The ‘Rapid’ Story: Trains, Planes, and the Making of a City

The ‘Rapid’ Story: Trains, Planes, and the Making of a CityRapidTrain  One of the things that makes it worthwhile to visit small American cities away from the busy urban centers of the coasts is that in many cases the history of the place still stirs the imagination: questions about settlement have not been rendered all-but-invisible by development. So one wonders, How was this place settled? Who came here? Why? How? (Read it here.)

Life on the Road: Beef Jerky, Swimming, and a Search for Spiritual Relief

Life on the Road: Beef Jerky, Swimming, and a Search for Spiritual ReliefAdoba-1
by Deborah Fallows
Today, we are on an unplanned layover in Rapid, which until a few days ago we called Rapid City, probably like you still do. Just now, in our independently-owned eco hotel, a Chinese student from Shandong province, in the rough and raw northeast of mainland China, came to our room delivering a small bag of colorful candies as a welcome to Mount Rushmore country. She was as surprised at my Chinese babble as I was at seeing her face here in southwest South Dakota.  (Read it here.)

Notes from the Road: Drought, Politics

Notes from the Road: Drought, PoliticsSDSkies
by James Fallows
Most people who talk and write about national politics assume that the country as a whole is as interested in the spectator-sports aspects of this drama — plus its anthropology, and its science, and its psychology, and its hero-myth overtones — as journalists and bloggers are. In fact, people are mainly interested in their own lives. This is true around the world, and throughout time, but it is easy to forget. (Read it here.)

Thanks Much! On the Geography of Language

Thanks Much! On the Geography of LanguagePopcans
by Deborah Fallows
As we travel around America, I like taking stock of the linguistic landscape of the places we visit. By that I mean listening for the words and phrases, and the accents and idioms of the region. I also mean seeing the written language on the signs of shops, restaurants, and street names or in public places like museums, zoos, beaches, trash cans, and toilets. You never know what you’ll run into, but many nuggets offer clues about the local culture: who is living there, where they come from, and even how long they have been around and what they value or worry about.  (Read it here.)