Stellarossa: advice sought for USA trip

Old Nov 5th, 2000, 06:12 AM
Tony Hughes
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Stellarossa: advice sought for USA trip

As some of you may know, I will embarking on a 3 month tour of the States early next year. My itinerary is constantly changing depending on who I will be meeting up with and what places of interest I wish to visit. Thus, has anyone got any good, bad or indifferent comments of any aspects of the following places:

Alcatraz, San Francisco
Des Moines, Iowa
Andersonville, Georgia
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Payson, Arizona
Cape Flattery, Washington
Cape Fear, North? Carolina
Sturgis, South Dakota
Harrisburg, Penn
Poughkeepsie, New York
Ogunquit, Maine
Paris, Texas
Medicine Hat, Utah
Colorado City, Arizona
Texarkana, Texas
Durango, Colorado
Eldorado, Arkansas
Port Angeles, Washington
Roswell, New Mexico
Winterset, Iowa
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Lima, Ohio
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Thanks in anticipation

Old Nov 5th, 2000, 06:15 AM
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Tony-Why Lima, Ohio? There is nothing there. I would suggest either Columbus, Ohio, Cleveland or Cinncinati.
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 09:02 AM
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Is this a joke? I personally would have trouble with recommending Poughkeepsie as a tourist destination. Is there some underlying theme to the collection that isn't obvious to the casual onlooker? I'd like to be helpful, but perhaps could be more so if I had some idea of what you are looking for. It sure is an eclectic list.
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 12:49 PM
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Well, it certainly is an unusual list of places. The best thing about it is if you post back here afterwards with all the exciting things that happened to you on that trip, I bet it won't be more than one short paragraph. I guess you are purposely looking for the most boring places in America? Lima, Ohio deserves at least a week and a half, though.
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 12:55 PM
Tony Hughes
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I'm not a tourist for a start.

I didnt think there would be much in Seligman, Arizona or Sneedville, Tennessee but I had a great time in both places.

Chacque a son gout !
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 02:34 PM
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Give yourself plenty of time in Durango Colorado. There is so much to do and see in the area, Mesa Verde, Pagosa Springs, Ouray, Silverton. On the way to or from Durango, I hope you can visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison or the Great Sand Dunes.

Have a great trip.
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 02:53 PM
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You asked for comments good, bad or indifferent and then seem to talk down to those who offer "bad" comments about some of your chosen destinations.
Please, try not to be so pompous. Only your groupies enjoy you that way!
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 05:00 PM
Bob Brown
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Of the places on your list, Tony, I can see reasons for wanting to visit the following places:
San Francisco, but Alcatraz is ugly and gruesome (those kind of places attract you???)
Cape Flattery and Port Angles(on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington) nice because of the ocean,
Vickburg because of the ante bellum homes still there and open to view
Wilmington N. C (Cape Fear) because of the light house, museum and sea scape
Durango, mostly because it is close to other scenic attractions -- Durango itself is a tourist trap
Lima, Ohio, because it is the birth town of Neil Armstrong and the former residence of Mr. Gorsky, the first man to be addressed by name from the moon.
(Gorsky was Armstrong's neighbor.)
I lived near Lima in Dayton, and my grandson lives in Findlay, so I know that part of Ohio a little bit. I can tell you that until Neil became famous, there was little reason to go there.

Poughkeepsie New York is a starting point for trips to many historical sites and events of the Hudson River Valley. Besides, it is scenic.
Sturgis, that one escapes me, unless you intend to be there for the motorcycle gang convention, which just about has ruined the town. (I spent the night in a "hotel" there many years ago. I was tired, it was 2 AM, no place could be found because of the Black Hills Passion Play, so I ended up in this establishment out of sheer fatigue -- like falling asleep at the wheel.)
Texarkana, been there many times and haven't seen anything yet.
Des Moines, Iowa, industrial town on the Mississippi. Attractions, guess there are some, but I don't know what they area.
Truth or Consequences: a tourist town named after a radio/TV game show.
Payson, Arizona ?? perhaps for the scenery and a view of the Mogollon Rim.
Harrisburg PA -- well it is the capital city of the state. Lots of state history there, and some nice areas along the Susquehanna River.
Ogunquit Maine? Artistic community, coastal resort, hard wood toys made there. I think it will be vacated in the winter, however. It is a summer tourist season haven.
I guess the big one left is Roswell, NM>
Perhaps you will see the flying saucers when you go through. Just be careful, don't get apprehended as one of the aliens from outer space. That might be dangerous territory for you.

