By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 15, 2004 01:00 PM

Altus, Ark.(population 817), is now a thing of the past. This time, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have a much bigger fish to fry: the wide swath of America that exists between Miami Beach and Beverly Hills.

For their upcoming sequel to the often-embarrassing but highly watchable FOX reality series “The Simple Life,” the socialites-turned-TV stars are driving themselves on a 30-day cross-country trip with no money, credit cards, cell phones or boyfriends, reports the Associated Press.

All the duo will have with them — besides their wits, of course — will be a pink pickup truck with its shiny metallic trailer hitched to the rear, and a TV camera crew to capture all their various antics.

“I’ve never been on a road trip anywhere,” hotel heiress Hilton, 23, sporting a pink and red sundress with a flower in her hair, told AP during an interview in South Beach, Miami. “The farthest I’ve driven is from L.A. to Palm Springs, which takes like two hours. It seems fun.”

This “Simple Life” promises to be different from the first one, which took place in a rural setting. “The worst thing was working at the dairy farm, ’cause that was, like, our first job,” Hilton recalled. “I hated the cow smell. It was gross.”

In “The Simple Life 2,” Hilton and Richie — whose dad is singer Lionel Richie — will roam the country, staying with new people all the time. Shooting is set to begin this week for a new season debut in June.

“It’s going to be definitely more interesting and more adventurous because last time, we were just stuck in Arkansas with a family, but this time it’s going to be different families every episode,” Hilton says.

As for the show’s appeal, she analyzes: “Everyone likes it because it’s for all ages. People from the city will be like, ‘Oh my God, I cannot believe you did that,’ and people from the country think it’s funny because they do it every day.”

Finally, since the subject of Hilton’s notorious sex tape and her rowdy reputation as a party girl must be addressed, she insists: “I don’t like going out anymore. It’s not that much fun. … Since the show came out, I can’t really have fun anymore because people coming up every minute and, are like, ‘Oh, can I have a picture.’ … I really can’t even hang out with my friends very much anymore.”