Thursday, March 06, 2008

"See the USA, do research today"

OK, OK, Dinah Shore, wherever you are, please forgive me.

You had to have been there, staying up in your ski pajamas late on Sunday nights, sitting on the living room floor, listening to Dinah, watching her just glow with joy as she sang about seeing the USA in your Chevrolet. I've tried over the years to follow her advice, although I've also used American Motors, Volkswagen, Nissan, Plymouth, Toyota and Honda, and the next big jaunt will be in a Saturn. Anyway, as vacation season approaches just beyond the tree buds you almost see in your front yard, my surprisingly sound advice to you is to get books from the library to help plan your own travels with Burt Reynolds or whoever else warms your heart.

Two years ago, on a trip to Vicksburg, Miss., I wouldn't have found the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale if I hadn't borrowed ACPL travel books. Same for the tiny Jim Henson museum in his home town of Leland, which itself isn't much bigger than Kermit the Frog. Last year, my son Aaron and I wouldn't have discovered one of the best-kept natural history secrets in the East -- Pennsylvania's Ricketts Glen State Park and its 22 named waterfalls. The concept applies to every other such journey I've taken for many years now. It's so much more fun when you have some idea of where you are going.

Next up for Patty and me is Austin, to visit our daughter, Noelle. We're hauling furniture for her this time, so, to break up the Interstate monotony, we'll cruise the lovely Natchez Trace on the way down and drive among the Ozarks on the way home. I plan to load up on travel books this very evening. If you'd like to do the same (and, like me, overcome your guilt about global warming, etc.), come to the Readers' Services Department at the Main library or work with your librarian at your local branch, who will have some materials and will be able to get others from Main.

According to Dinah, "America's the greatest land of all." Here at ACPL, we've got the books (and maps) to help you discover what she meant.