Discovering America while heading to LA

LOS ANGELES -- Starting today, I'm the newest reporter at Automotive News. I'll be covering West Coast automakers -- namely Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Mitsubishi -- for our weekly print edition and

I've been with Crain Communications Inc. for almost three years now, first as an intern at Automotive News and then, for the past two years, as the auto supplier reporter for our sister publication Crain's Detroit Business.

I arrived in LA last Wednesday after a Cannonball Run across the country from Detroit in my 2007 Honda Accord coupe crammed with whatever I could fit in the trunk and the back seat.The drive was a bit grueling at times, especially the almost 500-mile leg between Omaha, Neb., and Cheyenne, Wyo. For the uninitiated, western Nebraska is flat. Really, really flat. And the straight road made mere minutes seem like hours.

But on the whole, I highly recommend driving across the country. If you get the chance, do it. You get to see parts of this land that you might never see under other circumstances.

SIDE NOTE: I've got to hand it to Honda's engineers. They squeezed every square inch of usable space out that car. Among other things, my cargo included five boxes of CDs, DVDs and books, my entire wardrobe, two mountain bike tires, a stereo system, a double-leaf dining room table hand-made by my grandfather, a computer and other assorted items one acquires in life.