Travels with Charley – In Search of America by John Steinbeck

#vanlife .
Vanlife in MA

When I first mentioned traveling the country a friend suggested I read this book. In fact he lent me his copy - over 2 years ago. I finally read it.

Though written by Steinbeck, I had high hopes for it. Travelling the country in an RV with your dog sounds like it would fun. Yet somehow the writer managed to drain nearly all of the joy out it.

Steinbeck claims he want to get in touch with America. Packing a shotgun, a fishing rod and travelling with a dog should have helped him connect with many Americans. But the gun and rod were just props and the dog was a French-born poodle. It seemed his liquor cabinet was more helpful at getting people to talk more than anything else.

His many rambling analogies just did not enlighten me - especially when they included French. And describing Thanksgiving as an orgy in Texas was just bizarre.

I was interested in the WPA Guide Books he mentioned that were written during the depression. They are available from the library as hard copies and electronically from Google Play.

But how can you write a book about America where you travel in pickup truck camper and never mention who made the truck? Written prior to the foreign auto and truck invasion, we just need to know: Ford, Chevy or Dodge.

One interesting item was his clothes washing technique. He put his clothes in bucket with water and soap and let them slosh around as he drove. When he arrived he just needed to rinse and hang them out to dry. We will be trying this and report back.

Mr Ram

Charlie was more useful than Mr. Ram seemed to think. He would let Charlie out when he first stopped somewhere and let him scout out the locals. After a time he went to "find" his dog and had an instant connection with the people Charlie had met.

Mrs. Ram

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