It’s that time of year again when most of us take a few days off in between the holidays to relax, get the car tuned up and start mapping for next year’s road trip adventures.  To help you plan, Stuckey’s has compiled this short list of what we think are seven of the best road trip books ever written. Some you may have already read and maybe they’ve even fueled your wanderlust for road trips. Some might take you back to other road trips – summers on the beach or winters in a cabin curled under the blankets in front of a roaring fireplace. How many of these have you read and do you have a favorite that we might have left off our list of classic road trip reads?

On the Road │ Jack Kerouac  

A prototypical novel of both freedom and longing during the Beat Generation,  On the Road tells the somewhat autobiographical story of two friends, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady (characterized in the book as Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, respectively) and the years they spent traveling the highways of North America.  As  the two roam the country on a quest to find meaning and experience life, it is Kerouac’s love of America, compassion for humanity and sense of language as jazz that make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance and a work that has inspired many a road trip since it was first publish six decades ago. 

Blue Highways │ William Least Heat Moon

Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey along our nation’s back roads. In 1978, William Least Heat-Moon put his wanderlust to emotional, existential and then literary use. Leaving a broken marriage and a lost job behind him, he spent three months exploring the continental United States by way of its back roads; however,  It was not only the roads he wrote about but also the people who he met along them in “those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; and Whynot, Mississippi.” Four years later, Blue Highways: A Journey Into America was published and became a best seller that  is celebrated  today as a masterpiece of American travel writing.

Travels With Charley │ John Steinbeck

In 1962, at the age of 58 John Steinbeck set out on a quest across America that would take him from the northernmost tip of Maine to California’s Monterey Peninsula to, in his words, “hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light” and to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. He set off with his French poodle named Charlie, driving the interstates and back roads, dined with truckers, comes across bears in Yellowstone National Park, and catches up with old friends in San Francisco and the unexpected kindness of strangers nearly everywhere.  Down every road, he ponders the American character racial hostility, and the peculiar form of American loneliness that he finds has swept across the nation.  

Flaming Iguanas │ Erika Lopez

Flaming Iguanas is a hilarious novel that has Tomato Rodriguez hopping on her motorcycle and embarking on the ultimate sea-to-shining-sea all-girl road trip. Erika Lopez writes a wonderfully entertaining story that combines all the best parts of Alice in Wonderland and Easy Rider as Tomato crosses the country in search of the meaning of life, love, and the perfect post office. The combination of text, line drawings, rubber stamp art, and a huge measure of attitude result in a wild and wonderful ride that you’ve never taken before, but might be inspired to take after you’ve finished reading it.

The Air-Conditioned Nightmare │ Henry Miller

After living as an expatriate in Europe for 10 years, Henry Miller returned to the United States with an intense desire to see what his America had become while he was away. As a result, in 1939 He set out in his automobile on a journey that was to last three years, visiting many sections of the country and making all sorts of interesting friends of  along the way. The Air-Conditioned Nightmare is the result of that road trip.

The Lost Continent │ Bill Bryson

The very first sentence that Bill Bryson writes in his book sets the tone for the rest of his journey: “I come from Des Moines. Somebody had to” He may have been born in Des Moines, but as soon as he was old enough, he left the Iowa town and America, spending ten years living in England. When he returned to America, he took a 14,000 mile journey through 38 of the contingent states looking for the small town of the American dream only to find Anywhere, USA, a cookie cutter America full of lookalike gas stations, motels, fast food joints, and even the people started to look alike. What he discovered was a content doubly lost – lost in itself and lost to him as he seemed a stranger in his own homeland.


A Life on the Road │ Charles Kuralt

Like many of the authors on our list, southern boy John Charles Kuralt, was bitten by wanderlust and curiosity at a young age, both of which would land him jobs doing everything from writing for newspapers, radio, and TV, to a becoming a CBS News correspondent traveling around the world from Cuba and Vietnam to the Congo and the North Pole. Perhaps most remembered for his twenty-plus years roaming the back roads of America, in this memoir, Kuralt relives a lifetime of discovering places and people whose unique stories enriched him, shaped him, and fueled his all-consuming passion: to find out what wonderful thing waits just around the next bend in the road.

So there you are. If you haven’t read any of these books, why not get a copy of one that sounds interesting to you, sit down with one of our new and bigger-sized Stuckey’s pecan log rolls and a nice cup of coffee in our one of our new signature mugs and start planning your next road trip adventure.

No Stuckey’s locations near you? Stuckey’s can deliver our famous pecan log rolls or other pecan treats right to your door just in time for the holidays. And don’t forget that Stuckey’s caps, t-shirts, mugs and other Stuckey’s merchandise make great gifts for the upcoming holidays. Visit us at stuckeys.com now to find out more and take 10% off your order from now until midnight December 31st!

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