Tag Archives: USA

Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay

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Part pop history and part whimsical memoir in the spirit of National Lampoon’s VacationDon’t Make Me Pull Over!is a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—a halcyon era that culminated in the latter part of the twentieth century, before portable DVD players, iPods, and Google Maps.

In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them—from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.

The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. Frequently, what was remembered the longest wasn’t Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, or Disney World, but such roadside attractions as “The Thing” in Texas Canyon, Arizona, or “The Mystery Spot” in Santa Cruz, California. In this road tourism-crazy era that stretched through the 1970’s, national parks attendance swelled to 165 million, and a whopping 2.2 million people visited Gettysburg each year, thirteen times the number of soldiers who fought in the battle.

Now, decades later, Ratay offers a paean to what was lost, showing how family togetherness was eventually sacrificed to electronic distractions and the urge to “get there now.” In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio.

A rousing Ratay family ride-along, Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together—for better and worse—have largely disappeared.

Richard Ratay was the last of four kids raised by two mostly attentive parents in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and has worked as an award-winning advertising copywriter for twenty-five years. Ratay lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with his wife, Terri, their two sons, and two very excitable rescue dogs.

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A Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States

A Hole In the WorldA Hole in the Wind: A Climate Scientist’s Bicycle Journey Across the United States

by David Goodrich

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An epic bicycle journey across the American hinterland that explores the challenges of climate change alongside a diverse array of American voices.
After a distinguished career in climate science as the Director of the UN Global Climate Observing System in Geneva, David Goodrich returned home to the United States to find a nation and a people in denial. Concerned that the American people are willfully deluded by the misinformation about climate that dominates media and politics, David thought a little straight talk could set things right. As they say in Animal House, he decided that “this calls for a stupid and futile gesture on someone’s part, and I’m just the guy to do it.”
Starting on the beach in Delaware, David rode his bike 4,200 miles to Oregon, talking with the people he met on the ultimate road trip. Along the way he learned a great deal about why climate is a complicated issue for many Americans and even more about the country we all share.Climate change is the central environmental issue of our time. But A Hole in the Windis also about the people Dave met and the experiences he had along the way, like the toddler’s beauty pageant in Delaware, the tornado in Missouri, rust-belt towns and their relationship with fracking, and the mined-out uranium ghost town in Wyoming. As he rides, David will discuss the climate with audiences varying from laboratories to diners to elementary schools.Beautifully simple, direct, and honest, A Hole in the Windis a fresh, refreshing ride through a difficult and controversial topic, and a rich read that makes you glad to be alive.

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Roadfood, 10th Edition: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America

Roadfood 10th edRoadfood, 10th Edition: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America 

by Jane Stern, Michael Stern

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First published in 1977, the original Roadfood became an instant classic. James Beard said, -This is a book that you should carry with you, no matter where you are going in these United States. It’s a treasure house of information.-
The 40th anniversary edition of Roadfood includes 1,000 of America’s best local eateries along highways and back roads, with nearly 200 new listings, as well as a brand new design.
Filled with enticing alternatives for chain-weary-travelers, Roadfood provides descriptions of and directions to (complete with regional maps) the best lobster shacks on the East Coast; the ultimate barbecue joints down South; the most indulgent steak houses in the Midwest; and dozens of top-notch diners, hotdog stands, ice-cream parlors, and uniquely regional finds in between. Each entry delves into the folkways of a restaurant’s locale as well as the dining experience itself, and each is written in the Sterns’ entertaining and colorful style. A cornucopia for road warriors and armchair epicures alike, Roadfood is a road map to some of the tastiest treasures in the United States.

America’s leading authorities on the culinary delights to be found while driving— Newsweek

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The Road Headed West: A 6,000-Mile Cycling Odyssey Through North America

The Road Headed WestThe Road Headed West: A 6,000-Mile Cycling Odyssey Through North America by Leon McCarron

What happens when you swap the nine-to-five for two wheels and a journey of a lifetime?
Terrified of the prospect of a life spent behind a desk, without challenge or excitement, Leon takes off to cross America on an overloaded bicycle packed with everything but common sense.
Over five months and 6000 miles, he cycled from New York to Seattle and then on to the Mexican border, facing tornados, swollen river crossings, wild roaming buffalo and one hungry black bear along the way. But he also met kind strangers, who offered their food, wisdom, hospitality and even the occasional local history lesson, and learned what happens when you take a chance and follow the scent of adventure.
With a sharp eye and a genuine go-where-the-wind-takes-me attitude, McCarron makes for an ideal guide on this cycling adventure. He passes through small towns, rolls up and flies down the winding roads of the Blacks Hills is taken in and fed by strangers, all on a quest to discover the real America, and in the process, learn a little about himself.
Funny, insightful, and full of life, “The Road Headed West” will inspire readers to chase their dreams and go off in search of adventure. “

 

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