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Coast to Coast: 10/15/10

cover art

Summer vacations at first meant camping in the mountains just east of San Diego, typically Green Valley Falls or somewhere nearby. Later it meant hooking up the popup trailer or piling into the R.V. and heading out for the open road.

For one reason or another we rarely took the interstates. Instead we kept to the "blue highways." We took the old state routes (often following the remnants of route 66, or old highway 395, the Pacific Coast Highway, and so forth). The heyday of these roads, for the most part, is over, though historians and local civic groups have helped to renew interest in them.

When I saw Coast to Coast by Catherine Donzel on prominent display at my library, I had to read it. It is a visual history of the American road trip as recorded in travel brochures and postcards. It's a coffee table book, oversized and teeming with things to look at.

The book is organized into itineraries. The book seems biased towards the East Coast. There are more trips and longer descriptions of places covered in these chapters. I was eager to see what would be covered in the west coast and it was just a single chapter with only a few stops put in an illogical order. One of the stops covered is my home town, San Diego, but none of the spots we visited in my childhood were covered even though they were on the same historical routes.

I don't know if the oversight was from a lack of source material (not enough west coast postcards) or an authorial lack of interest in the Pacific south west. I would like to see a follow up volume with more coverage of my corner of the United States.

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