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Old 18 July 2018, 09:12 AM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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Default Research help for a book I am writing please!

Hello Snopesters.

Iím currently writing a book amnd I need some help with solving a problem my main character has got himself into. Normally Iíd be able to write my way out of it, but in this case, because I am unfamiliar with the location (Kokomo Indiana) my google fu skills are letting me down at this point!

Here are the pertenant facts:

It is 2016
The protagonist is in Kokomo Indiana because of reasons.
He has about $280 in cash
He has no ID (other than his own social security number that he cannot use, again because of reasons)
He is about 35 years old
He is resonably bright but his world view and knowledge is from 1976

The problem:

He needs to find somewhere to stay, for the forseeable future so has to maximise his remaining money. I was looking for some sort of hostel or shelter in the area but that is where my google-fu let me down. The cheapest I could find was a hotel that would cost nearly $54 per night which is obviously way too much.

If you were dropped into Randomville Indiana with this problem how would you solve it?
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  #2  
Old 18 July 2018, 12:29 PM
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Well if he's a time traveller from 1976 he must know who's going to win all the sports events in the future so he can ... hang on, I think I'm getting confused. What was the question again?
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Old 18 July 2018, 12:48 PM
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Well, if his mid set is from 1976, I would have him head to the nearest head shop (place of bongs, incense, and posters) and ask about crashing with someone in their place. Since it is 2016 when he is doing this, he is going to get into trouble,but it's your story..

Ali

Based on my own experiences, mostly prior to 1976...
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  #4  
Old 18 July 2018, 12:50 PM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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Ha! Heís not a time traveller in the traditional sense, any more than you are!

Iím changing the question now... I have decided he canít afford to stay in Kokomo hotels so he needs to get to Deer Creek Indiana (about 20 miles away) so I figured heíd take the bus.

I have been trying to find any decent bus route maps online for the US and am drawing a complete blank. itís almost as if there is no public transport infrastructure outside of the cities other than Greyhounds!

How do people get to places without cars in the US?!!!
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Old 18 July 2018, 01:12 PM
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Is this a novel, or just a thinly-disguised ploy to expose all of America's societal weaknesses?

Next thing you'll be asking what he's supposed to do if he gets ill or injured...

The public transportation problem is a very real one for us. Don't know about Deer Creek, Indiana, but around here theres a patchwork of commuter rail and bus services centered around a few major cities. I've known more than one person who had to leave a job because a bus schedule/route changed and they could no longer safely make it to work.
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  #6  
Old 18 July 2018, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
it’s almost as if there is no public transport infrastructure outside of the cities other than Greyhounds!
In many places there isn't. And in most of them there aren't Greyhounds, either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
How do people get to places without cars in the US?!!!
Mostly we can't.

-- if the mindset is 1976, he's going to try to hitchhike. Hitching was still pretty common in the 70's. Unless Indiana is a lot different about this than most places, though, he's going to have a lot more trouble than he expects getting rides, because it's not common any longer. I doubt the degree of risk (for either the hitcher or the person who picks one up) has actually changed, but the perception of risk has changed.

ETA: it's possible for most people to walk 20 miles; though it would take quite a while, and somebody not used to it would most likely arrive lame and blistered. And possibly either seriously dehydrated or frozen. What time of year is it? And even within time of year, what's the weather like? If it's suitable weather, with a 1976 mindset and possibly with a modern mindset but otherwise in that position, I'd try to find a camping goods store or better yet a used goods store, pick up a tarp and a sleeping bag, and try to find somewhere I could sleep without getting harassed or arrested. That's likely to be harder in 2018 than it would have been in 1976, but might still be possible. If the area's got hiking trails, it might even be fairly easy.

Last edited by thorny locust; 18 July 2018 at 01:37 PM.
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  #7  
Old 18 July 2018, 01:40 PM
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I know a few people that still hitch-hike. They love to get in with truckers because they can get some serious miles behind them in single legs.

Perhaps your character likes truckers..for reasons.

Also, place to stay, Airbnb might be an option. Or in a campground.
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Old 18 July 2018, 01:45 PM
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How about on the campus of Indiana University - Kokomo? On Google maps it shows the campus to be quite near the American Legion golf course. If it is summer there would be places to hide. Also maybe consider Crown Point Cemetery, same reasons. There are quite a few parks, as well.

