Southern Circle Fact Finding Road Trip
3,052 , mile, nine day road trip through the deep south and more. July 12 to July 21, 2021
From New York City through New Jersey, Delaware, Washington, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and then back into New Jersey to New York City, covering two time zones and many different cultural zones.
73 gallons of Super (91 and 93 Octane) gasoline was used at an average price of $3.59 per gallon and about $125 in road and bridge tolls.
By Frank X. Didik

  This is written primarily for those who are not familiar with or do not have first hand experience in America's south eastern states. I must apologize to the reader in that I did not keep a day to day diary of this road trip and rather I am relaying the trip from memory, a month after I returned. Further, it is completely unfair of me to give an opinion of any of the locations, since I rarely spent more than one day at any given location and did not really have time to truly understand the area. My views are simply first impressions. I will say though that each city and state has much to offer in terms of food, architecture, the way people interact between one an other and simply, southern hospitality. The United States is an amazing country with so many wonderful places to visit. Another factor is that the world changes very quickly and if you were in some place 5 or 10 years ago, you can be certain that the place has evolved and is a different than how you remember it.

Unrelated observations: In Alabama and to a lesser extent, in Georgia, and Tennessee, I was surprised how many people were driving with temporary paper license plates. I will guess that about 20% of the cars had temporary license plates. GUNS: From North Carolina and continuing south, it is very common for citizens to carry pistols. I never saw any misuse of these firearms and when I discussed this with the locals, I could see that they were very much respectful of preventing accidental or unnecessary use of their guns. Surprisingly, a gun on a holster was common and it turns out that such an "open carry permit" is easier to obtain than a gun that is perhaps in a purse or concealed. Anyone who is not a felon can obtain a gun. It was pointed out to me that the purpose of guns is to protect oneself, property and family and prevents crimes from happening, while the purpose of police is to solve a crime, after it happens. Cost of cigarettes and tobacco: I do not smoke and have never smoked, but I was curious about the cost of tobacco products down south, considering that tobacco was such an important crop. In New York City, cigarets costs between $16 and $20 a pack. In North Carolina, the price for the same pack is between $6 and $8 per pack. Somehow I expected the prices to be significantly less than this. Most of the cost of a pack of cigarettes are state and local taxes. When I was in college in New York, many years ago, the price I seem to remember was about $1 per pack, but again, I never smoked. COVID-19: No one seems the least bit concerned about Covid-19 and very few people seem to have taken one of the emergency permitted vaccinations. The general feeling down south seems to be that the whole Covid-19 epidemic is greatly exaggerated and that it is a different type of the flu. Hotels and motels: The hotels and motels were packed and I found that there was little price difference between the south and outside any northern city. I had expected relatively little travel, because of Covid fears, but that simply was not the case. Many people were traveling on vacation. Donald Trump: It seems that the majority of people in the south feel that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. This is not good for country unity.



    Locations covered


  • Getting Started: Leaving New York City, driving south through New Jersey, across Delaware and then into Virginia and finally Washington DC.

  • North Carolina
  • Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill
  • South Carolina
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Robins Air Force base museum, Georgia
  • Plains, Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Tuskegee, Alabama
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Huntsville, Alabama

Map of the southern circle road trip





  • Tennessee

  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Zanesville, Ohio
  • West Virginia detour
  • Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Drove through Carlisle, Pennsylvania
  • Back to New Jersey and on to New York


Starting from New York City

Driving to southern New Jersey

Into Delaware

Across the Potomac


Map of area traveled

Major rain storm about to happen in southern New Jersey.

Delaware Bridge. Two spans over the Chesapeake from NJ to Delaware


Dupont Circle in Washington DC with homeless encampments. This area historically is a very good and safe area in Washington DC.

