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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : United States (Part 2: The Conquest of the West)

The conquest of the West... Conquest, conquest, no there are people who were there before me and, I am not a conquistador... It is simply that West is coming with conquest and then that I was heading West, so the conquest of the West, understood?

No? All right, I am anyway going to start my explanation of my last stage of my world tour by trying to describe you this crossing of a part of the United States which was as confused as my introduction.

Confused because which is true is a State is maybe not in another one. Those differences seems to become more importants between the coast and the center. I was indeed heading to the West Coast, so the differences were big enough.

From the States of the conservative center to the enlighten and chimeric Las Vegas, I have learned some more about the United States, and not really what we get from the televised messages.

In the middle of diversified and stunning landscapes, I have indeed learned a bit more about the american culture, their way of living and acting, which is unique so which attrated my interest. Let's see then what we have discovered while this Road Trip through those 6 different States which are Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nevada.

My trip through those 6 different States

 

An amazing diversity of landscapes

The United States are a beautiful country, no doubt. A country of spaces, with a variety of landscapes and very often those one are stunning.

Going through an extremly dry and desertic landscape from the South to the North of Texas, my visual attribute didn't get any reward because I entered straightly in the flat and green plains of Oklahoma and Kansas.

Flatter than the flatness... Oklahoma and Kansas


After this boring slide-show of fields , because this landscape didn't evolve for approximatively 500 miles, I finally get some satisfaction because I reached this panorama of mountains of the West American: the Rockies.

In Colorado, the landscape evolved just after his capital Denver and his temperature dropped straight away from almost 95 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees.

The Rockies mountains in Colorado


Passed the mountains, we arrived in a more astonishing landscape. We are now situated in a huge plateau and the colours change drastically from the green to the red. A climate which is becoming again desertic and the rocks formations which will highly amaze our many japanese tourists friends.

The arch of Moab in Utah


The south of Utah and the north of Arizona are more interesting. Of course, you won't miss the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon in the north of Arizona


What a beautiful nature my friends! Especially when this one is protected, and I would say that the american are mainly concerned about it. Recycling, not throwing the bottle of coca by the window... the message is globally understood...

The only problem is that the United States are still the country which have polluted the most in the History of our World mainly because of the vehicles and the big industry..

It is quite sad, because behind this panel is still hidding a lot of wonders

The environment and its concerns

Indeed, the fact to see the relation between the american and its surrounding in this part of the United States is inviting me to ask myself about the future of our planet at this level.

In the mountains of Utah, I had the chance to share an activity of some “outdoorsy” american: camping!

The taste of the “S'mores” while a firecamp party in Utah


The S'mores are like a sandwich of two biscuits with a marshmallow mixed with chocolate in its middle.

Hmmm! Cultural experience as enriching for me as for my stomac!

Taking of the stress from the life in urban zone is surely the main reason why the majority of the americans like to relax by going to hike in the nature, to breathe some fresh air and to eat a little bit more healthy..

…Especially when we see the fuoristic power of the supermakets


There is indeed a paradox bet ween the “outdoorsy” american and the “wannabe”, the one who is faking it. That's maybe why we can see so much of SUVs in the middle of the urban jungle; the driver feeling maybe in the middle of the forest but between to red lights...

The idea is maybe close to the picture above: the consumer will feel attracted by all those energetic drinks advertising a better health... but without asking himself if this product with all those toxic colours is really healthy at the end?!

Toxicity, this is for example the reason why this village of Colorado, exploiting the mine on his side, had to be cleared some years ago. Some radiations coming from the mine endangered the population and of course the environment.

A ghost town because of some radiations in Colorado


Some solutions have been brought fortunately. Some project are created, like this field of wind mills in Kansas. The wind mills are using the strengh of the wind to create electricity.

A field (still flat and green) of wind mills in Kansas


Hitch-Hiking from Oklahoma to Nevada

The level of easyness to stop a vehicle is completely different from one State to another, but is still a lot easier than in Texas.

Colorado has been the State the more open to this culture of hitchhiking, as Nevada seemed to be the most difficult of the six.

