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Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

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“A lighthearted, entertaining trip down Memory Lane” (Kirkus Reviews), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! offers a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—before portable DVD players, smartphones, and Google Maps. The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—t “A lighthearted, entertaining trip down Memory Lane” (Kirkus Reviews), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! offers a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—before portable DVD players, smartphones, and Google Maps. The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them—from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks. Now, decades later, Ratay offers “an amiable guide…fun and informative” (New York Newsday) that “goes down like a cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day” (The Wall Street Journal). In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, twenty-eight glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio. An “informative, often hilarious family narrative [that] perfectly captures the love-hate relationship many have with road trips” (Publishers Weekly), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together—for better and worse—have largely disappeared.


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“A lighthearted, entertaining trip down Memory Lane” (Kirkus Reviews), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! offers a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—before portable DVD players, smartphones, and Google Maps. The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—t “A lighthearted, entertaining trip down Memory Lane” (Kirkus Reviews), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! offers a nostalgic look at the golden age of family road trips—before portable DVD players, smartphones, and Google Maps. The birth of America’s first interstate highways in the 1950s hit the gas pedal on the road trip phenomenon and families were soon streaming—sans seatbelts!—to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. In the days before cheap air travel, families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and with his family Richard Ratay experienced all of them—from being crowded into the backseat with noogie-happy older brothers, to picking out a souvenir only to find that a better one might have been had at the next attraction, to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks. Now, decades later, Ratay offers “an amiable guide…fun and informative” (New York Newsday) that “goes down like a cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day” (The Wall Street Journal). In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, twenty-eight glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio. An “informative, often hilarious family narrative [that] perfectly captures the love-hate relationship many have with road trips” (Publishers Weekly), Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together—for better and worse—have largely disappeared.

30 review for Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Pure nostalgia, both entertaining and informative. As a young boy, the last of three boys and one sister, the author was baby of the family. As he recounts the road trips he took with his family he used to love riding in the back window of the family car. Of course cars were much larger then, and gasp! Seatbelts were not required. The book opens with a doozy of a beginning, and a near disaster at the beginning of one trip, but as is often the case when something goes wrong, that is the thing or Pure nostalgia, both entertaining and informative. As a young boy, the last of three boys and one sister, the author was baby of the family. As he recounts the road trips he took with his family he used to love riding in the back window of the family car. Of course cars were much larger then, and gasp! Seatbelts were not required. The book opens with a doozy of a beginning, and a near disaster at the beginning of one trip, but as is often the case when something goes wrong, that is the thing or trip that is remembered. No screens, just game bags, treat bags, fighting, arguing, the title of the book announced again and again, along with I'm hungry, need to go potty, and are we there yet. Oh, sweet remembrances. It is also chock full of history, the first roads built, road side attractions, amusement parks, cruise control, rest areas, car games, cb radios so cops could be spotted and relayed to all. Remember these days fondly, the good and bad, not so much with my parents, but with my hubby and I with are seven kids in a conversion van. Reading maps, no gpr devices yet, finding our way was half the battle, but somehow or another we made it. The days when families took vacations together without faces buried in individual screens. Yes, the good old days. As I'm sure you can tell I enjoyed this book immensely, in fact I'm buying it for my hubby who won't read anything unless it is in book form. ARC from Edelweiss.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ I knew I was going to have to get my hands on a copy of Don’t Make Me Pull Over as soon as I saw the cover. I mean, who could really resist the siren song which is that of the family truckster . . . . Being that I am of a certain age, my fondness doesn’t lie courtesy of film alone. No no, I was a willing victim passenger of the “way back seat” as a child. Much like the author, some of my best memories spurred from the place where only Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ I knew I was going to have to get my hands on a copy of Don’t Make Me Pull Over as soon as I saw the cover. I mean, who could really resist the siren song which is that of the family truckster . . . . Being that I am of a certain age, my fondness doesn’t lie courtesy of film alone. No no, I was a willing victim passenger of the “way back seat” as a child. Much like the author, some of my best memories spurred from the place where only the youngest member(s) of the family were forced to ride. If you’re looking for a bit of nostalgia, Richard Ratay’s take on family trips might be for you . . . “It wasn’t that we enjoyed spending endless hours imprisoned together in a velour-upholstered cell, squabbling over radio stations and inhaling each other’s farts. It was that we had no other choice.” Funny how the timing worked out such that I was reading this right when my family is set to embark on a weekend road trip. Of course, their “must see” item on the road is where Last Chance U is filmed while mine would be something more traditional . . . . Luckily Ratay was of like mind with me. You might find yourself a little bogged down with the history of not only how the automobile came to be mass produced, but also how roads themselves were developed/designed/funded. But right when you think it has gone off the rails, Ratay swings you back in the direction of his personal history and tidbits that make you chuckle from nostalgia. Like dodging Ol’ Smokey courtesy of the fuzz buster and CB radio . . . . Or the holy grail of road trip time passers . . . . . If you had one of these, you know time spent was precious because not only did it suck batteries like a G.D. hoover, but it also had no volume control and its use was sure to be permitted only momentarily before the elders in the car went batshit and snatched it away. All in all, this served as a pretty decent trip down memory lane of all the fun that was had while trying to reach our destination . . . .