July 12, 2021 Getting Started: Leaving New York City, driving south through New Jersey, across Delaware and then into Virginia and finally Washington DC. I started my Journey from downtown Brooklyn around 11AM, so to beat the rush hour traffic going over the bridges to Manhattan on through the tunnel to New Jersey. I then had a pleasant though uneventful journey to southern New Jersey where I purchased a new outboard engine bracket for my sailboat. Because of the recent countrywide distribution slowdown, apparently caused by the lockdowns related to the Covid virus mandates, certain common components are difficult to find.




Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Sorry, there is a gap in the GPS maps from North Carolina to the northern part of South Carolina

Martin's Inn in Georgetown Washington DC. This is where JFK is alleged to have proposed to Jackie Kennedy.



The Sign says it all. Welcome to Virginia.


Washington DC: I continued south into Delaware. Unfortunately, a huge rainstorm developed with high winds and I was forced to slowdown and at one point, stop my car briefly. This lasted off and on for much of the afternoon, with significant flooding on some of the back roads. I continued into Maryland, Virginia and then into Washington DC. Because of the rainstorm and slowdowns, I arrived in DC many hours after I had planned and the restaurant that I had planned to eat in, Martins Restaurant in Georgetown, was already closing. I have been to this place several times in the past and I have always met interesting people there and enjoyed their comfort food. It is claimed that President John F. Kennedy proposed marriage to Jacqueline Kennedy here in 1953. Washington has clearly changed in the two years since I was last there. To my surprise, I found homeless encampments in many parts of the city including in some of the best areas of DC. Apparently Washington is falling to the same situation that San Francisco is in. I had originally planned to spend the night in an excellent hotel near Dupont Circle but decided that with the homeless everywhere that I should drive south of DC and thus drove back into Virginia and found a nice motel for the evening.

North Carolina: The next morning, July 13, 2021, I continued to drive south through Virginia, past Richmond and then on to North Carolina, to the Tri-City area of Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, where I have several close friends.

Raleigh North Carolina. This mall/restaurant market place was a former tobacco drying warehouse.


Almost everyone seems to have guns in North Carolina. Perhaps that is why everyone is so polite! This store prohibits entry with a fire arm. As it was pointed out to me, to ban guns is lower crime is akin to ban forks to prevent obesity.

An early steam tractor


Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, North Carolina: I spent several days here in a nice motel and visited all three towns and enjoyed excellent restaurants and interesting company. One of my friends introduced me to an influential lawyer who originally held a political position. He invited me to the beautiful and exclusive Duke-Washington private club, where I listened to extremely knowledgeable people discuss world affairs, with a different perspective than what is presented in the mass media. It is always important to hear multiple sides of any argument or perspective.

Durham, North Carolina.


The interior of the exclusive Washington Duke Club






Gasoline prices were about the same throughout the south, however the lowest prices were in rural Georgia and rural North Carolina.


I reluctantly left the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill research triangle and continued my road trip south, stopping at some very amazing local dinners. The food was excellent and represented the southern cooking that I had expected in the south I continued my journey into South Carolina and on to historic Charleston (South Carolina) and unfortunately arrived a little late. Charleston is said to be the first southern city to start the Civil War or as it used to be referred to in the South, "The War of Northern Aggression". In 1861, the canon batteries on the mainland of Charleston fired upon Fort Sumpter, which is on an island in the harbor, after the Union fort refused to surrender. Eventually they called for a cease fire and the Union soldiers were allowed to leave.


An interesting advertisement on the back of this tanker truck in South Carolina.


Hilton Head, South Carolina. Hilton Head is a beach resort, with similar elegance as South Hampton on Long Island, New York, but without the pretension.

A boardwalk leading to the beautiful white sands of the beach.

This 6 foot / 2 meter alligator enjoying the sun, just a few feet from the beach. No wonder people use the boardwalk!




The South is very religious.

There were many road signs reminding people to pray and repent.


The main part of Charleston is a lovely, historic city.



