It’s late July, and if you haven’t already planned your summer vacation, might we suggest taking a cross-country road-trip? The sort of classic American holiday immortalized in novels ranging from Jack Kerouac’s On The Road and Ken Kesey’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to Mark Twain’s Roughing It and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild?
Over at Atlas Obscura, author Richard Kreitner has posted an obsessively detailed map of literature’s most epic road trips, covering over 1,500 locations spread from Hawaii to Mexico, from Maine to Portland. Think of is as inspiration for a last-minute (and oh-so-bookish) vacation.
A dozen novels are represented, ranging from relatively quick jaunts (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig) to epic up-and-down-the-country treks (John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley). Great literary road trips that are either day trips (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) or “defiant of cartographical order” (Lolita) have been excluded.
Atlas Obscura does not claim total cartographical accuracy. “I beg forbearance if you, a hermit in the mountains of Wyoming, find that I have pinned Mark Twain’s reference to Horse Creek in a place where it could not have been, or if you, a denizen of what Tom Wolfe rather unkindly called ‘the Rat lands’ of Mexico, find my estimation of the precise location of Chicalote, Aguascalientes, somewhat inexact,” Kreitner writes, his tongue planted firmly in cheek. Accuracy aside, there’s certainly enough here to keep a dharma bum busy for the next decade.