American literature’s most iconic road trips on a map
Every novel is a journey on its own. Whether characters physically travel from one place to another or dreamily develop their thoughts, they are almost never at the same place where they started by the end of the narrative. And, of course, they take you with them at every steps.
For some writers though hitting the road is a way to unleash their deepest reflections and capture their feelings with the most delicious words like Jack Kerouac in On the Road or Mark Twain with Roughing It.
Richard Kreitner from Atlas Obscura calls himself ‘a freak for the American road trip’ and one may be inclined to believe him when contemplating this astonishing map of American literature’s most epic road trips: this gargantuan work compiles over 1,500 hand-typed locations from 12 novels (see full list below).
In the heart of summer, this great American road trip map is the perfect shot of inspiration to escape from work, by either literally taking the road or just losing yourself in one of those great novels.
List of novels featured in Atlas Obscura’s ‘Obsesively detailed map of American Literature’s most epic road trips’:
Wild, Cheryl Strayed (2012)
The Cruise of the Rolling Junk, F. Scott Fitzgerald (1934)
Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails With America’s Hoboes, Ted Conover (1984)
A Walk Across America, Peter Jenkins (1979)
Cross Country: Fifteen Years and 90,000 Miles on the Roads and Interstates of America with Lewis and Clark, Robert Sullivan (2006)
The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson (1989)
Blue Highways: A Journey into America, William Least Heat Moon (1982)
On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)
Roughing It, Mark Twain (1872)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig (1974)
Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck (1962)
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe (1968)
Interested in more trips inspired by books? Check out this page!
Funny how all of them missed Arkansas.
Ahah indeed! The novel True Grit by Charles Portis takes place in Arkansas but I’ve never read it. The Coen Brothers movie based on it is great though.