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Monday, June 23, 2008

Rebecca Jones Lauds Doreen Orion's Travel Tale

Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus With a Will of Its Own
By Doreen Orion
Humorous Travel Memoir
ISBN 0767928539.
Broadway Books, $13.95

Reviewed by Rebecca Jones for the Rocky Mountain News "Grade A."
Published June 5, 2008.

Book in a nutshell: When Boulder psychiatrist Orion's husband, Tim, proposes they take a year off to travel around the country in a converted bus, Orion - a "princess from the island of Long" with a deep-seated aversion to anything strenuous and a profound appreciation for shoes and exotic drinks - is appalled. Reluctantly, she agrees.

Their year on the road proves a wonder, taking them from fall in New England to Christmas in Key West to Mardi Gras in New Orleans to summer in the wilds of Alaska. Orion never quite conquers her fear of bus crashes - or bus fires or various other bus misadventures - but along the way she learns that living with only what you can cram into 345 square feet of living space has its advantages.

Best tidbit: "We went to Memphis specifically to see Graceland, something we'd both always wanted to do. We're not the only ones; it's the second most visited residence in the U.S. (The White House is Number One.) The fourteen-acre, 17,000-square-foot estate turned out to be a colossal disappointment. I thought it would be far more grand. Maybe it's just that, as a museum left exactly as it had been when the King died, it can't help being a fashion victim of the '70s. But really. One of the richest men in the country, a cultural icon no less, and he had Formica countertops?"

Pros: Orion has every good travel writer's ability to make readers feel they are there, to capture the telling details of places, and to present the account in a witty, accessible way. Reading the book makes you want to hit the road and have some of your own grand adventures.

Cons: Alas, for most readers, taking a year off to travel - let alone a year well before they're of retirement age - simply isn't feasible. But we can dream . . .

Final word: This is a fun read that will make just about anyone start itching for a road trip.

Doreen Orion
We didn't just dream of the road...

QUEEN OF THE ROAD: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus With a Will of Its Own is available now from Broadway Books, an imprint of Random House.

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