Inflation was inescapable everywhere we stopped to eat. Gas prices have risen nearly every day since our trip began on May 12. According to AAA’s tracker, the national average hit $5 a gallon on Saturday. We had no choice but to adapt to the high prices, and in retrospect I think that was for the best.

Instead of hitting museums and cool restaurants and the big cities of the Southeast, we leaned into the road itself. Taking these less-worn roads meant traveling more slowly than we had planned. But it also meant we got to see rare slices of America. We decided to stick to the business routes — designed to take you through downtowns.

If you stay under 50 miles per hour, AAA says, you get better gas mileage. The photos I took don’t show a lot of people, because we didn't see many. If you’re driving a small car, AAA recommends that you keep the speed to under 50 mph.

As we drove through small, medium and large cities in nearly all the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states, few people seemed to be traveling. At one hotel in Alcoa, Tenn., south of Knoxville and on the edge of an industrial park, people set up a grill, a dartboard and chairs in the parking lot.
Posted by GU gustav
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