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Monday Memories: On The Road


This is the ninth of my Monday Memories series of posts. In these posts, I pull a book off my shelf, somewhat randomly, and tell you a bit about it. It's not a review of the book so much as a memory of the book, a bit about what might have been going on in my life when I read it, and my thoughts on who might like this book. 

The Book

Reader's Digest On The Road USA, Edited by Margaret Perry, with a list of 21 credited writers. Copyright 1989 by The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. Printed in the United States of America. 

Why This Book?

Like over 110 million other Americans, my husband and I are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. And, like others who have been following COVID guidelines here in the US, we've not done any overnight travel for over a year. I retired right before the pandemic hit, and we did have a lot of travel plans made, and reservations lined up. All of those plans had to be put on hold, and reservations undone. Now, we are in a position to finally start seriously thinking about traveling again, at least within the States.

I was rifling through my "coffee table" sized books looking for another book when I spotted this one. Suddenly, all that pent up desire to travel hit me, as I know it is hitting others right now too, and so I thought, "Well, that's the book for this week."

What's This Book About?

From memory:
As the subtitle says, it's full of travel destinations that you can easily get to from the nation's interstate highway system. And it's from Reader's Digest. 

From perusing the book after I pulled it off the shelf:
So now we get to the heart of why I chose to highlight this book this week. With travel appealingly available again, but with so many of us still living under the overhang of 12 months of caution and isolation, the buzzword on travel today seems to be "remote". 

People have an idea that they are going to be able to get outdoors and enjoy nature by finding a place that's remote enough that it won't be overrun with tourists. We're either still concerned about catching or passing on COVID, or we are just no longer used to being in crowds, and so are a little hesitant. 

This book is the opposite of that. The focus here is on easy-to-get-to places. It shows in how this handy reference is organized. First, it breaks the US interstate system down into two parts, North and South highways in "Volume 1", and East and West highways in "Volume 2". Then, each Volume is further broken down into sections of highway. 

Take I-75 for example. I-75 runs from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in the north to Miami, Florida in the south. The book breaks the highway down into 5 sections, and in each section it highlights places to visit on that stretch of road. These places are organized by highway mile marker. There's even a helpful green highway running up and down the outside margins with mile markers shown to help you "navigate" through the book: 

In more ways than one, this book, with it's focus on interstate highway travel, while it's likely still usable today, feels like a remnant of a time that has passed. 

Today, if you wanted to find interesting places to see on a long road trip, you probably aren't running to the bookstore to find a handy reference like this. You're likely pulling out your phone or tablet, or maybe sitting down at your laptop and looking at Google Maps, or visiting a website like Roadtrippers

You're also likely to be searching for places more off the beaten track. Maybe, since your job can be done remotely, you're on this road trip just like others have been during the pandemic, seeking out that perfect home you can move to, hidden away in the rural or scenic landscape of your dreams. Or maybe you've already found that dream home, and now you are looking to get even further into the hinterlands as you travel for fun. 

What Was Going On In My Life When I Read This?

This section is a little short this week, because this is a hand-me-down book. I didn't buy it, and to be honest with you, I've never used it to plan a trip. I think it was my Dad's, and came to me with a random collection of stuff when my parents downsized from a house to an apartment. I put it on my shelf mostly because I suffer from bibliomania - I usually find it hard to part with books. But see, I did finally use it, even if just to post about it!

Why Would Someone Like This Book?

If you have a nostalgia for long car trips on US interstates, this book may speak to you. I would guess that a sizable percentage of the parks, museums, and other sites highlighted in this book are probably still operating.

A quick online search shows that you can still find this book, and also the paperback version (which really is in two separate volumes), still available on Amazon and in online used bookstores.

So that's my "Monday Memories" book post for this week. Are you weary of COVID isolation and eager to get back on the road? How will you plan your trip? Leave a comment below.