RoadTrip America

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Along Interstate 75: Local Knowledge, Entertainment And Insider Tips, for Your Drive Between Detroit And the Florida Border, by Dave Hunter


The thing that always strikes me when I pick up the latest edition of Dave Hunter's Along Interstate 75 is the minute detail that he diligently updates each year. For example, one of the hallmarks of the series is the colored "speed rating" that is superimposed over the successive sections of the roadway and provides information about the speed limits in that area. Since I have copies of all of the annual editions going back several years, I always check random sections of the highway and find updated sections with new speed ratings. For instance, in the 13th edition mile marker 80 in Ohio was clear sailing. In the 14th, however, the author found some bridge repair where the road crosses the Great Miami River and the road speed has been downgraded to 55 mph. While this change is not monumental in scope, it is indicative of the passion for detail that the author maintains in this remarkable guidebook. It also means that if you drive I-75 on a regular basis, keeping the latest copy of Along Interstate 75 at your side can save you some real headaches.

While conducting the research for this newest edition, Hunter found more travel service business changes this year than he has ever seen in the past. Along the 958 miles between Detroit, Michigan and the Georgia-Florida border, he found 331 businesses had closed or moved to a new location and 420 new operations had opened for business. With this guidebook, travelers on I-75 can find all 748 gas stations, 1,531 restaurants and 739 lodging options that Hunter has identifies and visited along Interstate 75 between Sault Ste Marie and Lake Park, Georgia.

Probably the most significant change in this new edition is the addition of colored text boxes on the 25-mile section maps. There is so much information packed into these pages that it can occasionally be difficult to make sense about what is being presented. The author has tried to overcome this issue by adding even more information in the form of text boxes. These hold information about traffic flow, location of police radar traps, exit services, Civil War notes, and "high occupancy vehicle" lane information. It's possible that these pages may have reached the point of "too much of a good thing," even though all the details are accurate and useful.

The author's scholarship in locating and documenting Civil War and other historical locations found along the Interstate is truly amazing. The maps in the "Off the Beaten Path" section are excellent. Traffic lights are frequently identified on these maps, making it easier to navigate to some of the lesser-known attractions the author has profiled.

Dave and his wife Kathy have been driving this route for nearly forty years, and their collection of "Insider Tips" found in the white pages in the center of the book are alone worth the price of the guidebook. Here you can find out that the "best ribs in America" are at Calhouns in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unique shopping opportunities like Tippicanoe Frontier Trading Company in Ohio, which sells authentic 1700s-style clothing, are profiled, and you'll also find money-saving info like the fact that Georgia has lower fuel prices.

Probably the most delightful thing about Along Interstate 75 is that it's fun to read even when you're traveling by armchair. The good writing, practical detail, and variety of information will make you want to go out of your way to include I-75 on your next road trip. The book leaves you wishing that every highway in America had a chronicler as dedicated and able as Dave Hunter.

Mark Sedenquist

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