Friday, June 29, 2018

Don't Make Me Pull Over!

Don't Make Me Pull Over! by Richard Ratay
Scribner: 7/3/18
eBook review copy; 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9781501188749

Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay is a highly recommended look at the historical and personal aspects of family vacation roadtrips.

As late as 1975 four in five Americans had never traveled by plane, so how did families travel then (and earlier) for their vacations? By car, of course! Family vacation roads trips are legendary and most (large) families who experienced these treks have the stories and quotes to back up their claims. In Don't Make Me Pull Over! Ratay, who focuses on his family's road trips in the seventies, and covers: the history of the development of interstate highways; the beginning of road trips and those who pioneered driving cross country; maps; speed limits; radar detectors;  CB radios; diversions along the way; eating on the road and drive-ins; gas stations; camping and motels; car styles and station wagons; seat belts and safety - to name a few topics.

Early family road trips, before portable DVD players, electronic games, etc, were an option, required a bit more work to entertain or keep the whole carload happy or at least content. My experience of family road trips started off earlier than Ratay's family trips. Of course many of us remember no ac or seat belts in cars and that it was the oil crisis of 1973 that started the 55 mph speed limit. And some of us had to learn to drive in a station wagon.

This is an imminently readable and enjoyable mix of history and personal recollections. Ratay does a nice job mixing light hearted nostalgia with the history and developments that the love of car trips encouraged. I appreciated the historical context along with the footnotes. Readers who have experience the family road trip will appreciate the historical context of many of the topics Ratay covers. It will also bring back some memories of road trips in your past. After you, perhaps, learn a historical fact or two, you will want to call family members and laugh about vacations in the past.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner.

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