Are Subarus a Political Indicator? Observations from the Interstates

Road Trip IV, Days 41-43: Des Moines, Iowa to Provo, Utah

Since Wing’s World continues to be hijacked by a travel blogger for the duration of her road trip, I figure it’s time to focus some attention on…the road. Or more specifically, the vehicles and landscapes we’ve been looking at for the past couple thousand miles. For The Mate and me, the two coasts are all about visiting family, friends, and national parks, but in the middle of the country (with the exception of one newly-discovered cousin) it’s just us and the road.

And no Subarus. Our little Red Rover is feeling kinda alienated. Where’d all the Subarus go?

I’ll tell you where: Subaru Nation. A.k.a. Northern California to western Washington; New England; and the university-dominated sections of the Southeast, including my home state, North Carolina.

Outside of Subaru Nation, it’s all about trucks and SUVs. (Except in LA, where sports cars compete with Prius for Highest Degree of Cool.)

I’m telling you: I’ve driven across the country four years in a row, and I see a political pattern. Blue States? Subarus. Red states? No Subarus. (With the exception, again, of SoCal, and the Tarheel State, which seems to be backing away from its 2008 blueness at the speed of light.)

I don’t know if Democrats are more likely to buy Subarus, or if owning a Subaru exerts a subconscious pressure to buy Obama stickers. (It’s POSSIBLE, I suppose, that the issue is more complicated than this.) But if there are any Republican Subaru owners out there, I’d like to meet ’em.

imageSome other road observations:

Iowa gets a bad rap. Iowa is NOT flat. It’s beautifully rolling. Kansas, on the other hand? Pancake City. There’s a reason we’re taking I-80 instead of I-70.

Washington, my adopted, till-death-do-us-part state, has the best rest areas in the country.

It’s true. New England states, West Virginia and maybe a couple others in the northeast, have these “travel plazas” where you can pee, then refuel with Starbucks, McDonalds, or Dunkin Donuts. Most other states just have bathrooms, maybe a picnic area. (Half of Texas’s rest areas seemed closed, but then, everything in Texas is bigger, so maybe bladders are too.)

But Washington’s rest areas, at least on I-5? They have sweet little church ladies serving you coffee and cookies. For free. Well, you’re supposed to leave a donation, and everybody does, so those church ladies (or Elks, or Rotarians) probably earn a tidy little sum, which is why they do it, of course. But it doesn’t feel like that. When I wander over for a cup of tea, I feel like someone’s grandma has come out to the freeway to make sure I’m comfy. Thanks, Grandma! I miss you. I sure wish more states allowed you out on the road.

imageSo, am I right about Subarus, or am I crazy? Or am I missing some rest area gems from a non-Washington state? Or have I offended any Kansans? Let me hear your own Interstate Observations.