Medicine Hat Utah? There is a MEXICAN Hat, Utah, named for an eroded piece of Sandstone that looks like a hat sitting on a pedestal. There is a Medicine Hat, but the one I know of is in Alberta.

As for the rest of them, I guess you must know something I don't.

My final comment is derived from what an investment account salesman said to me once when I was going to move my account away from him because I had a better offer. The man was a real salesman of the "lay guilt on them" type. He knew full well that if I moved my money out of his company, it cost him commissions. To to get me to stay, he laid the full guilt trip scenario on me like I was ruining my family. His concluding line:
"It's your money." Well, it is your trip, and as for the the expense part of it, it is your money!! (And I did not ruin my family!! And I take it you don't have any family to be concerned about.)
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 07:46 PM
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I'm not sure when you expect to visit Ogunquit, Maine, but it is much more pleasant and enjoyable when the weather is nicer, at the end of May or later (when the weather is not frigid, there are leaves on the trees, and the flowers are in bloom). While the coast of Maine is spectacular, it can be quite dreary during winter. And, most places are "seasonal", particularly restaurants, so won't be open. Definitely not recommended as a winter destination. You may want to consider the White Mountains in NH or the Green Mountains in Vermont in the alternative. Or, a year-round seacoast town, such as Portsmouth, NH.
Old Nov 5th, 2000, 11:25 PM
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There isn't much to Port Angeles. I'd prefer to stay in Sequim if only to be closer to Dungeness Spit, or in one of the Victorian houses in Port Townsend.

Will you be driving along the Oregon coast from San Francisco?
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 05:20 AM
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Tony...I'm a former Texan and for the life of me, can't think of a good reason to visit either Paris or Texarkana! If I were to go someplace unusual in Texas it'd be either Big Bend area, Palo Duro Canyon, or the Hill Country.

Payson is beautiful...or the mountains surrounding it are, at any rate. Drive up into for herds of elk while driving!

Ogunquit is nice but I'd opt to go a bit further north along the Maine coast where it becomes more rugged and "Maine-like".

You obviously like "the road less traveled". Have a great trip and enjoy your explorations.
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 06:31 AM
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The question mark after the North in your Cape Fear listing was, of course, merely a typo....

Wilmington is an interesting and very pleasant small coastal city with more history than many would expect _and_ a blooming film industry. But if you are interested in the nature, lighthouses, and shore of that part of the country, I'd strongly recommend getting out onto the islands, esp. Ocracoke (there's a cemetary where Brit. soldiers from the Revolutionary era are buried, and a charming town and small lighthouse) -- and consider driving (no other way to do it) the full 6 hrs. up along the spine of the Outer Banks, through the National Seashore. At least consider going out as far as Hatteras to see the recently-relocated Hatteras Lighthouse and the life of those who live there year-round.

By the time you get to Nags Head, you've gotten into overdeveloped Tourist Land, where few North Carolinians go -- it's mostly Washingtonians, etc. in season (end of May to beginning of Sept.).

The weather down here, however, will be considerably more clement than what you will find in Maine before April. We have long, unpopulated, sandy beaches with lovely sea-oats and wonderful colors in sea and sky. They have dramatic rocky promontories with wonderful crashing surf that will freeze on the rocks in lovely patterns. You are risky a serious blizzard even as late as early April, however.

A general comment on your destinations: looks exactly as if you were "traveling the address book," -- i.e., going from friend/contact to friend/contact. Nothing at all wrong with that, and it's likely to afford you a view of the US that is much more based in reality than the NY-Washington-DisneyWorld corridor traversed by most Europeans. If nothing else, it might help you to understand the insanity now being visited on us called the Election.

Good travels.
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 06:34 AM
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Sturgis, SD? Are you really sure you know what you're getting yourself in for? Don't know what there is in Sturgis, other than the annual biker rally during the summer. Even the locals leave town.

Tony, I think it would help to know the reasoning behind the off-beat locales you've chosen. If you've got 3 months to go to all these places, I would suggest plotting out your trip based on location. i.e., meander your way across the U.S. If you do that, there may be a whole host of things to check out across our country - not things that you'd spend a long time at, but neat to stop and see on your way past

Where are you from? We hosted a MLS soccer coach from England this summer. He was amazed at the distances between the places he went. If you're traveling during the summer, look for festivals across the USA. For that kind of info, I'd probably check with each state's tourism department.
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 06:46 AM
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Paris, Texas?
Do you want to take a tour of the Campbell's Soup factory? Or perhaps the Kimberly-Clark factory? Other than those plants, there's really not much there at all. The name is quite misleading...

