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?