Day 415

Of all the cities I’ve visited on our journey, I’m coming to find that LA is far and away the oddest of them all. And I don’t mean odd as in quirky (I doubt anyone will ever top Portland in that regard). No, I mean odd as in ‘I don’t understand what is going on’. I mean… LA has to be the only place in the US where you can find valet parking in the back of a Best Buy. Plus, it’s the only stop I’ve been to that’s so expansive I can’t walk from point A to point B, even if I wanted to.

To me, it all seems rather silly but to the people living here it’s just another day. That’s the running theme I’ve encountered over and over again since arriving in California at the end of November. Having never been to this part of the country, I’m constantly coming to grips with the fact that everything here is actually real. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling when I realized this state really is going through a draught. Before I landed, I'd always heard about it on the news but in my head that’s all it was—a news story. Now that I’m actually here, I’m experiencing the situation first hand and trying to comprehend how people are adapting to it all.

In a way, this final stop has fully justified my initial desire to embark on the project. I’ve always believed that going somewhere can teach you much more about a place than reading about it in a guidebook or through a travel site. Every city has so many little quirks and characteristics that no one ever talks about and they can make all the difference. For instance, I can tell you that Uber drivers hate going to/from the valley; most of the area Targets are smaller than the ones you’ll find elsewhere in the nation; and there are very few ‘cheap’ dining options around unless you want to eat at a Subway or Carl’s Jr.

Of course, these are all reasons as to why I wanted to end #TGAA in LA. I had a feeling this place would be vastly different than my other stops and it turns out I was right. I’m pretty bummed that I just wrapped up my last weekend here though (I’ll be in Las Vegas this coming weekend). I feel there’s so much more to explore that I could easily spend another 3-4 months in town. Then again, once I’m sitting on the 405 on my way to work, I’m pretty sure I’ll rejoice in the month almost being over.

I’m also finding myself overwhelmed with emotion about it all. Mostly because the site is garnering more traffic than ever before and I’m getting congratulatory emails left and right. So, while I’m uneasy about the project coming to a close, I do feel grateful in the fact that we reached so many people along the way.

-Steve-

Day 274

Hello, Austin and happy Labor Day! I can’t believe we're already here. This stop is a pretty big deal for the project, because I can officially count our remaining locations on one hand. We’ve certainly come a long way from the frigid temperatures of Cleveland last December, huh? I thought a great way to kickstart my time here would be to once again share some of websites that have helped me along the way. So, here goes:

Charlotte

CreativeLoafing.com — A local guide to all things art, music and entertainment; this site kept me in the loop for festivals, restaurant openings and so much more.

CLT Blog — A catch-all of local news, CLT Blog covers everything from the latest development plans to sports scores and beer tastings.

Charlotte’s Got A Lot — The name says it all. This one encompasses the city’s wonderful tourist attractions, events and recreational offerings. 

Memphis

GoMemphis.com — Concerts, clubs, bars and dives—you can read all about it here. They have the latest news, events and happenings in and around the Memphis area.

I Love Memphis — If you want to know why the locals love their city so much, this should be your first stop. You’ll learn about what’s new and what’s great, all from the perspective of those who live there.

Choose 901 — There’s a lot to love about Memphis, from artists and musicians to filmmakers and chefs. Choose 901 brings them all together for your reading pleasure.

St. Louis

Riverfront Times — A standard for citywide news and updates, this site offers everything you could possibly want to know about what’s happening right now.

FeastSTL.com — St. Louis has a lot of great eateries and this is the place to go when you need to impress a date, dine on something different or locate the best prices in town.

ArtStLouis.org — This one is all about the artists, who bring the city to life through their colorful murals and eye-popping mosaics.

Chicago

Red Eye Chicago — Local news with a youthful exuberance, Red Eye brings you a different perspective on what’s going down in the Windy City.

Chicago Reader — From news and politics to arts and culture, you can discover just about everything there is to know about Chicago’s upcoming events and festivities.

UrChicago.com — If you’re looking for great mix tapes, interviews with local artists or reviews of the latest independent films, look no further than UrChicago.com.

Minneapolis 

Vita.mn — Winner of the coolest URL award, Vita.mn is your local guide to food, fashion and festivities around the Twin Cities.

Open Streets MPLS — Every year, Open Streets hosts a variety of events around the city to help people rediscover their neighborhoods and promote healthy transportation alternatives. I was lucky enough to stumble upon one such event during my time in MPLS and they certainly converted me to a believer in the cause.

Mn Artists.org — From the stage to the canvas, the Twin Cities have a lot to offer when it comes to the arts. This site brings you the latest news and updates on just about every style you can imagine. If it’s happening here, they’ll know about it.

As for my first weekend here in Austin, it was a great one indeed. I already have so many things I want to write about and I'm chomping at the bit just trying to keep it all under wraps for now. We're down to the project's final five months. So, let's keep this party a'rollin! 

-Steve-