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Road Trip

I'm leaving very soon to head down to Norfolk, VA for the Virginia Press Association's Winter Conference and Annual Meeting where I've been invited to speak on a panel about -- surprise! -- blogs. I've never really been to Red America (unless you count technically-red Arlington, which you shouldn't) except for last year's Memorial Day trip to the beach in North Carolina during which time I never really spoke to anyone outside my traveling company of liberal elitists. I'm told people have accents in the South! At any rate, I assume the hotel has some kind of provision for internet access, so there should be some postage after I manage to get down there.

March 4, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

There are many hotels nationwide with no internet access. I've stayed in them. Many have an "office" of sorts on the first floor with a single work station that is perpetually occupied and hence never available. I'd check on your accomodations ahead of arriving if an internet hook-up is important.

Posted by: steve duncan | Mar 4, 2005 1:15:32 PM

I don't think they have the internets down there.

Posted by: praktike | Mar 4, 2005 1:19:53 PM

Hopefully there'll be indoor plumbing.

Posted by: Dan | Mar 4, 2005 1:22:20 PM

You've never been to Florida? I thought everyone from NY has grandparents in FL.

Posted by: SP | Mar 4, 2005 1:30:51 PM

We mostly wear shoes, there's probably indoor plumbing, and thanks to FDR's rural electrification program there's electricity, and mostly houses with roofs. You'd best pack some kindling to take with you in case you have to send back some smoke signals, I don't think telephones have got everywhere yet.

Charles

Posted by: charles | Mar 4, 2005 1:36:22 PM

I've never really been to Red America

Holy cr*p!

No relatives in Ohio or Florida or somewhere? No trips to Disneyworld? No family roadster trips to the Grand Canyon? Not even a ski trip to Colorado?

I mean, I grew up in very, very Blue suburban NJ, and have never lived outside a Blue state (unless you count technically-red Arlington, which you shouldn't), but at least we left at least once a year for a visit somewhere!

This puts a whole new perspective on Matthew's analyses of Red Staters. Who knew that he was operating from such a state of ignorance?!

Hey, maybe you can go to a Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans, though, Matthew!

Posted by: Al | Mar 4, 2005 1:37:28 PM

...Memorial Day trip to the beach in North Carolina...

Is this where the infamous 'poking of a dead dolphin' incident happened?

Posted by: abb1 | Mar 4, 2005 1:40:56 PM

"I've never really been to Red America"

Watch out for drooling banjo players in the hotel lobby.

Norfolk is Red America? Turn right, head due west for about 300 miles and you are getting pinkish.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Mar 4, 2005 1:45:41 PM

warning, the pizza in Red america isn't as good - unless you go to the little islands of Blue (ie. college towns)

Posted by: cleek | Mar 4, 2005 1:48:48 PM

abb1 beat me to it. I was wondering the same thing.

Posted by: sean | Mar 4, 2005 1:52:05 PM

Never even been to a wallmart? any one of those is a red state in itself.

Posted by: NSF | Mar 4, 2005 1:53:56 PM

warning, the pizza in Red america isn't as good - unless you go to the little islands of Blue (ie. college towns)

Yeah, but our barbeque is a helluva lot better.

And I live in an island of Blue, and our pizza is still just sub-par. Lots of good offerings of Mexican food, though.

Posted by: Jmac | Mar 4, 2005 1:57:09 PM

Yeah, but our barbeque is a helluva lot better

of course, and my belly is attesting to that this very instant. (Lewis', rt 55, durham)

Posted by: cleek | Mar 4, 2005 2:02:54 PM

Speaking from the Gulf coast of Alabama, I can't say that Norfolk really counts, except maybe in comparison to Manhattan or Harvard.
Also, MY, some Virginians have been infected by Carolinians and they will attempt to offer you vinegar BBQ. Do not accept it! Real barbecue sauce, as any true Southerner will tell you, is red.

