The Glamorous Life of a Journalist, Couples-Getaway Edition

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Downtown Winters, California, today. (James Fallows)

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As my wife Deb and I have traveled around the country, we've stayed with friends, in daring motels, and once in a windowless, converted shipping container, which fortunately had a ventilation system. It's all worth it for the cause.

Last night in Davis, California -- closest place with a hotel to our recent target-city of Winters -- we enlarged our experience by staying in a place while, unannounced in its online literature, it was in the middle of being demolished/ improved. The arrow points to our strategically positioned room.

Fortunately, if there had been some emergency in the night, quick access to a dive for safety was just outside our door. All we had to do was leap.

Ah well.  On the other hand, a few miles away the agricultural scenery around Winters was of surpassing beauty. These are nut trees.

Orchards outside Winters, California, on March 20, 2014.

More about the place and its people tomorrow. If you want tips on where not to stay in Davis, come to us.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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