by Troy Johnsonbook_24

The Most Scenic Drives In America

Reader’s Digest General Books, 1997

As the days begin to get longer and the temperatures rise many motorcycle riders in Minnesota start thinking about road trips for the coming riding season. There are, of course, countless travel guides to help in planning trips, but they usually focus on the destinations–while every motorcyclist knows that the journeys are at least as important. Interesting roads, tremendous scenery and funky places to eat and sleep are the stuff good road trips by motorcycle are made of.

In The Most Scenic Drives in America Reader’s Digest General Books has compiled 120 of “the most colorful, breathtaking, dramatic, and eye-pleasing stretches of road in the U.S.A. The book divides the United States into four regions–The Western States, The Rocky Mountain States, The Central States and The Eastern States–and provides the reader with at least one scenic drive in each state. Over two dozen editors and contributors were assisted by state tourism offices, the National Forest Service, the National Park Service, local chambers of commerce and travel experts in each region to compile the routes.

The book is extremely well designed and thoughtfully laid out. It begins with simple maps of each of the four regions which display only the borders of the states and red lines depicting the 120 routes. Each route is numbered and at the edge of the page the route numbers, the names of the routes and the pages they appear on are listed. Say you are planning a trip into Missouri. Opening the book to The Central States map on page nine shows two scenic drives in Missouri–numbers 71 and 72, Missouri Rhineland and Missouri Ozarks pages 236 and 238.

Turning to those pages you will find simple yet detailed maps of the drives, beautiful color photographs taken from the routes and a ton of information about the drives and stops along them. The written descriptions are keyed to the map with another numbering system. The text contains descriptions of points of interest, historical and natural anecdotes, and directions when needed–all written in a lucid and concise manner. A box titled Trip Tips gives information on mileage–the drives range from 60 to nearly 500 miles in length–the best season to be on that particular stretch of road, special events and contacts for further information.

The Most Scenic Drives in America is a rare travel reference that will come off the shelf every time I sit down to plan a road trip. Highly recommended.

M.M.M.

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