The Open Road & The Great American Road Trip

More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to the nation’s 16,000-plus campgrounds and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

Rand McNally The Open Road

Rand McNally The Open Road

According to a recent survey of RV owners by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), 66 percent of RV owners intend to use their RVs more this summer than they did last year, and 28 percent will use theirs the same amount.

Road trips have long remained a classic American pastime, and with the increasing popularity of RV travel these popular driving adventures won’t be going out of style anytime soon.

That’s because there’s no better way to experience the charming waterfront towns, stunning vistas and rugged cliffs that dot America’s varied landscape than from behind the wheel of a recreational vehicle.

The Great American Road Trip is steeped in lore going back to the days of Route 66.

There is an unlimited variety of scenic routes all boasting incredible sights including the stunning National Parks such as Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Mesa Verde.

There are the towns of the Wild West, like Tombstone and Dodge City, the nation’s uniquely colorful and lively party sports like New Orleans and Las Vegas, and smaller but wonderfully charming cities that might otherwise evade travelers such as Santa Fe and Austin.

Rand McNally The Open Road

Rand McNally The Open Road

There’s the Gulf Coast, Texas Hill Country, the Great Plains, Sonoran Desert, Rocky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Lakes, and the Golden Isles.

There are stark deserts, high peaks, endless sand dunes, broad rivers, and every sort of stunning natural beauty.

Every step of the way there are unique regional foods from slow smoked Texas barbecue to Cajun and Creole cooking to deep dish pizza.

Finally, there is endless roadside Americana, from giant balls of twine to rocket ships, all sorts of unique attractions and outdoor adventures.

Whether done in six or 60 days, the Great American Road Trip is a seminal experience, and one that is worth doing over and over again.

So pack the RV and get ready to embark on your summer road trip.

And just in time for Father’s Day and the 2014 summer travel season, Rand McNally has released a perfect gift for Dad, Granddad, and others who love their road trips: A limited edition boxed gift set called The Open Road: Rand McNally and the Story of the Great American Road Trip.

The Open Road is a nostalgic journey through transportation milestones, auto innovations, and roadside iconography — with some modern-day tools to help plan and memorialize the family road trip.

The set contains a 32-page book, The Open Road, giving an overview of motorists, road-side Americana, and the birth of the road trip; an up-to-date mid-size Road Atlas; an attractive, ready-to-frame 26.75-by-39-inch wall map poster with the U.S. road network; and a gift box to hold all the items.

Rand McNally The Open Road

Rand McNally The Open Road

Peruse The Open Road book, which is part of the set, to discover the origin of the U.S. highway numbering system, the development of services (“filling” stations, drive-in diners, roadside inns and more) to support the growing number of road-trippers, and the development of the RV lifestyle. From the first cross-country trips of the 1900s to the Mid-Century “Golden Age” through to the high-tech road-culture of the 21st-century, this book takes the reader on a journey that spans generations of road trips.

Among other tidbits, the book explores:

How the drive between New York and San Francisco was reduced from 63 days to less than 7

How the family car evolved from the Model T to the SUV

When the so-called Tin Can Tourists become intrepid RVers

Why a depot hack would be on the lookout for a Sterling Streamliner

What makes U.S. Patent 1909537 so entertaining

Who was the Uniroyal Lady?

The Open Road Box Set: The Story of the Great American Road Trip is available at select Walmart and Books-A-Million locations as well as online at and on Amazon for a suggested price of $14.99.

Worth Pondering…

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.

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