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Seeing is Believing – Reflections from Our Road Trip

Many Americans live what I saw last week, so this won’t be news to them.

Interstate 80 - istockphoto.comIt was quite a moving experience for me and my husband, however, to see for ourselves the signs of our economy as we left Crofton MD and drove across several states to a family wedding.  Apparently we’re more isolated from the real world than we realized, living so near our Nation’s Capitol where our Federal Government is the primary employer.

No wonder our country’s so-called leaders don’t “get it” if their exposure to the real world is limited to D.C. and the airports in their home states.  They should try driving!

After traveling across a beautiful stretch of Maryland along Interstates 32 and 70, Larry and I drove across Pennsylvania and Ohio, through Indiana and Illinois, and finally to our destination of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Along the way there and back, we took a few side trips off the Interstate – something we enjoy doing now that we no longer have a car full of kids.

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The first disturbing thing we noticed was a vast empty parking lot at a huge manufacturing facility… and then  another… and another…   We couldn’t help wondering how on earth our economy could absorb all the employees who used to park there, not to mention the other businesses which provided related services.  How will these families make their rent and mortgage payments, or even put food on their tables?

After a while we realized how many other businesses were closed… stores, restaurants, auto dealerships, and entire shopping centers… even entire blocks.  In fact, we drove through block after block after block of closed buildings and no sign of a single human being or stray dog in one city.  We commented that it looked like a movie set in a scene showing the world after a nuclear attack wiped out all life.  Even in the re-developed area of the same city, the numbers of people on the streets and in the restaurants and stores paled by comparison to similar areas near D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, where we live.

ClosedLarry and I wondered out loud how high the number of “for sale” and “for lease” signs would have been, had we started counting them in the beginning of our trip.  Perhaps over a thousand.

Then it dawned on us that we had not seen a single “sold” sign.  No, really, we don’t remember seeing a single one!  Not in front of a commercial building, home, or vacant piece of land.

Except for the beautiful wedding we attended, we didn’t see much “HOPE” during this trip – and we didn’t like the “CHANGE” we saw since our last road trip.

The next time I hear or see unemployment figures in the news, I’ll picture all those closed businesses between Maryland and Wisconsin.  They will no longer be just abstract numbers flashing across the bottom of my T.V. screen.

Seeing IS believing!

Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am to live right here in beautiful downtown Crofton, MD, where we’re isolated from so much of what we saw on this trip?

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This was originally posted by Crofton REALTOR Margaret Woda at the Maryland Real Estate Blog

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