The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas & Travel Encyclopedia, by Michael & Heidi Pfeil Dougherty
The Ultimate Montana Atlas & Travel Encyclopedia (2nd edition), by Michael & Heidi Pfeil Dougherty
A word of advice: when you pick up either one of the superb books written by Michael and Heidi Pfeil Dougherty (and the rest of the editorial staff at Ultimate Press), take five minutes and read the INTRODUCTION. You might think that would be a logical place to start with any book, but when I open a new atlas or travel guide, my first inclination is to skim through the various sections and see what pops out. Both of these works, The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia and The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia, have so much detail and so many fascinating facts that you may find yourself overwhelmed and momentarily at a loss for discovering the best way to use them.
The Doughertys and their staff have gathered a truly awesome amount of information about local history, routes, lodging, and natural wonders in both Wyoming and Montana. If you take the time to read the introduction, the organization of the book will make a great deal more sense and enrich your experience of the materials. The articles in each of the books are gathered from a variety of sources including pieces from historical societies, transcriptions of oral histories, tall tales, and independent research by the authors.
Both of the books feature comprehensive lists of lodging, dining, historical locations, and recreational attractions in each of several geographic sections in each state. Although advertisements appear on many pages from local merchants, the information is presented in an easily accessible format. Hundreds of black and white photographs and easy-to-read maps complement the well-written explanatory text throughout the books. While these books clearly live up to their "Encyclopedia" names, a prevailing sense of humor and keen appreciation for the land's natural and human-created wonders imbues each page. Both of these books can be enjoyed from the comfort of your favorite reading chair or riding shotgun as you drive down a scenic by-way. My only suggestion, and I hope the authors will heed it in a future edition, would be adding a list of the 65 scenic drives scattered in the text of the books.
Whether you are looking for the home range of the reclusive Jackalope or the mysterious Ryegate Woodpeckers, you want to learn about the geologic forces that shaped Wyoming's Devil's Tower, or you need driving directions to explore Montana's Swan River National Wildlife Refuge, these books are essential tools for roadtrippers in Wyoming and Montana. We give both of them our highest endorsement.