Ever so often, an urban-based journalist ventures out beyond the city limits and "rediscovers’ America. CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt did it for years with his "on the road’ broadcasts.
Now former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw is rediscovering America along U.S. Highway 50, the federal road that runs from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to San Francisco.
I’ve driven coast-to-coast on U.S. Highway 50. It’s a fascinating road that cuts through the heart of this country and reminds us that America is not just Interstates, fast-food franchises and Cracker Barrels.
On Highway 50, you find mom-and-pop restaurants with good food, drive-in movie theaters that still fill up on Saturday nights and small towns where people live good, full lives without Wal-Marts.
You can find out a lot about America by avoiding the Interstates and taking the time for tour the country on highways like U.S. 50, U.S. 1 and what remains of the old Route 66. Here in Virginia you can see much more of the Old Dominion and its people by taking old U.S. 11 from Bristol up through Southwestern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley or old U.S. 60 East towards the Eastern part of the state.
We don’t have to go far to find America. After more than 40 decades on the road and 23 years in the National Capital Region of Washington, DC, I can say without hesitation that Floyd County is as much of America as anything Tom Brokaw can find along U.S. Highway 50. We have more cultural diversity than most cities and more resolve than most countries.
We don’t have to drive into the Midwest on U.S. 50 to find a drive-in theater. The Starlight is still a popular gathering place in Christiansburg. We can drive to any number of unique restaurants in less than 30 minutes.
it’s nice that Brokaw is on the road to "rediscover" America. It’s just too bad that it had to be turned into a road show. Some of us don’t need to rediscover our country. We live in it and appreciate it every day.
Next week my landlady is heading down to Virginia. She’ll be visiting relatives in Chester, then heading west to meet one of her sons at Mountain Lake Hotel north of Blacksburg. Her trip from Chester will take her along U.S. 360 and U.S. 460 through the Southside. I recommended that route to her as she would get to see Old Virginia. (It’s also the most direct route Mapquest computed.)
On the other hand U.S. 1 from Philadelphia to New York City is suburbia through and through: malls, Walmart, The Home Depot, lots of car dealers and plenty of commuters.
Everything is looking fine. The new york, Los Angeles the cars and roads are soaring.