This exhaustively researched and updated travel book includes every Florida interstate, tollroute, and turnpike in an incisive and award-winning format. It is an invaluable driving guide to the Sunshine State.
Author and Canadian Travel writer, Dave Hunter, along with his wife, Kathy, is a snowbird, leaving Canada to winter in sunny Florida each year. These annual trips made the need for such a guidebook obvious. Using their talent and expertise, they compiled this informative bible of Florida roadways. You will not find a more comprehensive guide to the state.
At first the book is daunting. It begins with several pages of “how to use this book” practical information in an attempt to demystify the complex contents. Don’t think you can just open this book and figure out what is going on, do your homework! A few minutes studying the instructions will help to bring the book into focus. Then, slowly at first, as you use it you’ll see how cross-referencing the different sections makes sense.
Visual aids abound throughout the book. The pages in each section are color-coded, with different roads having different colors, as does the city map section and the resources section. The 100 page “white section” contains “mile-by-mile travelogs of roadside adventures, stories, special reports and sights”, with side-bars of info, small maps, illustrations and plenty of interesting historical and geographical tidbits to keep the conversation flowing on your drive.
Did you know that Kissimmee, which means heaven’s place in the local Indian language, was once called “Cow Town”? Or that Orlando was named after a soldier killed during an Indian attack? Those are tiny asides in the voluminous wealth of information you’ll pick up in the white pages. There are also personal accounts and assessments of the services and attractions at each exit, with refreshing observations about the people you’ll meet there. In addition, the top of each page tells you the highway it covers and the page number(s) of the corresponding map.
Then, when you flip to the map there is a discussion of highway congestion and alternate routes around it. This information should eliminate the frustration and aggravation that long-distance driving on unfamiliar roads can engender. I loved the maps! They illustrate the main waterways, rest areas, attractions, and list the gas, food, and lodging options at each exit. There are even warnings about where radar traps are usually set up.
In addition, this book serves as an evacuation guide in case of natural catastrophe, such as a hurricane. It even tells you which side of the road services are located on, and offers parallel routes in case of congestion. It contains all the information you hope to never need!
My only critique, besides the fact that my eyes crossed when I first looked at this imposing and complex compendium, was the interchangeable use of spellings, such as “travelog” and “travelogue”, or “toll route”, “tollroute”, and “toll-route”, which only a pedant would obsess over. As soon as I learned the logic of the, at first, formidable layout, I overlooked the spellings and became comfortable with the process of diving into the depths of this marvelous reference book. I can’t wait to go to Florida and use it!
Along Florida’s Expressways 4th edition by Dave Hunter – $24.95 US, $29.95 Canada. 202 pages, spiral bound, color, 6”x9” with a laminated, fold-over cover opening up to a full color Florida Road map showing the highways included. Go to www.FLonline.info for more information.
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