Driving the freeway to nowhere

Roads of convenience translate to roads of monotony

Learn the New Luxury Playbook at Luxury Connect | October 18-19 at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Charles Kuralt, the longtime "On The Road" correspondent for CBS News, once observed that, "thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything." Since Kuralt made that comment a generation ago, things have only gotten worse. Nowadays, instead of not seeing anything, we just see the same things over and over, no matter where we go. Although the interstate system crisscrosses some of the most splendidly varied landscape on the earth, it has also helped make traveling that landscape an experience of unparalleled monotony. It matters little whether you're on the left coast or the right, on the Canadian border or in the Deep South: As long as you stay near the freeway, you could be anywhere or nowhere. Kuralt traveled the United States at a time when the only truly ubiquitous national chain was McDonald's. Today, however, you can take any suburban off-ramp in the country–whether you're in Bangor or Barstow, Boise or Birmin...