I lived in a small town in Ohio in 1976. Back then if I wanted to hide, I'd have headed towards a wooded area.


Buses? Ain't got no stinking buses in small town USA.

Good luck! Let me know when you start to sell it.

ETA: Kokomo has a YMCA. They are widely known/believed to have cheap rooms. He'd at least try there, I'd think.

Last edited by Morning; 18 July 2018 at 01:55 PM. Reason: added ETA
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  #9  
Old 18 July 2018, 01:47 PM
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Kokomo probably would've been a bit easier. Looking at Deer Creek on Google Earth, it's a tiny little town surrounded by fields. It doesn't have rail service, and isn't near any major roads. Unless the rail-bed has been converted to a highway, it isn't obvious from the surrounding country side that it ever did have a connection to a railroad.

So, short of more serious criminal activity, his options are pretty much down to hitchhiking, finding someone in town with pity enough to give him a ride, or stowing away on something going his way.

Kokomo's size and proximity to Indianapolis had a few more options in that it's connected to a rail network. It still leaves hitchhiking or stowing away, but at least hobo-ing a ride on a train (which is still very illegal) would have been an additional option.

Hobos weren't as common by the 1970's as they were in the 20's and thirties, and the US rail system was about to undergo some major restructuring around the middle of that decade, but there were more railroads around then than there are now, and they went to a lot more smaller places than they do today.

ETA: Deer Creek probably has some barns, but I don't know how easy it would be to hang out in one in such a small town. If he isn't from the area, strangers are generally picked out pretty easily. I dunno, look for an abandoned trailer or cabin?

~Psihala

Last edited by Psihala; 18 July 2018 at 01:57 PM. Reason: Edited because of--reasons.
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  #10  
Old 18 July 2018, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
I know a few people that still hitch-hike. They love to get in with truckers because they can get some serious miles behind them in single legs.

Perhaps your character likes truckers..for reasons.

Also, place to stay, Airbnb might be an option. Or in a campground.
Also "illegally" camping in a park...

AirBnB might be a bit much for someone with a 1976 mindset, though
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  #11  
Old 18 July 2018, 02:01 PM
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Picking up on what others have said:

There are public transportation systems US cities, but for the most part travelling from one city to another, or in less populated areas, is by bus - there are other carriers besides Greyhound - or air or Amtrak if they are available. Online resources are spotty and not very connected.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything in the way of buses to Deer Creek, and roads do not directly connect it to Kokomo. Even hitching with truckers is a hit-or-miss situation, since I don't think anyone going to Deer Creek would be passing through Kokomo. Going indirectly, via Logansport for example, might work.

BTW, my research shows that the Deer Creek you identify as 20 miles away is the one in Carroll County. There is one in Lake County as well, much further away near Lake Michigan. If this was the destination it might be easier, since you're close to Chicago.
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  #12  
Old 18 July 2018, 02:27 PM
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If Kokomo is a college town, hotel prices may be variable according to the time of year, and whether there are students in town.

Seaboe
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  #13  
Old 18 July 2018, 02:32 PM
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I was in Marquette Michigan during the week students arrived for school and paid $300 per night for my room.

Otherwise, in November, the same room was $95 per night.

I have a feeling that Hans Off needs to do a research road trip! Add that feeling of reality to his manuscript!
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  #14  
Old 18 July 2018, 02:32 PM
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This is all fascinating. Thank you. Itís this sort of tacit knowledge that is pretty hard to find. Iím pretty amazed at the impossibility of finding a route for a 20 mile journey, I was even googleing Kokomo cab companies!

You are right that Air B&B is out of the question. The inventory I gave is pretty much complete with the exception of a temporary library card. He has no bank account or any other presence. SOmeone has shown him how to use a computer to search Wikepedia (where he managed to work out that he needs to go to Deer Creek)

Oddly enough, I had him placed in a ďroom at the YMCAĒ (Y-M-C-A) where, I heard it is fine to stay, but on looking at the website it seems to be more of a sports and community centre without accomodation (Damn my culturally informed presumptions) Hence the origin of this thread.


The camping idea is interesting. Itís mid july and falrly mild but it has just started raining.

The upshot is that I realised had already created a ďGuardian angelĒ for him who has just encountered him whilst he is trying to fathom how to get to Deer Creek, so now he has a lift, and a companion.

