RoadTrip America

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

Pacific Coast Highway, by Nick Freeth
Pacific Coast Highway

A frequent topic of discussion on the Great American RoadTrip Forum concerns traveling along America's Pacific Coast Highway. This is an epic roadtrip, and Pacific Coast Highway: 2,066 Miles from Seattle to Tijuana, a new photo-essay book by Nick Freeth, could contribute to a serious case of wanderlust for all roadtrippers considering a trek on this famous roadway. The Pacific Coast Highway is not a single continuous road, and it has a number of designations in the three states (Washington, Oregon, and California) through which it traverses. Freeth does a masterful job of tracing the route in such a manner that the book is both inspirational and a useful planning guide. He also includes a superb two-page list of Web sites and other resources for information about places along the route.

At the top of most pages, Freeth has placed a mile-by-mile, town-by-town chart with a color bar that matches the photos and articles covered on that page. Although the author asserts that the entire route could be driven in 18 days, he offers so many tantalizing suggestions for side trips that it would be easy to spend more than six weeks. The scenery along this route ranks with the most spectacular in the world, and the book captures many of the amazing vistas in over 450 color photographs. Although many of the photographs are somewhat underexposed and too blue in color, the images are arresting and provide a good and thorough overview. In addition, Freeth's prose is fresh and informative, and his descriptions of little-known historical events and byways are vivid enough to ignite any roadtripper's enthusiasm for driving the coastal route.

Pacific Coast Highway is a great source for discovering roadside gems like the "world's shortest river" in Lincoln City, Oregon, the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington's Olympic Pensisula, the amazing Carson Mansion in Eureka, California, and the annual pumpkin display in Half Moon Bay. In addition to covering wilderness and rural areas, the author reveals a number of well-kept secrets in the cities along the route. The book ends with a brief look at the shopping opportunities to be found in Tijuana.

November, 2003

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