Charleston, South Carolina: Charleston's old town is absolutely beautiful and is rather large. The houses and stately mansions have been restored and are quite charming. That evening I dined at a restaurant that was highly recommended by the locals. I was hoping for traditional, high end southern cooking. Though the restaurant did have some southern dishes, I felt that it was not as delicious as I had anticipated and I would say that the food, though good, was not a culinary masterpiece. The restaurant did however attract some of the leading citizens of Charleston and I ended up having a very interesting conversation about the town, the politics, the local economy and real estate. I was told that the houses in the extensive old town ranges in price from about 1.5 million U.S. Dollars to well over 20 million U.S. Dollars. The prices in that area are similar or even more expensive than similar areas in Manhattan. Apparently many southerner's from larger cities such as Atlanta Georgia, or Charlotte North Carolina, buy second homes in Charleston, similar to how come New Yorkers buy homes upstate or in the Hamptons, or Bostonians buy homes on Cape Cod. For local driving in the historic district, many residents use electric vehicles, similar to golf carts. I noticed the same in Hilton Head, SC. I had been in Charleston many years ago and I can say that though it was interesting back then, it has significantly improved since then and has been renovated. Charleston is well worth visiting.

To my surprise, every hotel, regardless of the price, was completely booked and so had to drive about 15 miles out of town before I found a room in a basic motel. Apparently the Covid scare has gripped the north, has not prevented southerners from traveling!

Besides horse drawn carriages use primarily by tourists, many local residents in the old town use electric golf cart type vehicles to get around.


There are many elegant homes in Charleston.


The Civil War or as it was once called in the south "The War of Northern Aggression" is said to have started in Charleston, with the bombardment of Fort Sumpter Island in 1861.

The bloody Civil War was the worse war that the United States fought, with an estimated 600,000 deaths.

Home prices in the old part of town ranges from 2 million to over 20 million dollars.





From Charleston, I drove south to the famous resort town of Hilton Head. Hilton Head is similar to resort areas in New York, such as the Hamptons, but without the pretension. Many nice restaurants and places to stay. I parked near the beach and walked towards the water on the sand. Someone recommended that I walk on the boardwalk, which I decided to do. About 40 feet later, I realized that between the parking area and the beach, there were alligators! I saw one lazy alligator about 5 or 6 feet (2 meters) long, sunning himself. I don't ever recall seeing alligators in New York, though there was the urban legend that alligators lived in the sewers, having been formerly small pets that grew to large for the aquarium! As a child, I wanted a small alligator, however my father never complied with my wish. The Hilton Head beaches are beautiful with the whitest sand that you can find. The people were incredibly friendly. I recommend Hilton Head to anyone who is traveling down south.

Savannah Georgia: From Hilton Head, I drove south to another historic city, Savannah Georgia. I went straight to the old town, which was filled with tourists. The old town is famous for their "stream stone" roads, which while very nice looking, was not so easy to walk on. The river front is filled with nice restaurants and tourist related shops. I must say that I had absolutely delicious lobster bisque in one of the local restaurants. As all of the south, the people were very friendly. When I stated my journey, I had expected the south to be very conservative, however I did find pockets of liberalism, Savannah being one of those pockets.

Savannah Georgia. Savannah has a nice, historic old town along the Savannah River. Surprisingly, I found Savannah to be rather liberal.

This is a "fake" steam boat for tourists. These river boats were prevalent in the 1840's and 1850's and can be compared to modern cruise liners with live music and dancing.

I wasn't sure if this huge container ship would make it under the suspension bridge. It was an amazing sight.



I was not sure if this huge container ship would make it under the low suspension bridge.

Savannah has excellent sea food. In fact, I had one of the best bowls of lobster bisque here.



