5 Unusual Ways to Travel the Country

Admittedly, when we think about traveling from point A to point B, it's hard to beat traditional favorites like automobiles and airplanes. They're quick, relatively safe, and fairly convenient. However, there are some alternate modes of transit which, while more challenging, some determined people have managed to crisscross the country. Here are a few ways to gain a truly unique perspective on America, as well as an interesting journey.

Alright, so not everyone would leap at a chance to tackle their road trip by lawnmower. In the Oscar-nominated David Lynch movie, The Straight Story, one man who'd lost his license but wished to see his brother one more time, did just that. In defiance of all odds, he embarks on a 270 mile trek from Iowa to Mount Zion, Wisconsin, easy riding mower-style. Admittedly, the old Toro probably isn't highway legal, but if you canvased the back roads at 5 miles an hour, you may just discover the heart of Americana.

Most U.S. citizens probably don't have one of these sitting around. At the same time, if you're just puttering around your shed and you have a few extra supplies – nah, it's not really that simple. Of course, those of us mechanically inclined-types can pick up a hovercraft kit for less than the cost of a late-model used car (or get a gently used one even cheaper). The ability to cruise water, land and swampy terrain could come in very handy when traversing the country. However, like a mower, hovercraft travel could take a long time.

Likely the slowest method of travel listed, and also the most labor-intensive, your best bet for cruising the highways and bi-ways of the country probably isn't the skateboard. On the other hand, some determined folk use the wooden slab with wheels (or at least a high-tech version of it) as their main mode of transit. Most of us, however, wouldn't want to travel from Kansas City to Cleveland, but cruising the country on four tiny wheels could prove rather interesting. Still, you'll probably want to stick to driving.

For anyone who's mastered the skateboard and wants an even more eye-grabbing and tricky way to crisscross the country, there's always the unicycle. The offspring of a cyclops and a bicycle, these wacky one-seaters left the circus long ago, becoming the joy of hobbyists from Newark, New Jersey to Newcastle, California. Rolling down the rustic roads of the U.S. certainly would take a heck of a lot more balance than usual, but think of the shocked look on little kids' faces.

In truth, most of us landlocked folks aren't as mobile when it comes to this mode of transit. Those of us who are connected to the mighty Missouri or romantic Rio Grande for example, could theoretically cover some good ground, er, water, by canoe. Simply warm up your paddling arms and slide into the smooth waters for one of the quietest and greenest ways to get around. Journeying by canoe is a great way to experience the lovely paths less-traveled and imagine how our indigenous forebearers used to get around.

Andy L. Kubai is a freelance writer and transplanted Austinite who's been exploring the internal and external wonders of his new home for the last 5 years. Find out more about Andy on his website.

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