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    ”Camelot! Camelot! I know it sounds a bit bizarre, But in Camelot, Camelot That's how conditions are. The rain may never fall till after sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear. In short, there's simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot.” -- Camelot, Richard Burton, Songwriters: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe Despite most of our family vacations being courtesy of the airline for which my father flew, we took a lot of road trips. For my father, as much a ”Camelot! Camelot! I know it sounds a bit bizarre, But in Camelot, Camelot That's how conditions are. The rain may never fall till after sundown. By eight, the morning fog must disappear. In short, there's simply not A more congenial spot For happily-ever-aftering than here In Camelot.” -- Camelot, Richard Burton, Songwriters: Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe Despite most of our family vacations being courtesy of the airline for which my father flew, we took a lot of road trips. For my father, as much as he loved flying, road trips were family bonding time. They were, for me, also a chance to bond with my cousins who lived a drivable distance in Virginia, but living on the east coast afforded us a lot of drives to places like Olde Mystick Village & the Seaport Museum, Gettysburg, Plimoth Plantation, Independence Hall, Mount Vernon, Williamsburg, and probably a hundred places where George Washington slept, it was often quipped by the tour guide that Washington slept around a lot (thereby setting a precedent for future Presidents). My favourite Sunday drive was to the Delaware Water Gap, where a fellow pilot friend of my father lived on a Christmas Tree Farm. Most of the early years I only recall the radio not working once we reached less populated areas, and singing replaced the static. But then came 8-Track tapes, and when it came time to replace my mother’s car, lovingly referred to as “Ol’ Bessie,” he had an 8-track player installed for her by the dealer and life changed. Instead of hours and hours of “us” singing the same songs over and over, we were blessed with Camelot, and now and then a break with an 8 track of Bill Cosby comedy. Mostly, the soundtrack of my childhood road trips, though, was Camelot, especially the song ’Camelot.’ Perhaps we all reach an age where we look back on the mellower, happier eras of our childhood, which is partially what Ratay covers in his ”Don’t Make Me Pull Over,” his fondness for the years of being forced into the family station wagon for long hours each day, with a father not likely to pull over for pit stops, no matter how little gas there was in the tank, or how long it had been since they’d visited a rest room along the way. There were long stretches of driving in between such places even in the 1970’s, and even fewer in the 1950’s, depending on how far outside civilization you were. When Ratay went from restless to annoying, his brothers would promptly deliver a “swift noogie,” which would promptly be followed by his father’s ”Don’t make me pull over.” My father’s refrain was a similar, but slightly heightened Don’t make me turn this car around, which I never doubted he would do, and neither did my brothers. There’s a simple, but tongue-in-cheek approach to much of this book that is reminiscent of some of other authors noted for their similar writing style, Bill Bryson comes easily to mind – his ability to weave facts into something amazingly entertaining is very similar to Ratay’s style. ”The practice of American companies testing employees for drug use didn’t become widespread until the mideighties at the prodding of the Reagan administration. I mention this in passing only as one possible explanation for automobile design in the seventies.” How else to explain the bizarre AMC Pacer, a car whose design appeared to be based on the Scrubbing Bubbles of TV ad fame?” My oldest son used to laugh as only a toddler can and point to those cars, referring to them as “Weeble cars” (as in “Weebles wobble but the don’t fall down…”) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFzhj...) Ratay touches on such topics as the advent of CB radios, the advent of seat belts along with several other changes made in the pursuit of safe driving, the eye-opening factor of trips made to, or even through, places unlike the one we call home, dining on the road, finding places to rest or sleep on the road in an era without GPS, the boon of chain hotels, the changing of America through these years. He even touches on airline regulation, and their family’s first trip by airline after deregulation. For those nostalgic for the items of your childhood he talks about such things as Pop Rocks, Atari, Pong, and a list of others. There is a lot of information in these pages, but at its heart, this is an entertaining, nostalgic read. John F. Kennedy was known to be a fan of both the musical Camelot as well as the song, and his favourite lines were in the final song, when Arthur knights a young boy and tells him to share the story of Camelot to future generations. ”Don't let it be forgot That once there was a spot, For one brief, shining moment That was known as Camelot.” Ratay’s story reads a bit like that, this era and its ties with his memories of days spent with his parents and siblings are also a part of what this generation has now, and future generations will have in the future.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    Don’t Make Me Pull Over is a tribute to the American family road trip, but the book encompasses a whole host of topics – 1960’s and 1970’s pop culture, the history of roads in the U.S. including the creation of interstate highways, a short look at airline regulation and eventually deregulation, the development of motels, the creation of the drive-through, and so much more. Much like Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, Ratay effectively weaves in fascinating factual detail fluidly providing information Don’t Make Me Pull Over is a tribute to the American family road trip, but the book encompasses a whole host of topics – 1960’s and 1970’s pop culture, the history of roads in the U.S. including the creation of interstate highways, a short look at airline regulation and eventually deregulation, the development of motels, the creation of the drive-through, and so much more. Much like Rocket Men by Robert Kurson, Ratay effectively weaves in fascinating factual detail fluidly providing information on whichever topic he has introduced. He manages to briefly and efficiently address many side items that add depth and fullness to the story without bogging the reader down with too much information. The result is a compulsive and highly-entertaining read that kept me turning pages late into the night to finish it. My family moved some while I was growing up, and we lived abroad part of the time. As a result, we didn’t road trip much except the 6-7 hours it took to go see my grandparents because most of the places we went required flying to get there. However, my husband grew up taking long road trips and loves driving long distances even now. Thankfully, he has imparted that love to our family, and we drive every summer to Colorado and have taken other fun road trips to Arizona and South Carolina, always stopping to see all sorts of fabulous National Park sites as we go. Some of my kids’ favorite trips (and memories) involve road trips we have taken. While I am unfamiliar with some of the roadside attractions Ratay highlights, I have been to Wall Drug in South Dakota, and his mention of it caused me to fondly recall one of our best road trips through the length of South Dakota stopping to see Wind and Jewel National Parks, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands (one of my kids’ all-time favorite things to see), and Custer State Park, home to hundreds of buffalo. While Wall Drug was a hoot to see (it goes on and on and on now), the Corn Palace would be the side attraction I would highlight for anyone heading through South Dakota. To me, that is the beauty of this book: I learned about a myriad of topics, but the book also sent me back in time helping me recall both events from my childhood and fun trips my husband and I took with our children. A while back, I read Sting-Ray Afternoons by Steve Rushin, and I marveled at how little I recollected about many of the things Rushin mentioned from the 1970’s; as I read that book, I almost wondered if we had lived through the same decade. Don’t Make Me Pull Over was the exact opposite – I felt like I was taking a trip down memory lane, and I loved every second of it. He references the handheld Madden football game, Pop Rocks (and the rumor that Mikey’s stomach had exploded when he ate them with Coke), Atari’s PONG, Mad Libs, riding in the back window of a car, MTV (and the Buggles), and tons of other things I vividly remember from my childhood. My one quibble with the book is that Ratay reaches the conclusion that the family road trip is a thing of the past, and for those few who still drive long distances, it is no longer the same experience. I completely disagree. When we travel by car, the kids do watch their iPads and listen to music some, but they frequently do it together. We still play the license tag game and the alphabet game (we choose a category and work our way through the alphabet naming things in that category, each time starting from A – I am terrible at it when it gets very far at all), and we have Fam Jam where we listen to whatever is a family favorite that particular summer- one year it was a new Taylor Swift album and another it was the Hamilton soundtrack. I also find it is the one time that my husband and I are able to talk uninterrupted (usually) for hours – there are no chores to be done, errands to run, etc. We have discovered countless gems that we would have never seen if we had flown. I believe that for some families the road trip is still alive and well; it may not be the only way we travel, but when we do drive some place far away, the trip is always an experience that we will treasure for years to come. Don’t Make Me Pull Over is a fabulous read, and I highly recommend it. I felt the book started slow but am so glad I kept reading. I received this book to read and review; all opinions are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Gee willikers this is a fun book and blast to the past honoring the great family road trips of days gone by. Ratay and I are close in age, both the youngest of four kids and I felt kinship as he chronicles his family’s car trips in simpler times before electronics, google maps and seat belts. Ratay has similar humor to one of my favorites, Bill Bryson. He intertwines personal experiences with interesting history of our highways and byways, beloved landmarks, and recognizes trailblazers and vision Gee willikers this is a fun book and blast to the past honoring the great family road trips of days gone by. Ratay and I are close in age, both the youngest of four kids and I felt kinship as he chronicles his family’s car trips in simpler times before electronics, google maps and seat belts. Ratay has similar humor to one of my favorites, Bill Bryson. He intertwines personal experiences with interesting history of our highways and byways, beloved landmarks, and recognizes trailblazers and visionaries who were involved in building up our highway infrastructure. One of the most compelling historical bits surrounds Carl Fisher, a man who was involved in the construction of numerous high-profile projects. His rags to riches to rags story is fascinating. Creative chapter titling like ‘Swerving through the Seventies’, ‘Packed in Like Sardines’, ‘Smokeys in the Bush’ made me chuckle. I engaged from the early pages and found myself nodding my head often in recognition of the author's experiences paralleling mine. Gosh, I appreciate those trips more now than I ever did at the time. Hopefully, Ratay’s words will propel his readers to give it a go (but don’t forget to put on your seatbelt!). Comfort and humor for the soul.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy H

    Richard Ratay has written an excellent book about what it was like to travel on America's roads with his family on many family vacations. As a person who shares this type of experience with him, I relished this book and his memories of what it was like in the back seat of all of those over-the-road journeys. His descpriptions are spot on! In addition, he has added a lot of background information on highway travel, which adds depth to his story. This is definitely a good read!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Biblio Files (takingadayoff)

    If the cover and the title make you curious about the book, chances are, you will enjoy it. The design evokes nostalgia and humor, and Richard Ratay delivers both. In between reminiscences of family road trips from his own childhood in the 1970s, Ratay explores some of the aspects of road tripping, such as the interstate highway system, rest stops, and drive-thru restaurants. He looks at the rise of automobile travel, paved roads, camping, and motels. Some detours include thoughts on video games If the cover and the title make you curious about the book, chances are, you will enjoy it. The design evokes nostalgia and humor, and Richard Ratay delivers both. In between reminiscences of family road trips from his own childhood in the 1970s, Ratay explores some of the aspects of road tripping, such as the interstate highway system, rest stops, and drive-thru restaurants. He looks at the rise of automobile travel, paved roads, camping, and motels. Some detours include thoughts on video games, candy cigarettes, and the CB radio fad. He calls it an "informal history," and that becomes especially clear when he injects a fair amount of attitude when describing the "strangling effects" of government regulation -- on airline routes and fares, on highway speed limits, on the use of seat belts. A mostly fun and light hearted look at the fading era of the family road trip. (Thanks to Edelweiss and Scribner for a digital review copy.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Janette Mcmahon

    Wonderful history of American travel, not just family road trips. As one reads, memories good and bad will come to every reader. Even though long road trips have gone out of fashion, we continued to take them with our kids, even today as they are adults. They are a special bonding for families and never fail to give a good travel story or adventure, that faster plane travel cannot provide. Part non fiction and part memoir. Recommend to those who enjoy travelouges and fond memories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Nostalgic . . . Historical . . . Entertaining . . . Fun Reading! Richard Ratay had me laughing at his family vacation anecdotes AND fascinated by the history elements too - along with America's obsession with automobiles and expansion, family dynamic travel nuances, and the hunt for quirky entertainment. A delightful read, for the most part. Had the line editing been tighter and some of the language a bit less colorful, this would a have garnered four stars from me. Still though, easily recommend Nostalgic . . . Historical . . . Entertaining . . . Fun Reading! Richard Ratay had me laughing at his family vacation anecdotes AND fascinated by the history elements too - along with America's obsession with automobiles and expansion, family dynamic travel nuances, and the hunt for quirky entertainment. A delightful read, for the most part. Had the line editing been tighter and some of the language a bit less colorful, this would a have garnered four stars from me. Still though, easily recommendable. THREE *** Entertaining and Enlightening, Nostalgically Fun *** STARS

