Day 89

“Would you like a cold soda?”

June 23rd, 2010

That's what I was asked by Tim, a bearded gentleman driving a white car. Coming just a few minutes after a nice fellow in a truck handed me a hamburger, it felt like the appropriate thing to drink. Then I realized: he called it a soda! After more than 1000 consecutive miles in steadfast "pop" territory, I've started hearing "soda" again (though not exclusively) in the past few days.

Also, and I'd have to check my notes to verify this, I believe that every time someone has offered me a soft drink on the road (it's happened a handful of times), it's been a Pepsi.


  1. Jason says:

    Ah, the Geography of Soda Can’s across the U.S. I always thought this was a fascinating subject :) I’m thirsty!

  2. Moby Dick says:

    A brave man once requested me to answer questions that are key. Is it to be or not to be? And I replied: Oh, why ask me, René?

  3. Yeah! PEPSI! I’ve found that in most of the trash cans that I dig thru. Most of the time when I find Aluminum cans it’s Keystone for alcohol, Arizona Tea cans (various types) for alternative beverages, and Pepsi for carbonated non-alcoholic drinks. SUICDIAL DRINKING!! ALL I WANTED WAS A PESPI!

  4. jojo says:

    Good ole red white and blue…you can’t get more American than that…Pepsi, the drink of the new generation. I sound like a commercial Haha

    Enjoy a Ice Cold Pepsi, nothing better except a throw back Pepsi made with sugar.

  5. Jeff says:

    Pepsi rocks, but that is debated worldwide. What is the most powerful moment from this read is the generosity of the people you passed. I wonder was it with or without conversation that provoked the gifts of food and beverage. Probably none. God Bless all the people. Matt was well supplied with food and now from kindness of others… will last longer. When I was hungry you gave me to eat…….

    • Barb V in Michigan says:

      “…I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,…” – Matt. 25:34-36

      We are seeing mankind at it’s very best with Matt; these people will be blessed for blessing a stranger.

      • Michael in Atlanta says:

        Awesome insights, Jeff and Barb. And don’t forget Daisy. The “be fruitful, multiply” blessing belongs to the animals equally. What a companion!

        Now about those Pepsi’s…here in Atlanta, everything is a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. So Fanta Orange, even, might be a “Coke”. If you offer a soda, it’s a bicarbonate of soda, and if you offer a pop, it’s either your daddy, or a slap in the face, but never a soft drink.


        • Michael in Atlanta says:

          Might I add that the simplicity of this photo is really masterful. The story Barb and Jeff relay is perfectly conveyed by it. God did good stuff when He made us, even if He did say so Himself.

        • katzien in austin says:

          Texas too….it’s always “you wanna coke? what kind?” heehee. I love the photo too, even though I’m a coke gal. I love the contradiction of the smooth can and the bumpy pepples. Really cool refelction too.

          • Linda in Michigan says:

            You mean you’re not suppose to do it this way? I get upset when I ask for a “coke” and people don’t ask “what kind”! LOL

            Then again, when I ask for a Kleenex, people don’t say what kind so… who knows! LOL

            It use to get me in big trouble when I traveled with my job. People didn’t like it if you asked for “pop” and it was “soda” or whatever. It fascinated me.

      • Jeff says:

        “we are seeing mankind” it is true. I’ve said matter what your religion – the experience I am seeing is exactly what a “god” would ask. Peace, Kindness, Generosity and To Share of ones abundance.
        Imagine if we could just live by a few simple rules. Brothers and Sisters we are one. Through matt’s is easy to see.

  6. Craig (Yeah in NC!) says:

    … what no Diet? What kinda barbarians are these North Dakotians?

  7. carolyn says:

    love Pepsi…today’s headline story…Superman’s walk across America…I thought they were talking about Matt…no luck

    • carolyn says:

      I think Matt should get kickbacks for DC using Matt’s story

    • Abby in Indiana says:

      Oh my gosh, I thought the exact same thing when I saw the Superman headline!!! I absolutely love this blog. I’ve been following your trip since I saw it come up on Yahoo and I don’t miss a day! It’s very uplifting (especially since I’m trapped in a beige cubicle all day, lol). Good luck and stay safe!!!