I like this writing lark! Iíll keep this thread open for any more conundra that may come his way!


Hans.
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  #15  
Old 18 July 2018, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
Deer Creek probably has some barns, but I don't know how easy it would be to hang out in one in such a small town.
Probably extremely difficult to do so without being noticed.

A while ago, some city people dumped a body in the woods not too far from here, apparently under the delusion that nobody would find it. It was found and reported within a few hours (and successfully traced to the perpetrators not much longer after that). People in farm country move around in their fields (and barns) a whole lot more than city people seem to expect.

If you asked permission, you might possibly get it. (You might even be very lucky, and wind up getting taken into the house and fed, showered, and offered a bed. If so, do your best to find some work you can do there and do it!) If you try hiding out in somebody's barn without asking, that's probably not going to go well at all. Getting caught sleeping in the woods without asking first would be preferable, it's less invasive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
The camping idea is interesting. Itís mid july and falrly mild but it has just started raining.
That's what the tarp in my suggestion was for. You might even have had him luck into finding a usable tent at a used goods store, though a new one would eat way too much of his money.

But as he's lucked into a helpful friendly person: better yet.
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  #16  
Old 18 July 2018, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Probably extremely difficult to do so without being noticed.

*snip*

People in farm country move around in their fields (and barns) a whole lot more than city people seem to expect.
Oh, I know. Both sets of my grand-parents lived in a tiny little farming town... the town borders were extended to make it a square mile for tax purposes or something and even then you got to the city limits long before you got to the town.

Even with infrequent visits, the townspeople knew who we were and who we would be visiting while there. And my mother's parents had a cow who was probably as good as any watch-dog. She'd make a heck of a racket whenever anyone drove up the driveway.

We kids usually got lots of free meals during those summer visits because we'd go to the nearby farms to help out with whatever needed doing (bailing, loading, storing, or whatever). They always needed someone.

~Psihala
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  #17  
Old 18 July 2018, 04:15 PM
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For lodging, I would definitely think he would try the YMCA. With a 1976 mindset, that would have been the place to stay. Once he realizes that's not an option I would think his options are sleeping in a park, 'camping' or asking someone to crash on their couch. Possibly asking about assistance from a church would be an option.

For transportation, hitchhiking would be the 1976 cheap idea for the situation. It would probably still work today in Indiana between Kokomo and Dear Creek.

My family ancestral home is nearby so I know the area well. The thing to keep in mind is that most people from that part of Indiana are very friendly and more willing to assist than people in more urban parts of the country.
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  #18  
Old 18 July 2018, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psihala View Post
the town borders were extended to make it a square mile for tax purposes or something and even then you got to the city limits long before you got to the town.
Hijack:

Might be a terminology question? Different states may do it differently; but, in NY State, every place not within an incorporated village or city is in a town. This includes farm fields, woods, abandoned areas: it's all, legally, in a town.

English, however, is weird. People nevertheless say that they live outside of town, or that they're going into town. By the legal terminology, however, they live outside of any village (or city), and what they're going into is a village (or city, or possibly even unincorporated hamlet.)

But you often see the sign saying you're entering Town X long before you get to Village X -- which may (or may not) have the same name.
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Old 18 July 2018, 04:59 PM
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Who has jurisdiction and/or responsibility for "town" lands that are not in an incorporated area? In Arizona, unincorporated areas are county property with the county being responsible for them including collecting any taxes (sales, property) and maintaining the roads in them.
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Old 18 July 2018, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Hijack:

Might be a terminology question?
More likely just bad phrasing on my part. The story I was told about the exact reason why the town limits were extended was a very long time ago.

The grandparents' farms were both located well away from the town center (i.e. where the majority of the businesses, such as they were, were located), but were still within the square mile border--if just barely in one case, so technically, yes, they lived "in town" but they never referred to it that way.

It was probably unincorporated because, as I recall, the county took care of things like plowing or repairing the roads. Police and fire services usually came from the town's larger neighbor about 15-20 miles away.

~Psihala
(*The town "business district", if one could call it that, quite literally, consisted entirely of the following: a church, a school, a bar, a grocery store (now closed), a restaurant (now closed), a post office, a bait shop (long gone), a gas station, and a community center--all of which one could walk to in something under 15 minutes.)

Last edited by Psihala; 18 July 2018 at 05:25 PM.
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