  10. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Part history, part memoir, this book was a fun and nostalgic read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Denice Barker

    How many times have you heard that as a kid?? While an age contemporary of the author, my family never took a road trip anywhere but I had friends who did and my husband did and I lived them through their stories. This book is so much more than reminiscing about being packed into a car the size of a boat and barely being let out for food or bladder relief until the destination was reached. What is it about dads anyway? I may not have taken road trips when I was a kid, but once married with kids How many times have you heard that as a kid?? While an age contemporary of the author, my family never took a road trip anywhere but I had friends who did and my husband did and I lived them through their stories. This book is so much more than reminiscing about being packed into a car the size of a boat and barely being let out for food or bladder relief until the destination was reached. What is it about dads anyway? I may not have taken road trips when I was a kid, but once married with kids of our own, my husband introduced the concept to me and our kids and he, too, wouldn’t stop for anything. I remember one trip where they kids had nothing but saltine crackers for a whole day because we were headed for someplace by nightfall. What makes this book fascinating, really fascinating, is the back story of road travel itself. We all know that before the interstates travel was on those two lane roads that crawled through towns and with any luck the car you were in was behind a truck hauling felled trees. No, the author takes us all the way back, all the way to when roads themselves were invented. I mean, if you’re going to go somewhere you really benefitted if there was a path. Once you had a path you needed somewhere to go. And you needed somewhere to “go” when you were on your way. A rest area. How surprised was I to find that the very first ‘rest area’ was a place to stop and sit at a picnic table and have your lunch. And that first invented area to rest is not 10 miles from my front door! The author takes us everywhere, tells us everything about tripping, tells us how it all came about into one package that became everything we needed. Cars, roads, maps, gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, picnics, rest areas, amusement destinations, and then how all these things evolved and then devolved with the coming of air travel and ultimately the loss of locking a family into a tiny space but which was really a monstrously huge car and forcing them to interact with each other without electronic means. This is the stuff of our memories, the stories we tell to our children (and wives), the life that we used to live and will never know again. If you are of the age that this was your life, you do NOT want to miss this book. Even though my family never took a road trip, I could still feel the wind in my face.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    3.5 so I’ll round up to 4.0 traveling stars Listened to this great audiobook on an informal history of the car, our interstate road system and family car trips before the deregulation of the airline industry. The best part, of course, is the car trips many families took in their “land yachts” of cars back in the 50’s and 60’s before the minivan was invented. Families of six could fit comfortably with a food basket in the back and all their luggage in the spacious trunk. No one even thought about 3.5 so I’ll round up to 4.0 traveling stars Listened to this great audiobook on an informal history of the car, our interstate road system and family car trips before the deregulation of the airline industry. The best part, of course, is the car trips many families took in their “land yachts” of cars back in the 50’s and 60’s before the minivan was invented. Families of six could fit comfortably with a food basket in the back and all their luggage in the spacious trunk. No one even thought about gas or oil sources being depleted, especially at .25 a gallon. Unfortunately ignorance was bliss. Anyway, nostalgia runs rosy as we recall inexpensive motels, crammed with rollaway beds, one bathroom and wait for it, a pool!!! Our author’s family lived for these vacations and so did mine and most of my neighbors and friends. Getting there was half the fun; naturally we had no choice as kids, so we had no idea we were missing anything! The book does get into the 70’s and the oil embargo, gas lines and the eventual smaller car. Then the 80’s and the airline deregulation and cheaper airfares. Of course we fast forward to 9/11 and the family does go back to road trips for awhile, but this time everyone is armed with technology and earphones. A fun book, I recommend it, especially if you’re of a certain age. 😊

