Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (8 page)

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California’s State Blender Setting is puree.


Besides being dynamic, Colorado is best known for the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains, which are still visible in some areas peeking out from under a dense protective layer of condominium units. It’s no wonder that each year millions of skiers come to experience the state’s superb emergency medical facilities! Colorado is also rich in minerals, but so what? is our feeling. The capital and largest city is Denver, which needless to say boasts museums, symphonies, etc. You have probably noticed that virtually
cities, including some real armpits, like to boast that they have museums and symphonies, which are of course the
things that you, the typical visitor, really want at the end of a hard day of traveling. What you want is a motel room that doesn’t have hairs on the sheets. The Colorado State Garnish is parsley.


Connecticut, often referred to as “The Nutmeg State” by people who have confused it with Vermont, is famous for being dynamic and containing
Yale University, where in 1889 (we are not making this up) the tackling dummy
was invented. The state capital, Hartford, is the headquarters of many large insurance companies, so keep your car doors locked. Also be sure to visit Mystic Seaport, where you can see an actual whaling ship in which courageous nineteenth-century mariners went to sea to do battle with monstrous fourteen-ton animated replicas of Zsa Zsa Gabor. Connecticut’s Official State Prank is the whoopee cushion.


Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby earning it the proud nickname, “The Nutmeg State.” Although small in size, Delaware has had a major impact on the nation’s destiny: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy all traveled through or flew over Delaware at some time or another, as far as we know. Delaware also boasts dynamism and several million chickens. Reservations are recommended.


This happens to be our place of residence, and we are not just “tooting our own horn” when we say
that no other state offers as many dynamic opportunities to encounter gigantic insects. We have cockroaches here that, instead of scuttling under a counter when you flick on the kitchen light, will pick up your entire refrigerator and lumber from the room. Also in the nature department we have the Everglades, an extremely fascinating natural swamp that inevitably causes the first-time visitor to exclaim: “Huh.” The major state industries are tourism, Bingo, obtaining senior-citizen discounts, and not having automobile insurance. The state capital is Epcot Center. The largest city is Miami (official tourism slogan: “Maybe You Won’t Get Shot”), a richly diverse cosmopolitan metropolis where people from many different cultures live and work together while continuing to observe the traffic laws of their individual countries of origin. The Florida State Seal depicts a mosquito carrying a machine gun.


Although much of Georgia was burned down during the filming of
Gone With the Wind
, this dynamic state has rebuilt itself and is now an important part of the “New South” (which is similar to the Old South, except most of the pickup trucks are Japanese). Georgia’s biggest city, Atlanta, proudly boasts that it has “the nation’s busiest airport,” although frankly this strikes us as an odd thing to boast about,
comparable to announcing that you have the nation’s largest epidemic of crotch lice. Other major tourist attractions include some big rocks and a great many pine trees that can be seen engaging in photosynthesis, the Official State Chemical Reaction. Georgia is also the proud host of the world-famous Masters Golf Tournament of Champions Wearing Ugly Pants, although of course you personally are not invited.


Visitors to this dynamic island paradise are sure to be greeted by a friendly “Aloha,” the all-purpose Hawaiian word that means “Hello,” “Good-bye,” “I love you,” “I hate you,” and “Give me the fish of your brother Raoul.” Geologically, the Hawaiian island chain was formed when volcanoes on the floor of the Pacific Ocean spewed out molten lava, which eventually cooled off and formed large resort hotel complexes. These in turn attracted hardy Polynesian mariners, who traveled thousands of miles in open canoes, braving fierce storms that washed all of their consonants overboard, so they arrived in the Hawaiian Islands with a language consisting almost entirely of vowels, the result being that all the traffic signs say things like
. The modern Hawaiian economy consists of pineapples and pineapple-shaped tourists wearing comical shirts and watching authentic performances of the hula, in which dancers use traditional
arm gestures to tell the story of how their ancestors, thousands of years ago, used to make various gestures with their arms. The Official State Motto is “Wai’iu’a’iou’lih’aaaine,” but nobody has any idea what it means.


Idaho is probably best known for being the state where my wife, Beth, ate an entire strawberry pie in a diner parking lot. This occurred in 1974 when we were driving across the country and found ourselves in a city called “Pocatello,” which had a sign that made the proud boast:


“Crossroads of the Interstates”

So we stopped at a diner there and ate a huge breakfast. We eat a lot on long trips because we feel our bodies are less likely to become bored if they can pass the time converting food into fat. We plan our itinerary around meals (“Do you want to see the Grand Canyon?” “Does it have a snack bar?”), and our travel memories tend to focus on food to the exclusion of all other factors (“Remember Asia?” “Yes! Those little fish rolls!”).

So we ate a vast breakfast at this diner, and on our way out Beth noticed that they had fresh-baked strawberry pies for sale, and so naturally she bought one, her reasoning being that Idaho
was basically still a wilderness area and there might not be any other food in it. Her plan was to save the pie until we really desperately needed it, say in fifteen miles or so, but when we got into our car, she decided she’d better sample it, in case it was defective. I was maneuvering the car out of the parking space, and I heard this unusual noise—a combination of ecstatically passionate moan and industrial vacuum cleaner—and when I looked over, the entire pie was
. Vanished, before we even got to the street. Seventeen years later, the memory of that pie still brings a dynamic sparkle to Beth’s eye that is rarely there when she looks at me, or even Kevin Costner. Idaho’s Official State Chemical Element is helium.


Illinois is “The Land of Lincoln,” and the memory of “Honest Abe” is so deeply revered there that as recently as 1983 he was elected lieutenant governor. Illinois is also the nation’s largest soybean-producing state, although nobody knows what happens to the soybeans after they’re grown. You never see them for sale. We think the farmers just harvest them and throw them away.

The largest city in Illinois is, of course, Chicago, which proudly refers to itself as “The City with a Great Big Butt.” This dynamic metropolis began as a tiny trading post in the 1600s, when trappers
would paddle canoes filled with animal pelts down the Chicago River, then throw them into Lake Michigan, because by then they smelled awful. During World War II scientists started the first controlled nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago. At least it has been under control
so far
. Some days it gets a little frisky, which is why a lot of smart Illinois residents also maintain residences in Guam. Today Chicago boasts the Sears Tower, which is so tall that occupants on the top floor sometimes have to phone the street level to find out what the weather’s like “down there”! These occupants have had a
to drink.


Indiana is a country in Southeast Asia consisting of more than 13,600 islands. No! Wait! We’re looking at the encyclopedia article for
Indonesia. Indiana
is located in the Midwest and consists of
than 13,600 islands. It is called “The Hoosier State,” after the sound that pigs make when they sneeze. Another dynamic activity that occurs there is the exciting Indianapolis 500, where each year the world’s top racing-car drivers roar around the legendary Indianapolis Speedway, again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until the excitement and tension become
so great that you have to change the channel and watch
Celebrity Turkey Basting
Indiana also boasts higher education and Historic Fort Wayne, where men dressed in authentic old soldier costumes engage in authentic soldier activities and, if they are not careful, contract various authentic diseases. Abraham Lincoln also lived in Indiana for a while, but he moved. The Official State Semi-Obscure Adjective is “febrile.”


Iowa’s Official State Motto is “You Bet,” which is what everybody there automatically says in response to any question:

: Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband, even if he gets sick, or becomes poor, or brings home a dog that throws up a semi-digested mole head in your lingerie drawer?

: You bet.

Iowa produces dynamic quantities of pork. The other major industry is making fun of people from Minnesota, who have a big rivalry with the Iowans, although even scientists using sophisticated instruments cannot tell the two groups apart. Iowa also offers plenty of culture: In fact, the very name of the state capital, Des Moines, is French. It means “some of these Moines.” Iowa’s Official State Local Boy Who Went on to Become
a Famous Dead Movie Star is John Wayne, whose birthplace is open to the public. We strongly recommend that you stop for a visit, although we personally shot past it at nearly 80 miles per hour.


Although it is now covered with agriculture, Kansas was at one time very historic. It was the on-scene location of the “Wild West,” where “longhorns” riding “six-shooters” used to “rustle up” some “varmints.” This era eventually ended due to a shortage of quotation marks, but Kansans are still proud of their state’s rough-and-tumble tradition, and will often greet a stranger by warmly breaking a chair over his head. Kansas also contains manufacturing and tumbleweeds, which are plants that form themselves into giant balls that roll across the prairie and burst into your motel room at night, which is why the American Automobile Association recommends that you always sleep with a weed whacker.


Kentucky is best known as the state where sleek racehorses drink bourbon whiskey and smoke the legendary “bluegrass” tobacco, then compete for the honor of wearing the famous “Kentucky Derby.” Kentucky also leads the nation in the
production of bituminous coal, which is especially valuable because it has two tuminouses. The coal industry is very tourist-oriented, and members of the public are welcome to strip vast quantities of irreplaceable topsoil and take it home with them. Another “must-see” in Kentucky is Fort Knox, which offers guided tours daily from nine
until five
. to all visitors who make it across the mine field. You may also want to visit Mammoth Cave, which is an incredibly beautiful and dynamic natural formation, although unfortunately you can’t actually
anything because it’s located underground. The Kentucky State Pruning Implement is shears.


Louisiana was discovered by the Cajuns, a dynamic group of people who came down from Canada and decided to stay after they forgot where they had parked. This kind of thing happens a lot in Louisiana, especially in the state capital, New Orleans, where the Official Motto is: “Laissez les bons temps rouler.” (“Look out, I’m about to throw up.”) New Orleans is a wide-open town, a town where there is gambling and cursing and heavy drinking and naked dancing and wild orgiastic sex. And that’s just in the
police station
. The rest of the city is even looser, especially the French Quarter, which is so decadent that if the Reverend Jerry Falwell were to merely walk down the length of Bourbon Street,
he would emerge at the other end with an overpowering desire to purchase leather underwear.
New Orleans also boasts a number of historic sites, the major one being Nick G. Castrogiovanni’s Original Big Train Bar, which is where, during the 1988 Republican convention, this author, for sound journalism reasons, drank a drink called “A Wild Night at the Capri Motel” out of a large styrofoam container shaped like a toilet.


We have been informed that New Orleans is not the state capital of Louisiana. New Orleans is the state capital of Utah. We regret the error


During the warm season (August 8 and 9), Maine is a true “vacation paradise,” offering visitors a chance to jump into crystal-clear mountain lakes and see if they can get back out again before their bodily tissue is frozen as solid as a supermarket turkey. This dynamic climate has produced a hardy stock of local residents who at first seem a bit “standoffish,” although when you take the
time to get to know them, you will discover that many of them are actually dead. A major tourist attraction in Maine is Kenneth E. Bunkport IV, the quaint seaside town where George Bush, who is a fiend for recreation, often goes to throw horseshoes at fish from his golf cart. Maine also features numerous fascinating pine trees as well as an average annual precipitation. The Official State Boxed Movie Refreshment is Milk Duds.

BOOK: Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need
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