I am situating Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah and Arizona at a medium level of difficulty.

Nevetheless, in Kansas, I had my lucky day!


There is also the question to know if it is legal or no to hitchhike in the United States. The law seems to be also different according the States, or it isn't respected in the same way from one place to another.

Since my entrance in the United States, I think I have been arrested at least 15 times by different power as: police, sheriff, traffic police, etc...

Only in Las Vegas I had to leave the entrance of the Interstate because this is on this kind of road that hitchhiking is forbidden. The thing is to know if it is also forbidden to hitchhike on the entrance of those one... in Las Vegas, that was a no!

For those reason, I had to look for secondary road and sometimes, I had the chance to catch some ride of this famous and historic road: the route 66.

The route 66, a myth for the traveler

 

The system of transports

Hitch-hiking in the United States, this is also competiting the bus system. The public bus system, representated by the company Greyhound, has the reputation to not being really effective here.

The company Greyhound


We have to know that the majority of the american population will prefer to use its private mean of transport: the car. This is indeed very difficult to move in some cities like Oklahoma City, which are extremly spread out and have an awful system of public transports.

For the long distances, this is even better to use the air system, which are much more fast and even sometimes cheaper than the Greyhound!

You will even arrive sometimes, like in Las Vegas, in the downtown area!

The airport of Las Vegas is situated close to the center (you can see the buildings behind)

 

Las Vegas: measuring the disproportionned

How to not talk about Las Vegas?

This city built in the middle of the desert is a hot place of the no-sense, an apology of the sin, and also a no-friendly environment for the hitch-hiker!


No, I think that Las Vegas has a sense, the one to not have any limit. Here, the goal is to build more big, more impressing, we will accept to drink in the street, to smoke in the restaurant, we will tolerate the prostitution. There is a say which is born here: “What is happening in Vegas stays in Vegas”... it can be scary:))

A little taste of France...”Hotel Casino Paris”, Las Vegas

By my side, it won't stay in Vegas, and I can tell it to you. I was saying there is no limit, this fact is for almost everything. The cars are looking like buses, the money spent in the casinos must equal the PIB of the african continent, well... here this is also very very!

Las Vegas, the temple of the “Limo”


I have been as much surprised arriving in Vegas as I was coming from Salt Lake City, the capitale of the Mormons. Indeed, the biggest city of Utah is host of the Church of the Mormons, which is far to preach for the sin...


Salt Lake City: from the disproportionned to the measure

In the introduction, I was saying that it is easy to feel confused in the United States, which is true in a place is maybe wrong in another.

How can I find two best opposites than Las Vegas and Salt Lake City?

Salt Lake City is the world capital of the Church of the Mormons, where it is possible to admire the Mormon Temple

The Mormon Temple of Salt Lake City


I have been very nicely welcomed in “Temple Square” by one of the several couple of mormons sisters, who are there to explain to the curious people the bases of this religion. First good point, the sisters are all very cute... we also know the bases of communication in the Mormon's Church!

I had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about this movement started by Joseph Smith in 1830. It appears in the big lines that the he life of a mormon is quite stric and the tmembers of the Church have to be active within the community.

I won't tell more about this subject, as I don't know enough about it and I will let you the opportunity to learn a little bit more by yourself.



Here is an idea of how has been this crossing of a part of the United States. It is difficult to talk about everything, knowing the different subjects I could have started in those 6 very heterogeneous States.

I could have talked about the native americans (the Indians), discuted about the current recession, evoked the attack of 1995 in Oklahoma City or even developed about the fauna in the Rockies.

Nevertheless, I said enough to give you an idea about the richness of the country and the diversity of lifestyles that we can find in this only one nation.

I am know in California, where it is hugely changing once again. California is simply the State the most populated in the United States, I will indeed have the opportunity to meet many people and to learn a little bit more about this country very diversified and very spread out.

Very spread out... I will let you with a picture of my next mean of transport:

the Seven-League Boot-HitchHiking!



See you very soon,

Jeremy

 



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