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    “Don’t Make Me Pull Over” by Richard Ratay, published by Scribner. Category – Travel/Comedy Publication Date – July 03, 2018. Remember the family vacation where the family was packed into the car and the fun began. This book tells the story that most of us have lived through, either as children or parents. Watch out for the noogie! This was a time before cell phones, hand computers, GPS, and in care movies. Mom kept everyone contained, well for the most part, by playing silly games. How about the li “Don’t Make Me Pull Over” by Richard Ratay, published by Scribner. Category – Travel/Comedy Publication Date – July 03, 2018. Remember the family vacation where the family was packed into the car and the fun began. This book tells the story that most of us have lived through, either as children or parents. Watch out for the noogie! This was a time before cell phones, hand computers, GPS, and in care movies. Mom kept everyone contained, well for the most part, by playing silly games. How about the license plate game or the Alphabet game, remember those. When gassing up the car meant potty break and you better be back in the car when Dad was ready to go. The stories go on and on and Richard Ratay will tell them all and you will remember everyone one of them. This is not only a story of the family vacation but also a story of transportation. How did maps come about? What was the evolution of the motel and Holidome? What was a fuzz buster and the explosion of the CB? Good Buddy! There is no way you are not going to enjoy this book, it is a nostalgic look at an era that will never be seen again, or should I say experienced again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Book received from Edelweiss Review to Come

  15. 5 out of 5

    Regan

    Fun read. Ratay brings up memories of my own growing up years and details the history of travel in the 70's and 80's told in a fun style.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    His trips can't compare with ours. . . Actually, what I enjoyed most was the factual parts, the history of the road systems, motels, etc.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a great and entertaining book that provides a history of family road trips from the post-war era. It includes a history of the interstate highway system, drive through restaurants, amusement parks, motels, and even airline deregulation. The author was the youngest of four in a 1970s road tripping family, and his stories of driving in giant cars, through the night, with a dad more concerned about making time than stopping for food, bathroom or sleep breaks were hilarious and will resonate This is a great and entertaining book that provides a history of family road trips from the post-war era. It includes a history of the interstate highway system, drive through restaurants, amusement parks, motels, and even airline deregulation. The author was the youngest of four in a 1970s road tripping family, and his stories of driving in giant cars, through the night, with a dad more concerned about making time than stopping for food, bathroom or sleep breaks were hilarious and will resonate with anyone who lived through this era.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Turi

    If Ralphie, the narrator from A Christmas Story, grew up, had a family, and dragged them all over the country on road trips, and if his youngest son then wrote a history of the American road trip and interspersed it with delightful tales from his family's adventures, that would give you a pretty good idea of the feel of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    I would give this a star less if you are not someone of my age (plus or minus ten years of fifty), less for those outside that window, especially those who are under forty as you just won't relate as much, and that's most of the charm. Also, you'll relate to this most if your family travels were in the eastern half of the United States. Ratay combines a memoir of his family vacations from that time period (think A Christmas Story goes on vacation and you'll have it about right) and lots of facts I would give this a star less if you are not someone of my age (plus or minus ten years of fifty), less for those outside that window, especially those who are under forty as you just won't relate as much, and that's most of the charm. Also, you'll relate to this most if your family travels were in the eastern half of the United States. Ratay combines a memoir of his family vacations from that time period (think A Christmas Story goes on vacation and you'll have it about right) and lots of facts about changes in the road system, in motels and hotels, and in the restaurants and other facilities available to road travelers in his "golden age of road trips" which lasted from approximately 1950 to 1980. Before that, the interstates weren't quite ready for prime time, and after that, decreasing flight costs and other factors made road trips less desirable for many families. Having lived much of this with my large family taking the yearly pilgrimage with station wagon pulling Coleman trailer, I can say that he nails the times pretty thoroughly. My family typically stayed at KOA campgrounds rather than the low end motel chains that Ratay describes, but we did our share of Motel 6 stays as well. There are memories here of long gone chains (Stuckey's anyone?) of billboards and fuzz busters and other fading cultural phenomena. Some of my favorite sections were about changes in our attitudes toward safety. While most of us rationally recognize the improvements of car seats and safety belts and such, we secretly miss riding long distances stretched across the back of a station wagon, across the back window of a big car, along the floors, or even in the bed of a pickup truck. My only wish is that Ratay had given more coverage of some of the places that people went back in the day. His family wasn't exactly the sightseeing type, and having one of those fathers who had to stop at every historical marker along the way, try every national monument at least once, and even check out the tourist traps, I know that there is much more to say about the places that we went. This is good informal social science and popular history, even better if it matches your sense of nostalgia.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lori L (She Treads Softly)

    Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay is a highly recommended look at the historical and personal aspects of family vacation roadtrips. As late as 1975 four in five Americans had never traveled by plane, so how did families travel then (and earlier) for their vacations? By car, of course! Family vacation roads trips are legendary and most (large) families who experienced these treks have the stories and quotes to back up their claims. In Don't Make Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip by Richard Ratay is a highly recommended look at the historical and personal aspects of family vacation roadtrips. As late as 1975 four in five Americans had never traveled by plane, so how did families travel then (and earlier) for their vacations? By car, of course! Family vacation roads trips are legendary and most (large) families who experienced these treks have the stories and quotes to back up their claims. In Don't Make Me Pull Over! Ratay, who focuses on his family's road trips in the seventies, and covers: the history of the development of interstate highways; the beginning of road trips and those who pioneered driving cross country; maps; speed limits; radar detectors; CB radios; diversions along the way; eating on the road and drive-ins; gas stations; camping and motels; car styles and station wagons; seat belts and safety - to name a few topics. Early family road trips, before portable DVD players, electronic games, etc, were an option, required a bit more work to entertain or keep the whole carload happy or at least content. My experience of family road trips started off earlier than Ratay's family trips. Of course many of us remember no ac or seat belts in cars and that it was the oil crisis of 1973 that started the 55 mph speed limit. And some of us had to learn to drive in a station wagon. This is an imminently readable and enjoyable mix of history and personal recollections. Ratay does a nice job mixing light hearted nostalgia with the history and developments that the love of car trips encouraged. I appreciated the historical context along with the footnotes. Readers who have experience the family road trip will appreciate the historical context of many of the topics Ratay covers. It will also bring back some memories of road trips in your past. After you, perhaps, learn a historical fact or two, you will want to call family members and laugh about vacations in the past. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Scribner. http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/0...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stacie

    If you grew up taking family vacations, this book will encourage you to reminisce on those many vacations with family. I grew up taking long Sunday drives or weekend trips to visit family. Since I was the only child at home, I didn't have the crazy fights over food or games in the back seat. I just had myself and books and puzzle books to keep me busy during the long drives.  As a parent, we have taken our three children on a vacation every year since our first son was 6 months old. We have spent If you grew up taking family vacations, this book will encourage you to reminisce on those many vacations with family. I grew up taking long Sunday drives or weekend trips to visit family. Since I was the only child at home, I didn't have the crazy fights over food or games in the back seat. I just had myself and books and puzzle books to keep me busy during the long drives.  As a parent, we have taken our three children on a vacation every year since our first son was 6 months old. We have spent two weeks driving across the state of Pennsylvania and driven west to South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Yellowstone, and the Grand Tetons. So, we aren't afraid to drive anywhere and frankly, our kids have never been on a plane because we want to see the country. Ratay shares history including the creation of roads and highways, invention of cars, opening of rest areas, the very first drive-through restaurant, the men who started the Holiday Inn and the Holidome and the Howard Johnson hotel chains and so much more. Then Ratay shares personal stories of their own family vacations with his 3 other siblings. The cars they drove, the hotels they stayed at, the destinations they visited and all the fights over food, car games, and who got what seat or bed.  The narration was easy to listen to but, sometimes I wish I was reading it over listening so I could look back at something that I wanted to remember. I enjoyed the look at history, but the personal family stories were the best part.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl B

    An entertaining, nostalgic and educational read. I especially enjoyed the information about the Lincoln Highway and the seedling miles. I drive past a Lincoln Highway monument and over a marked seedling mile each time I leave home. It was interesting to read the history behind them. It is amazing to consider how all the conveniences we have today came about. How cars affected hotel and restaurant development and how seemingly ordinary people saw a need and created something new and exceptional to An entertaining, nostalgic and educational read. I especially enjoyed the information about the Lincoln Highway and the seedling miles. I drive past a Lincoln Highway monument and over a marked seedling mile each time I leave home. It was interesting to read the history behind them. It is amazing to consider how all the conveniences we have today came about. How cars affected hotel and restaurant development and how seemingly ordinary people saw a need and created something new and exceptional to meet that need. Although my family didn't take many long distance road trips we did take trips within the state. And yes, as residents of Iowa, we did visit Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, IA. My husband and I used to drive around the Midwest attending dog shows. This was before we had access to GPS. We laugh now wondering how we found every show site using maps or Mapquest directions. Now that we are nearing retirement we are back in our Volvo wagon driving to all of our vacation destinations. No one to put us on a timetable or tell us how much luggage we can carry. As another reviewer commented it is about the journey as much as the destination.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Doss

