50 years on from the Beat Generation and Messrs Kerouac, Cassidy and co are still held in deep regard, acquiring an almost mythic status in their urge to roam their great continent in pursuit of the elusive jazz moment.
Today, the US is still quite sharply divided between the cooler cultures of the coasts and vast, sprawling tracts of farmland, desert and fundamentalist Christians in between who think Darwin was a blasphemous heretic. The homogenising effects of cable TV have done much to take the fun out of travel in the States but you can still get a collage of where the heartland of the modern world empire is at by traversing its width.
Hitchhiking would be an ambitious way to go these days, even if Kerouac still inspires teenagers to try their luck following his thumb prints. A better bet is probably to buy your own second hand car or van and sell it on arrival on the other side. You can save money by camping out in some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll ever see along the way and put on some weight by eating diner food.
Another option is to use the Driveaway scheme where you can deliver someone’s vehicle across country for them while they fly. Just be sure to count the dents and scratches before you sign the papers…
Read Kerouac’s On the Road for inspiration.