American Road Trip RIP?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
american road trip rip

Apparently, essayist Robert Sullivan has a "cross country driving hat." In a piece published by the Hartford Courant, the LA writer hangs up his metaphorical head gear and sounds the death knell for the great American cross-country road trip. Justifying his stance, Sullivan does the hippie hippie shake: "The cross-country trip became the everyday trip. Motels, which in the 1950s advertised new products for your home (air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpet) began to look like homes, or vice versa. It also created a new kind of settlement – a big-box store, fast-food chain, Gas & Go, chain motel – that is the perfect oasis of amenities for the interstate cross-country traveler. Except that its existence eats away at what the trip-taker has gone to see, which is the United States." Sounds like the missing verse of a Simon and Garfunkel song to me. Anyway, to prove that long distance road trips are off the menu, Sullivan sold his car. To achieve the same ends without the radical loss of mobility TTAC recommends replaying the bit where Clark Griswold's children see The Grand Canyon in National Lampoon's Vacation.

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  • 68stang 68stang on Aug 13, 2007

    Thanks for the link quasimondo, I've seen that one before and it's great. Looks like those two guys had a blast, the blue tape is priceless.

  • Glenn Swanson Glenn Swanson on Aug 13, 2007
    NoneMoreBlack: The interstates haven’t erased the back roads of yore from the map... jimmy2x: America is still there, but of course, you have to get off the interstates. Exactly. We found lots of wonderful back roads to drive (and fantastic mom and pop places to eat) doing daytrips into the Berkshires of western Mass. and the hills of southern Vermont this summer. I'm sure every state still has such routes to explore, all the way across the U.S.A.
  • Radimus Radimus on Aug 13, 2007

    So some self-righteous pontificator overthinks himself into believing that there is nothing out there to see anymore and firmly plants his head up his rectum? Good for him. I hope he enjoys the view. Personally I think Mr. Sullivan needs to get off the interstates a little more often. No one is putting a gun to his head and making him sleep at chain hotels and eat at chain eateries. Maybe leave the DVD players, game consoles, and GPS at home too. If one's idea of navigating is taking the turns that the GPS tells you to then you're not taking a road trip. You're on a guided tour. Here's a tip for you Mr. Sullivan. Now that you've sold your car go get a pop-up camper and a vehicle that can properly tow it. Take no less than five quality trips with that rig and then come back and tell me there is nothing out there to see anymore. Better yet, don't. If you haven't got enough backbone to keep your roadtrips from becoming infested with brain-rotting gadgets than please just stay home so you're not infesting the campgrounds with them. We already have enough of that.

  • Chuckgoolsbee Chuckgoolsbee on Aug 13, 2007

    I agree, and respectfully disagree... Here is my argument: --chuck