RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip


Backroads Of Washington: Your Guide To Washington's Most Scenic Backroad Adventures, by Diana Fairbanks; photography by Mike Sedam


Backroads of Washington

Backroads of Washington, a prose-and-picture journey along the scenic byways of one of America's most photogenic states, comes the closest I've ever seen to being a road trip in book form. I happened to read it when I was actually in Washington, but if I hadn't, this book would have left me eager to go. Author Diana Fairbanks is a Washington native who grew up taking Sunday drives with her family on the routes she describes. Her engaging prose dovetails beautifully with the entrancing images of photographer Mike Sedam, also a local expert. Rare is the book that qualifies as both an excellent coffee table enhancement and a true road trip planning resource. This book makes the grade.

Divided into five sections, Backroads of Washington covers twenty-five routes around the Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia River, and the mountains and plains of eastern Washington. Each section includes full-page maps and routes that are not only artistically pleasing but also appropriately detailed and easy to follow. The text and photos take readers on each route from beginning to end, describing and illustrating what there is to see and do along the way. In addition to Sedam's stunning photos of scenery, flowers, animals, fish, activities, bridges, roads, and other sights, there are historic photos that enhance the text. Fairbanks includes historical, archaeological, and geological details, along with suggestions about where to stop and what to look out for, visit, and eat. An advocate of the "poking around" method of road tripping, Fairbanks is informative and inspiring, but never prescriptive. As she says in her introduction, planning resources are great, but all you really need is "a tank of gas, enough cash for hamburgers, and pure curiosity."

Backroads of Washington is a great book. Every state should be so lucky as to have such a plethora of fascinating byways as well as writers and photographers as gifted as Fairbanks and Sedam to capture them between two covers.

Megan Edwards
4/4/05

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