Gapiana (ga pee ah’ nah) – n. The unclaimed strip of land between the “you are now leaving” and “welcome to” signs when crossing state lines.
Traveling season is upon us, and with it many of us are going to slide into Gapiana while driving. On I-95 or I-75, out of the Northeast or the Midwest to the South, or maybe you might take one of the older US highways, like US 231 or US 62, where you can visually see the change from state to state. That is Gapiana. Not having traveled much from East to West, I have not encountered the cross-country Gapiana, but from North to South, it is pretty obvious, especially when going through hills of Kentucky and into Appalachia. Such a vast difference in the geology. Natural differences are not the only things that make up Gapiana. Commercial differences do, too, and there is nowhere better to see that than on the corridor that brings most tourism to the South, I-75. Even Gapiana is filled with billboards advertising attractions that are at least a hundred miles away. I do not know how much of an impact placing “See Rock City” billboards in every inch of space along the Interstate will bring in people to see seven states from Lookout Mountain, but it seems that Gapiana’s sole purpose for existing is to advertise places like these.