2013 was the year I’ve spent more time than ever accumulating miles and exploring new roads. I put roughly 30,000 miles on my car Sydney (aka Carlos Danger). I biked roughly 2100 miles (not that impressive compared to 2012’s total of over 3700 miles). I slept in 20 different states over the course of the year (MI, OH, IN AL, KY, PA, NC, VA, NJ, CO, WY, MT, SD, WI, IL, AR, TX, MS, OR, UT). Not including the additional 8 states I set foot in on the way to some other destination (GA, IA, NE, MN, MO, TN, LA, NM). That’s a mighty good portion of the country, I’d say. And as Draplin says, go by car.
I’m still getting used to the roads down here in the heart of Texas. When I think back to western Michigan, I’m a little astounded at how well I really got to know the area. Mostly thanks to cycling, I know almost every road that stretches 30 miles south of Holland, paved or not. After commuting to Spring Lake for so long, I know hideouts and hidden gems up everywhere between Holland and Muskegon. And too many trips to count to Grand Rapids or down the coast to Kalamazoo or South Bend or Chicago or Middlebury or who knows where, I always knew where I was and where I was going.
Waco is spread out. Before I found a job, I got acclimated to roads and neighborhoods as I took the scenic route to explore lunch spots. But I only know a few biking loops (I actually miss grids of farm roads?) and I-35 south to Temple where I work now. We live downtown, and can walk to a couple relevant places, but everything else is strictly accessed by car. Maybe we get bonus points for living in probably the only apartment building that has streets with bike lanes on both sides of it. I don’t know anything about Temple, though. There’s a Chipotle. What I mean is that after several weekends in Austin, I know it a lot better than Temple, where I go 5 days a week. I work on the creatively named “Industrial Boulevard” and eat lunch at my desk and try to figure out how, exactly, I’m supposed to develop new furniture in a place that relies on making the same thing it has since the 1960’s.
Texas is spread out. We went camping over the weekend to a state park about an hour away. We looked up how long it would take to drive to the Grand Canyon. We make half-promises about getting to Big Bend National Park and putting the annual national parks pass to use and seeing what could possibly lie in that little corner of the country. I don’t know anything about it. There are canyons I think? I hear it’s beautiful? If you can get past the fact that nothing will ever be green in Texas like the country gets green in Michigan in the summer, then Texas can be beautiful.