As I was driving on the interstate highway, I noticed a sign for the Robins Air Museum. Having always been fascinated with airplanes, I got off the highway, expecting it to be nearby. Well, it was a long, long, long drive but it was worth it. A most interesting museum for airplane enthusiasts.
The tiny Smart Car contrasts greatly with the B1B bomber






Georgia: I continued my journey south into Georgia, the "Peach State", unfortunately, there were very few peaches to buy. Perhaps they were out of season. I then drove for miles and miles through the Georgian countryside, and also through essentially a swampy low region. Eventually I hit a main road and continued west. I stopped at an excellent diner along the way that had delicious southern comfort food. Continuing through rural George, it was getting late, but saw a sign for the Robbins Air Museum and headed in that direction. I arrived at Robbins, spent the night at the only motel with rooms available and then enjoyed an amazing day looking at the hundred+ historic airplanes in four hangers and many outside. The planes represented the American Air power from World War One all the way till today. The museum has so many rare planes including the Mustang, the B1b bomber, almost all of the jet fighters, the U2 spy plane, the B52 bomber, an old Air Force One presidential plane and so many others. The museum also had an excellent Tuskegee airman exhibit that was rather touching and many other exhibits. Being a constant book reader and information specialist, I did come upon two minor mistakes in the museum and mentioned this to the curator, who agreed with me and said that corrections would be made. If you are an airplane enthusiasts or a military buff, I highly recommend the Robins Air Museum.

World War 2 mustang.



The museum consists of 4 hangers filled with planes and many more aircraft outside.


A special exhibit to the Tuskegee airmen, who were the first black American fighter pilots in the then segregated Army-Air Corp of World War 2.

The Tuskegee airmen were the best and brightest. It was extremely selective as to who would be accepted.


This is a heavily armored vehicle that had been used in the Gulf wars.



This is the Cessna T37 training jet plane that was first introduced in the early 1950's.


Apparently it was an excellent flyer.


I was intrigued by this jet.






An early 1960's Air Force One presidential jet.

B52 heavy bomber, that was first developed in the early 1950's and is still in use today, after almost 70 years of operation, but with many electronic improvements.

The massive undercarriage of the B52 bomber.


Robins Air Force Base is known for electronic development.

Two modes of transportation, each with their own special purpose.

While driving on a Georgia back road, I came upon a sign mentioning "Plains Georgia", which as many people know, was and perhaps still is the home of former President Jimmy Carter, who was a physicist but was also known during the election as a simple peanut farmer.





Continuing my journey south west, I on the highway that pasted Fort Benning, Georgia. Fort Benning is a major powerhouse for the US Army and from a distance, I could see many military vehicles. I did not stop, but it was interesting. I then continued to a country road and continued west. Suddenly, about 30 miles/50 km from Alabama, I saw a sign that said "Plains Georgia", which I remembered was the hometown of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Jimmy Carter was said to be a peanut farmer and had also become a nuclear physicist and had been in the navy for a number of years. At some point he became the governor of Georgia and eventually was elected president in 1976, taking office in January, 1977. Plains Georgia is tiny, having perhaps 10 stores along a three block long main street. One store was said to be President Carters's former peanut warehouse. Somehow I was expecting a huge facility, but instead, it was nothing more than a small, 20' or 25' storefront. I continued to drive around, and saw his childhood home, that was very humble and I went to his high school. Assuming that what was shown is accurate, I can see that he came from a very humble background. Leaving Plains Georgia, there was an average sized suburban home behind a strong looking steel bar fence. clearly with very good security. I presume that that is is current residence.



I was surprised how simple Plains Georgia is. It has perhaps 8 or 9 stores.








Somehow I expected former President Carter's peanut warehouse to be huge, not this simple storefront! Perhaps there is another warehouse that I am not aware of.


In my 3000 mile/5000km trip around the southern part of the United States, I saw only four (4!) Confederate flags on display. I did see many US flags proudly on display. This flag was outside of Plains Georgia. The Civil war is long over and the vast majority of people are moderate,middle of the road types.

This simple home was former president Jimmy Carters childhood home. Plains Georgia has a large, very friendly and warm black population . I felt a real sense of southern hospitality among all of the residents. Apparently most of President Carters childhood friends were black.

I am not sure what this flag represented or if in fact it represented anything.

