It was more of a case of driving down America, rather than across it. I was a Professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan, required to speak at meetings in various US cities that featured newspapers owned by the group that supported my appointment there. I had developed a fear of flying, and took a couple of years avoiding it as far as possible. It might have been the experience of being bounced around in an electric storm over the mountains of North India. I took to driving or taking trains wherever possible, and would take one of the college cars on lengthy trips, sometimes with a student to drive it.
One March day we left Hillsdale still under 3 feet of snow, some of which had fallen in December. We took 2 days, stopping at a motel overnight before arriving in Florida to warm sunshine, and paddled in temperate waters. After my speech we chartered a fishing boat for an afternoon of blazing sunshine. I realized then how big the US is, to have such a temperature variation across it. I discovered from the car radio on the way that the music of most of America was country, with rock’n’roll and blues largely a city phenomenon. But my main discovery was that on its South coast, the US had warmer winters.
The experience warmed me to winter sunshine, and subsequently to enjoying at least some winter time in the Florida Keys, where I later built a house.