Years ago, before smart phones were a thing, you were fairly limited in finding out what was coming up next on those long highways. Oh sure, you’d see the blue highway signs that would tell you the next rest stop was in 27 miles, or there was an amusement park, a KOA Campground and a Wawa at exit 7A. Your AAA triptych would give you some idea of what was on the way, too, but overall you were pretty limited when it came to details, especially if you were further out than just a couple of miles away.
Back in the 90s, Joe and I, along with our friend Steve, used to do a lot of road trips. We all lived in the NY/NJ/Philadelphia area at the time and visited Niagara Falls, Williamsburg VA, Cape May NJ, Cedar Point, a Disney convention in MA, and a bunch of other places. Steve had a book called The Next Exit, which had a listing of everything at, you guessed it, the next exit. Food, gas, lodging, camping, shopping, you name it. Let me tell you, that book was super important to us when we did road trips, because it had listings for every exit of every U.S. Interstate Highway in the contiguous United States, so we could know specifically where to find a Wendy’s or Holiday Inn Express (Joe may have already been doing the “points” thing), or if the next gas station was a name brand or not.
It wasn’t until the advent of smart phones that this information was at your fingertips, and even now, if you’re in a remote area without much signal and no way to become your own hot spot, you might still be out of luck. Plus, of course, you have to know where to look – I mean, if you’re on the I-90 in Anystate USA, have a picky eater in the car and want to know what restaurants are at a rest stop 2 hours ahead of you so you can plan lunch, where do you look to find out? Well, as the (not so) old saying goes, “There’s an app for that!” (and sometimes a book, too!)
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