Driving America’s East Coast Highway
A review of Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner’s book, Drive I-95: From Boston to the Florida Border& and Back
By Melissa Vitti
Excerpt from Drive I-95:
Exit 1: New Jersey Mud If you are a baseball nut, look down at the Delaware River as you cross over it here, because this is where the famous Lena Blackburne’s Baseball Rubbing Mud comes from.
“In 1938 when an umpire complained to Blackburne (a third base coach for the old Philadelphia Athletics) about the condition of the balls which were rubbed with mud made of water and dirt from whatever field they were playing on, he went looking in the Delaware River until he found some muck (the whereabouts of the mud hole is still a dark secret) with a perfect texture — a cross between chocolate pudding and whipped cold cream.
Nowadays, every major and most minor leagues in the US use this mud to mask the balls shine and improve the pitchers grip. The muds source was willed to a close friend, John Haas, who had worked with Blackburne on his mud-finding exploits.
“Haas eventually turned over the enterprise to his son-in-law, Burns Bintliff. Burns in turn passed it on to son Jim and his family. Other kinds of mud and even mechanical methods have been tried to de-slick baseballs, but they couldnt make the grade — only good old New Jersey mud will do.
Stan Posner and Sandra Phillips-Posner
Sandra Phillips-Posner is a native New Yorker began her career as an art teacher of all things. When her first book, Smart Shopping Montreal, hit the bestseller list almost 19 years ago, her career focus switched from art educator to media darling.
After the success of her first book, she was offered her own column in Montreals newspaper The Gazette. She spreads her time between writing, lecturing and appearances on TV and talk radio programs.
Stan Posner has owned his own computer consulting business since 1984. Hes worked with Raytheon, Honda and Atomic Energy of Canada to name a few. Like his wife, he has also spent time educating at Concordia University where he taught actuarial math. His combined love of computers and travel has made him McGill Universitys computer guru for their Travelsmart publishing company.
It is easy to see how their passions brought together have created an informative and fun way to travel. To prepare for the book, the two spent ten hours a day together in a car for eight weeks, and even after 27 years of marriage, they are still crazy about each other.
Drive I-95, includes exit-by-exit information, maps, history, trivia and guides crucial for any road trip up and down the east coast. When I embarked on a six day road trip with two of my friends for a spring-break drive from New Jersey to South Carolina, the book became our most important reference. For three college students on a budget, the guide helped us navigate our way to Myrtle Beach.
We packed up our Jeep Liberty with our bags full of spring break attire, pillows and CDs to start the journey. Beside the important role of the driver, the second most important became the passenger (whoever called shotgun at the most recent stop) to play the role of DJ and tour guide, keeping the Drive I-95 close at hand.
As you open the book, theres a chart of radio stations categorized by city and genre on the inside cover. Considering we brought what we thought was every CD ever made with us, we figured this wouldnt be necessary for our purposes. We were obviously wrong. By hour six, in the great state of Virginia, I was elected to find anything but country and as you can imagine the chart became particularly useful.
The Complete Guide
The first 50 yellow pages of the book include a complete color-coded and comprehensive set of maps of all the states. The exits are depicted much like the road signs you see on the highway with marked stops for gas, food and lodging.
But what you wont find on a regular map is the great symbol of a police car where expected speed traps are (incredibly important for three New England students trying to get to a beach because they havent seen anything but snow in four months).
After the yellow map section come 88 pages chalk full of information. Everything you could possibly want to know between Massachusetts and Georgia is in this section. For those continuing to Florida, the book starts again this time with a blue section of maps followed by the pages of information of the following states.
For our purposes, the 88 pages of information became a constant conversation piece in our Jeep Liberty. Did you know&.? became the most frequented phrase especially during the larger stretches of the big states like North Carolina.
Beyond the blurbs about each most visible attraction at every exit, there are interesting little anecdotes spread throughout. In the North Carolina section is a short explanation on the origin of the hush puppy snack.
Cooks would throw a piece of fried dough to the dogs in the kitchen to quiet them down or hush puppies.
South of the Border
If youve ever driven through the states of North and South Carolina, you’re familiar with South of the Border. Theres a constant reminder as you drive counting down the miles via tacky billboards reminding you how much further until you reach South of the Border (also know as Exit 1 once you cross into South Carolina). The Posners give the attraction a very fair assessment considering all the hype that is given
You could only have missed the billboards if you are a sight-impaired driver. This tacky Mexican-themed town is famous to every kid who has ever read the road.
“What you will find, if you dare to get off, is a Pedroland amusement park, 11 souvenir shops, 6 food joints, 2 gas stations, 100 campsites and a 300-room motor inn sporting carports and an indoor heated or outdoor swimming pool.
“You can play indoor golf at the Golf of Mexico or view the whole site from the ride in the glass elevator to the top of the 200-foot tall Sombrero Tower. Olé!
Despite the warnings in the book, we had to check it out. The results were as expected just as dismal as the reviews. We had to chuckle as we pulled into the ghost town of bright tourist buildings and life size sombreros.
We took pictures with the artificial pink flamingos and purchased our 3SOB key chains before we set out to finish the last leg of our trip. We reached Myrtle Beach safe and sound after 11 hours in the car. All in all, the trip was everything we expected and thanks to Drive I-95 at our finger tips we were able to avoid the unexpected.
It is easy to see why Drive I-95 received Foreword Magazines Book of the Year Award and The Benjamin Franklin Award. Even if you dont embark on a road trip, the useful guide is a fun read for anyone wanting to learn more about the states from Massachusetts to Florida.
Buy Drive I-95: Exit by Exit Info, Maps, History and Trivia from Amazon
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