Jessica Dunham is a veteran journalist whose passion as a travel writer is the open road. She knows the well-traveled roads along Route 66 and Interstate 5. And she knows the less-visited locales, like the night sky over Marfa, Texas, which includes mysterious blinking lights.
Dunham, the author of “The Open Road: 50 Road Trips in the USA” is our guest this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast.
Co-host Bruce Aldrich and I interview Dunham about her latest book (it’s an updated edition) and also about the pleasures of traveling — on good days and bad days. She discusses how the many places she’s traveled were condensed into the 50 places in the book.
According to its media information, the book comprises “lists of the best coastal drives, cross-country journeys, trips for kids and awe-inspiring views.”
The book, available on all major online retailers, is organized by region and includes suggestions for a weekend getaway to a cross-country trip.
Descriptions include a leaf-peep along the Blue Ridge Parkway, wildflowers on Arizona’s Apache Trail, kitschy roadside attractions along Route 66, crossing the Continental Divide in Colorado and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves at your campsite in Big Sur.
Dunman writes about eating your way through Vermont’s farms, dairies, orchards and maple houses. She details gulf shrimp and fried okra in the South, oysters and craft beers Oregon and shaved ice along the scenic Oahu Coastal Loop.
The comprehensive book features planning resources from easy-to-use maps, helpful info on things to do, lodging and dining for every route, clear directions to each route’s starting point and tips for minimizing your environmental impact along the way.
Dunham’s enthusiasm for travel, whether on a solo trek, with girlfriends or with her husband and the couple’s two dogs is evident in her upbeat demeanor.
The book also includes essential tips for health and safety on the road, navigating weather conditions, strategies for road-tripping with kids and four-legged friends as well as playlists and podcasts for accompaniment of the open road.
Besides her new book, Dunham has vast experience as a travel writer. She was a travel guide editor at Madden Media and has contributed to PHOENIX magazine, Midwest Living, Modern Luxury and Runner’s World. She’s also co-written and solo written several other travel books.
Please join us for a lively half-hour. Dunham shares her keen insight as a traveler and author, and she shares a few travails from the open road.
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Hosted by James Raia and Bruce Aldrich, The Weekly Driver Podcast dives deep into the highways and byways of the automotive world. Each week, we put you in the driver’s seat, exploring unique, unusual, and often untold stories from across the industry’s spectrum.
Article Last Updated: November 1, 2023.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.