RoadTrip America

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

 Books that Take You Along for the Ride
Road Fever is a vivid and laugh-out-loud funny account of a high speed road race from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego to the nothernmost terminus of the Dalton Highway in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Author Tim Cahill and his companion, professional driver Garry Sowerby, succeed in making the 15,000 mile run in a record-breaking 23½ days, a fact you can check in the Guinness Book of World Records. Road Fever is one of our all-time favorite road reads.

The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America is Bill Bryson's classic account of searching America for the quintessential small town he calls "Amalgam." He never finds it, but his journey across 38 states is non-stop hilarious.

First published in 1957, On the Road still reigns as the inspiration for angry young men who dream of fast cars, fast women, and roadtrips without rules. Considered to be autobiographical, On the Road is larger than real life, even one as gritty as Kerouac's. This book is great for reading out loud, especially as you head into downtown Denver, where Kerouac had some memorable adventures.

When he was 58 years old, John Steinbeck decided to spend three months taveling the country he was famous for writing about. Accompanied by his poodle Charley, Steinbeck moseyed the continent in the camper he named after Don Qixote's horse. Travels with Charley takes you along on the journey— a must-read for anyone who ever dreamed of hitting the road.

Mark Twain's tales of adventure in the gold fields of the American West still rock! Roughing It will make you want to visit all the places Twain explored and wrote about with inimitable originality, especially Virginia City, Nevada, where you can still walk the boardwalks to the newspaper office where he worked during the glory days of the Comstock Lode.

And some more truly great reads...

Tourist Season is laugh-out-loud funny, but it's also macabre. Carl Hiaasen's classic whodunit is a dark tale of man-eating alligators, crazy journalists, a wannabe terrorist, a millionaire Seminole and a beauty queen. The bad guys get it in the end, but you'll find yourself wondering what's worse— people who kill a few tourists or developers whose greedy voraciousness is destroying the natural splendor of southern Florida.


Peter Mayle is best known for his memoirs of life in Provence, but Hotel Pastis is just as good. It's the engaging story of a London advertising executive who, world-weary and recently divorced, gives up his jet-set career to revamp an old police station in southern France into a "boutique hotel." A second plot revolves around the escapades of an endearing gang of robbers who plan a complicated bank heist and end up kidnapping of the son of an American billionaire by accident. In addition to a delightfully woven story and an elegant cast of characters, Hotel Pastis serves up food descriptions so vivid you can probably gain weight just by reading them.


Winterdance was recommended to us by a bookstore owner who said it was one of the best books she had ever read. A comment like that should be taken seriously, we thought. We bought ourselves a copy, and now we, too, mention it as one of our all time favorites. Author Gary Paulsen set out to run the Iditarod, and the remarkable fact is that he actually survived his training and even finished the race. Winterdance is so vivid you'll feel as though you covered a thousand miles in Alaska yourself, but the only pain you'll really suffer will come from laughing yourself sick. Paulsen's prose is truly wonderful.


One for the Money is so entertaining it took us on an unintentional thirty-six mile detour. It's the first in a series that features Stephanie Plum, a New Jersey babe who finds herself working as a bounty hunter in Trenton. Janet Evanovich's hilarious prose is wonderful read out loud with a New Jersey accent, but even if, like me, you can't manage one, the ambience comes through anyway. Stephanie Plum keeps you laughing; the mystery keeps you hanging-- you'll want more, but it's no problem. Evanovich is now working on the tenth in the series!


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