They – whoever “they” are – say that getting there is half the fun. While that might not be true for trips where you spend hours wedged into an airliner seat, it can definitely apply to cross-country road trips. Often, the things seen en route end up being just as fascinating as those that await you at your destination. This fact is not lost on the folks behind the RoadsideAmerica website and books, who have spent the past 25 years collecting and sharing accounts of quirky museums, Big Things, “natural wonders” and other weirdness encountered along the highways and byways of North America. Now, road travelers can be alerted to the locations of these must-sees as they near them, via the RoadsideAmerica.com Attractions and Oddities GPS guide.
The guide lists over 5,000 roadside attractions in all 50 states, presenting a list of what’s near you at any given location. From that list, you can select an attraction, press Go, and then be directed to it. Once you’re done gawking at the Muffler Man or Horseshoe Collection, you then have the option of selecting another oddity and driving to it – in that way, you could conceivably put together a seat-of-the-pants Jack Kerouac-esque rambling journey, dictated by the location of the next bizarre thing.
Besides locations, the GPS guide also provides hours and phone numbers for attractions, photos, and links to related articles on the RoadsideAmerica website. Users can also apply filters to their search results, looking only for things like statues, architecture or museums.
The guide was produced with GPS content publisher Spot It Out, and is designed for Garmin navigational devices such as Nuvi, Zumo, Oregon and Dakota. A version for TomTom is due out in April, with other versions to follow. It’s available on RoadsideAmerica.com for US$19.99.
Should you not own such a device, there’s also a RoadsideAmerica app for iPhones, available on iTunes. While similar to the GPS guide, it contains over 6,000 attractions, and unlike the GPS guide, can be continually updated.
Users start by purchasing map access to one of six U.S. regions for $2.99. They can then pay an additional $5.99 for a year’s access to the entire country – that’s a lot of Muffler Men.