In 1953, a familiar-looking retired man and his wife hopped into their Chrysler and drove across the United States on a road trip. The man didn't receive a pension to help pay for the cross-country vacation, even though he was an ex-president. President Harry S. Trumann didn't even have secret service to protect him. Back then, he used some money from his memoirs, and drove with his sweetheart, former First Lady Bess, to see the country they had enjoyed in their younger years.
My mom, who is from the WWII-generation, introduced me to this story -- Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure: The True Story of a Great American Road Trip
, by Matthew Algeo. Mom likes it because it shared some of our country's interesting history as she "traveled by book." After she married my dad, she insisted on family road and camping trips. The youngest of five siblings, family lore has it that I began camping at 6-weeks-old. We crammed into a station wagon, hooked the pop-up tent trailer to the car, and headed for hills, valleys, canyons, mountains and oceans. After countless trips across the country, including many National Parks, historic sites, and numerous pit stops at Stuckey's, I, like my mother--and, evidently, President Trumann--learned to love family road trips, and appreciate the history and diversity of our country. What family road trips have you taken? What roads have you yet to take?
If you can't get away, come to your Library and travel with a book. Here are just a few cross-country vacation tales for adults, followed by suggestions for teens and children: