On Wednesday, I received a copy of Fodor’s “Essential USA” (688 pages, $21.95), which is subtitled “Spectacular Cities, Natural Wonders and Great American Road Trips.”
I requested the book from Fodor’s because of this description:
The book includes classic road trip itineraries like Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway, where to stay and eat for all budgets, “best bet” tours and attractions in dozens of locales, best places to slow down (Maine coast, Western Montana, California desert, North Carolina’s Outer Banks and the Florida Keys), and best destinations for foodies (New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Texas Hill Country).
But having perused it extensively, I found that the entries on Route 66 are scant. The “Best Road Trips in the U.S.” section takes up only three pages, and Route 66 only five paragraphs.
Worse, the Route 66 text contains at least one significant error. It lists the National Historic Route 66 Federation (National66.com) as a place to download turn-by-turn directions, when it actually is Swa Frantzen’s Historic66.com site. And it is curious to list from Arcadia, Okla., to Stroud, Okla., as “one of the longest surviving stretches” of Route 66 when there are others that are longer and more prominent.
“Essential USA” contains chapters on Chicago, Los Angeles and the Santa Fe / Albuquerque / Taos. Each is informative, but has almost no information on the “kitschy roadside attractions, old diners and motels … often marked by huge elaborate neon signs” that Route 66 travelers would seek. The “Along the Way” short summaries of other cities include Amarillo and St. Louis, but omit prominent towns such as Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Flagstaff, Ariz., and both Springfields.
This is the first edition of “Essential USA.” Maybe Fodor’s will devote comprehensive chapters to the best road trips, including Route 66, in future editions (hint, hint).