Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Great American Road Trip

The road trip is a defining part of the American psyche. There's a great set of articles in the July/August 2013 issue of Mental Floss called 4 Road Trips That Changed Everything. It features the miles covered by the 1960's Highwaymen art movement along Florida State Road A1A, Alice Huyler Ramsey's 1909 transcontinental drive from New York City to San Francisco, John Muir's 1,000-mile walk from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico, and an illustrated guide to Lewis and Clark's historic expedition. Fascinating stuff!

I have keen memories of long family drives. We trekked from Des Plaines to California, Minnesota, New York, Washington DC, Tennessee, and Florida. As an adult, I have traveled Route 66, the Mother Road, as far as Oklahoma. My recall of those highways is visceral: the smell of sun-warmed asphalt, a haze of butterflies in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the vertiginous stretch of bridge across the Mississippi River, and endless billboards across the southeast calling us like sirens to "See Ruby Falls." So when I daydream about a getaway, real or imagined, the open road is nearly always a central theme. And either way the library has a rich well of resources available. We have guidebooks, DVDs, magazines, and memoirs to help you find that perfect drive. We also have novels and films to carry you away on a road trip of the mind, from Cormac McCarthy's The Road to National Lampoon's Vacation and everywhere in between. Chances are, your favorites are here waiting for you. For a good laugh, I highly recommend The Sure Thing.

What was your most memorable road trip? Or, for the armchair traveler, what would your ideal driving vacation be?


Laura Adler said...

Ideal road trip: Route 66, including all the cheesy Americana along the way! (Will have to settle for books and DVDs about it for now.)

soyahadabadday said...

Once upon a time I enjoyed road trips. Now they are a chore. However, I do love being an armchair traveler. I recently read John Muir's Steep Trails. He was an amazing reckless adventurer.

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