I continued my journey west and on into Alabama or as the welcome to Alabama sign said "Sweet Home Alabama". It was getting late, but I pushed on in order to reach Montgomery Alabama, which is one of the starting point's of the civil rights movement and was where Rosa Parks was told the go to the back of the bus, because she was black. Her story is actually fascinating and it is worth looking up on line. Before I reached Montgomery, I went through Tuskegee, Alabama that is infamous for the hideous "medical" experiments performed on poor black people from 1922 till the early 1970's. It is now known that black's who had contracted syphilis, were not treated, but rather observed as guinea pigs, to see how this treatable disease would progress over time. Perhaps there were other "experiments" as well. Tuskegee is also the home of the Tuskegee air base which is where the famous Tuskegee airmen were trained during World War Two. There men represented the brightest and best from the black community and eventually became fighter pilots protecting American Bombers headed to Germany. At the time, the United States Army-Air Corp was segregated. Segregation ended during the Korean War (1950-1953). Tuskegee today is a simple, primarily black town with a town square and a small business district. Personally I felt that considering the horrendous medical experiments, that Tuskegee should have special federal funding.

On to Montgomery! I arrived in Montgomery in the early evening and immediately checked into a hotel. I drove around, and then had dinner at a local steak house. Sadly, I was not particularly impressed with the city and ended up not spending much time there.



Fort Benning Georgia. A fraction of America's might on display.


Sweet Home Alabama!


Tuskegee Alabama. This town was the home of the infamous and barbaric "study" of watching 400 black men with syphilis from 1932 to 1972 without attempting to medically treat the disease.

Today many black Americans refuse to take the emergency Corona vaccination, partly based on the hideous Tuskegee experiments. Many people associate these experiments to what was said the Nazi's did in World War 2.

Tuskegee is also famous for the Tuskegee Airmen which was the first black American pilots in World War two allowed to fly in the then segregated Army Air Corp. They were active from 1940 to 1948 and formed the 332 Expeditionary Operations Group and the 477 Bombardment Group.



The next morning I drove around and then headed north to Birmingham, Alabama, which is very well known as a major center for the Civil Right movement of the 1950's and 1960's. The city has many interesting historic civil rights related locations and buildings, though I decided to continue my journey and headed north to Huntsville Alabama. which is famous for the Huntsville Space Center, and Space Camp. I wasn't sure exactly where to get off of the highway when I reached Huntsville, but suddenly I saw many GIANT rockets sticking out from the wooded area and knew that I should get of at the next exit. Huntsville was the location of the development of the "Redstone" missal program of the early 1950's. The Redstone program was in many way a continuation of the German V2 Rocket program of World War 2. Immediately after the war, 100 top German rocket scientists were quietly given a choice under a secret U.S. Government program called "Project Paperclip", to be transported to America and work for the Americans or possibly face war crimes charges, because of the large number of interned slave laborers who died while building V1 and V2 rockets at Peenemunde, in what was then a part of Germany. This program led to the establishment of NASA and ultimately the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing.


Most rest stops throughout the United States offer fast food from chain restaurants.

Endless highways, leaving Montgomery Alabama. I was surprised how many drivers had temporarily paper license plates. I would guess that one out of five were temporary.



Birmingham Alabama


Martin Luther King Jr




Birmingham Alabama



Birmingham Alabama, which was one of the main starting points in the 1950's of the civil rights movement. It was also home to Martin Luther King, Jr.


Birmingham Alabama construction.

Huntsville Alabama, the site of the Redstone Missile development in the 1950's, which was essentially a derivative of the German V2 rockets or World War 2.

After World War 2, the United States brought many German Scientists to America and settled them in the Huntsville area under a secret operation called "Operation Paperclip". This included Werner von Braun and others. This move was quiet and years later was considered controversial.

Huntsville is of most interest to those who are interested in the U.S. Space program. On display are many early rockets including the Saturn V, the Saturn 1 and many others. The exhibition hall displays a large number of early rocket engines and covers most aspects of early space flight. Truthfully though, the rockets and equipment outside looks a little worn by the elements. Besides an actual complete actual Saturn 5 rocket, many of the other items can also be seen at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in Washington, DC. I spent a number of hours at the Huntsville museum and it was interesting, but I did not leave with any new information, and was not particularly inspired by what I saw.

