America: Regional Differences Mean Diversity

For the past month, I’ve been traveling back-and-forth across America on a government-sponsored project. It’s been a lot of cramped, oversold airplanes and wide-open spaces.

My trips to Washington state, Oregon, Texas, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada and Georgia have refreshed my understanding of what makes our country great.

Besides the great variation in geologic environs, there’s a great variation in the citizenry. This deep diversity makes a rich, never-ending storehouse of opinion and strength.

So, to extract some knowledge of the local flavor, I ate at some very local establishments. Among the tidbits of gastronomic gifts, I found:

  • Streak Fingers (Found at drive-in spots in Andrews, Texas). These are sort of chicken finger look-alikes, but they come with gravy.

  • Kansas City ribs versus St. Louis ribs. I never did learn the difference while staying in the split city of Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., but everything I had was good.

  • Micro-brews. The Atomic Ale Brewpub and Eatery in Richland, Wash., near a large government-run facility has Half-Life Hefeweizen, a tasty and nonradioactive isotope beer. Very good in the desert environment.

  • Texas burger and tacos. When asked what made a “Texas burger” a “Texas burger,” the wait staff responded simply with this: “It’s a bigger burger… because everything is bigger in Texas.” So true.
  • I met a ton of highly engaging and interesting people along the way. Remarkably, I found each person I spoke with to be highly interested in what’s happening in America today. Many were concerned about the economy, wars and nuclear waste. That makes a lot of sense.

    But what I also found was extreme optimism that things will get better, wars will end and we will take care of our nuclear, cold-war legacy in a proper and safe fashion.

    It’s good to take a road trip now and then.

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