This map shows great literary road trips through Maine

 Atlas Obscura's literary road trip map includes "Travels With Charley" and "The Lost Continent" in Maine.

Atlas Obscura’s literary road trip map includes Maine stops in “Travels With Charley,” “Blue Highways” and “The Lost Continent.”

The website Atlas Obscura put together this pretty great interactive map of all the place names in a dozen American road trip books.

John Steinbeck’s epic “Travels with Charley in Search of America” is all over the place, including Maine — with dispatches from Madawaska to Deer Isle and Rumford.

Here are a few of the best lines:

“Maine is just as long coming down as it is going up, maybe longer. I could and should have gone to Baxter State Park, but I didn’t. I had dawdled too long and it was getting cold and I had visions off Napoleon at Moscow and the Germans at Stalingrad. So I retreated smartly — Brownville Junction, Milo, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Bingham, Skowhegan, Mexico, Rumford, where I joined a road I had already traveled through the White Mountains.”

“I was lost almost all day, even though I found Blue Hill and Sedgwick.”

“One doesn’t have to be sensitive to feel the strangeness of Deer Isle.”

“I also got lost in Ellsworth, which I am told is impossible.”

The map also shows stops from William Least Heat-Moon’s “Blue Highways,” which includes this rumination on the maddening endlessness of U.S. Route 1.

“I knew U.S. 1, stretching from the Canadian border to Key West, was capable of putting a man in an institution of one kind or another—at least it once was—but I hoped things had changed. They hadn’t.”

And Bill Bryson’s “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America” includes a little dig on Wiscasset:

“Wicasset bills itself on the signboard at the edge of town as the prettiest village in Maine, which doesn’t say a whole lot for the rest of the state.”


The author of the post gave a pretty lengthy reasoning for why he picked the books he did.

“To be included, a book needed to have a narrative arc matching the chronological and geographical arc of the trip it chronicles. It needed to be non-fictional, or, as in the case of On the Road, at least told in the first-person.”

Did he miss any books?

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.