The Drive North: A Swing Down Memory Lane (Jason Hussong)

The-Drive-North-A-Swong-Down-Memory-Lane-by-Jason-Hussong
The Drive North: A Swing down Memory Lane
The Drive north by Jason Hussong

The Drive North
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Stars: ****

Pages: 239 (e-book edition)

First published by Outskirts Press Inc. in 2011

Mixing past and present this is both a travelogue, conveying the best stop-off points whilst driving north from Mexico to Canada, and a personal diary of childhood road trip memories.

In Jason’s opening chapter we gain a small insight into his family holidays as a child.

“Family road trips made my summer vacations as a child worthwhile… embodied in The Beast, a giant, gray-colored conversion van with a glorious red and orange racing stripe painted down the sides that gave the illusion it was going fast while other cars zipped on by.” (Page 13 – e-book edition)

Places like Washington D.C. and Gettysburg, seen as too educational as a child, are now places that Jason considers to be ‘quintessentially’ American.  These road trips and family vacations not only bring back warm memories but have also sparked a desire to frequent the National Parks – The Grand Canyon, Utah, Arches, Bryce and Zion.  With an aspiration to rediscover America, Jason’s staycation road trip is born.

Kicking off his trip on the same day his beloved Boys of Summer take to the baseball field for the first day of the season, Jason drives along Interstate 25 from Denver towards New Mexico.

On the advice of his father, his first stop is in Ft. Sumner to visit the Carlsbad Caverns, where it is suggested that he dines at 750 feet below the earth’s surface.  Most people want to have lunch in a skyscraper, looking out over a great view so I do wonder how many people have this on their ‘must-visit’ list of restaurant locations.

Maybe after spending time underground, Jason feels a need to take in a deep breath of fresh air hence his stop-off at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  If you are a keen hiker this sounds like the ideal place to spend a long weekend, getting lost around the rocky trails and taking in the rugged views.

Continuing on his road trip, Jason takes in other wonderful, natural sites revealing snippets of his own personality along the way.  Falling ungracefully into a hot springs pool in front of an audience is just one example of the misfortune he encounters that he is willing to share with his readers.

Another hilarious recap comes moments later when, fully empathising with Jason, I read about him going for a hike into the Boquillas Canyon, sweating profusely in the midday sun, and thinking about how he is going to enjoy relaxing in his ice-box chilled hotel room when he returns only to find out that the cleaners have turned the air-con off meaning the room feels more like a sauna than a freezer – I did feel for him.

Thanks to Jason, Boquillas Canyon, Santa Elena and the general area of Big Bend National Park are now on my list of places to visit.  Throughout all of his mishaps he is able to provide descriptions of his surroundings that make you truly envious of his ability to be able to experience such natural beauty without having to embark on a plane trip.

This, however, is not just a travelogue about National Parks but a recount of his memories and experiences, his interactions with others and the challenge that he has set himself. 

Using his annual leave, Jason covers 6,199 miles, visits 11 National Parks and has created an amusing tale for others to read.

If you are considering a road trip around America but would like to do something slightly different to Route 66 this is a book to give you inspiration.

A funny, light-hearted, easy read.

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