 Today it is estimated that perhaps 40% of the world does not believe that America landed on the moon. I happen to still think that America did land on the moon, but in fairness, some of the arguments against this needs to be addressed. Issues such as the lack of stars, how the space suits were cooled off in such hot temperatures, issues of the waving flag on the moon, the fact that some of the moon rocks given to foreign countries, such as the Netherlands, turned out to be petrified wood and a number of other concerns brought up by moon landing doubters. Each concern should be carefully addressed, one by one. I was at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair and saw the NASA exhibit. There they should what they said were real Nasa rockets and had a fence separating them from the crowds. I remember distinctly how the NASA official was saying that the rockets were real and how much money they cost. They also showed us early integrated circuits. Well years after the Worlds Fair ended, I was walking in Flushing Meadows Park, where the Worlds Fair had taken place and to my stunning shock, there were the alleged "real rockets", slowly decaying in a junk pile. Those 4 story "rockets" had been made out of thick cardstock on a wooden frame and the so called engines were of some type of paper mache! What a disappointment. Also, it brings into question what other lies we were told. Still, I want to believe that the USA did land on the moon in 1969. I remember seeing the fuzzy moon landing live on TV then. Was it real or was it not? Perhaps time will tell.

Today, there is still research going on, but Huntsville is more known for its space museum and a one to two week camp called "Space Camp".

Space Camp attendees ware blue, janitorial looking outfits, similar to that of doctors.

The Space Shuttle Auxiliary "reusable" fuel tank around the main large fuel tank.

The original concept of the Space Shuttle, whose name was undoubtedly inspired by the then many local airplane shuttles such as the NYC to Boston shuttle, was to be able to fly to and from a space station, similar to an airplane going back and forth.

This never really happened. The shuttle itself had to be essentially renovated and revamped after each flight. Further, the huge main fuel tank was not reusable, while the two side tanks had to be completely rebuilt, if they were used again at all, after falling into the ocean. The name "Space Shuttle" was more of a marketing name.

One is struck by the enormous size of the main fuel tank of the "Shuttle". From looks, it seems that the volume of fuel is the same as what was used in the Saturn 5 Rocket that is said to have brought astronauts to the moon and back.



The enormous Saturn 5 or is it the Saturn 1 Rocket.



A model of the Saturn 5 rocket. The actual Saturn 5 rocket is suspended just above the model.


When looking at the various Lunar modules, it is hard to imagine how something so small, was able to go to and from the moon on July 20, 1969 and an additional three times.

The whole world watched the moon landing on July 20, 1969. However by 1972, hardly anyone cared about the landing and the final two planned missions were scrapped.


Surprisingly today, I sizable number of people question if the landings ever occurred at all. I will not outline the various conspiracy stories, but they area easy to find on line.


Many of the outdoor exhibits seem a little shop worn from the elements, after 50+ years of being outside.

This tiny submarine was used to find space components after they fell into the ocean.


These space camp outfits are sold in the museums gift shop for a little over $100.



Nashville, Tennessee!






From Huntsville, off to Tennessee. I arrived in Nashville around 9:00PM on a Sunday night, fully expecting everything to be closed. To my absolute astonishment, the city was packed with endless numbers of restaurants and clubs open. The main district was truly amazing. Everyone was incredibly friendly and kind. Many women wore cowboy boots, cowboy hand and cut off jeans, that almost looked like early 1970's "hot pants". While walking down the street, if my eye caught another persons eye, they would immediately say hello! Every bar had live country music. Country music was never my particular favorite, however these live shows were terrific. Further, I now realize that country music is for the most part, far more complex and realistic than rock and roll, and rap, both of which I find very dated and has not progressed with the times. The city seemed very safe, the people are conservative, and the local food is mostly smoked meats, such as smoked chicken, pulled pork and also various spicier southern foods. Nashville was an amazing place and I strongly recommend it as a destination city.

