The faces in the floor

Recognizing faces is in our genes. Two eyes, a mouth, a nose between. Knotholes and nail holes are faces I see. Really just planks from an old pine tree. Once I started finding faces in the floor, I just couldn’t help but find some more.     Some look mean and some look nice. Some look […]

Posted in Exploring, Oddities

Give me a sign: Finding our way across America

Until you drive around the country for a year, you don’t appreciate the diversity of signs that get us from here to there. And now they’re also helping us mark our progress along the way. Watching this 8-minute video, you can follow along with us as we navigate our way around rural roads and city thoroughfares; […]

Posted in Along the way, Exploring, Oddities

What you can learn from billboards

In 1965, Lady Bird Johnson wanted the highways clear of billboards and junkyards, and filled with green landscaping and wildflowers. But the powerful billboard industry wasn’t having it. The battle to pass a law to control the proliferating highway ads was fierce. President Lyndon Johnson told his cabinet “You know I love that woman and […]

The anecdote and the data

Spending a year traveling the country is one way to observe some striking similarities and differences across regions. Of course it’s the differences that make me curious. There are Target stores and McDonalds absolutely everywhere. You’ll find Waffle House in the South and Bob Evans in the Midwest. There are ranch-style ramblers and manufactured homes all over. […]

Posted in Along the way, Oddities

License to express yourself

Spend as much time on the road as we have lately, and you can’t help but marvel at the unrestrained proliferation of expressive license plates. Back when plates were stamped out of metal by convicts, you got a few numbers, a few letters, and a state motto. You had to put a bumper sticker on your car […]

Posted in Exploring, Oddities

Invisible walls

Everyone knows that Los Angeles is famous for its freeways. And it’s known as the home of the movie industry. But did you know the two sort of grew up together? Back in the 50’s, cars started going faster, so traction started to matter more, and tires started getting wider, and more freeways started getting […]

Posted in Exploring, Oddities

Drive-by messages from God

When did “Worship at 10 am Sunday” become “1 Cross + 3 Nails = 4 Given”? If you spend time driving rural roads and small towns in this country, you start noticing those church reader boards—you know, the signs out in front of churches with plastic changeable letters? You can’t help but wonder about them: who […]

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Posted in Exploring, Oddities, The Southeast

Pondering Florida’s contradictions

Every state is full of contradictions, made up as they are of human beings. But Florida’s incongruities are glaring. Florida is overrun with people and cars; so why is there only one freeway in the state? In the absence of freeways, the speed limits are high on the streets and roads; people drive really fast, weaving in and […]