While driving through small towns and villages in the USA we decided our road trip needed a little bit of Country Music. I was never into this genre as such but let’s face it, just like a movie, a journey is not complete without an appropriate soundtrack.
Someone was singing some of the most down-to-earth lyrics you can come across, making pancakes with syrup sound poetic, on the morning after he makes loves to the girl that works at the local bar. Another songwriter told us the story of how he fell in love with the farmer’s daughter…
I’d be on the tractor she’d be on my mind
with that sun beatin’ down on this back of mine
Just when I thought it couldnt get no hotter
I fell in love with the farmer’s daughter
We were getting acquainted with small town America.
It’s funny how until fairly recently, I’d picture busy pedestrian crossings in NYC or Californian beaches when thinking of the USA. And this is actually silly because this is such a vast country and, although internationally maybe the big cities do stand out, most of it is actually country-side and smaller towns.
I bet when you turn on the radio in New York city ads telling you to “feed your lawn” and slogans letting you know that this week “hay is on sale” won’t come up. We were now in cowboy land, where you can see ranches from your car window every few miles, where cows graze in vast lands and where hay is indeed rolled up in symmetrical round shapes in the fields you drive by.
This has nothing to do with the big cities. Either you have money and your own ranch, or you stay in trailer parks that have become almost like villages within themselves. Towns have one or two bars where people come for beer and meaty meals. Ribs, steaks and, of course, burgers, are the order of the day.
In one of the road-side cafes of a small town we went inside the restroom, where we found a condom vending machine selling condoms with the brand Rough Rider. You immediately know this is no land for pussies – no pun intended. Living in the country side toughens you up, on several levels.
And so we kept on driving, passing by massive trucks that reminded us of Optimus Prime from Transformers. Getting overtaken by pick-up trucks, cowboys hurrying to get home, perhaps to meet the farmer’s daughter. And so the radio kept on announcing weird trivia that gave our trip an almost surreal feeling. For example, we learnt that 26th of April is National Pretzel Day and Pennsylvania produces 80% of national pretzels. And then the radio jockey said with an excited tone:
Not even sure why this is a holiday, but you should face the facts of life…’cause that’s what makes America great!