Texarkana, Texas?
Well, there is that building on State Line Avenue that is half in Arkansas and half in Texas, I guess. Other than that, it's pretty much just a big truckstop...

Eldorado, Arkansas?
I have some cousins that live there and they tell me there is absolutely nothing to see or do in town.

If you want to see the "real" Texas that most Europeans think of, go out to west Texas. San Angelo is a cute city with some neat museums and an amazing old cavalry fort.

Old Nov 6th, 2000, 09:57 AM
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Agree with the mms re Durango the area is well worth a visit to see the Mesa Verde (one of the highlights of our trip to Colorado this summer),and if you have time do ride the Durango-Silverton train . It is a bit touristy but most enjoyable. We got a great deal at the Best Western Mountain Shadows off the BW web site, might be worth checking out. BTW I think we have mutual friends who live in Scottsdale!
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 11:49 AM
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"San Francisco, but Alcatraz is ugly and gruesome (those kind of places attract you???)"

Apparently "those kind of places" attract a whole bunch of people, given the crowds I experienced on Alcatraz! "Gruesome"? Well it was a prison! But ugly? Eye of the beholder, I guess. I thought it was quite beautiful in that dramatic, black and white photo kind of way. I was there in the summer and the wildflowers were blooming everywhere, the views are incredible, and the whole place has a very poetic, isolated feel, quite a contrast to SF, standing in stark relief to it. The history is fascinating and the audio tour was excellent. Everyone I know who has been to it excluding Bob, above)has really enjoyed it!
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 12:00 PM
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Hello Tony:
Poughkeepsie, NY???? Please go 10 miles north to Hyde Park or Rhinebeck and 20 miles south to Cold Spring.
Poughkeepsie is a few malls and alot of commuters. One highlight is Vassar College. Hyde Park and Rhinebeck are wonderful. Cold Spring has a wonderful Main Street with antiques and restaurants. Both are historic areas. Hope this helps.
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 12:25 PM
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You must have read Blue Highways (by William Least Heat Moon). If not, make sure you do before taking this trip.
Well, it sounds like you got some good feedback here. But if you go back home saying, "The U.S. is completely overrated, there is nothing there!" --don't say we didn't warn you about your itinerary.
Old Nov 6th, 2000, 01:32 PM
Tony Hughes
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My oh my, dont so many people dislike me?

alcatraz - read about it as a boy and always wanted to go
Des moines - cant pronounce it, want to see what all the rural fuss is about
andersonville - biggest Civil war pow camp, want to see it
Vicksburg - siege during civil war, on the mississippi
Payson - drove through it quickly, maybe there's more?
Cape flattery - the end of the road
Cape fear - the movie, also weatherman kept talking about it during my first ever trip to USA
Sturgis - the roadkill diner (guess that mess, from your gril to ours)
Harrisburg - staying there a few days, worth a look?
Poughkeepsie - mum used to talk about it
Ogunquit - near the rest of NE and on the coast. Enough said.
Paris - I never did like Harry Dean Stanton (except in Alien) but its near the edge of Texas and I cant afford to stay there too long.
Medicine Hat - yes, bob, you got it right, its mexican hat. A cool name near four corners.
Colorado City - home to many polygamous families, I dont want to miss a trick!
Texarkana - much like town in comic i used to read as a child (except that was scotland and england)
Durango - nearish to state line and heard good reports about it
Eldorado - name of failed british soap opera set in spain, enough said.
Port angeles - car ferry to Victoria where we can spend a few days r&r at aunt bettys
roswell- i want to believe
winterset - although a redneck and racist, i want to see where Marion M was born
Council bluffs - near state line.
Lima - Lost In Middle America. Sounds fun
truth or consequences - we dont have town names like that in scotland.

April - yes along oregon coast, passing cape foulweather

Christie, your decriptions sounds great. Europeans think of ten gallon hats, tumbleweed, oil etc when Texas is mentioned. I dont want to see the Alamo.

Annie - are you from that area?

Vanessa - read the book when it's done and see!


Old Nov 6th, 2000, 01:58 PM
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I work with lots of Europeans, and they do tend to stereotype us Texas. Of course, since I do own a horse, drive a truck and occasionally wear a cowboy hat, I do nothing to disprove the stereotype...

Honestly, if you want to see the "real" Texas, SKIP Paris and Texarkana and spend a couple of days in Fort Worth and San Angelo. Be sure to see the Miss Hattie's Bordello museum in San Angelo. (No, I'm not kidding!) Email me privately and I can even recommend nice places to stay and eat in both towns.

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