  8. paul says:

    it’ll be back to ‘pop’ again when you reach montana :)

  9. Marty says:

    Wisconsin is generally “Soda” land. At least the people that work with our sister company in Madison WI.

  10. Peacenik in Oregon says:

    Is this a trick question?

  11. Dennis says:

    I have been touched by the kindness that has been offered to you my complete strangers. Bravo Middle America!

  12. Bill Leslie says:

    He must have been a Southerner. We never say “pop” in North Carolina where Pepsi was born at Caleb Bradham’s pharmacy in New Bern in 1893. We call it either soda or Pepsi.

  13. Joel H says:

    My kingdom for a Coke

    • Mike in Okla says:

      Your Kingdom for a Coke?

      Will that be a Coke-a-Cola or a Pepsi? – LOL
      (that’s what we say in Okla – most of us, that is…)

      Stay strong, Matt – God bless you & your journey.

  14. Shiloa says:

    Where I come from (Texas) it is called coke no matter the brand/type. I really enjoy following you on your journey and wish that someday I will get the chance to do something like this. I have always believed in the old saying “reach out and touch somebody” and I think you are seeing lots of people who do as well. It is really uplifting to see that there are still a lot of truly wonderful people in our world today. Keep on truckin’ and get ‘er done!

    Dr. Pepper is the best coke/soda/pop ever!!!!

    • Megan in Great Falls MT says:

      Agreed on the Dr. Pepper! It’s so weird to me (I’m from MT) when I visit my parents in South Dakota, and I ask for a Coke at the little local diner, they ask what kind of coke. They say “coke” like we say soda or pop. If you want a 7-Up, that’s still a coke to them. I thought they were the only ones!

  15. Lori says:

    A few weeks back you mentioned that most of the road side cans were M.Dew, do they they keep the pepsi cans and litter with dew cans?

  16. Sven says:

    According to a map I found (people actually map this stuff?), it’s pop all the way to oregon, other than a few soda counties here and there.

  17. Jennifer in KY says:

    Reading the blog is the bright spot in my day! In eastern KY it’s “pop”, so we must differentiate which drink being requested. Now, I’m a Diet Coke fan myself.

    So many random acts of kindness since you started your walk, Matt. Godspeed and keep the pics coming!

  18. Georgia - born in Jamaica says:

    This was my childhood cola!

  19. Christine says:

    When I went to college in central NY, I was from the south, NYC, soda, and the upstaters Buffalonians were pops, same state go figure. I was in the middle as I was for the SuperBowl that year.

  20. James says:

    Wisconsin is indeed ‘soda’ land. Have you heard it called “soda-pop” anywhere? sometimes you’ll hear that, which is even more goofy.

    • Nicole says:

      The older people say soda pop here, like my grandma & her sisters, cousins form the south say coke even when referring to sprite, & other non cola drinks (Kansas City)

      • Melody says:

        Older folks in Oklahoma say soda pop too! We usually say “coke” or “pop” and when I lived in Nashville for 3 years in the late 90’s they said “cold drink” which I thought was really weird because to me a “cold drink” is anything with ice

  21. Reethee says:

    Good Ole’ NJ! Soda… However, I always make sure I tell them it’s PEPSI! I have loved Pepsi since I was young.
    I would laugh @ my cousins when they said “pop!” cause it souned funny. But it is interesting to hear about the different ways people see N say things.
    BigUp’s Matt. Ever since they ran your story on Yahoo,I have been keeping up. May G-d bless ll who have extended themselves to you and treated you the way the scripture said
    “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,…” – Matt. 25:34-36
    There are still GREAT people in America! Journey on my friend!

  22. Nicole says:

    They say pop here, I say soda just to be different, (Kansas City). Also I don’t like Pepsi or Coke.

  23. Mike says:

    I love it how it goes between being called a soda and a pop. Pepsi is the best pop out there, or should I say best soda out there.

  24. Colin in Sconi says:

    James & Marty have it right. Here in Wisconsin, it’s always been called “soda”…or at least it has been for the 29 years I’ve been on this Earth and in this state.

  25. Kirk says:

    I believe Coke had an advertising campaign — “A Coke and a Smile” during the late 70s — I remember handing a toll both operator one during that time and they did Smile :)

  26. Tina says:

    In Kentucky we call it pop, soda, soda pop, and even “coke” which can be used in reference to any brand. We are a complex state. :)

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