Road Tripping this Summer? Take These 6 Books With You

Road Tripping this Summer? Take These 6 Books With You

For the past two years, my partner and I have gone on road trips every summer. (That's how I usually get to the bookstores I write about in my Literary Tourism series.) So far, we've gone north (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa) and northeast (Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut), and we have plans to visit the rest of the contiguous United States in the coming years. 

This year, there's no road trip planned because we're headed to Barbados on our honeymoon. Even though I'm SUPER excited about going to Barbados, I'm still feeling the itch from the road trip bug. Since I can't go on a road trip this year, I'm planning to read some books about road tripping and live vicariously through the characters. 

 [image description: "Guide to Literary Road Trips Across America Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson Recreate the infamous road trip that Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo take from Los Angeles to Sin City. Start: Los Angeles, CA Finish: Las Vegas, NV Route length: 346 mi. Travel time: 6.5 hrs.  On the Road Jack Kerouac Celebrate the abundance, vitality, and spirit of American youth by following a group that travels from New York to San Francisco and through the southwest desert. Start: New York, NY Finish: New York, NY Route length: 5,529 mi. Travel time: 100 hrs.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert M. Pirsig Follow Robert M. Pirsig and his son’s adventure across the country on the road to self growth and self-discovery. Start: Minneapolis, MN Finish: San Francisco, CA Route length: 2,539 mi. Travel time: 44 hrs.  The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test Tom Wolfe  By traveling from California to New York, north to Canada and back again, this trip follows the story of a widely popular hippie group around North America. Start: La Honda, CA Finish: Brownsville, TX Route length: 10,904 mi. Travel time: 179 hrs.  The Lost Continent Bill Bryson On a quest to find the quintessential American small town, follow Bill Bryson on a journey through the eastern U.S. Start: Des Moines, IA Finish: Des Moines, IA (round trip) Route length: 5,355 mi. Travel time: 93 hrs.  The Cruise of the Rolling Junk F. Scott Fitzgerald Follow Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda’s road trip from Connecticut to Alabama in the summer of 1920. Start: Westport, CT Finish: Montgomery, AL Route length: 1,510 mi. Travel time: 27.5 hrs. Sources: https://roadtrippers.com/trips/8996674 http://www.dennismansker.com/ontheroad.htm https://www.legendarytrips.com/trip/fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-filming-locations/ https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-obsessively-detailed-map-of-american-literatures- most-epic-road-trips http://venturearete.org/ResearchProjects/ProfessorGurr/Documents/ZMMTravelGuide "

[image description: "Guide to Literary Road Trips Across America
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Hunter S. Thompson
Recreate the infamous road trip that Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo take from Los Angeles to Sin
City.
Start: Los Angeles, CA
Finish: Las Vegas, NV
Route length: 346 mi.
Travel time: 6.5 hrs.

On the Road
Jack Kerouac
Celebrate the abundance, vitality, and spirit of American youth by following a group that travels
from New York to San Francisco and through the southwest desert.
Start: New York, NY
Finish: New York, NY
Route length: 5,529 mi.
Travel time: 100 hrs.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Robert M. Pirsig
Follow Robert M. Pirsig and his son’s adventure across the country on the road to self growth
and self-discovery.
Start: Minneapolis, MN
Finish: San Francisco, CA
Route length: 2,539 mi.
Travel time: 44 hrs.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Tom Wolfe

By traveling from California to New York, north to Canada and back again, this trip follows the
story of a widely popular hippie group around North America.
Start: La Honda, CA
Finish: Brownsville, TX
Route length: 10,904 mi.
Travel time: 179 hrs.

The Lost Continent
Bill Bryson
On a quest to find the quintessential American small town, follow Bill Bryson on a journey
through the eastern U.S.
Start: Des Moines, IA
Finish: Des Moines, IA (round trip)
Route length: 5,355 mi.
Travel time: 93 hrs.

The Cruise of the Rolling Junk
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Follow Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda’s road trip from Connecticut to Alabama in the
summer of 1920.
Start: Westport, CT
Finish: Montgomery, AL
Route length: 1,510 mi.
Travel time: 27.5 hrs.
Sources:
https://roadtrippers.com/trips/8996674
http://www.dennismansker.com/ontheroad.htm
https://www.legendarytrips.com/trip/fear-and-loathing-in-las-vegas-filming-locations/
https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-obsessively-detailed-map-of-american-literatures-
most-epic-road-trips
http://venturearete.org/ResearchProjects/ProfessorGurr/Documents/ZMMTravelGuide "

And who knows, maybe one day my partner and I will retrace the tire marks of all these road trips ourselves, reading these books as we go. If you've driven any of these yourself, let me know! Many thanks to CarRentals.com for letting me borrow the infographic

I had a realization looking at this infographic... the majority of books about road tripping seem to be by white dudes. I've seen plenty of travel memoirs and novels where the characters travel a lot by women, but at the moment I can't recall any books by women where the central theme of the book is going on a road trip for the sake of enjoyment. If you know of any, please let me know! I'd be very interested to read that. Or if the genre is truly as under-served as it appears to be, I hope female writers will take up the charge to diversify the options for road trip books. 

This is a good reminder to me that even though I read 100+ books a year, there's still so much I don't know. But that's the fun of it––there's always more to read. :) 

 

P.S. If there are great indie bookstores in Barbados, you know I'll find them. A Google search didn't yield any info about bookstores that didn't primarily sell textbooks or other educational materials, but I'm hoping the locals will be able to point me in the right direction. If you know of any, please share. :) 

 
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