Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Great American Travel Books by Andy Scheer

I've had a soft spot for nonfiction travel books since I received a hardcover of Kon-Tiki the Christmas I was 10.

I've read and re-read most of Paul Theroux's curmudgeonly accounts of  travels by train. But except for early chapters of The Old Patagonia Express, most of his journeys take place overseas.

I prefer books about domestic journeys--especially this summer as I plan a trip as my father-in-law's co-driver in his 1930 Ford Model A Town Sedan from suburban Denver to Hickory Corners, Michigan.

As I plotted our route across Kansas and Missouri via Highway 36, I've considered the US travel books I've read—and which I might take with me in the Model A. Not owning an e-reader, I want to limit myself to a single volume.

I recently re-read John Steinbeck's Travels With Charley. And not that long ago I read The Home Front, Alistair Cooke's account of driving across America in a Lincoln Zephyr during the early years of the second world war.

Considering our projected route, I'm leaning toward a re-read of William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways. Or perhaps River-Horse, his 1999 account of an Atlantic to Pacific trip by small boat. Still, that book's an unknown. Can I trust it to match the quality of Blue Highways or PrairieErth??

I could take a mass paperback of Stephen Coonts's The Cannibal Queen, a highly re-readable account of flying through the lower 48 in a 1942 Stearman open cockpit biplane.

Do you have a suggestion?

5 comments:

Karen said...

Great list! I'm noting them down for future reading. I love travel and have made that the theme of my blog. I ran across several travel stories by Mark Twain and, since we love to cruise, I read the collection of stories about his cruise in 1860, Innocents Abroad I cannot imagine crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a side wheeler.

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

Back then a side wheeler was high tech.

Diana said...

I can think of a few movies about traveling in unique ways.
Up by Disney and Danny Deckchair by a film company in Australia. Both have to do with tying weather balloons onto a house and a lawn chair to get away from it all. :-)

Andy Scheer, Hartline Literary said...

I'm sure I'd prefer a 1930 Ford.

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