Some of my favorite states are the ones that aren't rigidly northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest, or even what we think of as "midwest" (which can mean "west of Pittsburgh" or "north of Kentucky" or "east of Colorado," with some general agreement about where it all begins and ends but no consensus). I love the mid-Atlantic/Delmarva/Chesapeake states (New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia) because they're neither New York, New England, nor (strictly) the south, but driving through the farms and swamps of lower New Jersey, you can really start to feel the eastern seaboard's southward gravitational tug. Historically, the Mason-Dixon line starts along the bottom border of Pennsylvania, and if the line continued east out to the ocean instead of taking a downward right-angle, about a third of New Jersey would be "the south." And many people jokingly refer to the red-headed stepchild northern-bordering the MDL as "Pennsyltucky."
Parts of the mid-south are weird like that too -- the aforementioned Kentucky is directly below Indiana and Ohio (either far-west northeast rust belt or far-east midwest, depending on where you live), but Kentucky is invariably considered either midwest or mid-south. (Is there an upper south?) (If "Pennsyltucky" is rust-belt, is Kentucky itself at all rust-belt?) Missouri shares a border with Kentucky, and faces a similar identity crisis. As does Kansas, although much of that stems from confusion between Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. And thanks to Route 66 running through Illinois, the "west" arguably starts way back in Chicago. Another thing that begins in Chicago is Amtrak's Southwest Chief line, which eventually hooks up with the right-of-way of the Santa Fe Trail, starting in... Missouri.
All this is leading up to Neato Coolville's Flickr photoset called Lake of the Ozarks, taken at the Lake Ozark amusement park and around central Missouri. Motel signs, muffler men, Indian kitsch, and best of all, the Jesse James Hideout. Reminds me of The Thing (Mystery of the Desert!) in Arizona. America is so beautifully bizarre; every time I get angry at the state of things and ponder fucking off to Chile or something, I see pictures like these and instead become really sentimental about the can-do spirit and warped creativity that made this country what it is.