Map for Kerouac’s ON THE ROAD

This map from Jack Kerouac’s diary detailed his hitchhiking across the USA in 1947.

His itinerary included more stops than the classic hit ROUTE 66 sung originally by Nat King Cole.

New York City, Chicago, Davenport Des Moines, North Platte, Cheyenne, Denver, Laramie, Salt Lake, Reno, San Francisco, Madera, Fresno, Selma, Los Angeles, Prescott, Albuquerque, Dalhart, Kansas City, St Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Washington DC and finally New York City.

This transcontinental voyage served as the inspiration for his novel ON THE ROAD, which remains an icon for readers seeking to relive the author’s hell-bent adventures through a vast-different America than today.

There were no highways and the population was 144,126,071 under the rule of Harry S Truman. Men wore hats and women were strapped into girdles. Hitchhikers were considered undesirables as were Kerouac and his friends in the post-war era.

Dopehead beatniks and homo nigger-lovers.

And America was right. They were dopeheads and nigger-lovers. Worst their kids wanted to be like them. I hitchhiked across the USA in 1970. Boston-San Francisco-Seattle-Boston. My friend Petrus and I were long-haired anti-war pot-smoking hippies. We were given rides by fellow hippies, speed freaks, truck drivers, salesmen, moms and dads, military men, farmers, ranchers, and RVs. We met America and America met us.

Hitchhikers don’t exist in America today. Fat people are too scared to pick up strangers and the steroid-juiced cops harass anyone fitting the parameters of ‘usual suspect’, but I’d like to challenge the gestapo by standing on the side of the road with PARADISE written on sign.

No highways on this trip. No cities either. No sleeping under bridges. I’m too old for that. All I need is a couple of hundred dollars. New York-San Francisco to re-create Kerouac’s odyssey.

The last hitchhiker.

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