Travel U. S. - Traveling in the United States is extremely easy; in a country where everyone seems to be forever on the move, there's rarely any problem finding a room for the night, and you can almost invariably depend on being able to eat well and inexpensively. The development of transportation has played a major role in the growth of the nation; the railroad opened the way for transcontinental migrations, while most of the great cities have been shaped by the automobile. Your experience of the country will be very much flavored by how you choose to get around. By far the best way to explore the country is to drive your own vehicle : it takes a long time before the sheer pleasure of cruising down the highway, with the radio blaring blues or country music, the signs to Chicago, Memphis or Monument Valley flashing past, begins to pall. Car rental is a bargain, every main road is lined with budget motels charging around $40 per night for a good room, and the price of gasoline remains relatively low. We have also detailed public transportation options throughout; you can pretty much get to wherever you choose by a nationwide network of air, bus and rail. However, if you do travel this way, there's a real temptation to see America as a succession of big cities . True enough, New York and Los Angeles have an exhilarating dynamism and excitement, and among their worthy rivals are New Orleans , the wonderfully decadent home of jazz, Chicago, a showcase of modern architecture, and San Francisco, on its beautiful Pacific bay.
In the vast open spaces of the West, the scenery is often breathtaking. The glacial splendor of Yosemite, the thermal wonderland of Yellowstone, the awesome red-rock canyons of Arizona and Utah, and the spectacular Rocky Mountains are among many of the treasures preserved and protected in the splendid national park system. Once you reach such wilderness, the potential for hiking and camping is magnificent - but it's usually essential to have a car to get near these spots.
Above all, travelers can enjoy the sheer thrill of experiencing American popular culture in the places where it began. Rock'n'roll place names spring to life; panoramas etched on our consciousness from a century of movies spread across the horizon; road trips taken by your favorite literary characters are still there to be traveled. For music fans, the chance to hear country music in Nashville or rhythm and blues in New Orleans, to dance in a Mississippi jook-joint or to visit Elvis's shrine in Memphis, verges on a religious experience; readers brought up on the books of Mark Twain can ride a paddle wheeler on the Mississippi; moviegoers can live out their Wild West fantasies in the rugged Utah deserts.
The United States is all too often dismissed, even by its own inhabitants, as a land almost devoid of history . Though mainstream America tends to trace its roots back to the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, the rest of the continent has a longer history, stretching back way beyond the French culture of Louisiana and the Spanish presence in California to the majestic cliff palaces built by the Ancestral Puebloans in the Southwest a thousand years ago. There are also any number of fascinating strands to America's post-revolutionary history: relics of the Gold Rush in California, of the Civil Rights years in the South, or of the Civil War anywhere east of the Mississippi.
The most invigorating expeditions are those that take in more than one area. You do not, however, have to cross the entire continent from shore to shore in order to appreciate its amazing diversity, or to be impressed by the way in which such an extraordinary range of topography and people has been melded into one nation. It would take a long time to see the whole place, and the more time you spend on the road simply getting from place to place - no matter how enjoyable in itself that can be - the less time you'll have to savor the small-town pleasures and back roads oddities that may well provide your strongest memories. It doesn't take long to realize that there is no such thing as a typical American person, any more than there is a typical American landscape, but there can be few places where strangers can feel so confident of a warm reception
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