Airstream Dreams

The ultimate road trip

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What would be the ultimate, the really definitively mythic, way to see the United States? You'd need to ride in some big old beautiful boat from Detroit -- a '55 Caddy, say, towing a silver Airstream trailer. You'd take mostly what William Least Heat Moon called the 'blue highways' -- the state and county roads that run past the lonely small-town roller rinks and drive-ins. You'd cross the Southwest, past Anasazi ruins and along endless visionary horizons. You'd stop for long talks with local characters on creaky porches and in dim bars.

And that's just how you travel when you sign on with Tad Pierson's American Dream Safari. Pierson, a fortyish jack-of-all-trades who's lived all over the world and now resides in McPherson, Kansas, takes just six people at a time in his absolutely cherry '55 Cadillac (the Airstream Bubble Edition that's attached is a '53) through Santa Fe, Sedona, Tombstone, and other mythic spots. You pay $185 a day and avoid the perky face of the American hospitality industry; the motels and coffee shops that Pierson chooses are the classical-funky American kind. (Some nights, you get to sleep in the Airstream, of course.) The full Desert Southwest Tour is a two-week ramble.

This fall (1995), Pierson will inaugurate another classic American journey: a one-month Blues Pilgrimage that winds, ever so slowly, from New Orleans to Chicago. The Caddy will stop at little crossroads nightclubs, riverside blues festivals, the birthplaces of great musicians, and other spots along the blues road. Music- and myth- minded travelers can join for a few days or the duration. Call American Dream Safaris at 901-527-8870 for details.

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