The world would still be flat if exploration were up to people like me. I'll be playing in Turkey Bowl No. 40 this year in my hometown of Cleveland. Yet the impetus to strike out is central to Americans' pursuit of happiness. Just remember: Wherever you go, there you are.
Duck, North Carolina
My family spends a week every summer on the beach in Duck, North Carolina, wondering why we live where we live and why we can’t just move to the beach. I’m the guy with the book and the goofy hat, complaining about the heat and trying not to get sunburned. This year for some reason, I was persuaded by a friend that riding a rental bike from Duck to Corolla, twenty miles up a 100 degree asphalt road, would be fun.
Here’s what I learned: According to a sign around mile marker 15, Currituck County was founded in 1668. That got me thinking about the first people who settled this area (I had to do something to forget about how much I hate bike riding). If memory serves, John Smith et al left England in 1607 and some time later that year landed at Jamestown Virginia. They loaded a bunch of salted cod and a few barrels of water onto a boat and set sail to a place called America with no hotels or fast food and bad roads – trails really. (I was struggling on a perfectly paved asphalt road after stopping at mile marker 12 for a cold soda).
Then it hit me. The people who founded Currituck County, which still looks pretty un-founded in some areas, were most likely the grandchildren of those Jamestown settlers. They apparently felt the need to walk almost 200 miles over sand dunes and swamps to find a place that was virtually identical to Jamestown only without all the amenities that had been added in 60 years. I mean, they certainly weren’t moving for better schools or a better job.