American Gods Roadtrip

American Gods Roadtrip

niel gaiman american gods road trip book novelAlmost anyone who reads Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel American Gods dreams of hitting the road following the route Shadow takes through the Midwest.

Last week marked the ten-year anniversary of the book’s first publication. Here are six essential locations to seek out so you can live Shadow’s journey.

I have obscured the location of several of the places in this book: the town of Lakeside, for example, and the farm with the ash tree an hour south of Blacksburg. You may look for them if you wish. You might even find them.”  —Neil Gaiman American Gods 

1. House on the Rock, Spring Green, WI. The first major stop in American Gods—the stop that solidified to the reader that Shadow is caught between two worlds—is House on the Rock, outside of Spring Green. This dizzying roadside attraction makes it easy to believe there are multiple realities layered atop one another, with dioramas, music machines, and architecture jumbled and smashed together. Continue reading “American Gods Roadtrip”

5 Epic Drives that Induce Vertigo

5 Epic Drives that Induce Vertigo

There’s a reason the winding mountain road is an iconic image in our culture. Here are five roads that will induce a white-knuckle grip on the safety handle.

beartooth pass montana mountain road winding peaks highway switch-back
Highway 312, Beartooth Pass, Montana. Photo by: Eric Warren

Beartooth Pass – Highway 312 Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana

Highway 312 winds 60 miles from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana at the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Starting at 5,555 feet, the highway claws its way up 5,000 feet in less than 19 miles, switching-back on itself dozens of times before reaching Beartooth Pass, named after a spike of rock that looks like a massive canine tooth. Most of the drive is above treeline, with great views of towering granite peaks, hundreds of alpine lakes and snow all summer long. Keep an eye out for Grizzly Bears and Bighorn Sheep. Also, don’t forget to stop at “Top of the World” a tiny convenience store near the highpoint of the pass.

Continue reading “5 Epic Drives that Induce Vertigo”

Photo Essay: Mt. Washington’s Historic Cog Railway

Mount Washington looms over coastal New England. At 6,288 feet, it is visible from the Atlantic Ocean, 80 miles away. The highest windspeed ever recorded was clocked here on April 12th, 1934 at 231 mph. The “home of the worst weather on Earth” is accessible by a winding toll-road, but (for once) I decide to leave the car behind and take the historic cog railway allowing me to sit back and enjoy the ride as it claws its way straight up the mountain.

An old-style watertower stands over the tracks at the base of Mount Washingtons historic cog railway, keeping the locomotives cool on their slow grind to the top.

Continue reading “Photo Essay: Mt. Washington’s Historic Cog Railway”

Long Live Roadtrips! Three Ways to Keep Exploring America’s Roadways Through Rising Fuel Prices

Long Live Roadtrips! Three Ways to Keep Exploring America’s Roadways Through Rising Fuel Prices

As the summer season approaches, I find myself following the price of oil and wondering how the upward trend is going to affect my travel season. The truth is that oil, and the fuels made from it, are a finite resource. The price is going to continue to rise, no matter how many subsidies we throw at it. Period. But this doesn’t spell the end of the roadtrip. (In fact, this may be the dawn of a new “golden age” of exploring America’s roadways.) Here are three ways to keep the pavement rolling under your tires as fuel prices rise.

Will talks to a local about how the town has changed over the course of the man's lifetime. Photo by: Eric Warren

1. See more, drive (slightly) less. While I’d love to get back out to the Rocky Mountains again this year, I’m considering scrapping that plan for exploring the nearby White Mountains instead. Rather than drone out long-distance milage to get to a far-off destination, I’m going to spend a lot more time getting to know the backroads of western Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. While a lot of the small towns here aren’t considered “destinations,” they all have something to offer, either historical or cultural. I spent twenty minutes with an elderly gentleman as he described, to my friends and I, how the small town we stopped in for breakfast had changed over the years since his childhood. I’d never heard any of the events he’d spoken of and it reminded me how little I really knew about the region within 100 miles of my home. Continue reading “Long Live Roadtrips! Three Ways to Keep Exploring America’s Roadways Through Rising Fuel Prices”