The summer I was 10, my father rented a sleep-in trailer to tow behind our station wagon and took our family of 6 from Dedham, Massachusetts to Yellowstone National Park. We spent a month taking the road trip of a lifetime.
Richard Raytay’s book “Don’t Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip” is a great read for any of you listeners who had a similar childhood. It is a mix of memoir, history lesson and travelogue.
The story begins in 1976 when Raytay and his family crash into a ditch during a blizzard while driving from Wisconsin to Florida. Years later his family would remember it as the best start to a family road trip ever.
Raytay’s family of 6 took regular road trips in whatever newest twenty-foot land yacht his father had purchased. He recounts being assigned to sleep on the shelf behind the back seat, playing games in the back seat with his siblings, that Howard Johnson’s was still selling their 28 glorious flavors and drivers were using CB radios to avoid speed traps. It is a nostalgic look at the golden age of road trips before portable DVD players, smartphones and Google Maps. But it is also an informative book about the birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 50’s, which enabled road trips that led to the building of hotels and tourist attractions, the invention of seatbelts and the ups and downs of speed limits.
“Don’t Make Me Pull Over!” is a fun and informative must read for anyone with a road trip story.