Backroads of the Great American West – Editors of Motorbooks

Backroads of the Great American West is delightful. Delightful. I asked for it the moment it dropped on Netgalley, expecting a wild ride (with pictures!) across the US, and I wasn’t disappointed.

All the contributors–the chapters and routes are written by different authors, each of them with their own unique style–bring this book to life, taking us places via car or bike. Lovely 😀 let’s go!

**

Filled with full-color photography, instructive commissioned maps, and advice from regional travel experts, Backroads of the Great American West is the best one-stop source for road trips that avoid eight-lane expressways and crowded tourist destinations.

Backroads of the Great American West gets you off the Interstates and beaten paths with all the necessary information to take on dozens of great drives. From the dizzying snow-capped heights of the Rocky Mountains to the vast expanses of the desert Southwest, from the lush Pacific Northwest to sunny Southern California and the California coast, the great western American road trip is perhaps the most quintessential of American road trips.

Inside, regional experts—historians, travel writers, and photographers—curate their favorite road trips and their scenic, historic, and cultural attractions, as well as advice on what to do and see along the way. Each is accompanied by color photography and a description of the drive and its attractions. Commissioned maps trace the routes.

176 pages
Travel
Quarto Publishing Books – Motorbooks
Goodreads

**

Cover: I love it. It’s a simple shot, but it’s full of beauty. Plus, the font is a refreshing choice. I like my Times New Roman just like any other sane person around the globe, but a little variety does add some spice. On occasion.

Yay!

  • The title is self-explanatory enough, and it delivers what it promises: a great selection of travel routes, several places to explore at leisure, away from mainstream cities. This is a refreshing take, even more so because it also features Route 66! Did I ever tell you about my fascination with old signs? Diners? Tailfin cars? It’s all there 😀
  • I can’t believe I have to say this, but a travel book requires good pictures. As many as possible, and top-quality too, because us readers? We either want to go there or we’d love to go there but we can’t. Talk about landmarks, the historical importance of place X, tidbits and curiosities to your heart’s content, sure, but don’t forget to show us what you’re talking about too. Do like they did in BotGAW, you’ll be golden. The pictures are splendid, vivid and immortalizing a detail, a landscape, the bark of ponderosa pines and cactus flowers. Wow.
  • Organization-wise, I like how BotGAW has a different section for every State. It makes for easy searching. Also, the structure is good, because almost every trip is four pages long and there are local/state maps detailing roads. In the digital era, a printed map is a revolutionary act.
  • Interesting anecdotes are sprinkled here and there, and the fact that there isn’t a single author contributes to variety. Many voices, many styles, each of them emphasizing new concepts. 

Special mention:

  • American’s Main Street, New Mexico/Arizona section. Bliss, Route 66.
  • Volcano central, Oregon. I love ponderosa pines, and the Three Sisters volcano <3
  • Mojave Desert and historic Route 66, Southern California. I know, I know, but there’s a picture of an ancient gas pump! And signs! 
  • San Juan Skyway, Colorado. The coloring of the steam train, the red of the leaves, perfection.
  • The Sacramento Valley, Northern California. Chinese Pistache Trees and the author talking about how he undertook a long trip just to take a photo of the trees in autumn – it makes my heart burst out with happiness.

Nay!

  • There isn’t a real nay. It’s a great book and I hope to see more of these in the future – same structure, another topic?

TL;DR

4.5 stars on GR, rounded up to five. This is an excellent read, 100% would recommend.

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