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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California

    Default Books & videos ... before, during, after

    I've been relaxing when I can ('tis my busiest season, with the end of school). When not on RTA or anyplace else on the Internet, I've watched a few interesting travel videos and read a good book or two. Here are some recommendations:

    Today's video was a fictional movie, appropriate both to the road trip subject AND Memorial Day. The movie was GRACE IS GONE. It's a heart-rending story of a man who finds out that his wife has been killed in Iraq. He has two daughters -- 12-1/2 and 8 -- and finds it difficult to tell them. So without any planning or even packing, he had them in the car and headed from Minnesota to Florida, to "Enchanted Gardens" theme park. There were scenes of the 3 in the car, the girls fighting (of course), stopping at Grandma's and only finding the Uncle there, stopping at a motel where the 12 year old tries a cigarette and her dad catches her, and the dad trying to drive when he was much too tired to be doing so. The story included how the road trip started to bond them, and ended with him finally telling the girls about their mom. It was a tear-jerker, that's for sure.

    I've had a series of travel videos coming from Netflix. It's a 6 disk series called "Great Scenic Drives." Well, the first 3 went together in the same format, but in the 4th one, it suddenly changed format completely, like it was two different series combined. Beautiful cinematography, calming narration, and good recommendations for places to go, stay, and even eat. (Though frankly, since the series is now 8 years old, I wonder how many of the places are still in business.)

    Today, hubby and I watched one that's also about 8 years old, but we both enjoyed it: HORATIO'S DRIVE. It's a PBS video by Ken Burns, about the first people to cross the USA by automobile back in 1903. As my husband said, "now THAT is a road trip, where you almost have to make your own roads!"

    Travel Channel had a series on today called "America's Best Parks". I recorded one early this morning and watched it later, about some little known national parks. Well, I had to personally snicker, as I had certainly heard of all except one, and had been to all but 3. (I'd missed Big Bend, Hawaii Volcanoes, and the one I hadn't heard of, Lake Clark in Alaska.) They were incorrect in one place, stating that Sequoia has the world's oldest living trees. I beg to differ ... Ancient Bristlecone Pines, near Bishop, CA, has the OLDEST trees.

    There was a fictional book that I also have enjoyed recently. Written by Debbie Macomber, titled A TURN IN THE ROAD, it was about 3 women (all related) who set out on a road trip from WA State down to Vero Beach in Florida. It started as a solo road trip by a 68 year old woman, but her ex-daughter in law joined her and then HER adult daughter. All in all it was a well-written book. However, there were a couple of little details that I would definitely tell the author "NOT possible", or "wrong fact." (She said the Grand Canyon Skywalk was on the South Rim ... ahem, she didn't do her homework! In another place, her characters transported themselves from Flagstaff to Albuquerque in two hours ... um, not unless you fly.) Nice romance novel, though, and not your steamy type, just very cleanly written.

    Now all the end of school activities are about to take place, so I won't have much reading or video-viewing time coming up. It won't be long after when we leave on our trip anyway.

    Anyone else read anything good, or seen any good travel videos?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A couple of my favorites

    Nice list of books and such. I remember those "Scenic Drive" videos -- we reviewed them when they came out.

    Not to "toot my own horn too much..." but I write a column about destinations within 300 miles of Las Vegas in the NPR magazine "Desert Companion" (links to the online editions can be found here).

    Favorite road reads would have include "Winterdance," "Road Fever" and "The Big Year"

    Any road tripper will relate to Gary Sowerby's Adventures of a Driven Mind.

    And don't forget we publish reviews on many of the major novels and non-fiction books each year that are released in audio versions. Here's a short sampling....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I got a Kindle for Christmas. One of my downloads was the Eyre Price book called "Blues HIghway Blues". It's a fiction (crime drama) which includes driving Hwy 61 (Great River Road, or the Blues HIghway) in the story. Good story, so far, and I'm not even halfway through it.

    My husband loved having a Kindle on our last road trip -- great way to bring a lot of reading material along without the extra weight. So he decided that this would make a good gift for me. I've downloaded some freebies as well as some that aren't very expensive, so far.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My Kindle Touch died 3 weeks after the warranty was up, so I replaced it with a Kindle Paperwhite. I absolutely love it.

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