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My Biases and Preferences


People sometimes write and ask for my advice about interesting places to visit in America.  The problem, though, is that everybody has different tastes and interests; what one person thinks is interesting, the next will find boring, so I hesitate to give advice unless I know the person's likes and dislikes.

I make a lot of comments and recommendations in this website about places to visit or not to visit, but before you take them to heart, you should understand my biases and preferences to give you a better idea about where I'm coming from.  I've listed these below as best I can.  Based on these biases and preferences, you can form your own opinion about my recommendations... and about whether you'd enjoy reading my website.


What I Like (and The Kinds of Places I'll Be Visiting)

  • Quiet, natural areas, especially areas that aren't very well known.  I'd much rather visit a lesser-known area like Utah's Capitol Reef National Park or the Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia than crowded places like Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon.  I'm pretty sensitive to crowding.

  • Although I'm more of a "small town person," I enjoy visiting both large cities and small towns.  Although I wouldn't especially care to live in a large city, I find them fascinating and during my travels I like to learn about a particular city's history, why it's there, and what people there do.

  • In terms of lodging, I prefer staying in campgrounds or natural areas instead of in fancy resorts that cater to money-laden tourists, or even in motels.  That's because I really enjoy nature.  And because I'm cheap.

  • Visiting with locals and long-time residents and learning about the area.

  • Traveling on two-lane roads instead of freeways.  I like stopping to take pictures and visiting small towns, things you can't easily do on a freeway.

  • Not following a group or being told what to do and when to do it (like on guided tours).  I'm pretty independent and I like taking things at my own pace.

  • I'm a big history buff, so I really enjoy visiting historical sites and museums.

  • Americana, off-the-wall quirky places, and lesser-known roadside attractions.  Examples include Route 66, the International Vinegar Museum in Roslyn, South Dakota, and the world's only Potato Exposition in Blackfoot, Idaho.  I find these types of quirky places amusing and interesting because they each tell a story about a part of America.  In fact, I'll stop at just about any roadside attraction, as long as it contributes something to the American Story and isn't just some hokey tourist trap.


What I Don't Like (and The Kinds of Places I Won't Be Visiting)

  • Noisy, overbuilt, crowded areas that cater to tourists and consumers (like Disneyland, Las Vegas, or Gatlinburg, Tennessee).

  • Tourists traps, which I define as any place designed primarily to separate a visitor from his money.

  • Smoky bars, noisy restaurants, shopping malls, discos, congested freeways... you get the idea.

  • In general, over-publicized, over-rated and over-crowded places that everyone knows about and that everyone wants to see.  From my experience, the most interesting places to visit are often those that few people know about.


From these lists, you can get a pretty good idea of the kinds of sites I'll be seeking out on my trip and writing about.