ON THE ROAD / Kerouac’s Map 1947

Click on map to enlarge.

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

His itinerary includes 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 vastly 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.

They were dopehead beatniks and homo nigger-lovers.

And worst their kids wanted to be like them.

I hitchhiked across the USA in 1970. Boston-San Francisco-Seattle-Boston.

My friend Peter Gore 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. People are too scared to pick up strangers and the steroid-juiced cops harass anyone beyond their vision of good. I told a French friend about their extinction and mentioned that I would like to make a cross-country journey ala Kerouac.

“Zis would make a good film.”

“I know, but I’m not doing it to make a film.” I envisioned standing by 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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