Why I Wander America

How many times over the past five years have I driven down a backroad on a sunny morning, to a place I have never been; just me, no other vehicles, and I find I am overwhelmed by what I see and where I am, I am so grateful that I get to do this. On the backroads of America there is a peace I have not found any other place (except for a little cottage on the Molokai channel). I get to experience places and things most people will never know.

It now occurs to me that I have never explained why I spend two-thirds of my time wandering around America.

It goes back to 1967 when the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite introduced a short segment, “On the Road with Charles Kuralt For almost 30 years Kuralt traveled the country in his RV making 600 reports for CBS about people and places on the back roads of America.

Kuralt’s last FMC Motorhome at Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn

This was the time of Vietnam blood, war protests, race riots (in Detroit and many other cities), and a Crooked President. Kuralt showed us the People’s America, one interesting person and place at a time, all the while insisting that the heart of America was truly good.

“You learn that the country isn’t in flames… and it’s nice to be reminded of that. There are sights in this country, and people in this country to banish any gloom you ever may feel and fill you instead with wonder.”1

–Charles Kuralt

Today, in spite of strange ideologies, racial turmoil, ignored borders, assaults on our republic, corrupt government – and another Crooked President, you can still find the People’s America. These are people who don’t identify with “influencers”, government run amok, or the “Elite 1%;”2 nor do they want to. The just want to live unmolested by radical ideologies and a hope of retaining The American Dream for their children. I am in awe of them.

Steve Hartman who now carries the On the Road banner for CBS says, “… there is still plenty of awe left in America.”

I can’t document nor share all the stories I hear in my head as I drive. Charles had it easy. He traveled with a cameraman/driver and sound guy. I am just me.

Maybe… when I can no longer travel… maybe… I can recall these times and write a few stories…

More wisdom from my hero, Charles.

“There are a lot of people who are doing wonderful things, quietly, with no motive of greed, or hostility toward other people, or delusions of superiority.”

“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.”

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.”

–Charles Kuralt

  1. When Kuralt died at 62, his wife “Petie” living in New York discovered that he had a mistress of 30 years and another family in Montana, where he had built her a home and visited often. You can read more about this kind, creative but flawed man in the Washington Post article from 1998. []
  2. The “Elite 1%” is broadly defined by the Rasmussen Group as individuals who had graduate degrees (not just graduate studies), family incomes above $150,000 a year, and lived in large cities (more than 10,000 people per zip code). However their opinions – no, that’s not right; their core beliefs – are far removed from the Real People I meet; indeed from the large majority of Americans. For more detail, former congressman Newt Gingrich explores the Elite 1%. []

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