You call it 'fly-over country,' but I call it home

Mary Slepicka
Publish Date: 
Mar 3, 2014
By Mary Slepicka

In the last six months I have heard people refer to the geographical area between New York and California collectively as “the fly-over states.”

Now, I believe our coastal regions are gorgeous, and I lived in Southern California for more than a decade and came away with friends for life. But with all due respect to the edges of our country, the center of it, where I grew up and where I live now, is pretty darned special.

Sure, there’s snow, but that’s great for the snowmobile dealers. Sure, there’s rain, but as one certain state in our union knows this year, rain can be a very good thing. Sure, it’s cold, but that kills the mosquitos come spring. Sure, when we see an elevation of more than 30 feet here in Illinois we immediately sanction it as a state park, but that flat land is ideal for growing the crops that sustain our lives and livelihoods.

Some of the best riding areas in the country are in Tennessee, Missouri, Texas and Colorado. If you’ve never ridden in the Black Hills, you’re missing something quite extraordinary.

Ever been to Boise, Idaho, or Madison, Wisconsin? These are two fun, fun capital cities. And I highly suggest you take a trip to Pennsylvania or Virginia and ride near those fields where so many gave their lives long ago when there was so very much at stake.

I’ve lived in very urban regions where you have to travel at least an hour to get to an open road. Where I live now, the open road is a mile away. And I’ll put up with the cold for part of the year in order to get a little breathing room.

Does it mean I am less of a businessperson? Not as valuable a customer? Not worthwhile to visit? Harley-Davidson is based in Milwaukee. Polaris is in Minnesota. Take a look at vehicle registrations for states like Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Kentucky, and consider all the dealers that sell to those customers. Then you decide.

When I hear someone in business disparage a region of the country, I hope that person doesn’t have any customers there. Because if they do, that customer might “fly right over” to the competition.