I rolled into Nashville Tennessee on a Sunday night around 9PM fully expecting everything to be closed.

I was completely wrong. Nashville was jam packed with people enjoying excellent, but intelligent, live country music.



The people were incredibly friendly. Most women wore cut off jeans, that looked almost like early 1970's "hot pants", cowboy boots and cowboy hats.


Every bar and restaurant had live music. Truthfully, the lyrics were far more intelligent than any rock and roll music.




New York City marketing used to say that NYC is the city that "never sleeps". However Nashville seemed far more active and dynamic at night.



Many restaurants offer freshly smoked chicken, port or beef. Excellent taste.



Unfortunately, every city has their homeless. In fact, I believe that in the New Testament, there is a passage that states that we will always have our poor.


A typical smoked meat dinner. Perhaps not exactly health food, but certainly absolutely delicious.


The next day I reluctantly left and headed towards Kentucky, "the blue grass state". I had never been in Kentucky and very much looked forward to going and exploring, if only a little bit. After a while, I reached Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of the arguably the best sports car in the world, the Corvette. I know, many, if not most people would disagree with this statement but today's Corvette, is truly amazing. I have had the pleasure of owning many exciting, well known European cars and sports cars over the years and know cars very well. Corvette is actually the most American car today, with over 90% of the components built in the USA. Most "American" cars today are actually built in Mexico, Canada and if they are assembled in the USA, have a sizable percentage of parts manufactured outside of the United States. Even in the case of motorcycles, America's most famous motorcycle has a large percentage of parts manufactured overseas.

I stopped at the National Corvette Museum and as expected, the museum focused primarily on the Corvette however they also had other cars, if somehow they were connected with the Corvette. For example the famous exotic Italian ISO cars used the Corvette engine, as did many others, including the DeTomaso Mangusta and others. The museum is well worth going into if you are into automobiles.

Kentucky, the blue grass state and famous for thoroughbred race horses.


I noticed that throughout the trip, that almost every town had a pawn shop.

Bowling Green Kentucky is where the Chevrolet Corvette is manufactured.

The Corvette is the most American built car in America, with 96% of the parts made in the USA. Most "American" cars today are manufactured primarily in Canada, Mexico and have many components from Asia and elsewhere.


Parking reserved only for Corvette!

If you like automobiles, this museum is definitely worth visiting. There is a $15 entrance fee.

The museum shows many different cars that were either prototype or dream cars or used Corvette components.

The museum is honest and mentions that it was the late 1940's British Cars that fueled the post World War 2 sports car craze in America.




Corvettes are made out of fiberglass, however they were not the first car to do so. This American prototype car first used fiberglass several years before the corvette. The inventor teamed up with Owings Corning glass company.





There are many beautiful, one of a kind cars on display.

In the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's, it was common for top European Cars to use American engines. Here we have an Italian ISO Griffith that uses the Corvette engine.

This is a museum display, however around the museum, there are exotic car dealers that also have amazing classic American and foreign cars for sale.

No, it is not a real T-Rex dinosaur, but just an advertisement for a dinosaur park.



An advertisement encouraging men to be responsible to their children.

I did not spend much time in the town of Bowling Green, since I was pressed for time to return to New York City. I did go through Louisville, Kentucky, which is home to the famous Kentucky derby horse races, and for the wild party atmosphere during that period, however it should be noted that the derby is held outside of the main city. The city itself reminded me of a basic, middle American town. Parts seemed a little rundown. I had considered going north to Indianapolis, Indiana, but being pressed for time and also wanting to see Cincinnati, I decided to skip Indianapolis, as much as I wanted to see it.

