Bumtown, U.S.A.

The stench of Gary, Indiana greets you on the way south out of Chicago.

This post is my homage to the least desirable places I have had the pleasure of visiting. Note: I have not been to Ohio, if you are questioning its absence. Audience participation, please. Think of it as the un-tourist guide.

1. Gary, Indiana (I honestly think the kid in The Music Man was high on refinery fumes.)

2. Slidell, Louisiana (Water is what I would describe as chewy.)

3. Lake Charles, Louisiana (Voted Louisiana city of the year while I was there; obviated my need to see the rest of Louisiana.)

4. Vidor, Texas (The stuff of urban legend, except it’s all true.)

5. Cairo, Illinois (Just like the rest of Illinois south of Chicago. It’s just that you’re almost free!)

6. Newark, NJ (Spent a memorable evening in the airport Holiday Inn karaoke bar, flush with airplane food vouchers. Good times.)

7. Las Vegas, NV (Just a sad-sack of a place. Before you tell me how great it is, recall there is an entire song about leaving the place.)

8. Northern Arkansas (I’m really not sure of the town where we stopped on the drive from Chicago to Dallas, but let’s just say the people at McDonald’s were not wearing shoes. And I do mean the people behind the counter.)

9. Philadelphia, PA (I couldn’t find much redeeming there, except for the Maryland Crab Chowder, and any credit there clearly has to go to Maryland.)

10. Brownsville, TX (Scarred by childhood bird-poop incident; otherwise could be perfectly lovely place. But I suspect not.)

5 thoughts on “Bumtown, U.S.A.

  1. North Platte, NE. Forced off the expressway due to heavy snowstorm while driving back to school after a week of skiing in CO for spring break. Got to spend a lovely evening on the concrete deck of the Holiday Inn pool and then race back to Chicago the next day (everyone in our caravan got speeding tickets). If I never see North Platte again, it will be too soon.

  2. Please… you must add Grants, NM to your list – it is a depressing old mining town way past its prime. Claude, TX should be on the list too. In fact, any town on highway 287 should be on the list. Except Quanah for its cool name. I always picture Comanches terrorizing the Texas plains when I drive through Quanah. I always picture a guy in overalls when I drive through Claude.

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