unexplored america

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unexplored america

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:49 pm

I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati and in my youth would often go wandering in southeastern Kentucky, in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. The farther you are into this area, the farther east of I-75 you go, the farther you get into one of the really undeveloped areas of the United States. Some people here don't "shop" for anything very often, other than the tools needed to support a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and gathering. It's a different world, completely unconnected to the one where most of the TR folks live (tech jobs, tech hobbies, etc).

The bayous of Louisiana are similar. I worked on a boat on the Mississippi in the mid-70's and saw parts of the country where (among other things) there were no radio or television signals whatsoever. We needed a cook at one point and our chief had made a connection with a chef in New Orleans to pick up her daughter on a sandbar not far from Baton Rouge. She got on the boat and was as wide-eyed as anyone I'd ever seen. About 17 years old, she was wearing the only piece of clothing she owned. She had long dark hair on her unshaven legs and armpits, was barefoot, and according to her, had never worn shoes in her life. I saw a lot of strange things in my time on the boat, but this is one I've never forgotten.

What about you? Where have you been in this "developed" continent where you saw something that really opened your eyes to the difference between modern life and everything else?
Last edited by sluggo on Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:23 pm

So women shaving their legs and armpits are a sign of modern civilization? :lol:

OK, seriously... we do (but not as often as we used to) road trip vacations where we just pack up the minivan with camping gear, pick a direction, and go. Few times we've gotten lost on the back roads where things have gotten a little weird, but never anything like your experience. Never quite to the point where I was hearing banjos in my head, anyway!

I agree that parts of Kentucky and West Virginia were where I most felt like I had entered a parallel reality. Parts of North Dakota were kind of surreal too, but in a different way -- more "Wild West" than hillbilly or bayou.
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:39 pm

How old are you sluggo?

I spent some time on reservations in the 4 corners region and in parts of NM. That'll throw you for a loop. Some damn great camping and hiking but the land is pretty harsh.
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:55 pm

There's one time that we camped in NM that I will never forget. We got to the camp site late, so it was already dark. About 3:00 AM we were awakened by a thunderous racket. Scared us half to death. Turned out we had set up our tent about 10 yards from some railroad tracks; they were just the other side of some bushes at the edge of the camp site, so in the dark we didn't even realize they were there! :lol:
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:08 am

This is more uncontrolled than unexplored, but whatever, it seems slightly relevant. So there is this land in between Egypt and Sudan that is called Bir Tawil, and it it's the only land on Earth (besides Antarctica) that isn't owned by a country. It doesn't have any natural resources, so they just didn't claim it.

The more you know.
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:21 am

Black Applesauce wrote:This is more uncontrolled than unexplored,

It's also more Africa than America! :lol:
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:30 am

just brew it! wrote:I agree that parts of Kentucky and West Virginia were where I most felt like I had entered a parallel reality. Parts of North Dakota were kind of surreal too, but in a different way -- more "Wild West" than hillbilly or bayou.


Considering that there's a lot of oil sands exploration going on there, I wouldn't be surprised if entire shanty towns emerged from out of nowhere. I think a modern day OK Corral would be kind of neat. Minus the shootings though of course.

As for me, I like it just fine being stuck in the 'burbs and I don't really venture out unless it's in a controlled setting. It's definitely a boring life but at least you never have to worry about being eaten by a bear.

Black Applesauce wrote:This is more uncontrolled than unexplored, but whatever, it seems slightly relevant. So there is this land in between Egypt and Sudan that is called Bir Tawil, and it it's the only land on Earth (besides Antarctica) that isn't owned by a country. It doesn't have any natural resources, so they just didn't claim it.

The more you know.


Very cool. :D
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Re: unexplored america

Postposted on Mon Mar 04, 2013 2:01 pm

Not quite the example the OP was looking for, but for me, the town of Ward is strange enough. Take US-36 north out of Boulder, Colorado and then turn west on Left Hand Canyon Drive, which then turns into Indiana Gulch Drive. After a few miles of rolling foothills you come around a bend at the junction of US-72 where, without warning, you wander straight into a clapboard hillside town of leftover hippies, where all dogs are community property and a zoning ordinance probably hasn't been enforced in 40 years.

A similar bit of strangeness can be found in Southern California on the southeast side of the Salton Sea near Niland. Tucked back in the desert against the Coachella irrigation canal is an old military outpost that has been reduced to just the foundations. It's called "Slab City" and the state and county governments allow people to camp there for free and generally without any interference. As a result there are a number of permanent residents who have set up ramshackle expanded RV/trailer dwellings that resemble a third-world tent city, albeit not necessarily from poverty -- some of them have off-grid solar projects and the like.
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