As the workweek rears its ugly head, I find myself trolling the web looking for new road trip adventures. Despite soaring gas prices, a good ol’ fashioned road trip is my preferred method of transport and travel. Nothing says summer adventure like a journey across America’s nearly 42,795 miles of interstate.
If, however, your travel fire cannot be stoked until another day, these five books might help you keep the flame alive.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Although Huck rocks a homemade raft instead of a wood-paneled station wagon, Mark Twain’s classic is the quintessential travel story. Most of us had to read this book in high school but I recently revisited it on my travels through Morocco and found that Huck’s defiant sense of adventure can inspire one to tear it up, as our favorite pre-pubescent hell raiser exclaimed.
Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon
Hopefully your American adventure does not begin in the same vane as Mr. Least Heat-Moon’s. Recently unemployed and separated from his wife, Least Heat-Moon sets out on a loop around the country in order to find? Not even he is sure at first. His romantic account will encourage you to jury-rig your car into a home and explore back roads America, one diner at a time.
Killer on the Road: Violence and the American Interstate
Those travelers who have a hankering for the macabre might find some inspiration in Ginger Strand’s latest non-fiction piece. Despite the gruesome subject matter this book provides a fascinating history of the American interstate and how the modern “highway killer” was born. If we learned one thing from Pee Wee’s big adventure, it’s to avoid hitching a ride with phantom truckers.
Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck
Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of travel writing, Travels with Charley chronicles John Steinbeck’s last adventure across America with his faithful companion Charley, an aged standard poodle. He crafts the story like a Norman Rockwell painting and Charley’s quiet support almost makes me want to get a poodle. Almost.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
For those people looking for a more “trippy” trip Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas provides an acid drenched smorgasbord of road trip adventures. Thompson’s characters Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo stumble their way across the deserts of America on a quest for truth, fantasy, and more drugs.