Hurricanes hurt the interwebs

It’s not exactly the first thing you expect to go out when a hurricane strikes, but it turns out that wireless internet becomes pretty hard to come by. I drove south from Arkansas, into Texas where I stayed in Dallas and then Houston. In Houston I ended up in a shabby motel that had everything -except- internet. From there I went across to Louisiana and I visited New Orleans. Continue reading Hurricanes hurt the interwebs

Pickle shots and Mexican driving skills

Unlike the northeastern and eastern bit of Arkansas, the central and western parts of it are actually a pleasure to drive through. The country is verdant, hilly and varied and if it weren’t for the lack of notable cities I could see people really wanting to move here. And from what I heard from aging locals, that used to be far more so. Right now, all the really beautfil lakes and woods are slowly turning into log cabin parks, but many of these used to be diamonds in the rough as little as 20 years ago. Continue reading Pickle shots and Mexican driving skills

Gustav is going to pieces

Heading farther south and passing through Illinois, Arkansas and even some Mississippi and Tennessee, I ran into a lot of bikers. Not literally, and that’s a good thing too, since motorcyclists in the US – at least this part – seem to view wearing a helmet as anything but a neccessity. I guess natural selection doing it’s work on this group because I haven’t seen as many bikers as I had expected and the lack of headwear explains it. Ofcourse, wearing a helmet and pretty much nothing -but- a helmet (ok, he was wearing shorts and slippers) isn’t going to do you a lot of good either, when you hit that pavement at 70 mph. Continue reading Gustav is going to pieces

Dodging Raccoons

Illinois is the state that feels the most like Europe sofar. People have told me that California is a lot like Europe in many ways, demographically and politically. But it feels definitely foreign, especially since the Netherlands are closer to Scandinavia than Spain. Illinois reminds me of Germany and France in places and is flat like theĀ  Netherlands itself in many others. It’s green, cities have compact city centers with concentrated shops and even the names on the streets have a clear root in Western Europe.

Before driving south, I checked out St. Louis’ Zoo, which is free, though free is a relative term if you need to park your car somewhere in the middle of a city center. It’s not bad as zoo’s go, but all in all zoo’s depress me. Having apes sit at a window, looking back into their pen tells you something about their state of mind. From there, they don’t have to look at all the humans gaping at them and they can survey their empty living area, pretending the zoo is not there. Seeing the bears, elephants and rhino’s hide in remote corners of their living area’s pretty much sends the same message. Only small creatures seem unfazed by all the human attention. Zoo’s are a necessary evil if you ask me, to raise awareness, but I don’t think anyone could seriously argue these animals are in the right place for them.

Illinois offers plenty of wildlife in the … wild too. I actually had to swerve dangerously twice in order not to kill a raccoon. Judging by the roadside however, I’m pretty much alone in that effort. On a 100-mile trip I have seen at least 5 recently killed raccoons. Then again, perhaps the automotive public needs to help evolution along and kill off all the poor raccoons that think it’s a good idea to sit in the middle of the road. Onwards to Memphis at any rate. And I promise to get some nice pictures online soon.

McCain and all that jazz

Before you read on, you need to realize that what you’re reading was written by someone who closely fits the profile of the anti-christ. All I need to do is go into politics and pretend to be a Christian and I’m there, 100%. Or so I am informed by preachers on local radio, driving from Kansas and Missouri to Illinois. All political views held by my personal party of preference in the Netherlands (D66) are immediately identified with the Prince of Darkness by these extreme right Republicans. Continue reading McCain and all that jazz

Fast forward

The best part of traveling – perhaps even the reason for doing so – is seeing new things and if you’re on a roadtrip, one of the things to see is landscapes. Most of California strongly reminded me of parts of Spain and Portugal. Driving in Colorado, northeastwards to Denver is a lot like driving around Austria. In fact, in both cases I would prefer their European counterparts for their look, though the American landscapes tend to be a bit more spacious and empty, which has its own charm. Continue reading Fast forward

History in the making

It wasn’t easy, getting there in time, but I managed to squeeze through traffic fast enough to be at Denver’s Invesco Field at the Mile High Stadium to see Barack Obama accept his nomination as presidential candidate for the Democrats. It was electric. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world and neither would 84,000 other people apparently, since the entire stadium was sold out. Continue reading History in the making