Posted by Heliocentrism on July 13, 2010
June 28, 2010
The Car: The Heart of America
Unlike Europe or Asia, you need a car to be a somebody in the United States. Sure, some cities have buses and subway systems, but for the most part if you have no car you are… well, a loser.
No public transportation system covers any whole city and it’s suburbs. Taking public transportation in most places means that you will have a longer commute. And there is still a lot of walking involved, since most people don’t live or work near a bus stop or subway station.
In most of the world public transportation is liberating. When you have a subway card instead of a car you don’t have to worry about parking, gas, insurance, or car maintenance. In the US, not having a car leaves you isolated and friendless.
If you are lucky, you might have a friend who is kind enough to drive out to where you live to pick you up and take you places. Most friends are not that kind unless they live next door to you and you pay for the gas.
Where do I park?
Case in point are the Florida Keys. You can take a bus to most of the keys, but there is no getting off the bus, exploring and then taking the next bus. You either go to Key Largo or some other island and stay there.
To find a nice beach in the Keys, just drive until you see one. Park your car and swim until you get tired. Then, get back in your car and look for another beach. There are two I’d like to recommend. Anne’s Beach is good, but there are very few parking spots. And there is a nameless beach on the southern side of the 7-mile bridge.
Make sure you find a legal place to park. Having your car towed away while in the Keys is no fun. No one will want to come get you. You won’t be able to find a taxi passing by. And it’s really hot. Besides, parking on some random side of the road is
a little very dangerous.
There are many state parks in the Keys and some have nice beaches. It costs about 5USD to enter, so ask about the beach before you pay to go in. I’m not sure if the $5 gives you entrance to all the state parks for that day or if you have to pay another $5 to get into another park.
Remember that it’s Florida. Watch out for the wild life.
How to get there:
You can enter my country by land, air, or sea. But I think flight would be your transportation method of choice.
I have no clue how to get a visa to the US or who needs one. Just assume that you need one if you are not American or Canadian and check with your local US embassy.
- Use 911 for the police, fire department, or to get an ambulance
- Use 411 for information (This might cost money.)
- Crash Course:
- CGP Grey:
- Mental Floss:
- American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Dandelion Wine
- The Dark Tourist
- The Devil in the White City
- Girl in Translation
- The Hemingses of Monticello
- The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
- Notes from a Big Country
- One Summer: America, 1927
- Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America’s Hoboes
- Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
- That’s Not In My American History Book
- A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
- The Water Is Wide
- Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland
- It’s a big country. You’re going to need a car.
- 24°34’10.9″N 81°47’53.3″W (Key West)
By car –
- Take US1 south or I95 south.
- I95 eventually merges into US1 and ends in Key West.
By Bus –
Greyhound goes all the way down to Key West from Kendell and stops at many of the keys in between .
There are many places along the keys to go swimming for free. The problem is, that there is nowhere to legally park. There is no guaranty that paying to enter a National Park with beach access will result in a satisfying place to swim, but you will have legal parking.