Editor’s Notes: Buckle Up, the July 2013 Road Trip Edition is Here

Gas up. Buckle up. Read up!
Your road trip with Hippocampus begins now.

road trip play on route 66 sign that says road trip 7/13This month our magazine is devoted to the open road – and where it took the ten writers featured in our July edition.

My family always traveled by car. Road trips were the only kind of vacation I knew. Surviving out of a cooler (often making sandwiches with soggy American cheese) and making the most of time with Road Bingo and other car games. In March of 2013, I embarked on a 12-day, (almost) cross-country road trip with my husband. Our main goal for the trip was to get to Tulsa and the McAlester area in Oklahoma to see my aunt, uncle and cousins, and Austin, Texas to see his mother (and for me to meet my mother-in-law for the first time). We opted to drive (well, I had some heavy convincing to do, but in the end my husband admitted to enjoying the road trip and agreed it was far better than flying).

donna talarico in car holding atlas with thumbs up

I’m ready to go, with my real, paper atlas!

We planned different routes there and back so we could see different parts of the country. We didn’t have a specific agenda, but we hit plenty of quirky roadside attractions. Highlights, aside from seeing my family and spending so much undivided time with Kevin, were: a stretch of Route 66 (we stayed at a immaculate-yet-cute-and-rustic old-time hotel called The Wagon Wheel for $66 — very clever!); the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas; the St. Louis Arch; the missions of San Antonio; swamplands in Louisiana where we were thisclose to gators; the beer can house in Houston; and a wild animal safari in Missouri. We truly enjoyed so many random stops that every time I look at our album I am reminded about something I nearly forgot about!

On the way home, just hours from our apartment in the wee hours of the morning, we (meaning I) hit a log in the middle of the road near Roanoke, Va. Both driver’s side wheels and tires were shot, and we later found out the struts were too. I don’t think this adventure could have ended any other way, though.

Maybe one day I’ll write about my own recent road trip at more length. But I provide this anecdote to share just how much I love being on the road and exploring quaint towns and odd attractions that we’d otherwise miss by flying over middle America. See, my then-pending road trip was the inspiration for this theme issue–although I didn’t realize at the time mine would end in the way that it did! Several months ago we put out this call for submissions:

Long car rides. Pit stops. Getting lost. There are many types of travel, but this wanderlust-filled issue will feature those that have one thing in common about getting from point A to point B: four wheels. Well, five –if you count the steering wheel! Whether it was a Griswald-style family vacation, a college road trip gone wrong or a blooper-filled romantic getaway, we hope that you will consider sharing your story for our special theme issue.

Our reading panel enjoyed our own journey through 130+ road-related tales, and we are excited to take you along for the ride for these 10 selected adventures.

Your Hippocampus Road Trip Itinerary:

  • Blazer – Camille Griep
  • Blue Eyes at the Wheel – Anthony J. Mohr
  • Call of the Canyon – Stacey Balkun
  • Driving Alone – Beverly Offen
  • Good Intentions – Penn Stewart
  • Life of a Houseplant – Matt Berman
  • Lining up to be a Hot Lunch – Hayley LeMay
  • Road Warrior – Vicki Mayk
  • Silent Night, Firelight – John Redmond
  • Song Collectors – Stuart Gelzer

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Craft Articles, Reviews & More

This month’s interview also fits the Road Trip theme. We speak to Ken Ilgunas, author of Walden on Wheels, a memoir that follows his adventures from the Alaska back-country to his living in a van for two years in order to be free of student loan debt. We think his interview is a lot of fun, and we hope you do too.

Also keeping with the road trip theme:

Plus, we unveil a new feature, Reel Life, which looks at a different kind of narrative nonfiction–documentaries. This month, new columnist Jonathan Rocks looks at Beauty Day, which documents the life of Canada’s Cap’n Video and his (mis)adventures as a TV comedy stuntman (think Jackass).

Happy Trails and Travels,

Donna Talarico


Cover of Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas On the open road from debt to freedom - picture of red van in front of trees

In honor of this month’s road trip edition, we’re giving away two copies of Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas.(Read our interview with Ken here.)

To win: Comment on one of this month’s road trip stories or articles, or share one of them on Twitter (must include our handle, @hippocampus mag so we can find it!).

We’ll put everyone in a drawing and announce the winners on July 31.

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