• 02.13.14

This Driving App Lets Mad Ones Recreate Kerouac’s “On The Road” Journey Exactly

German student Gregor Weichbrodt used Google Maps’ Direction Services API to create a driving manual called On the Road For 17,527 Miles, which fully recreates Kerouac’s journey.

These are boom times for stoned, couch-bound college freshman. Pretty much every movie, song, or show is but a click away, and has made it simple to order any type of cuisine from anywhere. Things have even improved for those with a literary bent, who prefer to flee the dorm whenever possible. It used to be that the only way such students could follow the path of beat hero Jack Kerouac was to hang out in coffee shops wearing sunglasses and emulating Kerouac’s writing, badly. Now, technology has provided an even better option.


A new driving manual called fully recreates Kerouac’s exact journey through America’s soft underbelly. It won’t look the same as it did back then, that’s for sure, but many of the sights will be familiar to readers of the American lit classic, which was most recently adapted into a 2012 film starring Kristen Stewart. The app provides precise turn-by-turn instructions to ensure faithful readers maximum verisimilitude.

Created by German student Gregor Weichbrodt, uses driving directions from Google Maps’ Direction Service API, so it has a familiar feel to anyone who has taken a smartphone-assisted drive anywhere complicated in recent years. The manual comes out to 55 pages, whose chapters match those of the original book, and it can be viewed online, and is also available as an ebook. According to the manual, the drive will take 272.26 hours, which is probably a lot faster than it took for Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. In any case, the trip is sure to be more illuminating than the Sex and the City tour of New York.

H/t to Laughing Squid

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.