I-75 painstakingly detailed in new travel guideWritten by Roger Holliday Claudia Fischer | | firstname.lastname@example.org
You only have to stand alongside I-75 for a few moments and count the endless stream of passing cars, SUVs, motor homes, trucks and motorcycles to know that tens of millions of people use this north/south super highway each year.
It was certainly this vast audience potential — plus an inquiring mind, an infectious enthusiasm, a flair for details and a love of travel with family — that prompted Canadian Christine Marks to take on the prodigious task of compiling a mile-by-mile comprehensive driving guide and travel planner for the 1,700 mile trip between Ontario and the Florida Keys.
“I-75 and the 401: A Traveler’s Guide between Toronto and Miami” (Boston Mills Press, $12.95) — now in its fourth edition — is the latest iteration of a 13 year labor of love that has taken Christine and her two daughters to every tourist nook and cranny along the route.
This 256-page, spiral bound paperback has at its core, map pages that show the route in 20 mile segments, mile marker by mile maker, exit by exit, systematically listing every single eatery, motel, service station and tourist site. As a bonus you get 300 coupons for food, lodging, gas and attractions.
Add large sections of historical data, back stories on all relevant states and towns mixed in with trivia, “did-you-knows,” and descriptions of every accessible tourist attraction, here’s one travel guide that could easily earn its keep in a single trip!
When the first edition of “I-75” came out, Marks reports that her younger daughter was just 1 year old. Now, Emily and Lizzie are an integral part of the publishing team, helping their mother organize material, check facts, take photographs and ultimately ensure that the book always remains family-friendly.
We think it does so. The writing is readable and upbeat.
There are personal anecdotes, and even a day-by-day trip diary written by each member of the family. Enough stuff to while away many hours.
Vital in a project like this, however, is assistance from visitors and convention bureaus along the route…and obviously some have been more helpful than others.
Toledo rates three whole pages of history and attractions with come-on headlines like “More Than A Stopover” and “A Kid Friendly Place.” Bowling Green and Findlay, on the other hand, appear only as exits with listings of fast-food restaurants, lodgings and gas stations.
It’s also clear that on this vast highway of information all the material can never be completely up-to-date or accurate. Businesses open and close. Web sites change. Opening hours alter. Phones disconnect. In the Toledo text, for example, “COSI” is still included whereas it’s now the “Imagination Station.” And at one point Greenfield Village is referred to as “Greenwich Village.”
But these are just minor caveats, easily correctable in the next edition. At $24.95 — and with all its bonus coupons — “I-75 and the 401” would make a fine gift for the traveler in your life.