After I returned home to the mountains of North Carolina after 10 years of living in Los Angeles, I caught up with an old friend and employer of mine who said something I have never forgotten about the gap between coastal elites and Middle America. "A whole lot more of us Red State-types have spent real time in their cities," he said. "Many of us vacation there, we go to school there, and all of us are constantly exposed to their culture through movies, television and the news media. But urban folks and coastal elites almost never do the reverse, they never spend any real time out here with us. So who are the true provincials?"

Indeed.

Because urban, provincial elites are not already ripe enough for parody, the leftwing HuffPost has just announced a 23-city bus tour into "Middle America," a listening tour of sorts that will take them into a number of states President Trump won. As the leftwing Politico points out, though, there is just one problem... "[M]any of the cities the group is visiting voted for Hillary Clinton in last year’s election[.]"

The eternally clueless HuffPost responded in a way that only makes sense if you hear Thurston Howell III's voice as you read it:

[HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia] Polgreen says they’re not visiting “Trump country,” pointing to a reason for each city or state on the tour like an interesting community college system in Fort Wayne or Detroit’s large Arab-American population. Hillary Frey, HuffPost’s director of editorial strategy who came up with the bus tour idea, also pointed out that logistically it didn’t make sense to go to the corners of the country where the distance from one city to the next would be too far.

Oh, okay, so a bunch of media leftwingers are going to ride around in a bus-shaped bubble together on their way to a bunch of cities Hillary Clinton won to visit colleges and Arab-Americans. And on this very special tour of Middle America, they did not believe it made "sense to go to the corners of the country where the distance from one city to the next would be too far."

Good grief, who are these freaks?

Well, actually they sound like everyone else in the MSM — you know, those hard-bitten "journalists" who believe they have met real America after spending 2 hours at a campaign rally in a place they secretly call Podunk — a place they all laugh at after they re-enter the Borg collective on the press plane.

Can I give y'all some advice — I mean those of you who would really like to understand Middle America, those of you who really want to wrap your minds around those of us who choose to live in the sticks, even after we have seen gay Paris?

1) Travel alone. Not with a pack of the like-minded. I mean, duh.

2) MOVE to a place with no more than 3,000 to 5,000 residents, where at least one of those residents flies a Confederate flag.

3) LIVE THERE for at least a year.

4) Go to the same church every Sunday. Join that church. Don't be dishonest about your secularism or your mission. People will still graciously accept you, regardless. Get to know these folks. Help with the Bingo, the suppers and the fundraisers.

5)  Stay out of the Starbucks. Their coffee sucks anyways. I'm sure there's a gas station nearby with much better coffee for half the price. It probably comes in a Styrofoam cup, which is so much easier on the hands. And you'll probably meet a nice group of good ole' boys who have been coming there every morning for years just to solve the world's problems.

6)  Stay out of the Targets and the Applebee's, the chain grocery stores. Become a regular, a local, this is how you meet people.

7) Meet as many people as you can, but do so as a human being, not as a superior a-hole, not as an archeologist out to study the natives.

8) Because people are people, because people are the same everywhere, you are going to meet some jerks. Remember, they do not define all of us.

9) If you don't have a year, rent an RV and spend a few weeks in one RV camp somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Most of these place are microcosms of Middle America — families, the retired, the working class who live in these places permanently. You'll meet them swimming, walking your dog, emptying your trash at the dumpster, in the laundry or game room.

 There might be other ways to credibly and with an open mind meet Middle America, but I'm pretty sure that an air-conditioned bus filled with fellow leftwing dilettantes is not one of them.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook page here.