Take a Road Trip this Summer!

When I was growing up my family would take a vacation every August, visiting National Parks and historic sites. Road tripping is a great way to see and appreciate this country, its beauty and diversity. I have lots great memories of these trips and feel fortunate to have seen and traveled across so much of the United States and Canada.

As we (cautiously) come out of quarantine, you may be feeling the itch to travel again, but still not sure about flying yet. Why not take a road trip? These books will show you the way.

The Road Trip Survival Guide by Rob Taylor. This handy little book has all the essential information – planning, packing, food (there’s nothing quite like road trip snacks!) and safety with lots of practical tips. It’s filled with ideas such as figuring out how many days to take (always schedule some wiggle room), coming up with a theme for your trip – for instance, follow a Historic Trail such as Lewis and Clark or the US Civil Rights trails or go looking for Epic Tallest Trees (Washington, Oregon, California), recipes for snacks and ideas meals, and how to handle the inevitable problems (no vacation is without at least one!)

The second half of this book has several suggested itineraries which you can either follow or use as a jumping off point. There are ten for the United States, five for Canada and three for Mexico. They cover everything from rural to city, east coast to west. The emphasis is on exploring the outdoors and smaller cities and places that are a little off the beaten path. All of them are family friendly with recommendations for economical food (visit local supermarkets for snacks and lunches) and lodging (stay in smaller towns when possible) If you were hesitant about hitting the road, this book will get you out there with confidence!

If you’re stumped for where to go and what to do, check out Travel North America (and Avoid Being a Tourist) by Jeralyn Gerba and Pavia Rosati. This book is chock full of fun and off-beat travel ideas. The emphasis is on low-impact travel, slowing down and giving back. There’s a chapter on spas and retreats (“the woo-woo ways”), another on choosing a destination by season (wildflowers in spring, the Northern Lights in winter), several road trip itineraries based on a theme (American southwest for art pilgrims), exploring lesser known gems of several cities and practical ideas for traveling with others (“how to travel in a group – without being a jerk”), not just with kids but with elderly members of the family as well.  In addition, this book is loaded with great photos – you’ll be dreaming of and planning several trips in no time!

 

 

Travel Talk – April

When I was little, my family would go on a road trip every August. We would pack the car with snacks and coolers and suitcases filled with swimsuits and flip flops and head out to explore these United States. My Father loved history and natural beauty, so our summer vacations centered on the National Parks and historic sites. (To this day I’ve never been to a Walt Disney park, but have been to many, many Civil War and Revolutionary War sites and National and state parks!) Even now, when summer rolls around and it gets hot and sticky, it reminds me of  driving along endless highways watching America roll past from the backseat of my Dad’s Pontiac, following our route on road maps (this was looooong before GPS!) and the excitement of seeing new landscapes. It gave me the travel bug early on (and a love of history apparently) My parents may not have realized it, but these summer vacations became a legacy that continues to shape and influence me.

And yes, of course the Library has books to help you with your road trip plans! From the basics on where to stay and what to see, to books that spark your imagination. Not sure where to go? Try tailoring your trip to your interests. How fun would it be to spend the summer visiting Major League (or Minor League) baseball parks? Or looking for the best homemade pie or barbecue or craft beer in Iowa (or other defined area)? Maybe you’re not into history like my Dad, but you love trains or gems and rocks or flea markets. Believe me, there’s a road trip for just about any interest waiting for you.

If you prefer your road trips from the comfort of your living room, we have plenty of armchair road trip travel books too. Here’s a selection to get you started:

America for Beginners by Leah Franqui – a widow from India travels across America in search of her son.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac – the classic “road trip in search of oneself” book that my parents certainly wouldn’t have approved of!

The Wangs vs the World by Jade Change – having lost all their wealth, a Chinese immigrant family drives from California to New York and along the way reevaluate the American dream.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – coming to grips with loss and grief on a road trip with a friend.

I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. Bryson sets about rediscovering his native country after living in England for many years.

Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Now that’s a road trip – Lewis and Clark’s epic exploration of the west.

What about you? Do you love road trips? Do you have any planned for the near future? Any favorite anecdotes from a road trip?

 

June is Audiobook Month

Now that the school year is over, many people are going on vacation.  If you are going on a roadtrip soon, you might want to consider listening to an audiobook.  The miles can fly by while you enjoy listening to a fantastic book.  And if your family cannot agree on listening to one book, try Playaways.  Playaways are MP3 devices that have books loaded on them.  All you need to do is plug in your headphones and push play!  We even provide the batteries for them.

Need some ideas on an audiobook to check out?  Below are some suggestions or ask one of our friendly librarians for help.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
harry potter stone

Jim Dale narrates all seven of the Harry Potter books and he is THE BEST voice actor!  Somehow, Jim Dale is able to create a different voice for each and every character in the Harry Potter series which makes it so entertaining and easy to listen to in the car (and it is hard to shutoff the car when you reach your destination because the story is so good).  The Harry Potter series is full of fantasy, mystery and life lessons.  It will please everyone in the family.

 

bad beginningThe Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events Series) by Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket’s series of books about the forever unlucky Baudelaire children is deliciously narrated by Tim Curry, who does the readings for all 13 of the books in this series. The misadventures for the children start in this book when their parents die, and throughout the first novel “the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.” A great elementary school listen.

 

lion, witch, wardrobeThe Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis

Originally published in 1955, this classic story has delighted children for decades.  During a game of hide and seek, four children go through a wardrobe and find themselves in the magical realm of Narnia.  Only the Good King Aslan can defeat the dark magic of the White Witch.  An adventure story full of danger and thrills.

 

charlie chocolate factoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

If you are a parent of young children, there is a good chance that you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when you were a child.  Introduce your children to Roald Dahl’s factory that is full of whimsy and full of perils to those children that are naughty.  Remember the Oompa Loompas?  The river of chocolate?  And who could forget the flying glass elevator? People of all ages love this story.

 

lightning thiefThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians) by Rick Riordan

I love the Percy Jackson books and you will understand why they are so popular.  Percy Jackson discovers that he is the son of the Greek god Poseidon, which makes him a demigod.  He learns that he is not the only one that has a Greek god or goddess for a parent when he goes to Camp Half-Blood.  But a prophecy foretold that a child of Zeus, Poseidon, or Hades would decide the fate of Olympus.  And now somehow has stolen Zeus’ lightning bolt and everyone suspects Percy.  A great series full of adventure that is interesting for the whole family.