    Picked up this book from my local library on a whim and couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised. Part history lesson, part memoir, this book was immensely entertaining and informative. The best part was how closely I could relate to the authors experience during his childhood “road trips”. From the way his dad acted to the faux wood grain paneled station wagon, it was like he was writing about my childhood. (His mom was a physical therapist just like mine....what are the odds?). If you want a read Picked up this book from my local library on a whim and couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised. Part history lesson, part memoir, this book was immensely entertaining and informative. The best part was how closely I could relate to the authors experience during his childhood “road trips”. From the way his dad acted to the faux wood grain paneled station wagon, it was like he was writing about my childhood. (His mom was a physical therapist just like mine....what are the odds?). If you want a read that doesn’t require you to memorize a list of complicated characters or plot lines and just offers good old fashioned entertainment and a bonus trip down memory lane, add this book to your “must read” list today!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Terris

    I really enjoyed this telling of the history of family road trips in America. Although the trips were set in the 1970's because of the author's age, he goes into great detail (wonderfully!) about the history of such things as the beginning of: roads in America, roadside motels & restaurants, fast food, video/arcade games, and air travel. But what I liked most was his description of his family jammed into the car for miles on end playing family road games, singing songs, and generally pesteri I really enjoyed this telling of the history of family road trips in America. Although the trips were set in the 1970's because of the author's age, he goes into great detail (wonderfully!) about the history of such things as the beginning of: roads in America, roadside motels & restaurants, fast food, video/arcade games, and air travel. But what I liked most was his description of his family jammed into the car for miles on end playing family road games, singing songs, and generally pestering each other to while away the hours, because that is what I remember doing with my family in the 1960's. And it was a blast!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    Excellent book about family travels during the 1970s and early 80s, with fascinating digressions on the history of the interstate system, modern motels, and family dynamics inside a station wagon. I really enjoyed this book, although I thought the last chapter (about the family growing up) was less interesting than the rest. Highly recommended.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Clarke Gunter

    For those of us who as children once took road trip vacations with our families, this is an especially enjoyable read. It is well-written, humorous, and interspersed with history about the invention of cars and the explosion of car ownership, the building of interstate highways, the creation of motels and roadside eateries, as well as stories about the multitude of historical and whimsical attractions families took off in droves to visit beginning after World War II through the 1970s. The author For those of us who as children once took road trip vacations with our families, this is an especially enjoyable read. It is well-written, humorous, and interspersed with history about the invention of cars and the explosion of car ownership, the building of interstate highways, the creation of motels and roadside eateries, as well as stories about the multitude of historical and whimsical attractions families took off in droves to visit beginning after World War II through the 1970s. The author also lovingly recounts many of the road trip vacations taken with his family including the joy and exasperation of making long road trips with a family of six people. A nostalgic walk down memory lane for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert Parrett

    While this book really is a history book, every page drips with nostalgia. For anyone who grew up in the 70's and early 80's by loading in the station wagon for parts unknown, this book is a treasure. It brought back so many memories from the golden age of my chilhood, including my childhood love affair with Howard Johnson's. So much so that I must now visit the last one in Lake George. Being 42 now and my dad having passed, what I wouldn't give to climb into the station wagon for just one more While this book really is a history book, every page drips with nostalgia. For anyone who grew up in the 70's and early 80's by loading in the station wagon for parts unknown, this book is a treasure. It brought back so many memories from the golden age of my chilhood, including my childhood love affair with Howard Johnson's. So much so that I must now visit the last one in Lake George. Being 42 now and my dad having passed, what I wouldn't give to climb into the station wagon for just one more family trip. Great summer read, check it out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Groucho42

    Fun book about the postwar years when families took to the roads for vacation. A bit of history before that, on the evolution of US car travel, and then up to how air deregulation ended the driving vacation. Nice nostalgia for those of us in those generations.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

    This was very fun book to read it made me relive family vacations motels gas stations and roadside attraction .like the biggest corn 4 lane roads and many other

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy Morfas

    For people of a certain age, ahem, who took family vacations, this is a fun read I’d recommend. Although far from great literature, I really enjoyed this book as it brought up so many fond (or fond from a distance) memories of all our great family road trips in the 70s. The Golden Age of American road trips, apparently.

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