ve made it this far…enjoy this gorgeous video of the classic Glacier Express.


Reader Input

15 March 2020

Not long after I posted this, I got a message over on Tumblr with some good info:

Hey there, just saw your post you wanna come to Switzerland? Here is a link to the Swiss online hiking maps(free)

I marked out a nice hut to sleep in near Grindelwald. I have to say normally February is still too snowy to plan for big hikes in the mountains. Depending on the area you should think of bringing skis! Grindelwald is a beautiful place but it’s not like you don’t meet any people there. If you want real outdoor with not seeing people Graubünden or Valais is the better choice to be in the mountains.

There is definitely no issue about driving on the wrong side of the road…it’s not England. 😉 You are right Switzerland is incredible with public transport you can get almost anywhere and you have the scenic advantage of being able to take in the sights! Also they always run on time. :p

I hope you will enjoy your trip to Switzerland when it happens, and let me know if you decide to visit Magic Woods 😉    [Note: this is a climbing spot]

Best time for hiking long hikes high up is in autumn. Then you have most options open. if you have any questions, just ask away.

Somewheresomewhen (Tumblr blog)

Thank you!!

I Want to Go To…

Oh the places you will go…

The first few months of this website, I dedicated my Thursday posts to a song or album I was listening to. I may still do that, but I thought that it might be more interesting for you all if I covered another area of my interests.

Places I want to travel to. (or even travel BACK to)

This is good in a few ways.

  1. Lot’s of folks find travel blog posts interesting.
  2. It’s easy for me to come up with a place I’d like to travel to…because I want to travel EVERYWHERE
  3. If I keep each post updated with current information, all of us will have a handy page to bookmark with good info whenever I can travel to one of these places
  4. Eventually these kinds of posts can rank well when it comes to search volume

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this. One of the things that helps when you try to have a post every day on a site, is to have go to topics or posts. (i.e. Monday – links, Tuesday – motivational quotes, Wed…) That make sense?

Next week I think I’m going to start with somewhere I’ve wanted to go since I was 10…Switzerland.

Photo by Chris Czermak on Pexels.com