Posted by: Kiril | Mar 4, 2005 2:10:16 PM

Norfolk is the armpit of the South, unless you happen to be partial to strip malls and traffic lights.

Posted by: ostap | Mar 4, 2005 2:15:38 PM

Never been to the red states? Are you kidding me? Honestly, I have had some of the best political conversations in the red states. Last summer I went into a bar in Lebanon, KY and got in a three-hour long conversation about politics about five people there. To my shock, everybody there was a Bush-hater. This is rural central Kentucky we're talking about here. Not a college town (except a small Catholic college down the road in Springfield, KY).

On another trip while in Louisville I got in a very lengthy conversation with a man from Glasgow, KY - he was an arch-conservative paramedic on a trip to one of the regional hospitals, but he wasn't too happy with Bush overall. He said, "The only thing I like about Bush is lowering taxes and fighting terrorists."

Never assume that everybody in the red states is "red" - even outside the cities and college towns. Just as we never assume everybody in the blue states is blue (well, except here in Evanston, IL where EVERYBODY is blue).

Posted by: Elrod | Mar 4, 2005 2:21:44 PM

Matt,
I was born outside Chicago, grew up in NY & went to school in MA, so I have a blue state trifecta. However, I live in a red state. While visiting the geographically and politically dominant part of the country you should definitely

1) Eat at Cracker Barrel (per Al's suggestion)
2) Visit Wal-Mart (per NSF -- don't buy anything, though)
3) In lieu of going fishing, going to a softball game, visiting a rural family get-together, or going mud-bogging (all difficult things to setup on short notice this time of year), just go to a country bar.

Posted by: American Citizen | Mar 4, 2005 2:22:55 PM

If you're driving, there's a great game you can play.

Calling a Waffle House when drive by a rest stop and see it garners you one point. Calling a Shoney's is two points. But you can't call Shoney's until a Waffle House has been called at the same rest stop. So there's some strategery involved.

Posted by: praktike | Mar 4, 2005 2:33:02 PM

Norfolk is blue, Portsmouth is blue, Newport News and Hampton and most of the nearby counties in VA and NC are blue. Only suburban Virginia Beach and Chesapeake are red among the Hampton Roads cities.

In NC, my county was 67% blue as were Durham and Orange. Mecklenburg and Guilford were also blue. Down here, just like up there, urban=blue and rural=red. You just have more urbanites than we do; "red America" is not a geographical entity but a demographic and political one.

Posted by: Paul | Mar 4, 2005 2:57:48 PM

Norfolk isn't colorful enough a city to be designated red or blue. It's more like gray. Seriously, though, the whole area is heavily military, so there's a huge transient population that's no more Virginian than ... well, the folks in Arlington.

You want red? Stop off in Richmond on your way down. They're still fighting the Civil War.

Posted by: Fred App | Mar 4, 2005 3:05:09 PM

mmmmmmm . . . waffle house

covered and smothered please

Posted by: bjurk | Mar 4, 2005 3:17:55 PM

If you really want to see old school red, go north from Virginia Beach cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and visit the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is like a walk back in time.

Posted by: CJ_n_PA | Mar 4, 2005 3:22:06 PM

Paul's right. Going by last year's presidential election results, Norfolk isn't really that much more Red than Arlington.

Arlington: Kerry: 67.6% Bush: 31.3%
Norfolk: Kerry: 61.7% Bush: 37.4%

Norfolk is a fairly dense, proper city. Virginia Beach however is a Red, overgrown suburb:
Va Beach: Kerry: 40.2% Bush: 59.1%

Posted by: Allergen | Mar 4, 2005 3:33:25 PM

Most Hotels have postage if you ask for it, but you might have to pony up the 37 cents.

Posted by: Rick DeMent | Mar 4, 2005 4:07:11 PM

Just fyi: I believe the city name is pronounced "Nor-fuck."

That's not an aspersion, just the truth...

Posted by: next big thing | Mar 4, 2005 4:08:26 PM

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