I continued my journey north entering into Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati seems like a very livable, safe and comfortable city. I enjoyed the afternoon near the baseball stadium and the many local restaurants. Cincinnati also has some very interesting bridges (please see the photographs), including a suspension bridge over the Ohio River to Kentucky, designed by Roblingen, years before he built the Brooklyn Bridge. As mentioned above, being pressed for time, I continued my journey, now headed north east to Columbus, Ohio. I enjoyed Columbus and felt that in many ways, it is a smaller New York City. The center of Columbus has large, elegant, historic building, wide avenues, and has an overall nice look. I did make it a point to pass by Chic's Camera Store that one of my high school buddies used to talk about. Unfortunately the store was closed when I arrived. I will also add that it seemed that many smaller stores appear to have closed permanently, though it could be that the closures are only temporary. Rather than spending the night in Columbus, I decided to continue east and after about an hour or two, decided to stop at a very nice, motel in Zanesville, which is in the middle of Ohio farm country. The people who worked here were exceptionally nice and the room was perfect. Unfortunately around 5 in the morning, I heard mooing of cows, I opened the window and saw that cows had been loaded onto transport trucks in back of the hotel. The whole scene reminded of the scene in the movie "My Cousin Vinny" where livestock was being led out of a warehouse early in the morning! Strangely, I felt rather sad for the mooing or crying of the cattle.

Cincinnati Ohio.









This suspension bridge in Cincinnati was built by John A. Robling in 1867, before he built the famous Brooklyn Bridge , finished in 1883. Actually though, he built a small foot bridge in Ellenville New York, over a small reservoir in the 1840's. That bridge still stands, but is in bad condition, and is deep in the forest. He built many other amazing bridges. Suspension bridges predate all of these bridges by hundreds of years. For example, the original Taiwan aborigines developed a very strong steel and had many suspension bridges, some being 300 feet (100 meters) in length, in the 1500's!

The Cincinnati Reds stadium, a few days before it was announced that the name of the team would be changing next year (2022).




Columbus Ohio. Though it is a beautiful city, it is painful to see so many closed stores. Apparently these stores closed down as a result of the Covid-Corona virus lockdowns.


This is the famous Chick's Camera Store in Columbus Ohio. It was closed, though it is not clear if the closure is permanent.

Off to Pittsburgh, via West Virginia.

The next morning, after the cows left, I continued my journey east and because of road construction, I took a slight detour south east into West Virginia. Many years ago, I had gone to West Virginia caving or spelunking and enjoyed enjoyed it very much, but that is a story for some other time. I continued through the northern part of West Virginia and into Pennsylvania and eventually entered Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the 1940's, Pittsburgh was one of the leading still mill towns of the United States and had a population of just under 800,000 people. Because of the wealth from steel, Pittsburgh has an excellent assortment of libraries, theaters, cultural centers and excellent schools and universities. Unfortunately, as the steel industry was shifted abroad, particularly in the late 1970's, the population dropped dramatically and is now just below 300,000. Pittsburgh was considered a major part of the "rust belt" because of the remnants of the former steel factories. Still today, Pittsburgh is a very livable, safe city, with amazing cultural centers.

After spending a number of hours walking and driving around Pittsburgh, I continued my journey through Pennsylvania, past Carlisle, which is famous as a major classic car and automobile city, with many car shows and car parts stores and yards. Carlisle is also the home of the U.S. Military archives and libraries. Carlisle is very much worth a trip to. I continued through Pennsylvania and then through New Jersey, past Trenton and eventually entered New York City through the Lincoln Tunnel, since the Holland Tunnel, which was somewhat closer, is closed at night for repairs.

Home sweet home, but with many interesting, lifelong memories.

There are many long tunnels going through the mountains from Ohio to Pennsylvania.


Pittsburgh Pittsburgh is a most interesting city. It was one of the richest cities at one point, with its steel mills and coal mines, however this industry died out in the late 1970's, when foreign countries started to export steel to the United States, creating what was known as the rust belt.



Because of Pittsburgh's former wealth, it has many lovely bridges, excellent architecture, and many social and intellectual and cultural locations. This includes many fine libraries, universities and much more.


Pittsburgh is a very safe and interesting city, however the population has dropped from about 700,000 in the late 1940's to about 275,000 today.


It is possible that Pittsburgh can somehow reinvent itself and again become a key American City, but how is the question.








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