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Recommended Reading:

You simply must buy this book, if you want to be a serious road-tripper.  I've read it cover-to-cover at least 5 times, and I reach for it first, whenever planning a new trip.  The book outlines 11 cross-country routes, with details on everything worth seeing along the way.
Same deal as the above book, except this one focuses on the southwestern USA, with extra routes like California's US 395 and a loop through the 4 corners area.  Another Jamie Jensen masterpiece. 
Hidden Southwest covers the southern half of Utah and Colorado, and all of Arizona and New Mexico.  It's not quite as easy to read as Road Trip USA, but provides plenty of in-depth information on specific areas--including restaurant, hotel and b&b recommendations.
This is the atlas I use.  The first edition I bought, back in 2004, is worn and tattered, so I purchased a new one in 2006.  The spiral-bound pages open and lie flat, or fold over for easy viewing in the car.  Scenic highways are marked, and so are attractions (even small, virtually-unknown ones!).  Map information is provided by Mapquest.  Definitely worth it.
If you've never read Bill Bryson before, this is a good place to start.  You feel like you're in the passenger seat as Bryson drives around America, rediscovering the country.
Another great book by Bill Bryson.  Sure, this one's about hiking the Appalachian Trail, but it's equally enjoyable as his other works.
This is the 5th edition, I own the 4th.  Either way, you'll find maps of national parks, along with in-depth guides that let you know where to hike, where to drive, and where to camp.  Beautiful glossy photos, too.
Same as the above guide, only this one specializes on the southwestern states.
Some remarkable natural treasures can be found in our country's national parks, everybody knows that.  But you shouldn't overlook some of the country's best state parks.  This book helps you figure out which ones are merely picnic areas, and which are incredible places to visit. 
After the kids have dragged you around Orlando for a few days, take them to some places they'll really remember.  Broken down by geographical area, this book helps you find some of the weirdest roadside attractions in this tourist-driven state.  Uncover some weird historical facts, too.  What Florida town do carnies and sideshow performers live in?  Which one has the world's smallest police station, inside a phone booth? What ice cream store still has a rare female urinal in its restroom?  These questions and more are answered...
Read this book, if only so that you'll have something to talk about with other serious road-trippers.  William Least-Heat Moon climbed in his van, left his world behind, and spent months driving around the country.  It's a lesson in geography, culture, and diversity.  The very definition of a travel adventure.
If you're driving through Canada or Alaska, buy this book.  It provides essential information needed to navigate the often-desolate highways of the north.  Wondering where to find gas between Fairbanks and Anchorage?  It has the answer.  Wondering where the pavement ends on the Dalton Highway, or where the gravel gets really rough?  It has the answer.

 

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